Saturday, October 30, 2010

caramel cheesecake bars

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping
from My Kitchen Cafe (

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

Cream Cheese Layer:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Streusel Topping:
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1 cup caramel sauce (homemade recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, two tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine all the streusel topping ingredients and mix until crumbly. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two forks until mixture is crumbly but combined. Press evenly into a 9X13-inch baking pan lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

While the crust is baking, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Then add eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. Mix well. Pour over the warm crust.

Spoon the apple mixture evenly over the cheesecake layer. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apples. Bake for 30 minutes until the filling is set.

Cool the bars to room temperature. Drizzle with the caramel topping (or plate individual slices and drizzle with topping one by one).

Caramel Sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cups half-and-half or cream
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla

Mix butter, brown sugar, half-and-half or cream, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until thickened slightly. Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat and pour the sauce into a jar. Refrigerate until cold. If the caramel sauce has cooled in the fridge long enough to harden, warm slightly before drizzling on bars.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween Candy Bark

Halloween Candy Bark
1 lb. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 Butterfinger candy bars (or 8 fun size bars), roughly chopped
3 toffee candy bars (or 6 fun size bars), roughly chopped
8 Reese cups, cut into wedges
¼ cup honey roasted peanuts
3 oz. yellow and orange peanut M&Ms, coarsely chopped
3 oz. good quality white chocolate, finely chopped

Line a baking sheet with foil.  Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.  Pour the chocolate over the foil and smooth into a thin layer with a spatula.  Evenly sprinkle the chopped candy bars, Reese cups, honey roasted peanuts, and peanut M&Ms over the melted chocolate.  Press gently to adhere the candy to the melted chocolate.  Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.

Melt the white chocolate, again using the double boiler method, until smooth.  Drizzle over the chilled candy bark.  Return to the refrigerator and let chill again until the white chocolate is set, 3o minutes more.  

Peel the sheet of chocolate away from the foil and break into irregular pieces.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Printed from Annie’s Eats

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Easy Pretzel Rods

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods

Pretzel Rods
16 oz chocolate chips, white or semisweet
2 TBSP oil
Toppings such as crushed oreos, sprinkles, etc.
Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler. I don't have one of these, so place a glass bowl on top of a sauce pan with water in it. Place just enough water in the sauce pan to where when the water boils, it won't touch the glass bowl. Place chocolate and oil in bowl. Heat over medium low heat until chocolate is completely melted. Make sure that the water does not mix with the chocolate. Dip each pretzel rod into the chocolate, covering as much as you desire and then roll the chocolate covered pretzel rod in your chosen topping. After rolling it in your topping, place on wax paper. Allow to cool and then store in an air tight container until ready to serve.

From - This Mommy Cooks

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
Printable Version
*Note: This bread tastes best when it has cooled completely for a few hours and tastes even better the next day.
*Makes 2 (9X5-inch loaves) or 3 (8X4-inch loaves)
2 ½ cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2/3 cup water
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9×5-inch loaf pans or three 8×4-inch loaf pans.
In a large bowl, mix flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together canned pumpkin, oil, eggs and 2/3 cup water until well combined and stir into dry ingredients, just until the dry ingredients are moistened and no dry streaks remain. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter in prepared pans.
Bake the bread for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Run a knife gently around the edge of the bread and turn the bread out, right side up, onto a wire rack to cool completely.
This bread freezes beautifully. After cooling, wrap the bread in a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of tin foil. Freeze for up to 2 months.

Pumpkin Pie Bars

Pumpkin Pie Bars
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For the crust and topping:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
12 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup old-fashioned oats
½ cup chopped pecans
For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Butterscotch chips, for topping
Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan.  Lightly grease the foil.  Combine the flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl and toss with a fork.  Add the pieces of butter to the dry ingredients and cut it in with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in the oats and chopped pecans.
Reserve 1 cup of the crust mixture and set aside.  Add the remaining crust mixture to the prepared baking pan and press onto the bottom of the pan in an even layer.  Bake the crust alone in the oven for 15 minutes.  In the meantime, prepare the filling.
To make the filling, combine the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on medium speed until smooth and well combined.
Once the crust has been removed from the oven, pour the filling into the pan and smooth over the crust.  Sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture and butterscotch chips, as desired.  Bake for 25 minutes, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Slice and serve.

From - Annies eats

Molten Chocolate Cakes

Warm and wonderful.  Kids and adults will love it!
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1 18.25 oz box chocolate fudge cake mix                1 1/3 c of water
1/2 c vegetable oil                                                   3 eggs

1 bottle of Hersey's  hot fudge topping                    8 scoops of vanilla ice cream
Magic Shell chocolate topping 

Make the cake batter according to the direction on the box and pour the batter into the greased cups of a large (Texas Size) muffin pan.  If your pan has 6 cups, cook 4 at a time to allow room.  Turn out all cakes and ley them cool.

The cakes will be served upside down so you may have to slice a bit of the domed top off to help the cakes lay flat.  Use a serrated knife for this.   Invert cakes and cut out a 1 1/2 inch diameter cylindrical chunk in the center of the bottom ( now the Top of the cake).  The hole should be about 1 1/2 inches deep. Divide the jar of hot fudge topping betwwen all cakes and pour into the hole you just made.  Top with a small slice of the cake you have previuosly removed.  Top that with ice cream and magic shell. Yummo!

Enjoy, Cynthia

Monday, October 25, 2010

Williamsburg Potatoes

Don't know why we call them this, but they are awesome and can be assembled ahead of time and placed in the oven as company is to arrive.  Great to add to a brunch menu.  I make the night before, but do not top with the corn flakes until morning.
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2 lbs frozen shredded hash browns                2 1/2 c grated cheese
2 c sour cream                                              1/4 cc chopped onion
1 can cream of chicken soup                         1/4 c butter melted

Knead together all of the ingredients.  Spread in the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 pan.


2 c corn flakes           1/4 c melted butter

Add melted butter to corn flakes. Spread on top of potato mixture.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Enjoy, Cynthia

Strawberry Salad

My go-to salad. Love it!
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1/2 tsp salt                  dash of pepper
1/4 EVOO                 2 TBSP sugar
2 TBSP vinegar          dash of tabasco sauce

Mix together and shake well.

Sugared Almonds

1/2 c sliced almonds                     3 TBSP sugar
1/2 TBSP water

On medium heat, cook almonds, sugar, and water in a saute pan.
Stir constantly until sugar is disolved and almonds are coated and crispy.


Romaine Lettuce
a pint of sliced strawberries
Feta Cheese to taste

Add almonds and dressing and mix well.

Enjoy, Cynthia

Ritz Cracker Dip

So good for a pot luck, tailgate, or entertaining at home.
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1 bar cream cheese                       4 oz of shredded swiss
1/3 c Mayo                                   3 TBSP chopped green onions
8 pieces of cooked and crumbled bacon         20 crushed Ritz crackers

Mix together the first 4 ingredients and spread in a baking dish.  Top with the crushed crackers and crumbled bacon.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Serve with crackers, celery, pita chips or anything else you'd like to dip.

Booze Bars

Yummo!  Make this and watch the compliments come pouring in! So simple and everyone loves it!
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Bottom Layer

1 box of chocolate cake mix                     1 egg
1 stick of butter                                    
 1/4 c of your favorite recreational alcoholic beverage( Kahlua/Frangelica)
Combine all ingredients and mix.

Top layer

3 eggs
1 package of cream cheese
1/2 box of confectioners sugar
Combine and mix

Spread bottom layer in 9 x 13 greased pan.  Pour top layer over.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

Spicy Fruit sauce for Pork or Chicken

Love to use this sauce for my Perfect Fall Pork Roast.  In the Summer, I use pineapple, but I mix it up in the fall and winter by using cherries, cranberries, whatever I like.  You can put in any fruit you like.
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1c Pineapple , crushed and canned                      1c chicken stock
1 TBSP butter                                                     1/3 c Triple Sec
2 TBSP chopped onion                                       1 TBSP Olive Oil
1 TBSP chopped shallot                                     1/4 tsp  Hot Pepper Flakes
1/4 tsp sea salt                                                     1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder                                 1/2 tsp arrowroot ( corn starch)

Pour olive oil in saute pan. Add onions,shallot, and hot pepper flakes in at medium heat.  Saute and stir and add the spices and butter.  After about 4 minutes, add triple sec.  Let saute until alcohol has evaporated.  About 3 minutes.  Then add chicken stock and pineapple. Turn down to a simmer.  While simmering, take arrowroot and add it to 1/2 a teaspoon of stock from the saute pan. Mix and make a paste.  After about 10 minutes, turn heat up to medium high and add arrowroot mixture.  Keep stirring until thickened. You can vary the heat by using more or less hot pepper flakes.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Perfect Fall Pork Roast

The ingredients can be adjusted to your tastes.  I use whatever dry fruit I have on hand.  I have used dates, raisins, and chestnuts.  Whatever you like.  This is a great and flavorful meal that is not difficult to prepare and can be made in advance and put in the oven right before company arrives!

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1TBSP Olive oil             1/4 dried currants
1/4 c dried cranberries      1 granny smith apple
3/4 c chopped hazelnuts      3TBSP dried chopped apricots
1 tsp hot pepper flakes       1/2 c chopped onion
2tsp fresh rosemary            2 TBSP chopped parsley
1/2 tsp sea salt                   1/4 tsp pepper
1TBSP minced garlic          1/4 c bourbon
2 c croutons                     1 c chicken stock
1 1/2 lb pork loin

Pre heat oven to 350 degress.

In a suate pan, add the first eleven ingredients.  saute on medium heat until the onions are translucent and the apples are soft.  Add the breadcrumbs and butter and mix well.  Add bourbon and cook for four minutes.  Then add chicken stock and parsley.  Stir until liquid is soaked up. Remove from heat.

Butterfly cut the pork loin so you can create a pocket to put the stuffing into.  Pound the meat thin.  Place the stuffing over the pork, except the last two inches.  Tie with kitchen twine to keep togther when roasting. You now have a roll with the stuffing inside.  In a large saute pan, pour some olive oil and sear all sides and ends.  Then place in a baking dish and bake for an hour.

I like to serve this with potatoes, veggie, and bread.