Sweet Treats

Recipe—Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

As I announced a few weeks back after my break from blogging I started a new job back in August. It’s always a rough transition moving out of your comfort zone into something totally new. New environment. New responsibilities. New coworkers. Eek! It can be kind of nerve racking! Well the way I deal with nerves is food. Yes, I am an emotional eater! So I made a batch of these wonderful delicious bars but I couldn’t bear to eat them all so what did I do, I took them to work to share with my new co-workers. Way to bond and score some points at the new gig, right? Well these were a hit and I apologize that the recipe is 5 months late getting to you. Good news is I am still at my job so I must have made quite the impression with my tasty treats or maybe it’s my mad skills.

GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp butter, melted

CHEESECAKE INGREDIENTS
12 oz cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

COOKIE DOUGH INGREDIENTS
5 tbsp butter, softened
3 tbsp sugar
1/3 c brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c flour
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 325º.
  • Line a 8” x 8” baking dish with foil making sure there is enough to go up all four edges of the pan.
  • In a medium bowl mix together all of the graham cracker crust ingredients.
  • Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the baking pan using a spoon or backside of a spatula making sure that it is firmly packed.
  • Bake for 5 minutes and remove from oven.
  • While the crust cools beat together all of the cheesecake ingredients on low speed until smooth.
  • Pour the cheesecake mixture into the baking dish and set aside.
  • In a large bowl beat together the butter, sugars, vanilla, and salt until well combined and smooth.
  • Add in the flour until well incorporated.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Sprinkle small clumps of the cookie dough over the top of the cheesecake mixture making sure to cover most of the dish.
  • Bake until the cookie dough looks cooked and the cheesecake has set, about 25–30 minutes.
  • Move the dish to a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely.
  • Chill in the fridge for a few hours.
  • Remove the entire “bar” from the baking dish by holding onto the edges of the foil and lifting it from the pan.
  • Slice into small squares and eat up.
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Sweet Treats

Recipe—Snickers Cake

This cake should be called the Devil’s cake. Because that is exactly what it is. It will suck you in and you won’t be able to resist it’s evil chocolately goodness! My husband loves his sweets but isn’t much of a cake guy. (How did I ever marry him?!?!) Just kidding, I love my husband, so much so that I was on the hunt for the PERFECT birthday cake for him. One of his favorite candy bars is a Snickers so I knew if I could make a cake that even remotely resembled a Snickers bar, he would probably like it. I think I gained 10 pounds just making this cake because I was indulging myself while putting it together. That is part of being a good cook right? Taste everything you serve. Well I did. I tasted the cake batter, the caramel sauce, the chocolate chips, the chopped snickers, the whipped cream, etc. I was so bad, and it was soooo good! Every layer of it! If you are or have a Snickers lover in your family bake them this cake. They will love you forever, unless they are on a diet. This is a fabulous cake, not a diet cake.

Note: This cake can be made a day ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

INGREDIENTS
16.5 oz box of Duncan Hines Devil’s Food cake mix
1 c water
1/3 c vegetable oil
3 eggs
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
12 oz jar Smucker’s Hot Caramel ice cream topping sauce
1 c chocolate chips
1 pt heavy whipping cream
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 Snickers candy bars, chopped
1/2 c peanuts, coarsely chopped
caramel sauce
chocolate sauce

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a large mixing bowl beat together the cake mix, water, oil, and eggs at medium speed for 2 1/2 minutes.
  • Pour the cake batter into a greased 9” x 13” Pyrex.
  • Bake the cake for 25–30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
  • While the cake is baking mix together the condensed milk and jar of caramel sauce until thoroughly blended.
  • When the cake is done cooking, but still hot, poke 20–30 holes in the cake using a straw.
  • Pour the caramel sauce over the entire cake.
  • Allow the cake to finish cooling completely.
  • Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the cake.
  • In a medium mixing bowl beat together the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla at high speed until it is nice and thick, about 3–5 minutes.
  • Fold the chopped Snickers into the whipped topping.
  • Spread the whipped topping over the top of the cake.
  • Sprinkle the chopped peanuts over the top and drizzle with caramel and chocolate sauce.
  • Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Recipe adapted from Plain Chicken.

Sweet Treats

Recipe—Chocolate Truffle Pie

Valentine’s day is right around the corner and what says Valentine’s Day better than a big slice of sinfully rich chocolate truffle pie? I know a lot of people like to go out to eat on what is supposed to be the most romantic day of the year but I have always been more of a homebody on this Hallmark Holiday. I like setting the table with candles and our best linens and cooking my husband a nice romantic dinner at home. And like all romantic dinners even one at home needs a wickedly decadent dessert. That’s why I love this truffle pie, there is not one, but two rich chocolate layers finished off with a light whip cream topping. Perfect for the chocolate lover in your life!

STEP 1: GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
2 c graham cracker crumbs
1/3 c white sugar
1/2 c butter, melted

  • Mix all ingredients together.
  • Press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a pie dish using the backside of a large spoon or rubber spatula.
  • Place in freezer.

STEP 2: TRUFFLE FILLING 
2/3 c heavy cream
6 oz bittersweet chocolate chips

  • In a small saucepan bring the cream to a simmer. (Be sure it does not boil over.)
  • Place the chocolate chips in a small mixing bowl and pour the hot cream over the top of them.
  • Let stand for 1 minute and then using a fork gently whisk until smooth.
  • Pour the truffle filling into the piecrust and gently spread it out evenly.
  • Place in the freezer for 20 minutes.

STEP 3: WHIPPED CHOCOLATE FILLING 
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla

  • In a small saucepan bring a 1/2 cup of the cream to a simmer. (Be sure it does not boil over.)
  • Place the chocolate chips in a small mixing bowl and pour the hot cream over the top of them.
  • Let stand for 1 minute and then using a fork gently whisk until smooth.
  • Let cool to room temperature.
  • In a medium mixing bowl beat the remaining cup of cream on medium-high speed until thick and fluffy.
  • Add the melted chocolate mixture and the vanilla and continue beating until thickened.
  • Spread the whipped chocolate filling over the truffle layer.
  • Place in refrigerator.

STEP 4: WHIPPED CREAM TOPPING
1 c heavy cream
1/4 c powdered sugar
chocolate bar (for garnish)

  • Beat the cream and powdered sugar on medium high speed until thick enough that stiff peaks form.
  • Spread the whipped cream over the top of the pie.
  • Using a grater or vegetable peeler make shavings off the chocolate bar.
  • Garnish finished pie with chocolate shavings.
  • Chill for 5–6 hours or overnight before serving.

Recipe adapted from Deen Bros.

Sweet Treats

Recipe—Banana Split Pie

This may be one of my best desserts yet! A banana split in the form of a pie. How can one go wrong?!? You can’t with this combination of ingredients. When I think of my childhood summers, banana splits come to mind. This dessert screams fun and it is an absolutely perfect dessert for all ages. It is cool, refreshing, and just looks beautiful!

This dessert is a no-bake pie so your kitchen won’t get hot when you are making it this summer. There are several steps which make it a little time consuming, but that is what is required to get all the scrumptious layers. Trust me though, it is really easy and comes together nicely. I wish I could have gotten a side photo of a slice so that you could see the layers. Next time. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Note: I recommend using chocolate fudge for sundaes rather than chocolate syrup. Syrup is soupy and doesn’t give you the fudgy quality needed. Just my two cents.

INGREDIENTS
2 c crushed graham crackers
1/2 c butter
1 1/4 c sugar divided
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple, undrained
3 bananas
1 (3.4 oz) package instant vanilla Jell-O pudding
1 c milk
1 pint heavy whipping cream
chocolate fudge sundae topping
1/2 c chopped pecans
small jar maraschino cherries

STEPS

  • In a bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and a 1/2 cup of the sugar.
  • Press graham cracker mixture into bottom and up sides of a pie dish using the backside of a large spoon or rubber spatula.
  • Put in the freezer for a couple of minutes to set.
  • While your piecrust is setting beat together the cream cheese, vanilla, and a 1/2 cup of the sugar using an electric mixer until smooth.
  • Carefully spread the cream cheese mixture into the bottom of your piecrust.
  • Drain your pineapple juice into a bowl.
  • Put the drained pineapple in an even layer on top of the cream cheese mixture.
  • Slice your bananas into the bowl with the pineapple juice and gently toss. (The acid from the pineapple juice keeps your bananas from browning. This is a great trick for fruit salads too!)
  • Drain the remaining juice from the bananas and arrange the slices over the pineapple.
  • Place pie back in freezer.
  • In a large mixing bowl prepare your whip cream by mixing the whipping cream and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar using a hand mixer. Mix on high speed for 2–3 minutes or until nice and thick. Set aside.
  • In another bowl mix the dry Jell-O pudding and the milk using a wire whisk until smooth.
  • Add about half of your whip cream into the pudding mixture and stir.
  • Spread your pudding mixture over the banana layer.
  • Top your pie with the remaining whip cream.
  • Drizzle chocolate fudge over whip cream layer.
  • Top with chopped pecans and cherries.
  • Refrigerate for at least 5 hours or preferably overnight.

Enjoy!