Blueberry Lemongrass Cheesecake #ImprovCookingChallenge

Another #ImprovCookingChallenge, another opportunity to get outside my comfort zone! I’ve never cooked with lemongrass before – I actually had to google a picture of it so I knew what to look for in the store – but I’m really loving the result here!

 The base is beautifully rich and fluffy and then the swirl is the perfect blend of blueberry and lemon to compliment. Right after I tasted it, I texted my mom that this was going to be my contribution for Easter dinner – it’s that good!
Blueberry Lemongrass Cheesecake.jpg
The recipe makes more of the blueberry/lemongrass filling than you need for the cheesecake. Since it comes out as almost a jam-like consistency, we used our extras as jam for toast.
You can see the other bloggers’ blueberry and lemongrass creations here:

improvchallenge
The #ImprovCookingChallenge is a monthly blogging event where two ingredients are assigned to a month. Bloggers can make any recipe they like as long as it features the two ingredients. If you are a blogger and would like to join us, please visit our Facebook page.
You can also read more about the event on our home page.  If you’d like to see previous creations, check out our Pinterest board.
Blueberry Lemongrass Cheesecake 2
Blueberry Lemongrass Cheesecake
(adapted from Taste of Home)
Makes 1 cheesecake
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 4-inch pieces lemongrass
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. melted butter
3 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries, sugar, and lemongrass in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the berries begin to cook down and the sugar is dissolved. Remove the lemongrass and transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Return to the saucepan and whisk in the cornstarch. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened and almost a jam-like consistency. Set aside
Mix together the graham crackers, sugar, and butter until well combined. Press into a 9″ springform pan, going up the sides slightly. Place prepared pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
In a stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the sour cream, flour and vanilla. On a lower speed, add in the lightly beaten eggs and mix until just combined. Pour the filling into the crust.
Dollop 3-4 Tbsp. of the blueberry lemongrass mixture. Use a knife to swirl it along the top of the cheesecake.
Return the pan to the baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until the center of the cheesecake is nearly set. Transfer the pan to the cooling rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen. Cool at room temperature for another hour, then refrigerate overnight.

Blueberry Lemongrass Cheesecake

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Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares #FoodBloggerLove

Today we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day a little early with some #FoodBloggerLove and I’m so thrilled to introduce you guys to Nicole from For the Love of Food.

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I was so excited to get to know her blog over the last few weeks – she and I are super similar! She also has two little ones that help her out in the kitchen, family meals are her bread and butter, and she’s crazy for anything chocolate peanut butter.

Yeah, I know – it was like looking in a mirror!

I knew I wanted to make a treat Nicole would love – and I also wanted it to be something her girls could help with. These Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars are the perfect fit!

Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares 2

My little helpers helped with the measuring and stirring. These treats are no bake, but they do need a few minutes on the stove top to melt the ingredients together so I handled that. They only take about five minutes to prep – perfect for a toddler attention span! – and they’re so, so good. If a peanut butter cup and a crunch bar had a baby, this would be the result.

Nicole, I know you’ll love these! I hope you and your girls get a chance to make them soon! Happy #FoodBloggerLove!

If you’re looking for some more blogger love, check out the #FoodBloggerLove linkup here:

Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares

Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
(slightly adapted from The Big Man’s World)
Makes 20 Bars

3 cups crisped rice cereal
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup

Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment and set aside.

Add cereal to a large mixing bowl, set aside.

Add the chocolate chips, peanut butter, coconut oil, and maple syrup to a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring continuously, until all melted together and well combined.

Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal and stir until combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, smooth out, and refrigerate for several hours.

Once cooled and solid, use the paper to lift out of the pan and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in a fridge.

Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares

Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Cakes for 2 #RecipesforTwo

What’s better than chocolate lava cake? Chocolate lava cake with warm, melty peanut butter sauce in the middle. Seriously you guys – this is what dreams are made of.

We fell in love with lava cakes after a cruise a few years ago and they’ve since become my go-to special occasion dessert. And this one is freaking amazing. If you’re a chocolate-peanut butter fiend like me, you will love this! That melty peanut butter is really something special.

One of the best things about this recipe is that it makes just two little cakes – perfect for Valentine’s Day, an anniversary or any other occasion where you want something special for a smaller crowd. The recipe can, of course, be scaled up to make more – but sometimes it’s nice to have something already sized for two!

 

Peanut Butter Lava Cakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Cakes
(adapted from The Cookie Rookie)
Serves 2

2 Tbsp. + 1 1/2 tsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
4 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
6 oz. German Baking Chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 tsp. powdered sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 egg + 1 egg yolk
Pinch salt

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Spray two ramekins with non-stick spray. Combine 1 1/2 tsp. flour with the cocoa power and coat the inside of the greased ramekins with it – shake off any excess.  Place prepared ramikins on a baking sheet and set aside.

Combine 4 Tbsp. butter and the chopped chocolate in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside for a few minutes to cool.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining butter, peanut butter and powdered sugar until smooth.

Using a stand mixer, beat the sugar, eggs, and salt on medium-high for about three minutes, until the mixture is think and pale yellow. Using a spatula, fold in the chocolate until no longer streaky. Fold in the flour and mix until smooth.

Use 2/3 of the batter to fill the ramekins, then place half of the peanut butter mixture on top of each ramekin. Cover the peanut butter with the remaining batter.

Bake for 14-16 minutes – the top should be set but the cake should still have a little jiggle. Let sit for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert onto a plate. Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Cakes

Need more ideas for Valentine dishes for two? Here are some great ideas!

Savory

Sweet

Cracker Toffee

What’s everyone up to today? Any crazy holiday prep going on?

Things here are actually pretty mellow. The cookies are all baked. The gifts are all bought and wrapped. It’s almost lunchtime and we’re all still our pajamas. All we have planned really is a liquor store run and a nap. Not bad for the day before Christmas Eve!

If you’re looking for one more treat to make or need a last-minute dessert, this cracker toffee is the way to go. It takes about 20 minutes to make, then you cool it and break it up. It, by design, doesn’t have to look perfect so you don’t need to stress details today and there’s a good chance you already have the ingredients on hand!

I hope you’re all settling in for a lovely holiday with people you love. Merry Christmas from me and the crw!

Cracker Toffee

Cracker Toffee
(from Little Dairy on the Prairie)
Makes 1 sheet pan full

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
Saltine crackers or Matzo
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sprinkles, for decorating

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Line the pan with saltines or matzo so they cover the whole bottom without overlapping. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until it reaches a boil, then remove the spoon and let boil for 3 minutes. Pour the hot mixture over the saltines as evenly as possible and transfer the pan to the oven to bake for 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let sit for a few minutes then spread the chocolate evenly over the crackers. Top with sprinkles, if desired, and put the pan in a cool place to set.

Once completely cooled and the chocolate has set, break into pieces and serve.

Cracker toffee

 

Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies #ChristmasCookies

If you like the idea of mint for the holidays, but aren’t a huge peppermint fan, these are the cookies for you.

For me, these are a nod to my Grandma.

For as long as I can remember, my Grandma’s contribution to holiday dessert has been a box of Andes Candies. We’ve all come to expect them and holiday dessert is not quite right without them on the table.

When I ran across this recipe that uses Andes chips, I knew Grandma would love them – and I just had to make them.

ChocolateMintChipCookies

Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies
(from The Diary of a Real Housewife)
Makes 3 dozen

1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 package Andes mint pieces

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet in batches and mix until just combined. Fold in mint pieces.

Roll dough into 1″ balls and place on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Can’t get enough cookies? For #ChristmasCookies Week, I’m linking up with lots of other bloggers sharing awesome recipes. You can find today’s batch of goodies below!

Chewy M&M Cookies #ChristmasCookies

When I was planning out cookies to share this week, my 3-year-old begged for these. He was totally smitten with the colorful candies mixed in – and I totally understand why.

These are pretty simple, but they’re so good. I’m sure these will be year-round cookies for us!

ChewyMMCookies

Chewy M&M Cookies
(from Rachel Cooks)
Makes 3 dozen

2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 12-ounce package of M&Ms

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder.

In the bowl of stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Stir in the egg and vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients in batches, mixing until just combined. Fold in the M&Ms.

Roll the dough into 1″ balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Let cook for 5 minutes than transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Can’t get enough cookies? For #ChristmasCookies Week, I’m linking up with lots of other bloggers sharing awesome recipes. You can find today’s batch of goodies below!

Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies #ChristmasCookies

If gingerbread and chocolate chip cookies had a baby, these would be the result. They are the ultimate Christmas cookie. I love everything gingerbread-spiced this time of year, but I’m also a chocolate fanatic. Marrying them is a match made in heaven.

These unassuming cookies are going to be the star of your holiday cookie trays or the hit of your cookie exchange this year – trust me!

GingerChocolateChipCookies

Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies
(from Marsha’s Baking Addiction)
Makes 3 dozen

2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg until combined.

In another bowl, whisk together the butter and sugars until well combined. Mix in the egg and molasses.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet in increments, stirring until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Roll the dough into 1-1 1/2 balls and place on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden around the edges. Let cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Can’t get enough cookies? For #ChristmasCookies Week, I’m linking up with lots of other bloggers sharing awesome recipes. You can find today’s batch of goodies below!

 

White Chocolate Dipped Ginger Cookies #FBLCookieExchange #ChristmasCookies

Guys, it’s COOKIE SEASON! I’m seriously so pumped. Baking is one of my favorite things of the holidays. All week I’m going to be sharing new-to-the-blog cookie recipes. Some are new to me, others are family favorites. All of them are on point if you’re looking for some cookies to add to your baking list!

These little beauties were the cookies I baked up for the annual Food Blogger Love Cookie Exchange. They’re pretty simple, but once they’re dipped in white chocolate and some sprinkles are added, they look like the star of the cookie tray. And who can say no to a ginger cookie this time of year?!

I mailed these out to three food blogger friends and in return I received Chocolate Caramel Chip Cookies from If Spoons Could Talk, Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chunks and Butterscotch from Jennifer Bakes, and Salted Caramel Kahlua Sugar Cookies from Seduction in the Kitchen. They were all amazing – be sure to check out those recipes today, too!

WhiteChocolateDippedGingerCookies

White Chocolate Dipped Ginger Cookies
(from Cooking Classy)
Makes 3 dozen

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp. sugar , divided
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups white candy melt wafers
Sprinkles, for decorating

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg until combined.

Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter, 1/2 cup sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in egg. Mix in molasses and vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients in increments, mixing until just combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and add the remaining sugar to a small bowl.

Roll dough into 1-1 1/2″ balls, roll in the sugar, and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Using the bottom of a cup, flatted the dough balls slightly. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Melt the candy melts according to package directions. Dip the cookies or drizzle the melted candy over. Top with sprinkles if desired.

The Food Blogger Love Cookie Exchange was full of delicious cookies from a great group of bloggers. You can see what everyone baked up here:

Can’t get enough cookies? Today kicks off #ChristmasCookieWeek so today – and all week! – I’m linking up with lots of other bloggers sharing awesome recipes. You can find today’s batch of goodies below!

Apricot Oatmeal Bars #Tresomega #OrganicsForLife

Disclosure: This post is part of the Tresomega Nutrition Blogger Recipe Challenge. I received complimentary products to use in this post. All opinions are my own.

Another recipe for Tresomega, and another dish I’ll be re-making this holiday. The food sign-up list for the family Christmas Eve got emailed out – and I snatched up the cookies slot PDQ. Mostly because my freezer is already chock full of cookies (#ChristmasCookieWeek kicks off on Monday!)

But, the family also has two celiacs so I’ll be making up a tray of gluten-free cookies too – and these will be added to the plate for sure. These are a great (and easy!) gluten free treat and the flavor can be easily switched up by using a different flavor of preserves. I think raspberry would be perfect for the holidays!

For more recipe inspiration, you can visit them on Facebook and Twitter. You can purchase Tresomega products at: Tresomega.com. Sams.com, Amazon.com and Walmart.com.

ApricotOatmealBars1

Apricot Oatmeal Bars
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes 18 bars

3/4 cup Tresomega Virgin Coconut Oil
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup apricot preserves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9×9″ pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with baking parchment.

Mix together the coconut oil, brown sugar, oats, flour, salt and baking powder. Press half of the mixture into the pan.

Spread the preserves over the mixture in the pan and then crumble the remaining mixture over, pressing down lightly.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until edges are beginning to brown. Let cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator to cool completely.

When chilled, lift the bars out of the pan using the edges of the parchment. Slice and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

ApricotOatmealBars2

12 Desserts for Your 4th of July Cookout #CookoutWeek

Need a last minute dessert for your 4th of July cookout? Here are a dozen of my favorite ideas. From fruit pies to fudgy brownies – there’s bound to be an option you’ll love!

SmorePizza

S’more Pizza

FirecrackerCookies

Firecracker Cookies

Cake Batter Blondies

Cake Batter Blondies

Banana Split Pie

Banana Split Pie

Firecracker Bundt Cake

Firecracker Bundt Cake

Raspberry Mousse

Raspberry Mousse

Monster Magic Cookie Bars

Monster Magic Cookie Bars

Ice Cream Sandwiches 2

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Strawberry Sour Cream Pie

Strawberry Sour Cream Pie

S'more Brownie Bars

S’more Brownie Bars

NutellaToppedKrispieTreats

Nutella Topped Brownies

CherryVanillaCokePokeCake

Cherry Vanilla Coke Poke Cake