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Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookie bars

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookie Bars

Superbowl Sunday is just days away and there’s no party or party invite for us this year.  Maybe being in another country has something to do with that. I just don’t know. This football season didn’t have that same regular season feel…with kickoffs at odd hours because of the time difference, no backyard BBQs, and no crazy loud men chanting at the television in the living room. So I did what I always do when I start missing home, I started baking.

Still can’t decide on what sweet dish to bring to that sunday football potluck? Maybe these cookie bars are just what you’re looking for. It’s a macadamia nut cookie topped with chocolate cream cheese and bits of toffee candy sprinkled on top. It’s sweet and addicting.

Below are two recipes…a quick way using quick ingredients for my busy moms and of course the homemade way. And both recipes have the same chocolatey bite. Share it with friends! And don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comment section below. Enjoy!

*The first recipe listed is the ‘homemade recipe’, scroll down for the ‘quick recipe’. 

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookie Bars 

The homemade way

Yield: 24 bars

Ingredients:

1 cup of butter, soften

1 cup of sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 3/4 cups of flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup of macadamia nuts, chopped into pieces

1 heath or Skor candy bar, chopped into pieces (or your favorite toffee candy bar)

3/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks

1 teaspoon of vegetable oil

1 8 oz package of cream cheese, soften

Here’s what you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line a 9×13 baking pan or jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Let the parchment paper hang over the sides of the pan for easy removal of your cookie bar. Lightly spray the top of the parchment paper as well.Macadamia Nut Cookie

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat for a couple minutes. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1/4 cup of macadamia nuts. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients to the butter mixture until well incorporated and a soft, slightly crumbling dough forms.  Cookie dough

Spread and press the dough into the pan. Wetting your fingers before pressing the dough helps prevent your fingers from sticking to the dough. Prick all over the dough with a fork. Then place dough in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 12 to 15 minutes, just until a little golden on top. Cookie should not be hard and crunchy, instead, soft and slightly chewy. Once done, set aside to cool.

Now to top the cookie bar.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookie bar2

Put chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl and drizzle over a teaspoon of oil. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave for about a minute, however, 30 seconds at a time to stir in between and ensure the chocolate doesn’t burn. After a minute, stir vigorously to finish melting the chips using the heat from the other chips and heat of the bowl. Next, blend in cream cheese until very well incorporated. Spread the chocolate cream cheese over the cooled cookie bar. Then sprinkle toffee bits and remaining 1/4  cup of macadamias over the chocolate cream cheese topping. Cut into squares and serve.

Now the quick way using quick ingredients:

Yield: 24 bars

Ingredients:

2 lbs of refrigerated sugar cookie dough

1/2 cup of macadamia, chopped into pieces

1 heath or Skor candy bar, chopped into pieces (or your favorite toffee candy bar)

3/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks

1 teaspoon of vegetable oil

1 8 oz package of cream cheese, soften

Here’s what you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line a 9×13 sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Let the parchment paper hang over the sides of the pan for easy removal of your cookie bar. Lightly spray the top of the parchment paper as well.

Unwrap and place cookie dough in a large bowl. Mix in 1/4 cup of macadamia nuts.

Spread and press the dough into the pan. Wetting your fingers before pressing the dough helps prevent your fingers from sticking to the dough. Prick all over the dough with a fork. Then place dough in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes, just until a little golden on top. Cookie should not be hard and crunchy, instead, soft and slightly chewy. Once done, set aside to cool.

Now to top the cookie bar.

Put chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl and drizzle over a teaspoon of oil. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave for about a minute, however, 30 seconds at a time to stir in between and ensure the chocolate doesn’t burn. After a minute, stir vigorously to finish melting the chips using the heat from the other chips and bowl. Next, blend in cream cheese until very well incorporated. Spread the chocolate cream cheese over the cooled cookie bar. Then sprinkle toffee bits and remaining 1/4 cup of macadamias over the chocolate cream cheese topping. Cut into squares and serve.

*If you’d like a thicker chocolate layer, use 2 8 oz packages of cream cheese with 1 1/2 cups of melted semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks instead. 

And don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comment section below. Enjoy!

 

 

Homemade Vanilla Coffee Creamer

Coffee Creamer

Two creamers and 4 sugar packets. That’s how I took my coffee in morning, every morning until, International Delight’s French Vanilla Creamer made its way into my refrigerator some years ago. I was converted. And then…we moved to Chile. No more French Vanilla Creamers, let alone just a little milk served with your coffee here. It’s rare to see milk next to the sugar when coffee is served at little gatherings here. And so, I searched and searched and searched the grocery stores and all I could find was these little bottles of Coffee-mate powdered creamers priced at $6.00 each. Sigh. And sigh again. Then smile. And smile again…thanks to floating pictures of Homemade Coffee Creamers on the web. My coffee was normal again.

Do you live in a country far far far away from home where creamer is hardly ever served with coffee? Do you miss those yummy flavored coffee creamers?  Well, this Homemade Vanilla Coffee Creamer might just help.  It’s very easy to make. Just 3 ingredients in a jar and shake to blend. Try it my coffee friends!

Homemade Vanilla Coffee Creamer

Ingredients:

1 14oz can of Condensed Milk

1 & 3/4 cup of Milk

3 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

Here’s what you do:

creamer

Pour all ingredients in a tall jar. Shake to combine well and it’s ready to flavor your coffee.

*The jar of creamer usually lasts a week and a half to two weeks or will keep as long as the expiration date on the milk used.

Chocolate Cake for one

Chocolate Cake for ONE

 

With boys like my little Squishy, it’s impossible to pull the covers over your head and say, “5 more minutes please?” Do you have the same problem? Today, was one of those days where you’re a few steps behind trying to catch up. Up a little late, no creamer for your coffee, late to your son’s first swimming lesson, dishes screaming wash me in the sink, and laundry getting more wrinkled in the basket as it waits to get folded. Yep, that was this mom today. Sometimes, I feel my life is almost like one of those scenes in the movies where the person is standing still in one place while the rest of the world around her is moving so fast its a blur. Sometimes, we just need a minute to breathe before we can get back up to speed. And sometimes, chocolate can help. Well, for me at least.

After getting the boys in bed. I needed chocolate. And not candy either. I wanted chocolate cake. So I made a cake in a mug in the microwave. Yes that’s correct, microwave. I topped it while it was still warm with leftover cream cheese frosting. I ate it warm. It was moist, not too sweet and  just what I needed.  Just one single mommy serving.

Chocolate Cake for ONE

Yield: One coffee mug or small bowl

Ingredients:

1/8 cup sugar

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 cup milk

1/8 cup water

1 tbsp oil

1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

Here’s what you do:

Mug cake mixIn a little bowl or straight into the mug, add flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk dry ingredients together very well and make a well in the middle.

Mug cake mix2Add oil and vanilla to the middle. In a measuring cup add milk and water. Heat milk and water in the microwave for  20 to 30 seconds to warm, yet not boiling. Add the hot liquid to the middle and mix dry and wet ingredients together until well incorporated. If using a separate little bowl, pour batter in to the mug or you may also cook your cake in that little bowl if it’s microwaveable as well. It well work the same.  Cook your cake in the microwave for 45 to 60 seconds depending on your microwave.

mug cake 3It may look a little wet or gooey on top however, cooked through in the middle. To check if it’s done, insert a knife or fork through the cake and if it pulls out of the cake without batter stuck to it, it’s done. Try no to overcook or leave it  longer than a minute as it well dry out and give your cake a burnt chocolate taste. Once cake is done, top with chocolate chips, or frosting, or vanilla ice cream, or just sprinkle lots of powdered sugar over the top. Enjoy!

Sunday Fun-day Food-day!! with Corn Dog Muffins

Corndog Muffin

Today is Sunday. And Sunday is usually “fun-day” for daddy. Football. Couch. Beer. And let’s not forget the “tailgate food” requests. Well, “tailgate” being our couch. However, daddy is MIA today. He’s working. So I asked the other little men of the house for their Sunday food-day request and it never fails, Vince wants those cupcakes with hotdogs in the middle.

Vince loves corn dogs on a stick. Corn dogs aren’t very common here. Actually, I lied. I’ve never seen a corn dog here in Chile. So another DIY project in the kitchen I thought. Luckily for mom, there’s Pinterest. A few months ago, I happen to come across a corn dog muffin picture. A cornbread muffin with a hotdog in the middle. Genius! Thank you to whoever’s clever mind came to that creative thought.

This is a very simple recipe that’s perfect for other little hands to assist you with. Yes, kids in the kitchen. To make it super simple, use a couple dry cornbread ‘just add milk’ mixes or use your favorite cornbread muffin recipe or if you don’t have one yet, perfect…try my favorite Honey Cornbread Muffin recipe that I gathered from watching The Neelys on Food Network. It’s moist and has the perfect sweetness from honey.

CORN DOG MUFFINS

Yield: 12 -18 muffins

Ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup sugar

1 tbsp baking power

1 tsp salt

1 cup whole milk

2 large eggs

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup honey

4-6 hotdogs, precooked and sliced to the size of your muffin tin. (Use your favorite hotdog)

Here’s what you do:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cups.

cornbread muffin ingredients

In a large bowl, mix flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking soda together until well incorporated. In a separate bowl, add eggs, milk, melted butter, and honey. Whisk ingredients together until combined. Next, add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.

imageNext, divide the batter evenly into each cup. Carefully add a sliced hotdog in each cup. Then place in a preheated 375 degree F oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden on top. Serve warm or at room temperature with your favorite condiment.

 

 

 

Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cupcake2

I missed my nephew’s 1st birthday party today. It comes with this military lifestyle. We’re stationed in South America right now and a quick flight back home for birthdays and holidays aren’t always possible. Instead, I FaceTime and pretend that I’m part of the madness.  I miss it. I miss home. Especially today. Especially on birthdays. Especially on any celebration really.  Funny thing is, the part I miss is the craziness in preparing for these big parties…staying up late baking desserts, fighting with my sisters on who will do what, and waking up at the crack of dawn frosting red velvet cupcakes for my mom. My sister put her in charge of desserts for the big party today. I asked my mom what she made this morning and she listed over 15 desserts. Yes no joke. That number is very normal where I’m from. The dessert buffet table is as long as the lunch or dinner buffet table.  Yes we love our cupcakes. While I’m not there to help or celebrate, I still want to bake for my nephew’s 1st birthday. Cupcakes. Red Velvet Cupcakes. Happy Birthday Raycen!

This is an awesome recipe. Seriously, skip the box and spoil your family and friends with these Red Velvet Cupcakes at the next birthday party!

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie

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I like to call this the “introduce myself” pie. I have a few “introduce myself” dishes. Why “introduce myself”? Well, since I never feel comfortable going to any little gathering empty handed (thanks to my upbringing), I usually bring a dessert to share. And Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie is usually the first that comes to mind when we get an invitation, especially if I’m meeting you for the first time. It’s quick, easy, and I always get a lot of compliments. Therefore, I thought this would be perfect for my first recipe to share. Below are two recipes, one that’s easy with quick ingredients and the other for times when quick ingredients are not available, yet still simple. And they both have the same great taste! Bring this easy pie to share at your next dinner party or backyard BBQ and I’m sure you’ll make some new friends as I just did with you… I’m Talsha and welcome to Talsha’s Food Memories!

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie…Two recipes. Same great taste.

The Quick Ingredients Way

Yield: one 9 inch pie

Ingredients:

1 9inch ready-made graham cracker crust

1 8oz block of cream cheese, soften

1 8oz tub of cool whip or any tub of whipped cream

¼ cup of powdered sugar

1 tsp. of pure vanilla extract

1 can of your favorite Strawberry filling/topping

Here’s what you do:

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth for just a couple minutes. Mix in sugar and vanilla. Beat for a minute. Then fold in the Cool Whip.

Spread your cream cheese filling mixture into the piecrust. Then top with the strawberry filling. Let pie set in the refrigerator anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour or until ready to be served.

OR

When you live in a foreign country like Chile and fast ingredients don’t exist!

The Homemade Way

Yield one 9 inch pie

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 package of graham crackers (9-10 rectangles)

¼ cup of melted butter

2 tbsp of sugar

Dash of cinnamon

Filling:

1 8oz block of cream cheese, soften

¾ cup of heavy whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup of powdered sugar

Topping:

2½  cups of chopped strawberries

¼ cup of sugar

2 tbsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup of water

Plus 2 1/2 tbsp. of water

Here’s what you do:

Let’s start with the crust…

Pie CrustPreheat oven to 350 degrees. Grind or crush crackers into crumbs. In a bowl, mix cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon together. It should have a wet sand texture. Press crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch pie dish.  Place crust in the preheated oven for 7 to 10 minutes. Once done, set aside to cool.

Next, the topping…

Strawberry ToppingPut strawberries in a pot. Sprinkle sugar over the strawberries. Add 1 cup of water. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with 2 1/2 tbsp. of water. Pour the cornstarch mixture in the pot. Give all a quick stir to blend. And cook on medium heat for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the strawberries soften and the sauce turns into a very thick syrup. Once desired thickness is reached, remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Set aside to cool.

Now, the filling…

Cream Cheese FillingPour ¾ cup of heavy whipping cream in a large bowl or a stand mixer. Mix at a high speed until cream thickens into whipped cream with soft peaks. Transfer whipped cream into a small bowl. Add soften cream cheese into the large bowl along with ½ cup of powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream.

Time to assemble the pie.

Before assembling pie, be sure the piecrust and strawberry topping have cooled. Put the cream cheese filling in the cooled piecrust. Spoon the cooled strawberry topping over the cream cheese filling. (I suggest spooning strawberries over the filling instead of pouring the entire pot to save your pie from turning into a thick soup. The extra sweet liquid can be served on the side.) Place pie in the refrigerator to set for 30 minutes to an hour or until ready to be served.

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