Tag Archives: pecan

Mini Cheesecake Bites

6 May

My big sister made these awesome little cheesecake bites for our brother’s wedding last month. She made three flavors: plain, chocolate chip, and caramel pecan. The funny part was that she didn’t really think about recipe yield when she started off, and just followed the standard recipe… for all three of them. Since she went with mini, she ended up with over 200 cheesecake bites. We had enough for the rehearsal dinner AND for the dessert buffet at the wedding!

Everyone’s favorite was the caramel pecan. What do you think? Which one would be your favorite? Or would you create a new flavor? The cool thing about this recipe is that it’s easy to swap toppings to customize your own. Chips, nuts, candies, jams, syrups… so much could work here.

Caramel Pecan

Chocolate chip was pretty good too, though I would prefer it to be a little more chocolate-y. Maybe Oreos? Or a fudge layer? I might have to think about that and try this recipe again.

Chocolate Chip

Mini Cheesecake Bites adapted from KraftRecipes.com

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
Optional toppings: chocolate chips, caramel ice cream topping and pecans, chopped fruit pieces, etc.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix graham crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, and butter until well-blended. Press onto bottoms of paper-lined mini muffin tin cups.

Spread desired toppings over crust: (1) For plain, skip this step. (2) For chocolate chip, add chocolate chips. (3) For caramel pecan, add caramel ice cream topping and crushed pecans.

Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar, and vanilla with mixer until thoroughly blended. Add eggs one at a time, mixing on low speed after each one until just blended. Pour over crusts. Sprinkle a few more pieces of selected toppings.

Bake 15-18 minutes or until centers are almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.

Enjoy!

Linking up with:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Up from Covered in Grace
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Time for a Party from Fine Craft Guild
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Anything & Everything Link-Up from My Thrifty Chic and The Sapphire Bee
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows WildInside BruCrew LifeThe Recipe Critic, and The Gunny Sack
Blog Link Party from Somewhat Simple
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately

Microwave Chocolate Pecan Toffee

24 Dec

It’s Christmas Eve! For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope you’re ready to enjoy a wonderful day. I have kind of mixed results on my holiday preparedness this year. I had most of my gift shopping done early, but we didn’t decorate our place at all. Once it got close to the holidays and we still hadn’t done anything, the BF and I agreed that it was kind of silly to put a lot of effort into decorations when it’s just the two of us here and we’ll be spending much of our holiday time at our parents’ houses. So instead of going all out, I just put little tiny star ornaments on our bamboo plant. That works, right?

O Christmas Bamboo O Christmas Bamboo...

All I have left to do is bake! Today, I’ll definitely be making a couple apple pies — one for each family’s house — and the apple cinnamon baked oatmeal. After I talk to my brother and sisters, that plan might be slightly expanded. After all, it’s not Christmas without coconut balls.

If you still need something to add to your family’s dessert table or something to take to a holiday party, try this amazing toffee. It’s super easy, so you’ll be able to get it done in between wrapping those last-minute presents and blow-drying your hair.

The only thing better than a delicious candy recipe is an easy delicious candy recipe. I had never made toffee before, and for some reason, I had it in my head that it’s a difficult thing to make. But it wasn’t at all. It was actually super simple. And DELICIOUS. Toffee is kind of like a hard caramel. Yum!

YUM

Somehow this recipe came to me through a long chain: a friend of the stepmom of an ex-boyfriend of a friend. So who knows where it first came from, but I’m glad it arrived in my inbox.

I made a few batches of toffee as gifts for volunteers who helped out with a big work event. It was quick and easy:

Microwave all the toffee ingredients together.

Step 1

Pour it on a pan and spread the chocolate chips over top that.

I have no idea what's up with that weird shadow.

Let it cool/harden, and then break it up into bite-sized pieces.

DONE

I packaged them up in cute little boxes that I got from AC Moore and tied some ribbon around them. Adorbs.

Packages tied up with string...

The only downside to this recipe is that it can get a little expensive. It doesn’t really make a ton of toffee, especially if you’re trying to fill a box, so I had to make quite a few batches. With butter, chocolate, and nuts… not the cheapest.

But it’s so delicious and good-looking, it makes an excellent gift. After I packaged all the pieces up, I collected all the leftover little pieces that were too small to load into the boxes, chopped them up even smaller, and packaged them in a jar as Toffee Crunch Ice Cream Topping. Yum!

Toffee Crunch Ice Cream Topping... It's a little frosty from the fridge, but dang if I'm not craving a bowl of ice cream now.

Well, all that’s left is the recipe. Hope you enjoy it. Happy Holidays!!

Microwave Toffee with Chocolate and Pecans

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Coat the sides of a large mixing bowl with butter and place the remaining butter in the bowl. Add sugar, salt, and water; do not stir. Microwave on high for 11 minutes or until mixture begins to turn light brown. Pour onto a greased cookie sheet.

Sprinkle chocolate chips over the toffee and let stand 1 minute. Spread chocolate over the toffee to form a melted layer, and sprinkle with pecans. Chill until firm.

Break into bite-size pieces. Package or serve. Yields about 1 pound.

Delicious delicious toffee

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Brownie Pecan Pie

14 Aug

I listed ‘brownie’ in the title first because that is way more important. Obvi.

This super delicious pie comes from Bakerella. I have been wanting to make it ever since she posted it years ago, and I finally got around to it. My family loved it! I took it to my sister’s “last supper” — she had corrective jaw surgery, so we had a big meal of her choice the night before since she won’t be able to eat for a while. Coincidentally enough, my brother had a motorcycle accident and ended up being scheduled for surgery to fix his smashed-up hand on the same day, so we were all together for a nice family meal full of anxiety and brownie pecan pie. (Good news: they’re both okay, just drugged up and cranky.)

Pecan pie is one of my favorite Southern dishes, but of course chocolate is my all-time favorite. So mixing the two sounded like a no-duh move. And being semi-homemade, it was super easy too.

Bakerella gives instructions for how to make either a thicker brownie version or a gooier fudge version. Both sounded delicious to me, and I couldn’t decide, so I split the difference. My mom cut into it and said, “Uh oh, it didn’t bake in the middle.” And I said, “Nope, it’s supposed to be gooey and delicious like that!”

I started off preheating the oven to 350 F. I put 1/4 cup packed brown sugar and 1/2 tablespoon flour in a big mixing bowl. I stirred that together until there were no lumps and the flour had disappeared. Then I added 1/4 cup corn syrup and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, stirring that until combined. Next, 1/4 cup melted butter, stirring that in until combined. And then in a separate bowl, I beat 1 egg and then added that to the mixture, stirring until combined. Last I stirred in 1 cup pecans and set the bowl aside.

Pecan Goo

In a separate bowl, I prepared brownie mix according to the package directions. I used Ghiradelli dark chocolate with chocolate chips – YUM.

Brownie Layer

I rolled out 1 refrigerated pie crust into my pie pan and then poured half the brownie batter into it. Then I gently poured the pecan mixture on top of that.

I baked the leftover brownie batter in a loaf pan to make a mini batch of brownies for my brother, who prefers his chocolate unmarred by nuts.

Pecan Layer

I baked it for about 40 minutes, and that was that.

Gooey Deliciousness

Sooo good. I totally should have added a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Mmmm

Cinnamon Rolls

18 Apr

When I was a teen, my aunt invited my cousins and me over to teach us a few things in the kitchen. I can’t say I’ve made homemade ravioli since that night, but I do regularly use her Asian sticky rice “recipe” and her recipe for cinnamon rolls. This is something of a semi-homemade treat, so it’s super easy. I took some rolls fresh from the oven to a friend’s for brunch last weekend, and they were pretty amazing.

First off, pour some pecans into a bundt pan. Then add in some frozen dinner rolls. I usually cram in about 12 of the 15 rolls in the package.

Yeast Rolls

Sprinkle one package of butterscotch pudding mix over top the rolls. (DON’T use the instant!) And then sprinkle 1 teaspoon cinnamon over that.

Butterscotch Pudding

In a saucepan, add 1 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter. Stir over medium heat until melted and smooth, then pour it over the rolls. At this point, you can put them in the fridge to sit overnight and bake fresh in the morning, or you can go ahead and bake them now.

Ready for the Oven

Bake the rolls at 350 F for about 30 minutes. Loosen the sides, then dump the whole thing upside down onto a serving plate. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Rolls!

YUM

Simpler German Chocolate Cake

22 Jan

A couple months ago, I volunteered to bake my dad’s birthday cake. Probably his favorite dessert would be anything fruit-related, but he’s also a huge fan of German chocolate cake, which I’ve never attempted before. And he hasn’t had one for his birthday in years. According to my sister, who hates German chocolate cake, he requested it “every single year,” but I don’t remember this – must have been before I was around. I started researching recipes and wow were they complicated. Most included buttermilk and a complicated process, and I didn’t intend to go to the grocery store or work that hard. So maybe this isn’t an authentic German chocolate cake, maybe I took a few shortcuts, but it’s still pretty awesome.

I decided to save a little time by going with a cake mix but a scratch-made frosting and filling. I started by making a chocolate cake according to its package directions. I baked it in a 9″ springform pan so that the sides would be straight up and not slanted, easier for slicing and stacking into layers. Since I did the entire batch in one pan, it took about 40 minutes to bake. If you did two 8″ rounds, it would bake faster, and you wouldn’t have to worry about slicing. Just fyi.

While it baked, I worked on the frosting/filling. I separated the yolks of 3 eggs and added them to a medium saucepan. (I saved the whites for breakfast the next day.) I added in 1/2 cup white sugar1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup evaporated milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. I stirred everything up well and then turned on the stove to medium heat. I recommend stirring things well before you turn the heat on and continuing to stir well, because I had some issues with eggs cooking too fast. Egg chunks in frosting is not ideal. 

I let this cook, stirring almost continuously, until it was nice and thick. I removed the pot from the heat and stirred in 1 1/3 cup coconut flakes and 1 cup chopped pecans. I let it cool on the stove top for a while and then cooled it even more in the fridge, till it was a spreadable consistency.

Layer 1

Layer 2 on Standby

All that was left was to assemble. I sliced the cake in half to get two round layers. I spread a thick layer of the coconut-pecan mixture all around and then carefully set the top layer back onto the cake. Then I spread the coconut-pecan frosting all around the top. All that was left was the birthday candles.

Deutscher Schokoladenkuchen!

Double Chocolate Brownies 3 Ways

22 Jan

I had the day off on MLK Day, so what better way to celebrate than make a batch of brownies from scratch? I cracked open my Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies magazine and got to work. (You can see a similar recipe of hers here, but the one in my magazine is slightly different, and that’s what I’ll outline below.) With one batch of brownies, I prepared 3 different types: double chocolate, chocolate chip, and rocky road.

I got to work by preheating the oven to 350 F and preparing my bar pan. I decided to use a bar pan instead of a traditional 9×13 pan for a few reasons: 1) It would make uniformly shaped brownies, 2) I would more easily be able to make multiple types of brownie without them running together, and 3) I got a bar pan for Christmas and hadn’t used it yet. I tried lining the bars with parchment paper because I was worried about them sticking, but that got really annoying after a while, so I gave up on that and just spread a little butter in the pan cups.

Parchment Paper
In a medium bowl, I whisked together 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Dry Ingredients
In a large bowl, I melted 1 1/4 cups Ghiradelli semisweet chocolate chips and 1 stick of butter. I think the easiest way to do this is just microwave it in 30-second intervals, stirring well in between. (DON’T try to microwave it longer than that without stirring — the chocolate will seize up and become an unusable consistency. Then you’ll have to throw it away and start over, and there’s nothing much sadder than throwing away chocolate.)

Once it was melted, I stirred in 1 1/4 cups white sugar and then 3 eggs. Once those were incorporated, I slowly stirred in the flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Then I filled six of the bar pan cups.

Batter
Halfway through, I stirred 1/4 cup Ghiradelli semisweet chocolate chips and 1/4 cup Ghiradelli white chocolate chips into the batter. (If you want chips in all your brownies, stir in about 1 cup of whatever combo of chips you like before you fill the pan.) I filled in the rest of the bar pan cups with this chocolate chip batter.

Filling the pan
I filled another bar pan with the rest of the batter — it only filled another 6 bar pan cups. For these, I baked them about 13 minutes.

Mmm... Brownie Batter
While I waited, I cut up 3 marshmallows into eighths and chopped up a handful of pecans.

MarshmallowsMarshmallows are so sticky! They kept sticking to my fingers, and when I tried to shake them off, they’d fly off and stick to the counter!

Pecans

I pulled the brownies out, topped each one with a few marshmallow and pecan pieces, and then baked them about 5 more minutes.

Rocky Road Brownies

For the plain and the chocolate chip brownies, I baked them about 18 minutes, until a toothpick I inserted into the center of a couple of them came out with only a few moist crumbs (unlike cakes and cupcakes, which should come out clean).

I ended up with 6 double chocolate brownies, 6 chocolate chip brownies, and 6 rocky road brownies. Delicious!

Brownies

How Sue Sees It:

– It’s pretty easy to impress people with an array of brownies by just adding various toppings in different stages of the baking process. Definitely try this! And create your own!
– Lining with parchment paper was a waste of time. It was difficult to get the paper to squeeze in there, and then since it wasn’t perfectly flat, the brownies came out all deformed because they oozed in between the folds of the paper. And it turns out that the pan is non-stick enough to not matter. A little butter in the pan just in case, and I only crumbled two brownies when removing them from the pan.
Deformed Brownie– When you pull the brownies out of the oven, let them cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes. Then remove them from the pan: Run a butter knife along the edges to loosen it up and then scoop them out with a fork. If they mush in on themselves, let them cool a little while longer before attempting to remove any more. (I think the two I crumbled were because I was too impatient and needed to wait for them to cool a bit more.)
– Eat one or two brownies yourself, with a fork straight out of the pan, while they’re still warm. The brownie is nice and warm, and the chips are all melted inside. OMG so good.