Tag Archives: cheesecake

Bailey’s Cheesecake Brownies

bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellowI’m not a fan of this whole Daylight’s Saving Time.  One nice things about winter is the ability to hunker down earlier and hide in my apartment.  Now that the sun is shining bright at 6 p.m. I feel like I should be outside or at least be productive.  All I want to do is stay in and watch TV: a co-worker gave me the first two seasons of Game of Thrones and I can’t stop.

bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellowSince October I’ve been reading the book version; I’m half way through the third book.  The books are phenomenal, but long; I am very much invested.  I wanted to watch the show to see what the characters look like and I’m quite displeased.  Everyone kept telling me the show was just like the books – not true!  The show has the same plot, but so many minor changes.  And so much more sex, everyone is having sex with everyone else.  Except for Arya, she’s my favorite!  Winter is coming, put your clothes back on.

bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellowBetween episodes I try to be productive, but that’s not going well.  My dishes keep piling up and my floors are filthy, as usual.  I also spend plenty of time looking up robot vacuums.  Unfortunately I cannot afford one, if anyone wants to help me out and buy me one, that would be greatly appreciated.

bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellowThere are few things better in this world than a cheesecake bar: a rich chocolate base plus a creamy, flavored topping.  The brownie base is rich and chocolatey with a hint of Bailey’s flavor.  The cheesecake layer is even better because it is so creamy and even boozier.  Obviously, this a perfect dessert for a St. Patrick’s Day party!

bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellowPrint the Recipe!

Bailey’s Cheesecake Brownies
Adapted from Cozy Country Living
Yield – 24 pieces

Brownie Layer
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup dark chocolate cocoa
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 1/2 tablespoons Bailey’s
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cheesecake Layer
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 1/2 tablespoons Bailey’s
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon flour

  1. Brownie Layer - Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and grease a 9×13” pan.  Line the bottom of the pan with piece of parchment paper.  Grease the paper and dust with cocoa powder.
  2. In a medium saucepan melt the butter.  Whisk in the chocolate chips to melt them.  Whisk in the cocoa powder and sugars.
  3. Whisk in the eggs one at a time and then stir in the Bailey’s.  Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined.
  4. Cheesecake Layer - Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and beat together until smooth and creamy.
  5. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the brownies and swirl to combine the layers with a knife.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out almost clean.
  7. Let cool completely on a wire rack and then refrigerate before cutting into squares.bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellow
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellowAs you all know, it’s winter.  And here in New York it’s been one hell of a winter.  Frankly, I’m tired of it all.  I like the snow as much as anyone, I’m just sick of scrapping it off my car every morning and worrying out getting stuck.

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellowI just want to enjoy being outside again without getting cold and wet.  I also want to wear flip-flops and Toms.  My boots are great, but my feet want to be free!  In other words, I’m ready for some warm spring days and I’m especially ready for hot summer days.  I just moved to the beach, let’s get this beach party started!  I haven’t even walked to the ocean yet.  Yes, a large part of that is laziness; but a bigger part is a my fear of slipping on the ice.  It’s treacherous out there; safety first.

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellowEnough whining, let’s discuss something happy, babies!  These delightful treats were made for John and Irene.  Clearly the babies aren’t ready for chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars, but until they are, their daddy can eat the treats for them!  I can’t think of a better way to survive this winter than staying inside holding little babies.  Of course when I was there Gavin and Kait slept and were perfectly happy; apparently having twin 3-week olds is a piece of cake!  Obviously, I’ve never cared for newborns :-)

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellowNew parents need lots of sustenance.  What I lack in baby-caring skills I make up for in sugar, butter, chocolate, and peanut butter.  This is one of the best recipes I’ve posted to the blog, seriously.  I couldn’t stop eating them so I had to take the four remaining bars to Jackie’s; I want to fit through doorways.  The chocolate cookie/brownie bottom is rich and chocolatey with a creamy peanut butter layer on top.  The extra crust and chocolate drizzle keep the bars together and make it a complete package.  I wish I had some more bars, they were just so perfectly perfect; everything you could ever dream of wanting from a chocolate-peanut butter pairing.  Whether you have a little baby or not, you need to start shoving these bars in your face!chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellow

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Inside BruCrew Life
Yield – 24 bars

Chocolate Base
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Cheesecake Layer
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
8 regular size Reese’s cups, frozen

Topping
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and grease a 9×13” pan with shortening and then dust with cocoa powder.  Set aside.
  2. Base – In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment add the butter, shortening, sugar, and brown sugar.  Beat until creamy.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  3. Sift together the flour, salt, soda, cocoa powder onto parchment paper.  Add slowly to the creamed butter and mix on low until just combined.  Mix in the chocolate chips.
  4. Wet your hands with cold water and dry.  Press two-thirds of the dough on the bottom of the greased pan as evenly as possible.  The dough will be sticky.  Save the remaining dough for topping.
  5. Filling – In a clean bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Beat in the egg and peanut butter.  Chop the peanut butter cups and stir into the mixture.  Spread evenly over the base.
  6. Take the leftover dough and make round, flat disks.  Spread the disks over the top of the peanut butter filling.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until the filling is set.  Let cool for 1-2 hours on a wire rack and then overnight in the fridge.
  8. Topping – Melt the chocolate chips and and shortening together.  Add to a disposable piping bag.
  9. Cut the bars into 24 pieces.  Drizzle the melted chocolate over each bar.
  10. Let the chocolate harden before packaging.  Store in the fridge.chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellow

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Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes

Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes | Pale YellowI was not joking about making 2014 the year of the mini cheesecakes.  Maybe it’ll be the year of mini things.  That way I can cut all recipes in half and just make a few of everything.  I don’t know what I’m going to do when I live alone and no one to share my treats with…

Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes | Pale YellowThis weekend the roommates and I sorted and divided all of the kitchen stuff; things were a little chaotic as we spread out everything from the kitchen into different piles.  We have a lot of kitchen supplies have been royally spoiled with a giant NYC kitchen these last four years; I do not know where everything is going to go!  Despite the great quantity of kitchen supplies, I have little practical items like non-prop plates and forks.  Luckily Ruth gave me some of her extra mixing bowls!

Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes | Pale YellowOur kitchen seems sad and empty, I already moved out my baking ingredients so there won’t be any baking for the next few weeks.  Luckily I have several recipes saved for this purpose!  I don’t want to leave my regular stranded!

Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes | Pale YellowLet’s talk cheesecakes – second cheesecake home run.  The crust is an appropriate lady finger base with a creamy, Kahula filled cheesecake on top.  A little Kahlua in the whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder makes the perfect topping.  Decadent, but tiny, these little tiramisu cheesecakes make a perfect dessert!

Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes | Pale YellowPrint the Recipe!

Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Yield – 36

2/3 cup dried ladyfinger crumbs
4 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
pinch of salt
16 ounces (2 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon Kahlua
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 cup whipping cream
splash of Kahlua
dusting of cocoa powder

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 ˚F and line 36 mini cupcake tins with paper liners.
  2. Crush the ladyfingers and add 2/3 cup to 2 tablespoons of melted butter with the 4 teaspoons of sugar.  Toss with a fork until the crumbs are well moistened.
  3. Add about 1 teaspoon of crust into each paper liner and press firmly; I used a rolling pin.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy.
  5. Beat in the sugar and the eggs one at a time.  Beat in the Kahlua and espresso powder.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  6. Place 2-tablespoons of filling on each crust.  Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are just set.  Let cool completely on a wire rack and then cool for at least two hours in the fridge.
  7. Make the whipped cream by adding it to the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and beating until the cream reaches thick peaks.  Beat in the Kahlua.
  8. Use a piping bag with a plain tip to pipe a dollop on each cheesecake.  Dust the tops with cocoa powder.Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes | Pale Yellow

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Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream

lemon cheesecake ice cream | pale yellowIt’s getting a little cold outside, so cold I finally closed my window.  But then it gets warm outside, or I get warm from walking fast and open all the windows.  I love snuggling down into my covers at night.  It feels so lovely to be warm and cozy.  Getting up in the morning is tough when my whole room is cold but my bed is warm.  Oh #firstworldproblems!

lemon cheesecake ice cream | pale yellowWith that being said, it’s never too cold for ice cream, especially cream cheese cheesecake ice cream.  I’ve been thinking about making lemon cheesecake ice cream since I made these bars.  While cutting the bars into square-ish shapes, I had end pieces that I didn’t want to waste.  Sure, I ate a few, but what to do with the rest?  So I did what I usually do: chop the scrapes into pieces and toss into the freezer to be used later.  After some thinking, I decided on lemon cheesecake ice cream with lemon cheesecake pieces!  Too much?  Never!!

lemon cheesecake ice cream | pale yellowI’m a huge fan of custard-based ice cream and rarely deviate from that model and am very apprehensive about homemade ice made with sweetened condensed milk.  My choices are limited.  I have read plenty of ice cream recipes with cream cheese but still wondered about the final taste and texture.  After researching the best recipe and making a batch of cream cheese ice, I no longer wonder or question!

lemon cheesecake ice cream | pale yellowCheesecake ice cream is fantastic!  You can really taste the tangy-ness of the cream cheese and it balances so well with the sweetness of the ice cream.  The texture is lovely and creamy without being icy.  Although I brought you lemon flavor here, I’m sure you can add any flavoring to the delicious cream cheese base with wonderful results!  Plus, this recipe is super easy, you’re just whipping up ingredients and not cooking/cooling eggs.  Whether you have leftover lemon cheesecake bars or not, you should definitely make this ice cream at home.

lemon cheesecake ice cream | pale yellowOne Year Ago – Pumpkin Pie Jello Shots

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Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream
Adapted from Epicurious
Yield – 1 quart

8 ounces cream cheese, 1/3 fat & softened
1 cup 2% milk
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon citron vodka
lemon cheesecake bar trimmings, optional

  1. Place the bowl of the ice cream maker in the freezer.
  2. Add the first eight ingredients into a blender.  Blend until smooth.
  3. Let the mixture marry overnight in the fridge.
  4. Add the mix to the ice cream maker and churn according to your manufacturer’s directions.  Fold in the lemon cheesecake bar trimmings.
  5. Freeze for a few hours to harden completely.lemon cheesecake ice cream | pale yellow

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Lemon Cheesecake Bars

lemon cheesecake bars | pale yellow Every fall one of my favorite days of the year is Lobster Day.  Ruth, Dean, Nicole, Matt, (used to be & Stacey), and I get together to cook and eat lobster.  It started because I had never eaten lobster and now continues because we all love lobster and its a fun yearly tradition.  On Friday you can read about my recent trip to Maine and my LOVE for lobster.  Seriously, I ate it three times in one week!

lemon cheesecake bars | pale yellowSeveral months ago Nicole sent me this recipe and said I should make it.  I bookmarked the recipe and pulled it out just in time for Lobster Day.  This recipe was a great find!  All of the flavors of lemon pie and cheesecake are together in an easy to serve and eat bar.  I let Nicole and Matt keep the leftovers and I was seriously regretting that generosity the next day.

lemon cheesecake bars | pale yellowAs much as I enjoy lemon desserts and cheesecake desserts, neither is my go-to choice or something I crave.  However, when put together, something magical happened!  It was amazing to pour the cheesecake layer over the lemon layer and have it separate into three distinct layers upon baking.

lemon cheesecake bars | pale yellowThis recipe requires a few messy  bowls, but it is easy to mix up and ends with a lot of servings!  The crust is crispy and buttery and the perfect vehicle to hold all the lemon goodness.  The lemon layer is tart, but sweet, and the cheesecake layer is gloriously tangy and creamy.  All the textures and flavor notes are present to make you happy.  I’m serious when I say these bars are fantastic and you need to put them on your to-bake list now!

lemon cheesecake bars | pale yellowOne Year Ago – Dark chocolate and pistachio cookies

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Lemon Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Allrecipes
Yield – 18 bars

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 cup (1 1/2) sticks unsalted butter, cold
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
2 8-ounces blocks of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
splash of vanilla
pinch of salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line a 9×13” pan with foil making sure there is excess foil on all sides.  Grease the foil liberally.  Set aside.
  2. Crust – Whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, powdered sugar, and cornstarch.  Cut the butter into small cubes and use a pastry blender to work the butter into the dry ingredients.  Work the crust until it clumps together.  Press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan evenly and firmly.  Bake for 18 minutes until the crust begins to brown slightly.
  3. Lemon Layer – Whisk together 4 eggs, 1 1/2 cups sugar, salt, 1 tablespoon flour, lemon zest, and lemon juice until smooth.  Set aside.
  4. Cheesecake Layer – In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat together the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, vanilla, and salt until well combined and smooth.
  5. Assembly – When the crust comes out of the oven pour the lemon layer on top.  Pour the cheesecake layer on top of that.  It will look like the layers are mixing, but they will settle out in the oven.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes until the middle is no longer jiggly and the top just begins to brown.  Let cool completely and then refrigerate overnight before cutting and serving.lemon cheesecake bars | pale yellow

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Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecakes

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecakes | Pale YellowIt’s only fitting I make the desserts with the most steps for my roommates.  Their lives are not just about eating fresh and delicious treats every week, they also have to deal with all the space devoted to baking supplies and the messy dishes everywhere.  And some times they have the vital task of eating all the “ugly” ones.  Someone has to make them disappear…

peanut butter cup cheesecakes | pale yellowIt’s hard work being my roommate, clearly.  To reward them, I make Ruth and Andrea decadent treats for their birthdays full of their favorite things.  Since I know Andrea has a weakness for all things chocolate + peanut butter, and who doesn’t love a good cheesecake, it’s only fitting that I presented her with these peanut butter cup cheesecakes.

peanut butter cup cheesecakes | pale yellowPeanut butter cup cheesecakes are no joke.  There is a chocolate cookie crust, a chocolate cheesecake middle, a peanut butter no-bake cheese cake mouse layer, and then several chopped up mini peanut butter cups on top.  Overall it is a decadent snack, but the small size keeps it perfectly manageable.

peanut butter cup cheesecakes | pale yellowAndrea has been a fantastic addition to our apartment these past eleven months.  I would have never imagined we could have found such an awesome lady on Craig’s List.  Not only does she have all the desirable roommate qualities like cleanliness, timely payment for shared expenses, and a quiet, courteous demeanor, but she has become a true friend.  Navigating NYC can be a difficult task and having around literally around the corner makes life much easier.  Plus, you always need a buddy to obsess over Downtown Abbey with!

peanut butter cup cheesecakes | pale yellowI kind of wish I had one of these cheesecakes to eat right now, they were just so perfectly tiny and creamy.  Reese’s peanut butter cups are my weakness too, and adding them on top of something already decadent and sweet makes the dessert totally better!  I think you should make peanut butter cup cheesecakes for your roommate and if you don’t have a roommate make them for yourself, you deserve it!

peanut butter cup cheesecakes | pale yellowOne Year Ago – Chocolate Beet Cupcakes

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Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecakes
Adapted from Inside Bru Crew Life
Yield – 24 mini cheesecakes

2 cups oreo crumbs (20 oreos)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt, plain & fat-free
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1 (8 ounce) container Cool Whip, thawed
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 bags mini Reese’s Peanut Butter CupsPeanut Butter Cup Cheesecakes | Pale Yellow

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners.
  2. Crush the oreos into fine crumbs and mix with melted butter.  Press 2 tablespoons of the crumb mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner.  Press firmly and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until well combined.  Beat in the eggs, yogurt, and flour and mix to combine.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  4. Melt the chocolate chips and shortening the microwave in 20-second intervals stirring in between.  Add the chocolate to the cream cheese mixture and again beat to combine.
  5. Add 3 tablespoons of mixture to each crust and bake for 22 minutes.  Let set for 4 minutes before removing from the cupcake pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. Beat together the cream cheese, peanut butter, and Cool Whip in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Spread evenly on top of the cooled cheesecakes.
  7. Chop up the peanut butter cups and add to the top of the cheesecakes.
  8. Store in the fridge.

peanut butter cup cheesecakes | pale yellow

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Candy Cane Cheesecakes

Candy Cane Cheesecakes // Pale Yellow

One last holiday recipe, it’s January 11th and I’m finally done posting all my Christmas cookie and holiday treat recipes.  I would say it’s time for some healthy, whole foods, because it is time, buuuuuut that’s not happening at my house.  There is still plenty of dangerous baking going on around here; January has a quite a few birthdays that simply require cupcakes.

Candy Cane Cheesecakes 6

My New Year’s Resolution is simple – each month I will pick one area of my life and focus on improving that area for the month.  This month it is working out.  My goal, not resolution, is to run or workout at least three times a week with another walk or two thrown in.  Right after a good sweat I feel fantastic, but trying to motivate myself is another story…

Candy Cane Cheesecakes // Pale Yellow

If you have been following the blog since the summer, you hopefully haven’t noticed the sad excuse for a Recipe Index.  It was not well organized or maintained.  This past week I’ve been working to update things, SO GO THERE NOW!!!!  It’s not fancy, but it has a picture each recipe I’ve posted with a link.  It’s a Pinterest board of me.

Candy Cane Cheesecakes // Pale Yellow

These cupcakes were made for the dessert tray at my family Christmas party.  My dad’s side of the family always meets up on a non-holiday day to celebrate Christmas and it’s kind of awesome – family, food, and drinks without the obligations of the actual holiday.  Also on the tray were naughty bars and gingerbread cupcakes, please notice this week’s blogging theme.

Candy Cane Cheesecakes // Pale Yellow

The candy cane cheesecakes are not in-your-face minty.  They have the sweetness and peppermint-ness of candy canes, not mint leaves.  The crust is perfectly crunchy and provides contrast to the silky cheesecake on top.  A little swirl of rich, creamy, decadent chocolate ganache never hurt anyone and it pulls the mini cheesecakes all together.  Keeping the cheesecakes in individual cupcake wrappers make these desserts super easy to serve for a party!

Candy Cane Cheesecakes // Pale Yellow

One Year Ago: Vanilla Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

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Candy Cane Cheesecakes
Adapted from Annie’s Eats
Yield – 24 cupcake size cheesecakes

2 cups (2/3 of a package) Oreo cookie crumbs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
pinch of salt
5 crushed candy canes
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
3 broken candy canes for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Place cupcake liners into 24 cupcake tins.
  2. Crush the oreos into small grounds.  Mix with 4 tablespoons of unsalted, melted butter and 2 tablespoons of sugar.
  3. Place 1 tablespoon of the oreo mixture into each cupcake liner.  Press down firmly to make a solid bottom.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the cheesecake mixture.  Beat together the cream cheese and sour cream until light and fluffy.
  6. Beat in the egg, sugar, salt, and peppermint extract.  Make sure the mixture is well mixed.  Fold in the crushed candy canes.
  7. Reduce the oven to 300 F and scoop 2 tablespoons on the mixture on top of each oreo bottom.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are set.
  9. Let cool completely in the fridge.
  10. To make the ganache garnish – Bring the heavy cream to a simmer and pour over the bittersweet chocolate.
  11. Allow the chocolate to sit and then whisk until melted.  Whisk in the butter.
  12. Let cool completely whisking every few minutes.
  13. Pipe onto the chilled cheesecakes and place a piece of candy cane on top.Candy Cane Cheesecakes // Pale Yellow

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

I spent Thanksgiving with Ruth’s brother, sister-in-law, and adorable nieces.  The meal was already planned and taken care of and was asked to make something with chocolate.  That is a request I can happily fulfill!

Obviously I went to Pinterest and poked around.  I was first looking for something chocolatey and then looking for a dessert that would easily travel by subway, train, and car.  Also, I needed a recipe I could make Monday night to eat on Thursday.  Clearly you can tell by the photos I was taking the pictures at night :-(  Personally, I wanted a dessert that was still in the spirit of fall and Thanksgiving.

Luckily, I found it, the perfect dessert!  Dark chocolate layer?  Check!  Spicy pumpkin layer? Check!  Could be made ahead?  Easy to travel with?  Yes and yes!  Bridget from Bake at 350 knows what she is doing and her blog is one of the first I started following.  Two Bridget recipes in row is alright in my book.

These brownies were well received, so much so we started eating them Wednesday night after Ruth and I arrived!  My favorite part was the rich spiciness from the freshly grated nutmeg, but I worried it would be too much for the little girls.  Luckily, even the little ones enjoyed the brownies asking for more bites, two bites in particular, because when you are two, you get two bites, obvi!  The deep, dense, rich sweetness from the brownies pair perfectly with the light and spicy pumpkin cheesecake.  This is a great dessert to add to any holiday table!

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
Adapted from Bake at 350
Yield – 9×13” pan (24-30 bars)

Cheesecake layer
16 ounces cream cheese, 1/3 fat at room temperature
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
pinch of salt
1/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs

Brownie layer
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa powder, Hershey’s Special Dark
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Grease a 9 x 13” pan and then cover with parchment paper.  Grease the parchment paper.
  2. Make the cheesecake layer first: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese with the paddle attachment until smooth.  Beat in the pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and salt.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  3. Add in the sour cream and eggs and beat on low speed until well combined and smooth, set aside.
  4. Make the brownie layer:  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the sugar.  Cook and stir until the mixture is shiny.
  5. Turn off the heat and stir in the salt, baking powder, cocoa, and vanilla.  Whisk in the eggs one at a time and then stir in flour until just combined.
  6. Pour about two-thirds of the brownie batter into the prepared pan.  Spread out evenly.
  7. Pour the pumpkin cheesecake on top of the brownie layer and gently spread over the top.
  8. Dollop the remaining brownie batter on the cheesecake.  Use a butter knife to swirl on top.
  9. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top is set.  Let cool and then refrigerate.  Cut into pieces and enjoy!

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Apple Pie Cheesecakes

Yummy, yummy!  I saw this recipe the day before I went apple picking and I knew I was going to make it with my freshly picked apples.  Since I had so many apples, I wanted to make my own apple butter.  Making apple butter is super easy!  Just dice some apples, cook them until they are really soft, and then puree.  I had always assumed apple butter was difficult to make and fancy, but I was wrong.

This post was supposed to go out on Friday, but somehow it just didn’t seem right.  This whole blogging thing seems trivial and I could be doing so many more useful things with my time then typing up recipes, taking pictures, and writing about them.  It’s a shame because this amazingly delicious recipe is being overshadowed by the dark cloud over my heart.

People don’t have heat, electricity, warm food, or clean water, and I’m writing about apple cheesecakes.  It all seems inappropriate.  Hurricane (Post-Tropical Storm) Sandy has left us, yet the devastation left in her wake is still being uncovered.  Saturday I made the decision to push forward and find some degree of normalcy.  Time has not stopped, life is pushing forward and I need to move with it.

I’ve been out of work for a week and I have used that time to volunteer, gather what supplies I can for those who need it, and reach out to those I care about.  Eventually I will find the balance I need to help those in need and do the things that bring me joy.  If you want to know what you can do to help, please email me – palyellowbakes@gmail.com.  Thank you!

These mini apple cheesecakes really are wonderful!  They have a crunchy, cinnamon-filled crust and a simple, sweet, no-bake cheesecake filling.  The apple-walnut compote on top adds the extra burst of appleness this recipe needs.  This dessert was well received by the roommates and co-workers.  I believe this would make an excellent addition to any Thanksgiving dinner!

And this seems so silly, but I’m in love with the pictures I took!  I struggle with my photography so much!  Nothing is straight, almost all the pictures are blurry, and I just don’t have great natural light spots.  These pictures were taken in the early evening out on the back porch.  Everything just works.  It’s a rare moment I’m impressed by my own photography, this is one of those occasions!

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Apple Pie Cheesecakes
Adapted from Shutterbean
Yield – 12 individual cheesecakes

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup walnuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces 1/3-fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup apple butter, see recipe below
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium apple
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and make the apple butter if you’re making it from scratch.  If you have store bought, use it!
  2. Pulverize the graham crackers and then measure 1 1/4 cups into a small bowl.  Pulverize the walnuts as well and add to the graham crackers.
  3. Melt the butter and add it along with the salt and cinnamon to the walnut/graham cracker mix.  Stir until everything is moistened.
  4. Spray silicone cupcake molds with cooking spray and press 2 tablespoons of the crust mixture into each cupcake mold.  Use your fingers to press the crust into the bottom and up the sides.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the crusts are brown.  Let cool completely befroe filling.
  6. Beat the cream cheese for 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Beat in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and apple butter.
  7. In another bowl beat the heavy cream on high until stiff peak form.  Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese.
  8. Use a standard size ice scoop to portion the cream cheese mixture into each crust.  Smooth the tops with a spatula.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
  9. To make the apple-walnut topping melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan.  Chop up one apple into small pieces and add it to the butter.
  10. Add in the walnuts that are coarsely chopped and the cinnamon.  Sprinkle in a pinch of salt.  Stir and heat until the apples are soft and a nice sauce has formed.  Set aside to cool.
  11. Place about 1 tablespoon of the mixture on top of each cheesecake.

Apple Butter
Adapted from Chef in You
Yield ~ 3 cups

2 pounds chopped apples
2 tablespoons apple cider
splash of water

  1. Add the chopped apples to a medium sized sauce pan with the apple cider.  Stir and cover with a lid.
  2. Cook until the apple are easily mashed with a wooden spoon.  If the mixture becomes too dry, add in a splash of water.
  3. Use an immersion blender to puree into a smooth mixture.
  4. Store the mixture in the fridge in an airtight container.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Cake

This cake was kind of a lot of work, but with careful planning and making a few things ahead, it wasn’t too bad!  Here was my schedule:

Mon. – Bake the cake and cheesecake, wrap both in plastic wrap, freeze. (1 hour active time + 3-4 hours baking & cooling time)

Tues. – Make the cookie dough, wrap and freeze. (1/2 hour active time)

Sun. – Make the frosting, assemble, and serve. (1 hour active time)

That really isn’t too much time when you consider this cake can easily serve 20 people, it’s a lot of cake!  Plus, it’s very rich and that is phrase I rarely use.  None of the parts are difficult on their own.  This is the type of baking project I still find challenging and really enjoy!

I made this cake in honor of my roommate Ruth’s birthday.  Her parents were in town visiting for the weekend and I really wanted to make something impressive!  This is an impressive cake!  We enjoyed eating it very much!

My only complaint about the cake was the molasses.  I found the flavor very over powering and I would leave it out next time.  I usually like molasses, but I guess I like the flavor in a spice cookie, not a cheese cake.  Everything else was delicious, especially the cookie dough part!  One tip – let the cake, cheesecake, and cookie dough thaw a bit before assembly.  The frosting was freezing to the side causing to crack when I cut pieces.

Print the recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Cake
Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes

Chocolate Cake
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup hot coffee
1 egg + 1 yolk
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt, I used non-fat
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Grease the inside of a 9” cake pan (I used my springform) and then place a piece of parchment at the bottom.  Grease the parchment and dust the inside with extra cocoa powder, shake out the extra cocoa powder.
  2. Chop up the chocolate and add it and the cocoa powder to the hot coffee.  Stir to melt the chocolate and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla.  Add in about half the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine.
  4. In your stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, soda, and salt.  Mix on low to combine with the paddle attachment.  Add the butter and the other half of the chocolate mixture and beat on low to combine.
  5. Add the egg mixture in two parts and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. Pour the batter into a prepared pan and bake 25-30 or until the cake is set and then let cool on a wire rack.  After about 10 minutes, remove the cake from the pan.
  7. Trim the top of the cake with a cake leveler so the top is flat.
  8. Once the cake is completely cooled, wrap completely in plastic wrap and freeze.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons cook and serve vanilla pudding mix
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F and grease a 9-in springform pan.  Line the bottom with parchment, grease the parchment, and then dust the inside with flour.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until pale yellow.  Add in the cream cheese a little at a time and beat until well combined.
  3. Scrap down the bowl and add the eggs one at a time and then the pudding, molasses, vanilla, and baking powder.  Mix on medium until everything is well incorporated.  Fold in the chocolate chips by hand.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 50 minutes until the top is set.
  5. Let the cheesecake cool completely in the pan. Use a cake leveler to make the top of the cheesecake flat.
  6. Wrap in plastic and place in the freezer until assembly.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter melted
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons whole milk

  1. Line a 9-in springform pan with plastic wrap with plenty hanging over the side.
  2. Add the flour, salt, brown sugar, and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Mix on low until well combined.
  3. Pour in the butter and vanilla and mix until a dry dough forms.  Add in the chocolate chips.
  4. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough becomes soft.
  5. Press into the springform pan and tightly wrap in plastic.  Freeze until assembly.

Buttercream Frosting
1 1/2 (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

  1. Beat together the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment on low to combine everything.  Then beat on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  2. Add in the vanilla, molasses, cocoa, and salt.  Again beat on high until everything is well combined.  Scrap the bowl as needed.

Assembly
Chocolate chips for decoration

  1. Place the chocolate cake on the serving plate.  Places small strips of wax paper under the edges of the cake to assist with clean up.
  2. Spread a small layer of frosting on top of the cake.
  3. Top with the cheesecake.
  4. Top the cheesecake with the cookie dough.
  5. Frost the sides of the cake with an offset spatua.  No need to frost the top.
  6. With a piping bag and a star tip, pip stars on the top edge of the cake, place a chocolate chip in the center of each star. If you want candles on your cake, pipe a big swirl for each candle.  Place the candles in the middle of the swirls.
  7. Remove the wax paper, wipe down the edge of the plate, and pipe stars at the bottom.
  8. Refrigerate until serving.

 

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