Friday, September 7, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Cheesecake

My friends and I have a monthly recipe exchange night where everyone brings a written recipe and a sample of that recipe for everyone to try.  Really it's an excuse to eat and chat with my girls. 
The theme this month was guilty pleasures.  It truly was an enchanted evening (even if most of us nearly slipped into a sugar coma, we had paramedics on stand-by).
I love cheesecake with an un-natural passion. I love chocolate and peanut butter with an un-natural passion.
Chocolate cheesecake?  Yes, please
Peanut butter cookie dough?  Yes, please
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Cheesecake?  ....  I think I just cried a little from the joy in my heart.
The Cheesecake Factory used to have a cheesecake with this same name, and to my dismay they took it off their menu.  I have searched the Internet high and low to find a knock-off recipe for my well beloved, but have been unsuccessful in my hunt, so I took matters into my own hands.  Next time (and oh yes, there WILL be a next time) I might add dolops of peanut butter into the cheesecake as well as the cookie dough.  If you just want a chocolate cheesecake recipe (omit the cookie dough and proceed as written) this one would be a stunner on it's own, but adding the peanut butter cookie dough makes me sigh. 

1 1/2 c. crushed Oreos
3 Tbsp. melted butter
1 c. sugar
2 1/2 eight-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. flour
3 eggs
1 c. sour cream
8 oz. melted semi-sweet chocolate, slightly cooled
1/4 recipe Peanut Butter Cookie Dough -- uncooked.

1.  Lower one oven rack to lowest setting, place a 9X13 in baking pan filled half way with water.  Set one oven rack on middle setting in oven.  Preheat oven to 350 (if using a silver spring-from pan, 325 if using a dark, non-stick springform pan).  Lightly grease the bottom and side of 9" springform pan (I place a piece of parchment paper cut to the size of my springform pan on the bottom, then greased the sides, it makes me sad when part of the crust sticks to the pan and not to my lovely piece of cheesecake).  In mixing bowl, combine Oreos and butter.  Press onto the bottom of the pan and set aside.
2.  In large mixing bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla; beat with electric mixer until light and creamy.  Add flour and beat until smooth.  Add melted chocolate and sour cream; mix well.  Add eggs, one and a time, mixing on low speed after each addition, just until combined. 
3.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Roll peanut butter cookie dough into 3/4" balls and drop at random intervals over batter; use the end of a wooden spoon to push cookie dough into the batter until it is completely submerged.
4.  Bake for 60-70 minutes, until center is almost set.  Run a knife around the rim of the pan; allow to cool completely before removing the edge of the pan.  Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. 

Will keep for up to 1 week refrigerated.

We found we liked it better when the cheesecake had been sitting at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.

Macaroni and Cheese

You never know what kind of gems you will find on the back of packages.  I found this recipe on the back of bag of dried pasta.  I added my own secret ingredient (I guess it's not super secret if I'm sharing it here).  I love queso cheese, especially the kind in the #10 can that you can buy at Costco.  I find it delicious.  I added it to this mac and cheese and it gave it just a slight hint of spice, and extra creaminess that was exactly what I like in macaroni and cheese.

8 oz. small elbow macaroni
3 Tbsp. margarine or butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 1/2 c. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. mined onion
3/4 c. queso nacho cheese dip
2 c. (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c. bread crumbs

1.  Cook elbows according to package directions; drain.  Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 2-quart baking dish; set aside. 
2.  In a medium saucepan, melt butter.  Stir in flour; cook for 3-4 minutes.  Gradually stir in milk.  Cook stirring constantly over medium heat, until sauce thickens.  Stir in salt and pepper.  Add onion and both cheeses; stir until cheddar is melted.
3.  Stir cheese sauce into elbows.  Transfer to prepared baking dish.  Top with bread crumbs. 
4.  Bake 30 minutes.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Thursday, September 6, 2012


One of my new goals for the school year is to have a real breakfast for my kids before they leave in the morning.  Cereal only occasionally.  I've had this recipe in my binder for years and have never tried it until this morning.  I don't know where I found it but it's title says it's the recipe for the pancakes at a restaurant chain who claim they have pancakes from around the world. 
For some reason the recipe as I have it in my binder does not include any liquid.  I added some milk just to get it to a batter consistency, I'm not sure how much it was.  Probably less than 1 cup, maybe 2/3 cup.  Also it might need a little salt, I'll add maybe 1/4 teaspoon next time. 
They were very good.  A little sweeter than store bought pancake mix recipes.  The texture was excellent.  I will use these as my go-to pancakes from now on.

Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/4 c. flour
1 egg
1/4 c. sugar
1 heaping tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. cooking oil

1.  Preheat skillet over medium heat.  Use a pan with nonstick surface or apply a little non stick cooking spray.
2.  In a blender or with a mixer, combine all of the remaining ingredients until smooth.
3.  Pour the batter by spoonfuls onto the hot pan, forming 5" circles.
4.  When the edges appear to harden, flip the pancakes.  They should be light brown.
5.  Cook on the other side for same amount of time, until light brown.

Yield: 8-10 pancakes