Posts Tagged 'cream cheese'

Cranberry Bliss Bars

I made a promise to myself I’d take this entire week off running. I woke up this morning and wanted nothing more than to go for a run, but since I’m about to start half Ironman training, I’m sticking with my original plan.  I know my legs will appreciate the time to repair themselves, and I would like to avoid burnout if possible.

I’m still doing abs though, just to balance out my beer consumption.

I’ve found it kind of awesome how much more time I get to spend with this little person when I don’t have to run all the time.

However, if I were to give up working out I would quickly go insane, and nobody wants that, so I’m just going to have to find a way to balance everything…my full time job, GRE studying, triathlon training, mom-ing, cooking, blogging…

I made some of these bliss bars a few weeks ago for Mike to take to work; his co-worker loves the Starbucks version.  She said these were even better than the real thing!  And my mom the white chocolate hater loved them too.  I think they definitely deserve a spot on your Christmas baking list!


(adapted from Taste of Home)


Pumpkin Roll Cake with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

A couple thoughts:

1. I used to get SO irritated with my mom because she had a “No Christmas Music until December 10th” rule. DECEMBER TENTH.  Now I totally get it.  Mike put on Christmas music the other night and I was SO not ready for it.

2. Of all the things I have to be thankful for, central heating is definitely in the top 3.

3. I used to think I wanted to move to Colorado.  Then this morning it was 40 degrees and I realized I would not survive one second there.

4. I feel like the pumpkin window is closing way too fast.  People are already on to red cups and Christmas cookies and I’m like WAIT. I still have six big cans of pumpkin and 92 pumpkin recipes I haven’t made yet!  So here’s one of them.

Even if you don’t make the cake, at least make the caramel sauce.  I don’t like buorbon, but I could (ok, did) eat this sauce with a spoon.

The original recipe for this cake comes from The Pastry Queen cookbook, but I changed a couple things.  First of all, I left the nuts out of the filling.  I also used only cream cheese instead of cream cheese + mascarpone, and I skipped the whipped cream on top and melted chocolate on top because it was already plenty rich.  As for the caramel sauce, it called for rum, but I used bourbon instead.


Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

There’s no crazy like 8th-grade-with-7-days-of-school-left crazy.  These kids are wired.  I wish I could share their enthusiasm, but it’s hard to get excited about summer when it never gets above 65 degrees, and summer means thick fog all day and every day.  I’m soooo over it.

Fortunately, I have friends in sunnier places, and those friends like to throw dessert potlucks.

Or technically, dessert plus taco dip potlucks.  Things like that totally save my sanity.

I agonized over what to make for this little get-together and finally settled on these cupcakes.  They are nice and buttery and make the perfect base for a swirl of cinnamon cream cheese frosting.


(cupcakes from Joy the Baker/, frosting adapted from Cafe Mom)

Oatmeal Raisin Whoopie Pies

Ellie’s rapidly closing in on five months old and there have been some big changes!

We quit swaddling her cold turkey and so far things are going great. We also got the OK from her pediatrician to introduce solid food, and we decided to start with bananas.

After a little bit of assistance with the spoon, she was ready to try it herself.

Success! (Kind of…)

I think this weekend we may move on to sweet potatoes!

I’ve been baking a lot lately, and as always I’m thankful for Mike’s office and my work both being so willing to take baked goods off our hands. In case you’re here because I occasionally make healthy things, I do have to recommend this salad, or more specifically, the dressing, which I now want to put on everything

Proceed directly to Shutterbean for the recipe!

I wanted oatmeal raisin cookies the other day, but I decided to branch out a little bit. These aren’t as cakey as normal whoopie pies (the ground up oats make them a little denser) and they have cream cheese frosting inside. Maybe it makes more sense to call them oatmeal raisin sandwich cookies. But whatever you call them, they’re good! I mean, can you really go wrong when cream cheese frosting is involved?

(adapted from Whoopie Pies)

Pumpkin Pie Bars

I hate pumpkin pie. It’s not the flavor I have problems with, it’s the texture. Custards just completely gross me out. Fortunately these bars taste like pumpkin pie, but have more of a cheesecake texture, which I love!

I also like graham cracker crust about a hundred times more than regular pie crust, so this recipe has that going for it too.

The recipes I found for pumpkin pie bars all had an oatmeal mixture and buterscotch chips sprinkled over the top, but I wanted to keep it simple. The filling isn’t overly sweet, but it goes perfectly with the crust. I think these should replace pumpkin pie as the standard Thanksgiving dessert.

Mike and I made the mistake of putting the pan on the table and taking turns cutting pieces. Over half the pan disappeared within about ten minutes. Oops.

(adapted from Joy the Baker)

Cinnamon Rolls

I’m slightly starting to freak out that my Mom’s leaving on Tuesday. I have gotten completely spoiled and I’m kind of in denial that I have to do this baby thing all by myself from 9-5 on the weekdays now.

We took Ellie for a walk in Golden Gate Park again, and I had no idea that Spreckels lake has turtles! I’m clearly easily amused right now, but I thought that was amazing.

Friday night I decided that on Saturday, I would make cinnamon rolls.

I don’t know why I felt this urgent need, since I’ve never made them before, but I browsed foodgawker, found this recipe, and went with it. Ellie helped. (And clearly, finishing the cinnamon rolls was more of an urgent need than drying my hair. I have priorities.)

These were surprisingly easy… for some reason I thought cinnamon rolls would be way more complicated. They take a few hours from start to finish, but are TOTALLY worth it!

(from Cook, Bake & Decorate)

1 cup whole milk
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted

3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it’s about 105 degrees.
Stir the yeast and a pinch of sugar into the milk in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add the sugar, butter, salt, eggs, and flour and mix well. Knead with the dough hook on medium speed for about 4 minutes, or until the dough is smooth.

Shape the dough into a ball, place in a bowl (the mixing bowl is fine) and cover with a damp towel. Let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until dough has nearly doubled in size.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon and mix well.

Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and lightly flour a rolling pin. Roll the dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.

Brush the dough with 1/3 cup melted butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar-cinnamon mixture.

Roll the dough up starting with the longer side and cut into 12 rolls.

Arrange the rolls in a lightly greased 9×13 inch glass baking dish. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for about 30 minutes.

While the rolls are rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.

While the rolls are baking, make the frosting. Beat together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Spread the frosting on the rolls while they are still warm.

Blueberry Cheesecake Tart

I’ve been on summer break almost a week now. I mentioned to my friend the other day that I was a little bored, and she told me I should enjoy this boredom now because after the kid comes, I’ll probably never be bored again. Good point, I should probably stop complaining…not only for that reason, but because I realize that having summers off is a huge perk that a lot of people are jealous of, and it’s kind of obnoxious to take it for granted.

So no more complaints here! I think I just had a tough time transitioning to spending my day with hundreds of teenagers to sitting quietly at home with no papers to grade or lessons to plan. But there ARE workouts to do, things to knit and bake, and books to read. Oh and that baby to get ready for…

My sister was here last weekend and she’s a better baker than I am. She doesn’t have a blog, but I keep telling her she needs to guest post on mine because she takes more pictures of food than I do and makes AMAZING cupcakes and cakes and cookies. She also happened to get the shot of me in action.

It took us FOREVER to decide what we wanted to bake when were hanging out this weekend, but the huge container of blueberries from Trader Joe’s beckoned and we settled on this. Our mom used to make something similar when we were little, and it’s delicious. I’d never made it in a tart pan before, but Mike said I have too many different pans that I never use so I had to prove him wrong. Score one point for maturity there! It would work well in either an 11″ tart pan or a regular pie pan.

(adapted from Notes From My Food Diary)

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 Tbsp butter, melted
3 Tbsp sugar

filling and topping
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs

3 cups fresh blueberries, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp freshly-sqeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease an 11″ tart pan (or a 9″ pie pan).

Combine the cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar and press into the tart pan. If the mixture seems especially crumbly, add a little extra melted butter so it holds together. Place in the fridge while you prepare the filling and topping.

To make the filling, beat the cream cheese on high until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar, and mix on medium until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the zest, eggs, and sour cream, then mix on medium until smooth.

Pour into the crust and spread evenly. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until set and slightly puffed up (it will settle as it cools). Cool to room temperature, then make the topping.

Combine 1 1/2 cups of blueberries with sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium, stirring constantly, until fruit is soft and has released juices (about 5-7 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and remaining berries. Cool to room temperature, then pour over the cream cheese layer, spreading evenly. Chill about 3 hours before serving.


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