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Monday, October 30, 2017


I've always wanted to find a really good New York Style Cheesecake recipe to add to my dessert collection and after lots of searching I settled on this one.  It won rave reviews at a recent family gathering, so it's a definite keeper!   As a bonus, I made a strawberry sauce for it which was also amazing.   This recipe took quite some time (mostly in the baking phase), but don't forget to allow at least 6 hours for chilling, or overnight is even better! 


6 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup all purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
7 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

2½ lbs. cream cheese, softened
1½ cups granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. vanilla extract
6 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks


1.  For the crust:  Adjust oven racks to upper middle and lower middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees.  Process cracker pieces and sugar in food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds.  Add flour and salt to combine, 2 pulses.  Add 6 Tbsp. melted butter and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened, about 10 pulses.  Brush bottom of 9 inch springform pan with ½ Tbsp. melted butter.  Using your hands, press crumb mixture evenly into pan bottom.  Using flat bottom of measuring cup, firmly pack crust into pan.  Bake on lower middle rack until fragrant and beginning to brown around edges, about 13 minutes.  Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and set aside to cool completely.  Reduce oven temp to 200 degrees. 

2.  For the filling:  Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar, and salt at medium low speed until combined, about 1 minute.  Beat in remaining 3/4 cup sugar until combined, about 1 minute.  Scrape beater and bowl well; add sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla and beat at low speed until combined, about 1 minute.  Add egg yolks and beat at medium low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.  Scrape bowl and beater.  Add whole eggs two at a time, beating until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds after each addition.  

Brush sides of springform pan with remaining ½ Tbsp. melted butter.  Pour filling into crust and set aside for 10 minutes to allow air bubbles to rise to top.  Gently draw tines of fork across surface of cake to pop air bubbles that have risen to the surface.

When oven thermometer reads 200 degrees, bake cheesecake on lower rack for 45 minutes.  After 45 minutes, remove cake from oven and use toothpick to pierce any bubbles that have risen to the surface.  Return to the oven and continue to bake until center registers 165 degrees, 2 ¼ - 2 ½ hours longer (mine took 2 hours and 20 minutes).  Remove cake from oven and increase oven temp to  *500 degrees.   *see caution below
CAUTION on this next step:  When oven is at 500 degrees, bake cheesecake on upper rack until top is evenly browned, 4-12 minutes.   Personally, I felt this temp was way too high.....Fortunately, I stayed right in front of the oven and happened to take a peek at 3 minutes, and mine was already a deep brown.  

Thank Goodness I was there to pull it out!  Next time, I'll try 450 degrees to see if that works better.   You'll notice I also have a spotty top, that's due to the air bubbles that rose to the top during baking....guess I need to work on eliminating more of those bubbles next time!  In this case, I was really glad I had opted to make the strawberry sauce.....I was able to hide the top!

Let cool for 5 minutes; run paring knife between cheesecake and side of pan.  Let cheesecake cool until barely warm, 2½-3 hours.  Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold and firmly set, at least 6 hours.  

recipe c/o:

Strawberry Sauce

1 quart fresh strawberries
3/4 cup sugar
¼ cup water
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier liquer
1½ Tbsp. cornstarch

Slice strawberries.  Combine berries, sugar, water and zest in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until berries are soft & liquid is thick; approximately 10 minutes.

Stir the brandy together with the cornstarch and stir into berry mixture.  Cook until glossy (1-2 minutes).  Let cool and spoon over the top.  

Friday, October 20, 2017


I first had the pleasure of tasting pistachio cake at a vendor tasting several years ago.   It was so yummy.....and I have to tell you I'm not a huge pistachio fan.  They actually called it bread, but the slices were in the shape of a bundt pan.  So after baking a couple other breads recently, I decided to scour the web for some pistachio bread/cake recipes.    I tried two.  The one I'm sharing is by far the better of the two and is baked in a bundt pan.  It's a super easy recipe to make since the foundation is a yellow box cake mix!


1 box yellow cake mix
1 box pistachio pudding (3.4 oz)
1 cup water
¼ cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
Powdered Sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Add all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix at medium speed for two minutes.  If you prefer a little extra color you can add a couple drops of green food color (I did add the color to mine)

Pour into a prepared bundt pan (greased and lightly floured).  Bake 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Unmold from pan.   Dust with powdered sugar


recipe c/o:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Our first snowfall of the season happened yesterday, and I promptly ran to the grocery so I could do some baking.  I love to bake, especially during the fall and winter months.  The way the aromas fill the whole house makes me one happy girl!

I have to tell you I'm not a fan of pumpkin pie, something about the consistency.  So, I thought I'd try something else with a "pumpkiny"flavor.  So, I went with a pumpkin bread.  Holy cow.....this recipe was a very pleasant surprise.  Intense pumpkin flavor and really moist!   I dare you to stop at just one piece.


2 cups all purpose (for us high altitude folks, I use the King Arthur Hungarian for all my baking)
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 cups sugar
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 15 oz. can 100% pure pumpkin


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray two loaf pans with cooking spray and add parchment paper with about 1" extending over the long sides of the pan to help lift the loaves out after baking.

Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a bowl; use a whisk to mix well and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter on medium speed until just blended.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Continue beating until very light and fluffy.  Beat in pumpkin.  The mixture might look grainy and curdled....don't fret.

At low speed, beat in flour mixture a little at a time, until well combined.

Turn batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly and bake for 65-75 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let loaves cool about 10 minutes.  Turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.


Recipe c/o:

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


I just tried this a few days ago when I had several folks over for dinner.  I was looking for something a little different for dessert and this one just sounded like fun.  Something casual, unique....oh, not to mention--yummy!
This dessert dip can be made ahead of time.  No need to chill it.  Just decide what snacks you want to offer with it....and have fun on your presentation.     In my case, I went with Lorna Doones, graham crackers, pretzels, and apple slices.  But, I did just dip one of those luscious strawberries in it that I used for the picture and it was awesome!


1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened (I went with the 1/3 less fat variety)
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup caramel sauce 
¼-½ cup milk
1 Tbsp. sea salt
2 cups Devil's Food Cake Mix (dry)


Using an electric mixer, mix together the cream cheese, butter and caramel sauce until smooth.  Add the Devil's Food Cake to the mixture, slowly add some milk as you mix to make it easier to blend.  Add the powdered sugar and milk until you reach the desired consistency.   Finally add the sea salt.  


Tip:  In order to maintain the final consistency, it's important NOT to chill it before serving.  I made mine earlier in the day and chose to do that, and it was a complete game changer.   Should you have leftovers....and you very well might since it makes a sure to take it out of the fridge to reach room temp before serving.  

recipe c/o: