Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies

Aren't these festive? I've decided I am totally digging anything with cheesecake involved here lately. The filling in these are more of a cream cheese frosting than cheesecake, but that doesn't make them any less delicious. These are fairly easy to make, using a cake mix to make the dough. I took these babies to the office and everyone loved them.  A few comment were..."these are so soft and moist," "I think these are the best cookies I've ever had," and my favorite, "these were like a party in my mouth." Needless to say, these cookies are pretty good. The dough is a little sticky, so be forewarned when you work with it. Hope you all are having a great time with all of your holiday baking, and I think these would be great to add to your repertoire.

Ok I don't know if I'm "supposed" to say this, but other than the baking part, I'm REALLY ready for Christmas to be over. It is just so stressful, and I don't even have kids yet. The stores are just jam-packed, the grocery store isn't even fun right now. Have you ever seen Christmas with the Cranks? I'm thinking a cruise for Christmas would be great, but how are you supposed to get out of everything? I need to start looking into this idea.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies  

For the cookies:
  • 1 box red velvet cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
For the cheesecake filling:
  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
For the white chocolate drizzle:
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips, melted 

1. To make cookies, in a large bowl combine cake mix and flour. Whisk until clumps disappear. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake mix, flour, eggs, oil and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. The dough will be oily. Refrigerate for at least two hours. 

2. To make the cheesecake filling, using a mixer, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Using a teaspoon, scoop out cheesecake filling and place on a plate. Continue scooping out cheesecake filling into teaspoon balls until you have 10. Place plate in the freezer and freeze for at least two hours. 

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. To assemble the cookies, take about 1/4 cup of red velvet cookie dough and flatten in your hands. Place a teaspoon of cheesecake filling in the center and wrap the cookie dough around the filling. Gently roll into a ball and place on prepared baking sheet. Scoop onto lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheets. Only bake 3 cookies at a time. The cookies are large and will spread. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the cookies begin to crackle. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove from baking sheet to a wire cooling rack and cool completely. 

4. Melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl or over a double-boiler. Drizzle the white chocolate over the cooled cookies. Let the cookies set until the chocolate hardens. Serve and enjoy!

I wish I could say I came up with the recipe, but alas I did not. It was Maria at two peas and their pod who came up with this yumminess. Check out her blog for her beautiful pictures. I am definitely not that caliber of a photographer yet, but I'm working on it. :) Guess who's wishing for a new camera for Christmas? Santa, *hint hint*

Friday, December 9, 2011

Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

Let the cookie and candy baking begin! I love this time of year, even though most Texans would curse me when I say this, but I would love to live somewhere a little colder that gets a little snow. That trip to Colorado made me want to be somewhere that I could really enjoy the season. Can you guys believe I still haven't decorated for Christmas? The other half is not too big on the holiday spirit, but I love it. I have such a small place that we really don't have anywhere to put a tree. I need to hit up pinterest for some small space decorating ideas. I need to get something in here. 

Anyway, lets move on to this amazingly delicious cookie. It tastes just like apple cider and these are great warm. I did do one thing different, which I regret, so learn from my mistake. When I went to the grocery store to pick up the caramel squares they only had a generic brand. When I smooshed them between my fingers they were pretty hard. If you start off with a hard caramel when they cool you'll end up with hard caramel, so I chose to use the Kraft caramel bits instead because they were a lot softer. When they baked they distributed throughout the cookie, so if this is what you are going for then the caramel bits are for you, but I wanted the pool of gooey caramel to ooze out when I break them open. So just an FYI when you go to get the ingredients. Any way that you do it though, if you like apple cider, you will love these. It's like the apple cider fairy drop kicked you in the mouth. Enjoy!

Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

  • 1 cup softened butter 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 box (7.4 oz) Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink mix - all 10 packets 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 3 cups all purpose flour 
  • 1 bag Kraft Caramels (14 oz) 


Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment. (You really need the parchment!) 

In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. 

With your mixer (or an energetic spoon) cream together butter, sugar, salt and all 10 packages of apple cider drink mix powder, until light and fluffy. 

Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix well. 

Gradually add flour mixture to butter/egg mixture. Mix until just combined. 

Refrigerate for about an hour. (If you're really impatient you don't have to do this, but it makes it so much easier to work with.)

When you are ready to bake, unwrap your caramels.

Scoop out cookie dough ball about the size of a walnut. (I used a rounded cookie scoop-full. My scoop holds about a Tablespoon.)

Flatten the ball of dough slightly in the palm of your hand. Press the unwrapped caramel into the center of your dough and seal the dough around it, covering it completely. Place on parchment covered cookie sheets 2 inches apart. 

Bake 12-14 minutes, or until very lightly browned around the edges. Please don't over-bake! Once the cookies are done, slide the parchment off of the baking sheet right out onto the counter. Allow cookies to partially cool on the parchment. When cookies are cool enough to be firm but still slightly warm, carefully twist off of parchment and allow to finish cooling upside down (either on the parchment or on a rack.) If you forget about them and they cool too much and stick to your parchment, put them into the freezer for a few minutes and they'll pop right off.

Recipe from Scrambled Henfruit.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

There is nothing better than a big ol' slice of pie during the holidays. If you are like me with a love for the classics, but wanting to try something a tad bit different, this may be a yummy, caramely (yes, I make up my own words) variation of the traditional apple pie for you. This year I told myself I wanted to experiment with pies, and for the first time, make my own crust from scratch.  So far I've made a Maple-Walnut Pie, White Chocolate-Rum Pie, (Delicious, but didn't set) and this beauty here. The added caramel really ups the flavor ante. This one was really fun to make because I baked it over at my mom's house the night before Thanksgiving.  I had the other half and mom in the kitchen with me helping me with the pie and helping me with a bottle of champagne. They both helped peel, core, and slice the apples for the pie (while grumbling the whole time) while I worked on the crust and the caramel. They were great little helpers, and isn't that what the holidays are all about anyway? Hope you all had a great one!  Now it's time for Christmas cookies and candy. 

What are you baking for the holidays? 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

  • 3 pounds mixed apples
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 stick butter 
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 disks dough of basic crust
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • coarse sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
  1. Peel and core the apples; slice 1/4 inch thick; toss with lemon juice.
  2. Cook sugar over medium-high heat until amber, about 10 minutes.
  3. Off the heat, stir in butter and cream; add apples and cook until soft.
  4. Stir in flour; let cool, then add sea salt.
  5. Roll out 1 disk of dough into a 12-inch round on a floured surface; ease into a 9-inch pie plate. (or start with a store bought pie crust) 
  6. Add the apples, mounding them slightly in the center.
  7. Roll out the remaining dough into a 12-inch round. Lay it over the filling; press the edges of the crusts together, then fold over the overhang under itself and crimp to seal. (Feel free to do anything you'd like for the covering crust, as you can see I attempted a lattice top, need to work on that) Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse. Cut a few slits in the top crust. Chill 1 hour.
  8. Place a baking sheet on the lowest oven rack and preheat to 425 for 30 minutes. Place the pie on the hot baking sheet; lower the temperature to 375.
  9. Bake until golden, 1 hour to 1 hour, 10 minutes. (cover the edges with foil if they brown too quickly) Cool on a rack.

Basic Crust (Makes 2 disks dough)
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting) 
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 4 tbsp cold vegetable shortening, cut into pieces 
  • 10 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces 
  1. Pulse the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a food processor. 
  2. Add the shortening and 1/3 of the butter; pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. 
  3. Add the remaining butter and pulse until it is the size of peas. 
  4. Add 1/4 cup ice water and pulse a few more times. If the dough doesn't hold together when squeezed, add more ice water, 1 tbsp at a time, pulsing. 
  5. Divide between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Pat into disks; wrap and chill at least 1 hour. 
I was given a little insert from a food network magazine that had 50 pies in it. Different variations of the classics. This is where I found the recipe with many delicious sounding others. 


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