Category Archives: Recipes

Recipes: Ring in the New Year with Cheesecake: Cherry-Cheesecake Dessert, Cheesecake Factory Original, Oreo Cheesecake, and Pumpkin Cheesecake with Streusel Topping

What a beautiful day! Christmas may be over, but that beautiful afterglow of the holiday excitement and fun still fills my home. Inside the Christmas decorations provide so much color and my Christmas tree joyfully sparkles with colored lights, forty years of ornament collecting and lots, and lots of tinsel.

Outside, Minnesota does not disappoint either.  The diamond sprinkled virgin snow’s brightness blinds as the tree’s blue-violet shadows race east trying to outrun a darkness that creeps closer and closer as a weak distant sun, held hostage by small ice crystal rainbows, emits pastel light, but no warmth.

In quiet solitude and peace I reflect on the moment and take stock of my blessings.  Then, I noticed that my patio door is completely frozen shut in the sub-zero temperatures. I cannot budge it.  My husband will have to get it open when he gets home from work. Here’s to hoping my dog’s have big bladders!

Over the past several months I have made all of these cheesecakes as a part of my, “Dessert of the Week” campaign for my next-door neighbor of over 30 years, who is my age and fighting a cancerous brain tumor. He likes his sweets. Other neighbors have stepped up to take one for the team by also consuming these desserts and therefore helping to reduce weight gain risk for the cook.

My neighbor’s gave these desserts two thumbs up.

These cheesecakes would be great to serve anytime an occasion calls for a special dessert and especially at a New Year’s party.

Enjoy!

cherry cheesecake 1

This recipe is a bit lighter that cheesecake, but just as tasty!

Cherry-Cheesecake Dessert

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Ingredients:

Crust:
2 cups vanilla wafers, crushed
1/2 cup of butter, melted

Fillings:
1 (8-ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of powdered sugar
16-ounces of Cool Whip, divided
2 small boxes of instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup of sour cream
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
3 cups of milk

Topping: 
1 can of cherry pie filling
remaining Cool Whip

Make the crust in a medium-sized mixing bowl by combining the crushed vanilla wafers and melted butter.  Press into the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch cake pan and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine cream cheese and powdered sugar.  When completely combined, gently fold in about 1-1/2 cups of Cool Whip.   Spread over cooled crust.

In a large mixing bowl combine pudding mix and milk.  Let set. Stir in sour cream and lemon juice.  Fold in the remaining 1-1/2 cups of Cool Whip.  Spread over the cream cheese mixture.

Top with remaining  Cool Whip and cherries.  May garnish with chopped pecans.

Chill for several hours before serving.

Blogger’s note:  I am not a big fan of using Cool Whip, so I have substituted equal amounts of real sweetened whip cream in some recipes.

 

cheesecake_horiz

Original Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake from “My Recipes”

Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch spring from pan with parchment paper. Position oven rank in middle of the oven.  Put a large pan in the oven filled with 1/2 inch of water.  The pan has to be big enough to hold the 9-inch spring form pan. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Ingredients:
Crust:
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup melted margarine

Filling:
4 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese
1-1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 large eggs

Topping:
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons sugar

In a small mixing bowl mix together crust ingredients of graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon and 1/3 cup melted butter.  Press the crust firmly onto the bottom and about two-thirds of the way up the sides of a 9-inch spring form pan.  Wrap a large piece of aluminum foil around the bottom of the pan and put into a freezer until filling is prepared.

In a small mixing bowl whisk the eggs together until frothy.

In a large mixing bowl use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream and vanilla.  Scrape down the sides of mixing bowl.  Add eggs and mix until the eggs are just incorporated.

Remove crust from freezer and pour in filling.  Carefully place cheesecake into the pan with the water.  This is called a water bath. Bake for 12 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake until the cheesecake turns golden on top.  About 50 to 60 minutes.

Remove cake, place on wire rack and cool.

Make topping in a small bowl by mixing together the sour cream and sugar.  Spread evenly over the cake.

Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours.   Remove from pan and serve.

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CheesecakeOreo

Oreo Cheesecake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch spring form pan with parchment paper.

Ingredients:

Crust: 
1-1/2 cups of Oreo cookies crumbs
1/3 cup butter, melted 

Filling: 
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese,
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
15 Oreos cookies, crushed in to medium-sized pieces

Topping:
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted

In a small bowl mix together Oreo crumbs and melted butter. Press firmly onto the bottom and about two-thirds up the sides. Chill crust in freeze until filling is made.

In a large-sized mixing bowl with an electric mixture combine the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, and salt and beat until combined.  Fold in crushed Oreos until the cookie chunks are evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Pour cheesecake mixture over crust and bake until edges are set and center of cheesecake mixture is only slightly jiggly, 50 to 60 minutes.

Let cheesecake cool completely in pan.  Drizzle with the melted chocolate.

Cool for at least 3 hours, remove from pan and serve.

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pumpkinCheesecakeRecipe_thumb

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Streusel Crumb Topping

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 8-inch spring form pan with parchment paper.

Crust:
1-1/2 cups of crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup of butter, melted

Filling:
2 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
1 can (15-ounce) pumpkin pie filling
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves

Crumble Topping:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/2  cup of chopped pecans (optional)

In a small mixing bowl combine butter and graham cracker crumbs.  When the crumbs are coated with the butter, press into the bottom and two-third’s up the side of prepared pan.  Put into the freezer to chill until filling is prepared.

In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer combine cream cheese, eggs, vanilla and sugar.   Beat until mixture is smooth.

Pour 1/2 of the filling into pan. Evenly spread. And freeze for an hour.

To the remaining 1/2 of the filling add the can of pumpkin pie filling, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.  Stir until completely combined.  Evenly spread the pumpkin filling over the cooled filling that is already in the pan.

Put in oven and bake for 35 minutes.

While the cheesecake is baking in a small bowl make crumb topping by mixing butter, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon together until combined.  Top the cheesecake with crumb topping and return to the oven for another 25 minutes.

Remove cheesecake from oven while the top is still slightly jiggly.

Cool to room temperature.  Chill in refrigerator for at least four hours or overnight.

Enjoy!

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Kwanzaa and African Peanut Soup

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

kwanzza

It is important in a diverse society to celebrate our differences and learn about our friends and neighbor’s traditions. The holiday season is a great time of year to expand our cultural horizons.  Learning about each other humanizes us and draws us together.  Humanity’s goal should be to see each other as individuals whose lives are precious and who were created and endowed with civil rights by a just and loving God.

Happy Kwanzza!

Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a celebration of culture, family and community that began over forty years ago. Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga to improve the lives of African Americans by reviving and instilling an appreciation for original African values.

This cultural tradition takes place over seven days, beginning on December 26 and ending on January 1. The seven symbols of the holiday are the mat (tradition), crops (harvest), candleholder (African ancestors), corn (children and the…

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Recipes: New Tried and True Christmas Cookie Recipes: Chocolate and Caramel-Filled Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies, Rum Raisin Oatmeal Cookies, Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies and Rollo Candy Double Chocolate Pretzel Bites

For the past two weeks this blog has seen quite a bit of re-blogging.  That was due to the fact, that just over a week ago I had a freak accident.  I reached into a kitchen drawer, felt a strange pinch-like sensation and when I removed my hand about a third of a finger tip was missing on the middle finger of my left hand.  My finger had run into a very sharp vegetable peeler and was instantly, “cored.”

Finger

The next day, I went to the clinic for stitches only to learn that there was nothing to stitch. It was just missing. The injury was packed in a huge cast like bandage.  I was told to keep it dry, on for a week and that it would probably take a month to heal.

It quit bothering me by the next day and while I may not have been able to efficiently type, I could still bake.  Of course, the bandage got wet on the second day, so I replaced with something that looked similar to me.  The doctor was wrong about it taking a month, it looks pretty good already, and I have switched to a much smaller typing compatible bandage.

So, now my fingertip will have a dimple just like my cheeks.  It’s always good to coordinate and at my age dimples just come with the territory.

Christmas is close, but there is still time to bake.  So, I want to share a few recipes that I have tested and deemed excellent.

cookie thumbprint

Chocolate and Caramel Filled Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Ingredients:
2-3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 bag of Rollo Chocolate Caramel candies, foil removed

Garnish:
sea salt

In a small bowl combine dry ingredients (flour and salt) and set aside.

In a large bowl using an electric hand-mixer cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the egg and beat until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and beat until combined.  Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed until dough forms.

Shape dough into about one-inch round balls.  Place the dough balls about two inches apart on the paper covered cookie sheet.  I could get a dozen cookies on each baking sheet.  In the center of the dough ball, make a well by pressing down with your thumb.  Place the Rollo candy in the hole.

Bake for about 15 minutes until the cookies just begin to brown.  Remove from oven and lightly sprinkle with sea salt.  Cool on a wire rack or clean counter.

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cookie oatmeal raisin

These cookies are a dressed up version of an old favorite.

Rum Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.   Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Ingredients:
1 cup of butter, softened
1 cup of white sugar
1 cup of brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3/4 cups rolled oats
1-1/2 cups raisins
1/3 cup rum
1/3 cup water
1/2 of a 12-ounce package of chocolate chips

In a small saucepan combine the 1/3 cup of rum and 1/3 cup of water.  Add raisins.  On a medium-low heat, bring to a simmer.  Simmer until all of the liquid is soaked up by the raisins.  Stir occasionally. This process is called, “plumping raisins.”  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a small bowl mix the dry ingredients together (flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt).  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl using an electric hand-mixer cream together the butter and sugars until smooth.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.   Turn the speed of the mixer down to low and slowly add the dry ingredients. Mix until dough forms.  Add in the oats and mix in completely.  With a wooden spoon gently mix in the raisins.

Drop walnut-sized spoonfuls onto  cookie sheet.  Bake for eight to ten minutes or until cookies just begin to brown and look slightly dry on top.  Remove from oven and allow to sit on the cookie sheet for another minute or so. This will produce a chewy cookie.  If you want a crisp cookie bake until evenly browned.

Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.

In a small micro-wave safe bowl melt the chocolate chips.  Heat for 30 seconds.  Stir.  Heat another 30 Seconds. Stir.  Then, 10 seconds until completely melted.  Drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the cookies.  Cool to set chocolate.

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mint-chocolate-chip-cookies

These Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies taste like a rich dessert mint and their green color is so very festive.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, plus one additional egg yolk
1 teaspoon mint extract
green food coloring
3-1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bag (12-ounce) semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, creme of tartar and salt).   Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl using an electric hand-mixer cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and extra egg yolk, mint extract and food coloring.  Beat until light and fluffy.  (I used about a dozen drops of food coloring to get a mint green color in my dough.)

Turn down the mixer speed and slowly add the dry ingredients to dough.  When flour is combined, add the chocolate chips and mix until they are distributed evenly throughout the dough.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for about one hour.  (Best practices, but, not mandatory with this recipe.)

Form dough into walnut-sized balls and place two inches apart on the parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake until the tops of the cookies are no longer shiny and the edges are just barely browning.

Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheet for a minute or two.  Transfer to a clean counter top or wire rack and cool completely.

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My husband has already eaten an entire batch of these, so I had to make another batch yesterday.  They are tasty morsels that are so very easy to make.  A good one for the kids to help with.

Christmas Pretzel Cookies

Rollo Candy Double Chocolate Pretzel Bites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Ingredients:
1 bag of small pretzels
1 large bag of Rollo candy, remove foil (Any bite-sized chocolate-covered candy bar can be used.  I used the Rollo candies because they are the only ones that are nut-free) 
3 bars of Baker’s brand white chocolate (nut-free) or a 12-ounce bag of white chocolate chips (the white chocolate chips and almond bark all had a nut warning) 
Colored sprinkles

Place as many pretzels as you can fit on top of the parchment paper.  Top each pretzel with a Rollo candy.  When all is assembled, put the cookie sheet into the oven for about three minutes or until the tops of the chocolate candy becomes shiny.

Remove from the oven and quickly top each candy with another pretzel and press down into the soft melted chocolate.  It should look like a pretzel sandwich cookie.  Cool in the refrigerator or if you are in Minnesota use God’s blast freezer and set outside until chocolate sets…less than a minute on a good day.

In a small micro-wave safe bowl melt the white chocolate.  Heat for 30 seconds.  Stir.  Heat for another 30 Seconds. Stir.  Then, 10 seconds until completely melted.  Dip one half of the pretzel cookie into the white chocolate and decorate with colored sprinkles.

Return to refrigerator or a Minnesota winter to set the white chocolate.

Store in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Is On My Mind Today? Turning 59 and a Maraschino Cherry Birthday Cake

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Hiking in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, June 2017

This two-time cancer survivor turns 59 today.  Wow!

pat 59 day1_n(2)
I removed my cap for this birthday photo to prove I have hair and some of it is grey. 

To celebrate, I am going to make a layered maraschino cherry cake with cream cheese frosting.  My only issue is that the cake uses four egg whites and I have this thing about wasting food when so many others in this world go hungry.  So I will have to make more of my grandmother’s spritz cookies to use up those yolks.

Folks, there will be extra spritz cookies on the cookie trays this Christmas!

My birthday wish is that this day be filled with kindness, love and peace.

God bless all of you!

cherry-cake-slice

Maraschino Cherry Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two eight-inch round cake pans.

Ingredients:

16 ounce jar of Maraschino cherries, well-drained, save cherry juice.  Finely chop the cherries. The chopped cherries should be blotted dry with a paper towel and very lightly coated with flour.  This will help ensure that the cherries are evenly distributed through out the cake and not all sunk to the bottom.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cup sugar
2-1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
Maraschino cherry juice (reserved from cherry jar) combined with water to make 1 cup.
4 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium-sized metal or glass mixing bowl, with an electric hand-mixer, beat egg whites until stiff.  Add vanilla. Combine and set aside.

In small mixing bowl combine dry ingredients: flour, salt and baking powder.  Stir to combine

In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar.  Add flour alternatively with the cherry juice.  Beat until well combined.  Gently fold in beaten egg whites.  Fold until no white streaks remain.  Fold in cherries and gently mix until just evenly distributed.

Evenly divide the batter into the two round cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup  butter, softened
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened 
1 teaspoon vanilla

3  cups powdered sugar, plus more as needed

In a large mixing bowl with a hand-mixer cream together butter and cream cheese.  Turn mixer speed down to low and slowly add powdered sugar.  Once powdered sugar is combined, turn up mixer speed to high and beat until smooth, fluffy and creamy.  Add vanilla and mix until completely combined.

If the frosting is not thick enough add small amounts of powdered sugar until desired consistency is achieved.  If the frosting gets too thick, add a teaspoon of milk or cream to loosen it back up.

This pink and white cake also makes a lovely Christmas dessert.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Christmas Trivia and George Washington’s Eggnog

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

Santa thumbs up

You cannot beat a nicely spiked cup of Eggnog on cold winter days such as the ones we are experiencing.

Then, too, Christmas Trivia is always a good read.

Christmas Trivia:

George Washington crossed the Delaware River on Christmas Day 1776.

It was in 350 A.D that Julius I, Bishop of Rome chose December 25 to celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ.

The first Christmas tree decorated in the White House was during the Franklin Pierce Administration.

Calvin Coolidge in 1923 lit the first Christmas tree on the White House lawn.

When it pays to send the best… The first official White House Christmas card was sent by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He asked a friend, Joyce. C. Hall, the founder of Hallmark Cards, for help. Hallmark has supplied the official presidential holiday cards ever since.

The first tinsel was made in 1878 and distributed in Nuremberg, Germany. These icicles…

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Recipes: Pounding Christians and Christmas Pound Cake

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

butter-cake

Christmas is a holiday of light.  It began so very long ago, when kings were led by the light of the Star of Bethlehem to a stable to worship the infant Messiah. It continues today, with lights on homes making neighborhoods sparkle with holiday color and joy.  Lights on Christmas Tree’s announcing that Santa will soon arrive, bringing those anxiously awaited gifts. Lighted candles on the table revealing a delicious traditional Christmas dinner. Unless the entree is Lute Fisk, delicious is not an adjective I would choose to describe that stuff.

Light is important in a world that seems so full of darkness.  Light illuminates.  Light brightens.  Most importantly light chases away shadows.

During the Christmas holiday seasons shadows oftentimes loom large.  Shadows can come out of nowhere like an unexpected pounce by a large wet puppy.  Sometimes you are just muddied up a bit, but there are those times when you get knocked completely off your…

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Hanukkah and Cheese Latkes

Happy Hanukkah!

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

Hanukkah

In 165 B.C. Judas Maccabaeus, and his small band of followers, defeated the superior forces of King Antiochus to recapture Jerusalem. When the Jewish priests went to rededicate the temple, after it have been profaned by pagan worship of the Syrian Greeks, they found that they only had enough consecrated oil to keep the Great Menorah burning for one night. But, to their astonishment the Great Menorah continued to burn for eight days. The Jews saw this as a sign from God that their faith would continue. This miracle of deliverance has been celebrated ever since.

Latkes, pancakes, are a staple in the Jewish diet throughout the year. However, they are dressed up for Hanukkah and are served on the first night of the celebration. These fried pancakes are eaten to remember the miracle of the burning oil in the rededicated Holy
Temple.

Wishing everyone a Happy Hanukkah!

Cheese Latkes

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