Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

Plate of Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

As I’ve mentioned before, Son loves cheesecake in pretty much any flavor. I wanted to make some bar cookies and he wanted something”peanut butter”. I have to admit I think I’m finally rubbing off on him because when I asked if he wanted a chocolate layer on top, he said “how about a drizzle.” So here you have it, a peanut butter cookie layer, covered by a peanut butter cheesecake layer, with a drizzle of chocolate on top (and I doubled the crust recipe and made a few peanut butter cookies on the side).

 Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars                              

CRUST         

1 1/4      cups       flour         

 1/4         tsp          baking soda         

 1/4         tsp          baking powder         

 1/4         tsp          table salt         

 1/4         lb            butter (1 sticks), salted         

 1             cup         packed dark brown sugar         

 1/2         cup         peanut butter         

 1                            egg         

1             tsp          vanilla extract         

                               FILLING         

 2                            (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened                                                

 1             cup         brown sugar firmly packed         

 1/3         cup         peanut butter         

 3             Tbs         all-purpose flour         

 4                            eggs         

 1/2         cup         milk         

                               CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE         

 1/4         cup         heavy (whipping) cream         

 4             ounces  Good Quality Bittersweet Chocolate         

 1/2-1     cup         peanuts to sprinkle on top         

 Procedure         

 CRUST         

 1.            Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.         

 2.            Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl.         

 3             Mix butter until creamy, then add brown sugar beating until fluffy.  Add peanut butter and mix, then add the egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix.         

 4.            Place dough into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan, flattening to cover the entire surface.         

 5.            Bake for about 10 minutes until firm, but not fully baked.         

 FILLING         

 1             While the crust is baking, mix cream cheese, brown sugar, peanut butter and flour together until smooth.  Add eggs one at a time, then milk mixing just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared crust.  Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then turn the temperature to 250 and bake for 35-40 minutes longer.  The top should be firm but not brown, with a little jiggle in the center (not much though).  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.          

 CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE (GANACHE)         

 1             In a microwave safe bowl, heat the cream to just below boiling, about 1 minute.  Add the chocolate and stir gently until melted and smooth.  Drizzle over the top of the bars.         

2             Refrigerate for several hours to overnight, then slice into small squares (it is very rich).                

Servings: 24        

Peanut Butter Cookies

 
Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

Peanut Butter on Foodista

David Rocco’s La Ribolita

David Rocco’s La Ribolita

   

La Ribolita

 

I have watched the new Cooking Channel lately and have noticed that although there are some new shows, there are an awful lot of reruns of old series that I watched as a child and too many Food Network shows to mention.  Not that I particularly mind, I actually get quite a kick out of Graham Kerr and a younger Julia Childs but this recipe is from one of the newer shows.  David Rocco’s show is great, not only does he make my favorite style dishes – Italian, it also shows a lot of the scenery and local establishments in Italy.    

Son does not particularly like cabbage, but came home after I had made this an announced that he was really hungry and wanted to eat whatever he was smelling and so without pointing out the ingredients, I dished him up a big bowl and he ate most of it.  Although David Rocco said it is usually served cooler, I did serve it hot, I couldn’t quite get to cold cabbage!  Considering also that cooking cabbage usually results in an unpleasant smell (which I had to admit was there when I opened the pot the next day), this dish smelled ok cooking and works pretty well, is relatively healthy and tastes good.  It is not a particularly photogenic dish though, and having no black cabbage available I used the purple which gave it sort of a purplish tinge.   It looked good on the show and actually tasted good but it has a few issues – overall I would maybe make it again but not on a regular basis.  

La Ribolita served

 

La Ribolita by David Rocco

The Daring Kitchen Challenge: Chicken with Pecan Cream & Mushrooms

The Daring Kitchen Challenge: Chicken with Pecan Cream & Mushrooms

Chicken with Pecan Cream & Mushrooms

 

This is my first monthly cooking challenge from the Daring Kitchen.  Unfortunately, after being accepted, just after one ended and before the other began, I didn’t realize the July session was already done so . . .  I did it anyway, even making my own egg noodles.  The challenge was to use nut butters (which they gave instructions for making) in a savory recipe and they gave four recipes as suggestions: Chicken with Pecan Cream & Mushrooms, Asian Noodle Salad with Cashew Dressing, Chicken with Curried Tomato Almond Sauce, and Walnut Walnut White Bean Dip with Rosemary & Sage.  I found that the recipe was very rich, filling and tasty, but was a pretty unappetizing color, kind of a purplish beige.  I was very pleased with the Herbed Egg Noodles which looked great, tasted great and the dough was easy to work with.     

Herbed Egg Noodles     

6 servings     

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon each onion and garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning (or any combination of your favorite herbs)
  • In the bowl of a large food processor place all ingredients and process for about 30 seconds after the dough forms a ball.  Wrap in plastic and rest for at least 10 minutes on the counter.     

    Egg noodle dough ball

     

    On a floured board or counter, roll very thin 1/8″ and slice into your desired thickness with a pizza cutter or knife.      

    Egg noodles drying

     

    To cook, place in a large pot with boiling salted water and cook until al dente, about 4 minutes for 1/4 wide, less or more depending on the size and thickness.  Remember, these are fresh so they don’t take very long.     

    Chicken with Pecan Cream & Mushrooms     

    Chicken with Pecan Cream & Mushrooms: adapted by  Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies from Cooking Light, October 2002     

     
    Yield: 4 servings     

    Recipe notes: Substitute your favorite pasta or rice in place of the egg noodles. Use fresh rosemary or parsley in place of thyme if you prefer.     

    Ingredients:     

    Pecan Cream:
    3/4 cup (180 ml) coarsely chopped pecans*, toasted
    1 cup (240 ml) water
    ¾ teaspoon (3 ml) salt, more as needed     

    ½ pound (225 g) egg noodles or pasta
    4 (6-ounce / 170 g) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
    1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil, more as needed
    Salt & pepper to taste     

    Sauce:
    1 tablespoon (15 ml) deglazing liquid (water, broth, wine; optional)
    1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil, more as needed
    1/4 cup (60 ml) finely chopped shallots
    ½ pound (225 g) mushrooms, sliced
    1 Tablespoon (15 ml) fresh thyme leaves
    Chopped pecans, (optional garnish)     

    Directions:     

    1. Prepare pecan cream. Grind pecans in a food processor for about a minute or so until smooth, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. Add water and 3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) salt; process until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Set aside pecan cream. (*If starting with prepared pecan butter, blend ¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons (90 ml) pecan butter with the water and salt until smooth.)
    2. Cook noodles according to package instructions in salted water. Drain, rinse, and keep warm.
    3. If desired, pound chicken to ¼ inch (6 mm) thickness to promote even cooking. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken; sauté 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Cook the chicken in 2 batches, adding more oil if needed for second batch. Set aside cooked chicken on a clean plate, cover to keep warm.
    4. Add deglazing liquid to pan if using and stir up any browned bits. If needed, add another teaspoon (5 ml) of oil (or more) to pan for sautéing the shallots and mushrooms. Sauté the shallots and mushrooms over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and starting to brown. Add fresh thyme to the pan. Stir in pecan cream; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 minutes till reduced slightly.
    5. Slice chicken into thin strips. Divide the noodles among serving plates. Add a scoop of the mushroom pecan sauce on top of noodles. Lay sliced chicken on top. Garnish with fresh thyme and/or a pinch of chopped pecans if desired.

    The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

    It’s National Peach Ice Cream Day!

    It’s National Peach Ice Cream Day!

         

    Peach and Cherry Ice Cream

     

    I understand today is National Peach Ice Cream Day.  I don’t know who comes up with these things, but I’m all for peach ice cream so I am all in; made the peach ice cream, and even threw in some nice fresh cherries.   It’s a really creamy recipe that freezes into a smooth almost fluffy consistency that got the seal of approval from son.     

    Peach and Cherry Ice Cream

    Peach Cherry Ice Cream    

    2                            eggs    

    1             cup         sugar    

    1/4         tsp          salt    

    2 1/2      cups       whipping cream    

    2             cups       half-and-half    

    2 1/4      tsp          almond extract    

    4                            peaches    

    1/2         cup         cherries    

    Procedure    

    1             Peel and dice the peaches and pit and chop the cherries.  (A quick way to peel the peaches is to dip them into boiling water for 10 seconds, the skins will slip right off.)  Please them in a bowl and kind of smash up the peaches and mix well with the cherries.    

    Smashed peaches and cherries

     

    2             In a heavy saucepan, combine the eggs, sugar, salt and creams. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat a metal spoon and reaches at least 160 degrees F.    

     3             Remove from the heat; add the almond extract, diced peaches and cherries, cover and refrigerate overnight or  cool down by placing the saucepan in a large bowl of icewater (make sure not to get any water in the mixture) .    

    Custard mix with fruit

     

    4             Pour the custard into an ice cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.    

    Mixing

     

    I like it soft when it just comes out of the freezer, but if you like it firmer, place in a sealed container and place in the freezer for a couple of hours.    

    Softserve

     

    Servings: 12 (6 in my family)

    Blueberry Lime Cheesecake

    Blueberry Lime Cheesecake

    Blueberry Lime Cheesecake

     

    I’m keeping with the summer desserts this week.  My niece and I had a great day baking and making dinner – homemade pasta (we made great use of the pasta machine I got for Christmas) with Vodka Cream Sauce, freshly baked garlic rolls and Blueberry Lime Cheesecake.  I’ll do the pasta recipes another day, but here is the cheesecake.          

    Blueberry Lime Cheesecake           

                                  CRUST          

    3             Tbsp       Butter          

    12                          Oreo cookies crushed          

                                   FILLING          

    24           oz           cream cheese, room temperature                       

    3                            eggs          

    1             Tbsp       flour          

    2-3                        limes, zested and juiced (depending on how limey you prefer)          

    3/4         cups       sugar          

    2             cups       blueberries          

                                  SAUCE          

    2             cups       blueberries          

    ¼            cups       sugar          

    ¼            cups       lime juice          

    Procedure          

     1             Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix cookie crumbs and butter; press in to the bottom of a spring form pan.          

    2             Beat cream cheese, sugar and lime zest with mixer until blended and very smooth.   Add lime juice, then eggs, one at a time, mixing on low-speed after each just until blended.  By hand, fold in the blueberries, then pour over crust.          

    3             Bake 40-45 min. until center is almost set and it begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.          

    4             For the sauce, mix the blueberries, sugar and water in a sauce pan and cook over medium heat to a boil, stirring frequently.  Boil for 1-2 minutes, until the sauce thickens and just a few of the berries begin to break apart.          

    5             Pour the bluberry sauce over the plated slices for serving.          

    Blueberry Lime Cheesecake

     

    Servings: 16