Red Velvet Oreo Cheesecake Squares

I feel like I’m not alone when I say I could eat an entire package of Oreos and still want more (and if you disagree, then that’s probably why we’re not friends). Despite Nabisco’s attempt to branch out, most of their newer flavors have fallen short in my opinion. With the exception of the Red Velvet and Pumpkin Spice, I’m not tempted at all by the others. I really don’t get this Oreo Thins business. Don’t kid yourself. Oreo Thins will never make you as happy as the original Double Stuf.

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With National Cheesecake Day coming up this Saturday, July 30th, I figured it needed to be celebrated appropriately. When I came across a recipe for Oreo Cheesecake Bites from Six Sisters’ Stuff I knew I had a winner. It wasn’t until I was at the store facing the massive spread of Oreo flavors that I had a stroke of genius and grabbed the Red Velvet Oreos. This was probably the best decision I made all week. Maybe all month.

These squares are perfect to take to a party or to any event because they are bite sized and so cute! This is also an extremely easy recipe that doesn’t require much decorating. Fair warning- it’s hard to stop after one. Enjoy and happy National Cheesecake Day!

Red Velvet Oreo Cheesecake Squares

  • 2 packages Red Velvet Oreos (divided)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 4 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • white candy coating

Preheat oven to 325*. Line a 13×9″ baking dish with foil, with the foil going up and over the sides.

Crush one package of Oreos either by using a food processor or by hand. Food processor definitely cuts down on time! The smaller pieces the better. In a separate bowl mix the 1/4 cup of melted butter with the crushed oreos. Press this mixture into the pan, creating your crust.FullSizeRender-1

In a mixer beat the cream cheese until it becomes smooth. Add the sugar, sour cream, and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Pour mixture of the crust and bake for 45 minutes.

After you take the cheesecake out of the oven, let it set for a couple of hours. You can put it in the fridge if you need to speed up this process. Once the cheesecake is set, cut into squares and spread them out on wax paper. Melt the white candy coating and drizzle it over the top of the squares. Happy National Cheesecake Day!

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King Cake Bites

The beginning of February is such a different song from the beginning of January. We go from resolutions and committing to healthier lifestyles to celebrating Mardi Gras, the end of another football season, and Valentine’s Day. Basically food, food, and more food. It’s awesome.

I entertained the idea of making a King Cake from scratch for about 7 minutes. Maybe one day, but time is precious. For the sake of my sanity I opted to make a King Cake inspired dessert instead. You might remember my King Cake cupcakes from a couple of years ago. Using the same recipe I changed up the presentation and created these little bite sized delights.

King Cake Bites
King Cake Bites

What I LOVE about these King Cake Bites: they’re bite sized and perfect for parties, bringing to the office, or a snack for your kids. They are also super easy (time saver!) and if you have kids this is definitely something they could help bake!

King Cake Bites (24 bites)

  • 2 tubes of crescent rolls (seamless dough sheets work best)
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

Filling:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. milk

 

Preheat oven to 350*. Cream together the ingredients for the filling. Separate dough into 8 rectangles (sealing the seams if you’re not using seamless). Sprinkle cinnamon over each rectangle.

King Cake Bites

Spread the cream cheese mixture onto each rectangle- make sure you completely cover it length wise (it’s not necessary to cover it edge to edge across the width of it). Fold the rectangles length wise into thirds, keeping the seam side down.

King Cake Bites

Cut each rectangle into four squares. Pinch together the ends to keep the filling in while it bakes.

King Cake Bites

Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes, until golden. Make the glaze while the bites cool. To make the glaze mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Spoon over the bites, adding purple, yellow, and green sprinkles on top. Enjoy!!

YUM!
YUM!

Funfetti Cake Mix Cookies

Since my last post I went on vacation for about three weeks. I’m not telling you this to make you jealous- it sets up the story of the recipe I’m posting this week. I spent two weeks in Croatia and then jetted off to California a few days after I got back. Both amazing trips, but after three weeks of being gone I was ready to be back home! Obviously I had to completely clean out my pantry and refrigerator before I left so I wouldn’t have new things growing in my kitchen when I came back. This is what brings me to this recipe.

I decided last minute one night to bake something to take to the lake the next day. The only problem with this is that I hadn’t really restocked my kitchen since before vacation. I scrounged around to find what ingredients I DID have and then hit up pinterest to see what I could do with it. This is what I found:

Eggs, butter, cream cheese, cake mix
Eggs, butter, cream cheese, cake mix

If you’re wondering why I would have cake mix when I bake all my cakes from scratch, it’s because I have a habit of buying cake mix when it’s on sale. One of my parents told me once that they do that (I can’t remember which one!) and it’s just something that I picked up on. You never know when you might need some! I couldn’t make a cake or cupcakes because I didn’t have anything to make frosting. I narrowed my search to cookies and found this recipe at Cookies and Cups. They were incredibly easy to make and they disappeared FAST the next day! Funfetti is pretty hard to resist! I love the flavor that the cream cheese adds. These cookies are super light and fluffy and perfect for any get together!

Funfetti Cake Mix Cookies
Funfetti Cake Mix Cookies

Funfetti Cake Mix Cookies

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 box French Vanilla cake mix
  • 1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Cream the butter and cream cheese together. Add in the egg, mix to combine. Gradually mix in the cake mix. Fold in the sprinkles. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour (Mine was still pretty soft after this, you could also put it in the freezer to firm up the dough).

Preheat the oven to 350*. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll dough into 1″ balls and dip in the powdered sugar. Place balls at least 1″ apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool for a minute before moving them to a wire rack. Enjoy!

Spiked Apple Pecan Pie

One of the things I am the most thankful for are the few days off we get for Thanksgiving. It just feels like it comes at a much needed time- you know, before that 2 week break we get at Christmas. #perksofbeingateacher (Can I hashtag on here?) I decided I needed to actually give myself a “break” this break though, and so I only baked for my family this Thanksgiving. No traveling, minimal obligations…it was awesome. It actually gave me time to enjoy all the things I’m thankful for this year.

Freezing our tailfeathers off at this year's Turkey Trot
Freezing our tailfeathers off at this year’s Turkey Trot

Things I am Thankful For: (I like lists, okay?)

  • Celebrating Thanksgiving with all of my family
  • My brother passing the bar
  • My sister’s new job
  • Having friends and family that are goal-oriented and encourage each other to achieve their goals
  • Having a job that challenges me to learn more and not just settle

And last, but not least, I am thankful that I can now openly listen to Christmas music. I am one of those people. No apologies.

I did mention I baked for my family this Thanksgiving. One staple at our family holiday dinners is Buttermilk Pie. It doesn’t matter what else I bake, I can guarantee you the buttermilk pie will be the first to go. One pie is not enough for our family though, so the second pie/dessert is usually a random pick. This year I went with an Apple Pecan Pie. My dad had acquired this Pecan Praline Liquor from somewhere, so I decided to spike the pie with it. I don’t know how you would actually drink Praline Liquor, but it’s perfect for baking. I don’t have much experience with pies and this is for two reasons. 1) I always make buttermilk pie and 2) If not buttermilk pie, then cupcakes. So I looked over to the Pioneer Woman for a recipe this time. I found what I was looking for pretty quickly- her Apple Pecan Pie.

Rolling out the homemade crust
Rolling out the homemade crust
Spiked Apples
Spiked Apples

The only change I made was I held back a little on the lemon juice and added the Praline Liquor. I also didn’t drizzle caramel over the top, but that sounds amazing so you should probably try that.

Spiked Apple Pecan Pie
Spiked Apple Pecan Pie

I have several neat projects coming up in December that I can’t wait to share with you!

Gender Reveal Cake Pops and a Smash Cake

Hello my long lost friends! I probably should apologize for my short hiatus, but I’m not going to make any excuses. Bottom line is my real life takes precedence over the cyber one. This time of year tends to get nuts for everyone. Work (for me) always gets a little crazier, “run season” shifts into full gear with training and races, the baking is non-stop, and of course as the holidays approach, the social calendar just keeps building. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining at ALL. But it does reach a point where I have to stop and figure out where my priorities rank. I think that’s one of the keys to keeping stress levels down- figuring out what’s important to you and your well being and what can be put off. I am constantly telling my students, “You don’t HAVE to do anything.”  They get excited for a minute before I remind them of the potential consequences of their decisions. But really, we don’t have to do anything. I think sometimes we forget that. The holidays are supposed to be a time of giving and joy, not “I just need to make it through the next few days”.

One of the main reasons why I love baking is getting to share and celebrate joyous moments with friends. The past few weeks I’ve done a couple of projects for dear friends celebrating various events in their lives. One friend found out that she was having a boy and wanted to share that with her family with cake pops. I made vanilla cake pops (colored blue of course) and covered them in white candy bark.

Gender Reveal Cake Pops
Gender Reveal Cake Pops
It's a Boy!
It’s a Boy!

Another friend was celebrating her boy’s first birthday. I made the gender reveal cake for this couple over a year ago, and I was excited to make a smash cake for my favorite one year old. I’ve watched him grow up this past year and can’t believe he’s already one! Pretty sure he’s a customer for life since his momma started him on my cake in the womb.

Dinosaur Smash Cake
Dinosaur Smash Cake
Dinosaur Smash Cake
Dinosaur Smash Cake
Cutest kid ever!
Cutest kid ever!

Happy baking this week!

Salted Whiskey Truffles

I somehow fooled myself into thinking October would be slow. So wrong. The whole month flew by and unfortunately this blog fell on my list of priorities. Laundry apparently fell on the list, too. Although if we’re being honest, laundry is always at the bottom of the list. Anyways. Last weekend my friend pointed out that Monday was National Chocolate Day. I think it’s slightly ridiculously that there’s a day for everything. National Cat Day was this week as well…but I hate cats, so I didn’t participate. I don’t mind celebrating chocolate though.

Salted Whiskey Truffles

My brother finds out if he passed the bar this week. Talk about stress. I figured he could use some treats to brighten up his week, so he got to be my taste tester for my chocolate recipe. I had to choose something that would travel. I had seen truffles at a restaurant recently and decided those were perfect. Then I decided to make chocolate whiskey truffles and be the best sister ever.

Salted Whiskey Truffles

I used this recipe since I had never made truffles before. I doubled it so my measurements will reflect that.

Salted Whiskey Truffles

Salted Whiskey Truffles (~20 truffles)

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 10 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp. whiskey
  • Bakers chocolate

Chop the chocolate into pieces. Try to chop it finely and evenly as possible. Put it in a bowl and set to the side. Heat the cream until it comes to a boil and pour over the chocolate. Add in the butter and whiskey. Let it stand for a minute or two before stirring. Then stir the mixture with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Cover the ganache and refrigerate for a couple of hours, until the ganache is set. To make the truffles, scoop out the ganache and place on wax paper. If you have a gadget like a melon baller that will scoop it out perfectly, use that. I had to improvise and made a HUGE mess. The ganache melts rather quickly, so rolling them into balls is extremely difficult. I chose to chill mine again after shaping them. I dipped my truffles in bakers chocolate and sprinkled some sea salt on top to finish them. I love the contrasting rich and sweet flavors!

Italian Cream Cake Pops

I used to hate coconut. The flavor was alright, but the texture of shredded coconut just plain grossed me out. About 5 years ago I made myself “retry” all these foods I had been avoiding, and coconut slowly made it’s way back in to the mix. Coconut sometimes seems to be an integral part of eating paleo- who had any idea how many forms it could take? There’s cream, butter, flakes, milk, sugar, oil, and water. So maybe by eating paleo I was subconsciously pushed towards coconut. Either way, I have no problem with it now.

Liking coconut opened up several new cake flavors for me. My dad’s favorite has always been German Chocolate, unfortunately no one else enjoyed it. Coconut and pecans are two elements that some people just don’t like. Italian Cream Cake is like the vanilla sister to German Chocolate. Egg whites help make this light and fluffy cake, and then you load it up with coconut pecan frosting. I’ve made several Italian Cream cakes and cupcakes, but had yet to venture into Italian Cream cake pops. Until this week.

Italian Cream Cake
Italian Cream Cake

I used this Italian Cream Cake recipe to make the cake. Some people add pecans into the actual cake, however I still hold off on that due to texture. I add coconut to the cake, and save the pecans for the frosting. So when attacking these cake pops, I decided I didn’t want pecans in the actual cake pop mixture. I mixed the cake with coconut cream cheese frosting- sans pecans. You need very little frosting for these cake pops because the cake is so moist. I made a half batch of the cake (I only needed a small number of cake pops), and probably only used 1/2 cup of frosting. If you use too much, the cake balls will have a hard time holding their shape and you will have a more difficult time dipping them. I dipped them in vanilla candy melts and then sprinkled pecans pieces on top. We’re talking tiny pecan pieces. Let them harden and then you are good to go!

Italian Cream Cake Pops
Italian Cream Cake Pops