Oreo Cheesecake Brownie Bars

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Oh. My. God. These were absolutely one of the most divine treats that I’ve ever had! I made them for the first time a few months ago and they’ve since become a favorite in my house. It’s hard to decide which part of this decadent treat is best, the chewy ooey gooey brownie layer, the creamy cheesecake layer, or the crushed up Oreos on the top. Individually they are all delicious but when combined together in one bite, it’s out of this world!

I just happened to put on the “Today Show” one morning, which I usually don’t get to do anymore thanks to my TV hogging children, and I discovered this insanely awesome recipe. Elise Strachan of “My Cupcake Addiction” fame was on doing a cooking segment for summer treats and she made these Oreo Cheesecake Brownie Bars that the Today Show crew went nuts over. Not even kidding, I made these the next day and they were every bit as awesome as she promised they would be! I did not deviate from the original recipe at all, I followed her instructions to the letter and they turned out absolutely perfect. Bring a batch of these to your next get together and you will be a rock star!

Ingredients

For the brownie batter

  • 13 tablespoons (185 g or 6½ ounces) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 7 ounces (200 g) good quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups (270 g or 9½ ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup (90 g or 3.2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (40 g or 1½ ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Nonstick cooking spray

For the cheesecake batter 

  • 16 ounces (2 bricks) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the topping 

  • 48 Oreo cookies, broken into chunks
  • 1 package mini Oreo cookies

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 320°F.

Make the brownie batterIn a saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and bring to a gentle boil. Turn the heat OFF and then add the dark chocolate, stirring intermittently until the chocolate has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat with an electric mixer until they have almost doubled in size and are super light and fluffy, at least 7 minutes.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and gently fold the two together using big round figure-8 movements. Stop mixing as soon as you no longer see white streaks through the chocolate batter.

In another bowl, sift the flour and cocoa powder together. Sift the cocoa flour mix directly over the top of the chocolate mixture so it falls evenly. Fold together, again using big round figure-8 movements.

Spray a 9-inch x 13-inch pan with the cooking spray and line the base with parchment paper. Pour half of the brownie mixture into the prepared pan and par-bake* for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the cheesecake batterIn a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, sugar and cornstarch and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating in between each addition.

Stir in the cream, vanilla and 1½ cups of the crushed Oreo cookies.

Remove the partially cooked brownie from the oven. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the par-cooked brownie and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the tray from the oven and gently spread the remaining brownie batter over the cheesecake layer. Cover the brownie with chunks of crushed Oreo, adding some whole and halved mini Oreos throughout before returning to the oven for a further 20 minutes. The top should start to look a little flaky and the middle should spring back lightly when touched.

Cool completely in the pan (or preferably, chill overnight) before cutting into bars. Store the cut bars in the fridge, sealed tightly.

*Par-bake means to partially bake

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

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What do you do when life hands you lemons? You make Lemon Ricotta Cookies, of course! These cookies are delicious, light, and the perfect summer treat to serve at your next BBQ. They are more like little soft cakes than crispy cookies and they are bursting with lots of bright lemon flavor. I came across this recipe by Giada De Laurentiis when I was on the hunt for something to do with the 500 lemons that were taking up space in my fridge. I had already made Freshly Squeezed Lemonade and a Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake so I was ready for some cookies!

The original recipe by Giada can be found here and it was pretty much perfect “as is“. The only changes that I made to the recipe was to add 2 tsp of pure vanilla extract (because vanilla makes everything better) and I substituted 4 oz of french vanilla yogurt for some of the ricotta since I was a little short. The resulting cookie was delicious and had just the right amount of lemon, ricotta, and vanilla flavor. They were a big hit, even with my picky kids!

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested

For the glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

While the cookies are baking, make the lemon glaze. Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Once the cookies are fully cooled, spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours.

**Tip** – Using a Microplane 40020 Classic Zester/Grater is the easiest way to zest lemons. It’s a great little tool to have in your arsenal! Hold the zester upside down as you use it so the zest collects in the channel of the Microplane instead of getting all over the counter.

Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug

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You know those times when you have a hankering for a freshly baked cookie but you don’t have the desire to make a whole batch AND you’re way too impatient to wait for them to bake? Enter the “Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug“. It takes about 2 minutes to throw together and it cooks in less than a minute in the microwave. Within no time you will have a delicious, warm, ooey gooey cookie to enjoy!

I came across this recipe on a community forum board (shout out to  NervousNell for posting) and I immediately went into the kitchen to give it a try! The recipe was developed by Melissa from the No. 2 Pencil baking blog and the original recipe can be found here: Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Cup .

I like super soft, almost raw in the middle cookies so I under baked my cookie by just a few seconds but if you prefer a more baked cookie, microwave it for the full 60 seconds. I also used dark chocolate chips instead of semisweet but either will work just fine in this recipe. While this wasn’t the most amazing, knock your socks off cookie I’ve ever eaten it it was definitely yummy enough to satisfy my craving while also controlling my portion size. No worries here about pounding 25 cookies in ten seconds!! This is a “one and done” serving so you can enjoy this sweet treat without any guilt that you overdid it.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 tbs granulated white sugar
  • 1 tbs of firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • small pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • scant ¼ cup of all-purpose flour (slightly less than ¼ of a cup)
  • 2 heaping tbs of semisweet chocolate chips, plus more for topping

Instructions

Melt butter in the microwave. Add in the sugars, vanilla, and salt and stir. Add in the egg yolk, stir. Add in the flour, stir together until well combined. Add in the chocolate chips and give a final stir. Top the cookie dough with a few more chocolate chips.

Cook in microwave for 40-60 seconds. Do not go past a minute or the cookie will be over baked. Serve warm.

Cake Batter Sprinkle Cookies

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I was looking for a quick treat to make the kids and came across this recipe on Facebook from the “So Yummy” blog, they were called Four Way Cookie Sandwiches . Normally I like to make my baked goods all from scratch but I was a little intrigued by this recipe so I decided to give it a try. The cookies were very good, slightly crispy on the edge and nice and soft on the inside. They also had a really nice vanilla cake flavor and my kids loved all of the sprinkles throughout. These cookies were definitely a hit in our house, it’s a recipe I will make again if I need some quick, home baked cookies.

The original recipe calls for the cookies to be filled with frosting and then sandwiched together however, I decided to just make a basic batch of cookies and not fill them. I also added in a teaspoon of vanilla paste because everything is better with a little vanilla and I used a French Vanilla cake mix for even more vanilla flavor. The recipe calls for the cookies to be baked for 15 minutes but at that point my cookies were still raw in the middle so I let them go another 5 minutes, checking them at the halfway point. After 25 minutes the cookies were cooked through nicely but they never did brown. Had I left them in the oven any longer to achieve a golden brown color they would’ve most definitely turned out too dry and overdone. Be sure to keep an eye on the cookies towards the end of baking as oven times vary.

Next time I’ll try these cookies filled with frosting. If you want to sandwich them together don’t feel like you’re stuck just using a vanilla frosting. Try out chocolate, Nutella™, marshmallow creme, etc. The possibilities are endless! I would even try rolling the sandwiched cookies in crushed cookies, chocolate chips, or even broken up candy bar pieces! All would be a yummy choice and something a little different from just traditional sprinkles.

Ingredients

  • 1 box of vanilla cake mix
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup colored sprinkles
  • 1/2 cup pre-made vanilla frosting, optional 

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the eggs, oil, sprinkles and cake mix together. Stir until well combined. Using a cookie scoop, place cookies onto a Silpat™ lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes and cool on wire racks.

If sandwiching the cookies together, frost one cookie and place another cookie on top. Gently roll the sides of the cookie in the topping of your choice. Enjoy!

So Yummy Blog – Four Way Cookie Video

 

“Shrewsbury Cakes” – aka Sugar Cookies

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Years and years ago back when I was in college, my husband (then boyfriend) took me to Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg for a few days one summer. It was hotter than Hades the week we were there. I am talking stifling, sweltering, oppressive heat and humidity. Colonial Williamsburg was particularly torturous as there is very little shade, dust kicking up everywhere, and the smell of hot horse poop everywhere. Needless to say, I couldn’t have been more cranky that day. After a few hours I had enough so we decided to grab a snack, take a break, and relax. That is when I discovered not only the best ginger ale I ever tasted but also, “Shrewsbury Cakes”.

Shrewsbury Cakes are really nothing more than sugar cookies but with a slight citrus note to them. They are absolutely delicious and I was in love at first bite. I ended up going back to the “Raleigh Tavern Bake Shop” where we found them and buying a whole bunch more to take home with us. They were THAT good! I also came across a little cookbook as well which contained all kinds of colonial era baking recipes and as luck would have it, the Shrewsbury Cakes were in there. Score!!

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The below recipe is taken right from, “Recipes from the Raleigh Tavern Bake Shop” by The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. The only changes that I made to the recipe was to replace vanilla extract with vanilla paste and I decided to use vanilla sugar instead of plain granulated sugar. Other than that I followed the recipe as written, increasing the baking time by 8 minutes because I made larger sized cookies than what was called for. The recipe listed a yield of 36 cookies, I was able to get 24 cookies using my medium cookie scoop.

The cookies are light, slightly crisp on the edges, and absolute perfection. You will not be disappointed with this recipe. They would be a terrific addition to your Christmas cookie list, just use some red and green colored sugar to roll them in and you will make Santa Claus one happy little elf!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (or vanilla sugar)
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated orange peel (or 1/2 tsp dried orange peel)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla paste)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbs milk or half and half
  • 2 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter, shortening, and sugar.

Add the orange peel and vanilla extract.

Add the egg and milk.

Combine the sifted flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar then sift together. Slowly incorporate to the wet ingredients. Mix until well combined.

Scoop the cookies into 1″ balls and then roll them in sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until very light golden brown. (Remember to increase the baking time for larger sized cookies)

Cool the cookies on the pan for about 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Enjoy!

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Chewy Fudgy Brownies

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Brownies are a huge favorite in our house, especially dark, fudgy, super chewy ones. Those cake like brownies can take a hike! I adapted this recipe from the Sally’s Baking Addiction website and they are as good, if not better, than the box mix.

The key to good brownies is the chocolate. The higher quality chocolate you use, the better your brownie will be. I used semi-sweet Ghiradelli chocolate baking bars in this recipe but if you prefer a darker chocolate brownie, you can use a combination of semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate as well.

The recipes calls for a 9X9 square pan but I used an 8X8 because I prefer a thicker brownie, I just adjusted the cooking time to account for the smaller pan and thicker brownie. In addition, I increased the amount of chocolate called for in the recipe from 8 oz to 12 oz, I added 2 tbs of “Hershey’s Simply 5” chocolate syrup to the cooled chocolate mixture, and a 1/4 cup of “Hershey’s Sea Salt Caramel Chips” to the batter.  I lightly sprinkled the brownies with a pinch of Fleur de Sel Salt as well. I love that sweet and salty combination in my desserts. Once the brownies were cooled, I covered them in dark chocolate frosting that I had leftover from a cake that I made the other day. (**You can find the frosting recipe HERE under Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake**)

Allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting and serving. They will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to a week.

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 8 ounces coarsely chopped chocolate
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbs all purpose flour (spoon and leveled)
  • 2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

**NOTE** – To exactly replicate my adapted version, you will also need:

  • 2 tbs Hershey Simply 5 Chocolate Syrup
  • 4 oz of additional chocolate
  • 1/4 cup Hershey’s Sea Salt Caramel Chips
  • Pinch of Fleur de Sel salt

Instructions

Melt the butter and chopped chocolate in a medium saucepan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stir constantly. Remove from heat and cool for about 10 minutes.

Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of an 9X9 square pan with foil or parchment paper, leave an overhang on all sides.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside. Whisk the granulated and brown sugars into the cooled chocolate/butter mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla. Gently fold in the flour mixture. Once combined, add the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for about 35-36 minutes or until the brownies begin to pull from the side of the pan. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out with only a few moist crumbs on it. Because oven temps vary, keep an eye on the brownies after 30 minutes.

Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan on top of a wire rack. Once cooled, lift them from the pan using the overhang. If you plan on frosting them, do that before you begin your cuts. For very neat cut squares, use a sharp knife and wipe clean with a paper towel after every cut. Enjoy!