Sunday, October 26, 2014

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies


My latest sweet obsession has been sea salt caramel. It all started with an unplanned purchase of Ben and Jerry's Salted Caramel Core at Target. Yes, I am a constant victim of unplanned Target purchases. After I finished my Ben and Jerry's ice cream, I had the inspiration to try different sea salt caramel ice creams to see if there was something better. Who was I kidding? Nothing beats Ben and Jerry's Salted Caramel Core. Save yourself the effort of trying different brands and just stick with Ben and Jerry's. If I am not in the mood for ice cream, I am in the mood for cookies. I had a coworker make these cookies for work and I immediately searched for the recipe. If you try to make these cookies, make sure you have someone to make them for, or else, you will end of eating all of them yourself...unless yourself is your intended audience. In that case, no judgement here *wink*.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Eli's Chicago-Style Cheesecake (copycat)

I'm a Midwest girl and one of my favorite Chicago eats is Eli's Cheesecake. I grew up on this cheesecake so it set my standard pretty high in terms of cheesecake expectations.

How do I describe Eli's Chicago-style cheesecake? It the simplest form, it's denser and richer than most types of cheesecakes. The taste is quite unique and I can't think of another type of cheesecake that can compare. Another thing that makes Eli's cheesecakes so unique is the shortbread crust! Cheesecake + shortbread = winning!

In the past couple of years, I have really grown an infatuation for cheesecake but nothing really hits the spot like Eli's. So, I set out on a pursuit for a homemade Eli's cheesecake recipe...and I did! I knew it had to be close to the real thing because one time, I looked on a box of Eli's cheesecake recipe and wrote down the ingredients. I was surprised to find sour cream to be in the recipe. When I came across this recipe from The Zen Kitchen, I saw sour cream listed as an ingredient. I actually found this recipe years ago but as odd as it seems, I was a little terrified that I would just be disappointed. That, and the fact that I had never made a cheesecake before. I decided to face my fears and try, and good thing that I did!

This recipe hit so close to home, no pun intended. While it was a lot of work, it was a complete success and most definitely worth the time. I made my own homemade sea salt caramel (recipe not included) and it was the perfect icing on the (cheese) cake!

Give this a try and you'll never want to eat any other cheesecake! You've been warned! To The Zen Kitchen, thank you for being brilliant!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Apple Cheesecake Cookie Bars

I am a big fan of making classics with a twist. I can't define what classic this recipe resembles because I feel it is a culmination of multiple desserts: oatmeal cookie, apple pie, and cheesecake. Regardless, the dessert is delicious so if you're looking to try something new or with a twist, look no further! This dessert as classified as a bar but requires more than your typical bar dessert. This recipe is essentially an oatmeal cookie with a sweetened cream cheese layer, an apple filling, topped with more oatmeal cookie. Irresistible sounding, I know!

You can choose to make your own oatmeal cookie batter and apple pie filling or to buy packaged or canned version. While I like a shortcut every once in awhile, I like to make as much as I can from scratch. I compromised in this recipe and only used canned apple pie filling, which I was skeptical to use - not as bad as I thought but would prefer to make my own. However, to make a dessert on a zip, I know I can count on this recipe!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Secretly Healthy Chocolate Muffins

Happy 2014! It's time to get back into the blogging swing of things. What better way to start the year than with a recipe that promotes healthy and mindful eating. The greatest thing about this recipe is that while it has the taste of a regular chocolate muffin, it is actually packed with nutrition to make this sweet treat into a nutrition powerhouse. These muffins are also low fat and make for an easy grab-and-go breakfast.

The only hint you get that these muffins are healthy is the texture. It is not as smooth as your typically muffin but that is because this recipe uses wheat bran, which has a rustic but soft texture. This is not a bad thing! In fact, it gives the muffin a textural contrast.

The batter is slightly sweet but can be easily modified by altering the amount of chocolate chips. For me, 1/2 cup of chocolate chips of dark chocolate chips was just enough to give me bursts of sweetness as a I devoured my muffin!

Happy baking!

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