Fall, schmall. It might be mid September but here in So Cal it’s 97 degrees. And honestly, even if it was cooler, I believe ice cream is a year-round treat. Are you with me?
I’m always looking for simple ways to add a fun touch to things and that’s how I came up with these easy ice cream cone wrappers. In under 5 minutes you can transform an ordinary ice cream cone into a unique one! All you need to do is print them, cut them out, and wrap them around the cone. Simple :) They would also be fun if you’re hosting an ice cream party! (more…)
This post is sponsored by Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
I have a little confession: I was always scared to bake a cheesecake. I am not sure why, really. I guess I just assumed it was tricky, required a special pan, and was going to taste bad. But none of those things are true. This simple recipe for mini cheesecake bites is my proof. I am so glad I decided to develop this recipe because it was easy and the reward was delicious!
I wanted to come up with a creative dessert that was easy to make but would impress guests at our recent family dinner party. I like being able to serve bite-sized desserts on a platter so guests can take one (or two) and pass them around. This also works out really well for the dishwasher, because there is less to clean up after everyone has gone home.
Gather a few ingredients and get ready to bake (you’ll find the full recipe below). Don’t be intimidated (like I was) at the idea of making your own cheesecake from scratch. I promise it wasn’t difficult and it tastes way much better than the no bake-versions I had tried in the past. The star is the Philadelphia Cream Cheese which is made with, fresh milk, real cream, and no preservatives – nothing else tastes like it.
See, no special pan! I simply lined an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. You’ll want to let it overhang about 2″ on each side so you can later “lift” the baked cheesecake out of the dish. If your parchment paper isn’t big enough, just use two pieces that criss-cross the pan. The bottom part of the dish will be your graham cracker crust layer. Then, you’ll pour in the creamy cheesecake mixture on top before putting it in the oven.
It bakes low and slow for about 30 minutes at 325 degrees. This ensures your cheesecake top doesn’t crack. But don’t worry too much about it even if it does because you’re going to top it with drizzled chocolate and candy bar pieces so no one will even notice.
While it’s baking, cut your favorite candy bars into bite-sized pieces. You’ll use these for your cheesecake toppings. You’ll need about 48 pieces.
After it comes out of the oven, let it cool for about 15 minutes and then place it in the freezer for another hour, (be sure to cover it with plastic wrap first). This cools it down so it can harden a bit, which will help you cut the cheesecake into nice 1-inch pieces.
Once you have cut your pieces, add a drop of chocolate sauce or fudge to each piece and then place a candy bar on top. That’s it. Easy, right?
Place them on a platter or use a cake stand. I promise, they won’t last long!
Serves: 16 Servings when a serving equals 3 pieces
For the crust
1½ cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, melted
For the cheesecake filling
2 eggs at room temperature
2 8-ounce PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Bricks, softened, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup granulated sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For The Topping
5 Tablespoons chocolate sauce
48 Candy bar pieces
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with overhung parchment paper.
For the crust. In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter, and mix until all of the crumbs are moistened. Press the mixture in the pan and press firmly into an even layer.
For the filling. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese (I used the paddle attachment in a stand mixer but you could also use a hand mixer) until it is light and fluffy. Next, add in the sugar, salt, cornstarch, eggs and vanilla, beating to combine well after each ingredient is added. The mixture should be very smooth. Pour the filling into the prepared pan on top of the crust. Place in the center of the oven and bake until just set (about 30 minutes). You’ll know it’s set when it doesn’t jiggle in the pan. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before covering the pan with plastic wrap and placing in the freezer for an additional hour to harden up.
To Make The Bites. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, uncover and remove from the pan using the overhung parchment paper to “lift” it out. Using a sharp knife, slice into about 48 1-inch squares. Top each bite with a drop of chocolate sauce, then place a piece of candy bar on top of each one.
For all of your entertaining needs, turn to Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Always have it on hand to create fun appetizers and desserts that pop. I had a great time developing my mini cheesecake bites for family dinner party. For more creamy, delicious recipe ideas, click here.
About three months ago, I completely revamped my eating habits and daily diet. The truth is, I was eating out way too often and finding myself grabbing whatever was on hand from the fridge or in the pantry when hunger would strike (which often wasn’t a very healthy choice). One of the biggest changes I made that has helped me eat much healthier is to prepare meals and snacks on the weekend for the upcoming week. If this sounds familiar and you want to eat out less, eat in more, and feel healthier overall, I encourage you to check out The Great American Cook In Challenge (don’t worry there are lots of tips and recipes to make it simple!).
I’m eating in a lot and I never skip breakfast anymore. It really is the most important meal of the day (duh, I was totally ignoring that little fact).This recipe is much healthier and much more delicious than grabbing a pastry at the coffee shop or running through a drive-through on the way to work. Trust me!
In fact, it’s almost too delicious to call breakfast. Which is great because it makes a great snack any time of the day. The ingredients (see them below in the recipe) are easy to keep stocked. Having versatile staple ingredients on hand in the kitchen is really the best tip I have for becoming better at eating in. (more…)
This post is sponsored by Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
I’ve been on a donut-making kick lately because you can make so many variations and they are pretty easy to make. Especially if you’re like me and you take shortcuts. I love baking but don’t have a lot of time, so I often think of ways I can make recipes easier and faster. These strawberry shortcake donuts were so simple to whip up! I decided to make them for a brunch I recently had. A few friends and I gathered one Saturday morning to visit and have a little time just chatting over coffee. These donuts went perfectly with our tea and coffee, and they were simple enough to whip up that morning before guests arrived.
My secret weapon for homemade donuts is boxed cake mix. I pick a flavor (here I used pink velvet) and then jazz it up a little. By placing sliced strawberries right into the batter, I made these donuts seem extra special. (more…)
Can we agree that mini desserts are just better? These mini pudding parfaits are just so cuuuute, aren’t they? (Spoiler alert: They also taste delicious.)
I actually made these dessert in mini wine tasting glasses I had on hand. They just so happen to be the perfect size for mini pudding parfaits! These mini mason jars would also work perfectly (and I love that they have lids).
You can completely customize this recipe and get really creative. I used the classic Nilla Wafer cookies to make a cookie crumb crust at the bottom. Then I layered homemade vanilla pudding, jimmies (sprinkles), and whipped cream. But you can do any cookie crumble (Oreo would be so good!) and any flavor of pudding you like. You get the idea, have fun with it! (more…)
Let’s face it, we’re crazy for all-things-pumpkin this time of year. I know I am! So, when Cold Stone reached out about their new Pumpkin Pie in the Sky™ ice cream, I practically ran to try it. I mean pie turned into ice cream? I’m in.
This ice cream packs a delicious punch –featuring pumpkin ice cream, graham cracker pie crust, whipped topping and caramel. It’s all the flavors of a pumpkin pie, plus more. And you guys, I could have eaten the ENTIRE carton.
Try adding in ice cream to your Thanksgiving dessert menu and watch the smiles pop up on your family’s faces. Serve alongside your favorite slice of pie or in these chocolate-dipped waffle bowls. (more…)