SWEET LIME & HATCH CHILE CHEESECAKE

While this recipe is my traditional “COOKIES & CREAM” recipe, you can make any flavor you want – just change out the sandwich cookie flavors.

I have these awesome Sweet Lime Hatch Chile cookies that I’ve only ever found in Texas at HEB. A friend sent me several boxes this year as a wonderful gift so I decided to make this wonderful no bake cheesecake with some of them.

SWEET LIME & HATCH CHILE CHEESECAKE serves 6-8
36 chocolate sandwich cookies
5 tablespoons butter, melted
3 cups cream cheese, softened
⅓ cup sugar
1 tablespoon PURE vanilla extract
1 cup milk, warm
1 tablespoon gelatin

  • Separate the cream from the cookies into 2 different bowls.
  • Place the cookies into a plastic bag and crush them into fine crumbs with a rolling pin. Set aside ½ cup of the crumbs for later.
  • Pour the cookie crumbs into a bowl and combine with the melted butter, mixing until the texture is like slightly wet sand.
  • Press the cookie crumbs in an even layer into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan. Set aside.
  • In a medium pot over low heat, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, the cream from the cookies, and vanilla extract, stirring until there are no lumps.
  • In a measuring cup, mix the milk with the gelatin until dissolved.
  • Pour the milk into the cream cheese mixture, whisking constantly until the mixture starts to bubble slightly. Remove from heat.
  • Pour the mixture over the cookie crust in the springform pan. Using a spatula or a spoon, smooth the top.
  • Sift the saved cookie crumbs on top of the cheesecake in an even layer, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  • Unclasp the ring of the spring form pan, slice, then serve!
  • Enjoy!

CRANBERRY VODKA

Some of the best recipes of the Christmas season are those that double as gifts, like this homemade cranberry infused vodka.

CRANBERRY VODKA

1 cup FRESH cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 large strip of orange peel
2 cups QUALITY vodka (Absolut is best)

  • Place the cranberries, sugar and pineapple juice in a medium saucepan over medium high heat until the sugar is dissolved, the cranberries pop and the pineapple juice is absorbed. 
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool. 
  • Transfer the mixture into a large mason jar.
  • Place the orange peel in the mason jar, and pour the vodka over top.
  • Screw the lid on tightly and set the jar on a counter at room temperature for at least 3 days, and up to a month.
  • Shake once a day.
  • Strain into a decorative bottle, tie with festive ribbon and gift with a cocktail recipe in which to use it.

SNICKERS BROWNIES

SNICKERS BAR BROWNIES

A YUMMY and SUPER DELICIOUS fudgy brownie base with a layer of caramel, nougat and peanuts throughout that tastes exactly like a Classic Snickers Bar.

1 Box Supreme Triple Chunk Brownie Mix, or flavor of choice
1 – 11 ounce bag Kraft caramel balls
2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons evaporated milk
1-1/4 cup sugar
1 cup cashews, chopped
1/3 cup + 1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 – 7 ounce jar marshmallow creme
1/4 cup c
reamy Peanut Butter
1 – 16 ounce package milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 classic Snickers bars, chopped into small chunks

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Prepare the brownie mix as per the package instructions.
  • Bake the brownies 20 minutes, then remove to COMPLETELY cool.
  • Add caramels and 2 tablespoons of the evaporated milk to a small bowl.
  • Microwave on medium heat, stirring every 20 seconds until the caramels have completely melted.
  • Pour this mixture over the top of the cooked brownies and spread evenly.
  • Sprinkle nuts evenly over the caramel layer then put into the freezer while you move onto the next part.
  • Add the sugar, remaining evaporated milk and 1/3 cup butter to a small pan over medium-high heat until it starts to bubble around the outer edge. You want to reach a “soft crack stage”. Turn off the heat as soon as you see a rolling boil.
  • Stir in the peanut butter and the marshmallow creme until smooth.
  • Pour this nougat mixture over the top of the caramel peanut layer and place back in the freezer.
  • Sprinkle the chopped Snickers chunks on top of the caramel peanut layer.
  • In a medium mixing bowl add the chocolate chips, remaining butter and heavy cream. Microwave on medium setting for 20 second intervals until totally melted.
  • Pour over the nougat/snicker bits layer.
  • Add back to the freezer for another 10 minutes, just enough to set the chocolate layer.
  • Cut into squares and serve.

OATMEAL MUFFINS

OATMEAL MUFFINS adapted from GET POCKET

Yield: Makes 12 muffin cups

2 LARGE eggs
1 1/2 cups WHOLE milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce or other fruit purée like mashed banana or even canned pumpkin
1/4 cup nut butter or 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter or coconut oil
1/4 cup PURE maple syrup or QUALITY honey
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract (see notes)
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon QUALITY ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, or chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup golden raisins or chopped dried fruit of choice or both 😀 (optional)

  • Preheat oven 350°.
  • Coat the wells of a standard 12-well muffin tin very well with cooking spray or line with papers.
  • 
Add the eggs, milk, applesauce, nut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. 

  • Add the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt and fold with a rubber spatula until combined. 

  • Fold in fruits, nuts and coconut.
  • Divide the oatmeal mixture evenly among the muffin wells, filling each one up to the top. 

  • Bake 25-30 minutes until slightly risen, dry on top, and golden-brown. 

  • Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes.
  • Run a knife around each muffin and remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. 


NOTES:

  • I make my own vanilla and usually have flavored on hand that adds a cit of flavor. I use Coconut Vanilla or Pineapple Vanilla regularly.
  • I also use Red Ape Cinnamon which is a high quality and extremely flavorful cinnamon.
  • The nuts, seeds and/or fruit are optional, but HIGHLY recommended. I usually add both nuts or seeds AND coconut.
  • I also recommend muffin papers to make clean up easier.
  • Muffins can be kept an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRY BROWNIE BOMBS

CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRY BROWNIE BOMBS yields 24

1 box of brownie mix and the ingredients it takes to make them or a batch of homemade
3/4 cup chocolate frosting
15 ounces almond bark
1 jar maraschino cherries (see note)

  • Bake the brownies as directed and let cool completely. Do not overcook the brownies, crunchy brownie bits don’t make for good bombs.
  • Crumble the made brownies and mix in about 3/4 a cup of chocolate frosting – you want a similar consistency to cake pops. You may need to add a little more, but you want to start out on the low side and add more as needed. You want a consistency that stays together easily, but isn’t too sticky to roll into balls.
  • Use about 1 1/2 of brownie frosting mixture and roll it into a ball, but then make a hole in the middle.
  • Add one cherry into the center and fold the brownie ball in over the cherry making sure to seal the cherry in.
 Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Once you have all your bombs made, pop them in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
  • Melt your almond bark. You may need a little more or a little less depending on how heavily you coat the bombs.

  • Remove the bombs from the freezer but keep them in the refrigerator.
  • Working with one bomb at a time, drop it into the melted almond bark, pull it back out, and tap off the excess chocolate.

  • Place it on wax paper and wait for it to dry completely.
  • If you want to add sprinkles do so IMMEDIATELY as the almond bark will dry quickly.

CRANBERRY ORANGE BREAD

CRANBERRY ORANGE BREAD
Cranberry orange bread is a go to fall favorite for us with its FRESH cranberries and sweet orange glaze. It also makes a wonderful neighbor gift during holiday times.


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups sugar
Zest of 2 LARGE oranges
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup neutral oil
4 LARGE eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons FRESH orange juice
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract (see notes)
2 cups FRESH cranberries, halved
½ cup chopped walnuts (Optional)

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray two 9×5 loaf pans with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large bowl add sugar and orange zest, stirring well to combine.
  • Add flour, salt, and baking powder, stirring to combine.  Set aside.
  • In a separate medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, orange juice, and vanilla.
  • Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring just until combined.
  • Fold in the halved cranberries and walnuts if using.
  • Pour batter into prepared pans.

 

  • For regular sized loaf pans, bake for 60 to 75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely on wire rack.
  • For mini loaves, bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and set on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides of the bread with a knife.
  • For muffins, bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely on wire rack.

GLAZE
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons FRESH orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
Powdered sugar, for dusting (Optional)

  • In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, orange juice, and orange zest.
  • Whisk until smooth.
  • Drizzle the glaze over the bread.
  • Dust with the powdered sugar if desired.

NOTES:

  • If your loaf starts to get too brown during cooking, place a piece of aluminum foil over the top to finish baking. 
  • I make my own vanilla so often have great complimentary flavors. This batch was made with a coconut pineapple vanilla.

STORING – Wrap in plastic wrap and store 2-3 days at room temperature.

FREEZING – This cranberry bread freezes beautifully.  Cool completely, Wrap well in plastic and ziploc bag.  Freeze for up to 3 months.  Thaw at room temperature.

STRAWBERRY COBBLER BARS – SQUARES

STRAWBERRY COBBLER BARS – SQUARES 18-20 pieces adapted from REE

FILLING
3 cups chopped FRESH strawberries
1/4 cup sugar 
1 tablespoon cornstarch 
1 SMALL lime, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon Malibu rum

  • Preheat the oven to 375°.
  • Add the strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, rum, lime zest and lime juice to a mixing bowl.
  • Toss to combine and set aside.

CRUST & CRUMBLE
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) salted butter, cubed and chilled, plus more for the pan
1 cup PACKED brown sugar 
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1/2 cup heavy cream 
1/2 cup FINELY chopped walnuts (optional)
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar 

  • In a food processor, combine the flour, butter, brown sugar and baking powder.
  • Pulse until a loose crumb forms; continue to pulse as you add the cream.
  • Grease a 9-X13 baking dish with butter.
  • Spread two-thirds of the flour mixture onto the prepared pan and press flat.
  • Top with the strawberry mixture, spreading it into an even layer.
  • Sprinkle the remaining flour mixture by dollops, followed by the turbinado sugar.
  • Bake the bars until the top is golden and the strawberry layer is thick and bubbling, 28 to 30 minutes.
  • Remove and allow to cool before icing.

ICING
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice 

  • Whisk together the powdered sugar and lime juice until smooth.
  • Cut the cobbler into small squares and drizzle with the icing.
  • Add to a platter and serve.

NOTE: Other flavor do work like cherries, peaches, blueberries and even raisins elieve it or not, but strawberry is the best we’ve tried. If using blueberries be sure to use the small WILD ones. If trying the raisins, substitute 1/2 cup of the fruit for figs and/or chopped walnuts.

FRUIT CRUMBLE BARS

FRUIT CRUMBLE BARS adapted from Mary Berg

Yield: 9 + servings

These are a quick and easy recipe for crumb bars made with a buttery coconut crumble topping and sweet fruit filling. It’s a perfect!

2 cups (270 grams) flour
1/2 cup (60 grams) rolled (old fashioned) oats
1/4 cup (25 grams) unsweetened desiccated coconut
1/2 cup (100 grams) packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
1/2 cup (250 milliliters) coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons (2 1/2 milliliters) PURE vanilla extract
1 cup (370 grams) cherry jam or flavor of choice – see note

  • Preheat to 350°.
  • Adjust oven rack to the lower third of the oven.
  • Lightly grease a 9 inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
  • Mix together the flour, oats, coconut, brown sugar and salt to combine.
  • Pour the melted coconut oil, melted butter, and vanilla extract over the oat mixture, mixing with a hand mixer JUST until combined.
  • Press two thirds of the dough into the bottom of your prepared baking pan.
  • Spread an even layer of jam over the oat layer.
  • Squeeze and crumble the remaining dough EVENLY into small crumble pieces over top the jam.
  • Bake 30-35 minutes until golden brown and the jam is bubbling.
  • Allow the bars to cool COMPLETELY before lifting out of the pan and cutting into squares.

NOTE:

  • Strawberry, apricot, peach, , blueberry, blackberry, raspberry or even apricot pineapple preserves all work really well.
  • You can also substitute cherry pie filling in a pinch. If you do, try to get more fruit and less glaze.

NO BAKE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER OATMEAL BARS

NO BAKE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER OATMEAL BARS
1 cup butter
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/4 cups rolled oats
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips
¾ cup chunky peanut butter

  • Line a 8-inch-by-8-inch baking dish with parchment paper, and set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar and vanilla extract over low heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has completely dissolved.
  • Add the oats, cinnamon and kosher salt, cooking and stirring constantly for 4-5 minutes.
  • Pour half of the oat mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  • Spread out the mixture evenly, pressing down.
  • In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and the peanut butter. Heat on high in the microwave, in increments of 30 seconds, stirring in between each increment, until melted and fully combined.
  • Pour MOST of the chocolate mixture into the pan over the pressed oats, reserving about ¼ cup for drizzling.
  • Top with the remaining oats and drizzle with the remaining ¼ cup chocolate mixture.
  • Refrigerate AT LEAST 4 hours, but preferably overnight until set.

RUSTIC TOMATO TART

RUSTIC TOMATO TART
1/2 package Pillsbury pie crust or homemade
1 tablespoon avocado oil
2 tablespoons tomato or basil pesto
3/4 cup shredded Havarti cheese
1-2 LARGE heirloom tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch slices
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon FRESH thyme leaves
1-2 green onions, sliced thin

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Roll out pie dough and shape into baking sheet dimensions creating an edge.
  • Brush with oil and pesto of choice.
  • Sprinkle 2/3 of the cheese onto the crust.
  • Arrange tomato slices over the cheese.
  • Season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Top with remaining cheese.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
  • Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes.
  • Garnish and serve.

LEMON DROP CAKE

This makes quite a large cake, but is quite versatile to change the shape, layers or even makes as cup cakes.

LEMON DROP CAKE
CAKE
6 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cup unsalted sweet cream butter, softened to room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 LARGE eggs
2 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup Limoncello

1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/3 cup FRESH lemon juice

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray 3 – 9inch round cake pans with non-stick baking spray
  • In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.
  • Using a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla extract until combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients on low speed JUST until combined.
  • With the mixer still running on low, add the buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon juice and mix again JUST until combined.
  • Pour batter evenly into cake pans.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes or until the cakes are baked through.

LEMON BUTTERCREAM
3 cups unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest
3 teaspoons FRESH lemon juice
3-6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
Lemons, thinly sliced for toppings (see notes)

  • Using a standing mixer, cream together ALL of the ingredients until stiff and smooth peaks form.
  • Slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface.
  • Place 1 cake layer on your serving plate.
  • Evenly cover the top with about 1 cup of frosting.
  • Top with 2nd cake layer and evenly cover the top with another cup of frosting.
  • Top with the third cake layer.
  • Spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides.
  • Scoop remaining frosting into a large piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe dollops all over the cake.
  • Pipe larger dollops of frosting onto the top of the cake. (see notes)
  • Place the sliced lemons in between the larger dollops

CANDIED LEMON SLICES
Candied Lemons are super EASY to make!

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons FRESH lemon juice
2-3 lemons sliced to 1/8-inch thickness

  • In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, water and lemon juice. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce to a simmer and add lemon slices in a single layer.


  • Simmer over medium-low for 15 minutes, gently flipping once or twice during the cooking process.


  • Transfer the lemon slices to a wire cooling rack or waxed paper and let cool.

 Let the candied lemons sit at room temperature for up to 24 hours before storing in an air-tight container.

NOTES:

  • When you have time, candy some lemons for decorations as an extra treat!
  • You can save any additional frosting for another use if you don’t want to do a bunch of extra decorating.
  • For a simply iced cake, sheet cake or cup cakes cut this recipe in half.

SAMOA CHEESECAKE

It’s girl scout cookie season or at least it was when I made this cheesecake, not so much when I actually posted it. 😀 I have never seen a girl scout selling cookies here in this area though – not even sure there are any troops. 🙁 I do miss that! Since we can’t buy them, why not make our favorite flavor cookie into a RICH, CREAMY and YUMMY cheesecake? BEST OF BOTH WORLDS!!!!

SAMOA CHEESECAKE
40 chocolate wafer cookies
1/4 cup butter, melted
32 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 LARGE eggs
8 ounces FULL fat sour cream
1/4 cup AP flour
1 teaspoon coconut extract
3/4 cup caramel sauce
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup chocolate sauce

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Fill a roasting pan halfway with water and place on lower rack of oven.
  • Use a food processor to crumble the chocolate wafer cookies.
  • Wrap a 9 or 10 inch spring form pan with a double layer of heavy duty foil.
  • Spray the inside of the spring form pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Mix together the cookie crumbs and melted butter until well blended.
  • Press crumb mixture into the spring form pan and 1 inch up the side of the pan.
  • Chill 10 minutes.
  • In a large mixing bowl at medium speed cream the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and fluffy.
  • Lower speed to low and add eggs, sour cream, flour and coconut extract for one minute JUST until blended.
  • Pour into chilled spring form pan.
  • Bake on center rack 1 hour and 10 minutes until center jiggles only slightly.
  • Run a knife around the outer edge to loosed the cake.
  • Let cool COMPLETELY on a wire rack.
  • Cover with saran wrap and chill AT LEAST 8 hours or overnight.
  • JUST before serving transfer to a serving plate.
  • Spread the caramel sauce over the top of the cake.
  • Sprinkle with coconut.
  • Drizzle with chocolate sauce.