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Pumpkin Cheesecake

holiday, cheesecake, thanksgiving, pumpkin
Just in time for Thanksgiving, I present to you, Pumpkin Cheesecake.

Here's the list of ingredients:

Crust
2 ¼ cups of graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup of sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
¾ cups of unsalted butter, melted

Filling
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp salt
1 15-oz. can pumpkin
1 ½ pounds (3 packages) cream cheese, left to soften at room temperature
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
5 large eggs, left at room temperature about 30 minutes
1 cup heavy cream


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

For the Crust:

Pour graham cracker crumbs into a medium-sized mixing bowl and add sugar (I did it a Tablespoon at a time, because I couldn't find my 1/4 cup measuring cup):

Add sugar

Add ginger:

add ginger

Add cinnamon:

add cinnamon

Add cloves:

add cloves

Mix together with a fork, until combined:

mix with fork until combined

Add melted butter:

add melted butter

Mix until butter is completely incorporated:

mixing in butter

mixed

Pour mixture into a greased 9" spring form pan:

pour into spring form pan

Press crust down and slightly up the sides of the pan:

press down and up sides

Bake crust for 15 minutes, until edges are just slightly browned. Set on a cooling rack to cool:

baked for 15 minutes

Take a baking sheet and line it with three layers of paper towels:

paper towel lined baking sheet

Scoop contents of 1-15 ounce can of pureed pumpkin onto the paper towels:

scoop pumpkin onto towels

Spread pumpkin evenly onto the towels using a spatula:

spreading pumpkin

spread pumpkin

Use a second triple layer of paper towels and press down on top of pumpkin to remove excess moisture:

press pumpkin with extra paper towels

Peel away top layer of paper towels:

peel away paper towels

Fold pumpkin onto itself:

fold pumpkin onto itself

Fold pumpkin onto itself again, and slide onto the baking sheet:

fold onto baking sheet

In a stand mixer, with the flat paddle attachment, mix cream cheese until smooth:

mix cream cheese

mixing

Add the sugar:

add sugar

Add the cinnamon:

add cinnamon

Add the ginger:

add ginger

Add the nutmeg:

add nutmeg

Add the allspice:

add allspice

Add the cloves:

add cloves

Add the salt:

add salt

Mix well and then scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula:

mix and then scrape

Add the pumpkin:

add pumpkin

Add the vanilla:

add vanilla

Add the lemon juice:

add lemon juice

Mix well and then again scrape sides with a spatula:

mix and scrape

Add the first three eggs, one at a time:

add eggs

Mix well, and then scrape bowl again:

mix and scrape

Add the last two eggs:

add eggs

Mix well and scrape the bowl yet again:

mix and scrape

Add the heavy whipping cream:

add whipping cream

Mix well and give the bowl a final scrape and stir by hand:

stir and scrape

Pour batter into waiting crust:

pour into crust

poured into crust

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes:

baked for 1 hour 15 minutes

Let cool for 1 hour, and then remove spring form pan:

remove pan

Let cool for an additional 2-3 hours, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate until time to serve. Chill for 4 hours, up to three days. Slice and enjoy!

slice and enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!!


Witch's Broom Cookies

Witch, Halloween, Broom, Cookie
Just in time for Halloween, here's a fun cookie to make with kids!

Here's the basic recipe:

1/2cup packed brown sugar
1/2cup butter, softened
2tablespoons water
1teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2cups all-purpose flour
1/8teaspoon salt
10pretzel rods, about 8 1/2 inches long, cut crosswise in half
3teaspoons shortening
2/3cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2cup butterscotch-flavored chips, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees:

Mix butter, brown sugar, water and vanilla in a mixer:

Add butter

Add brown sugar

add water

Add vanilla

Mix until smooth:

Mix until smooth

Mixed until smooth

Add the flour and salt:

Add the flour

Add the salt

Mix and then scrape the bowl, and mix again:

Scrape the bowl

Next, line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper:

2 lined cookie sheets

Take the pretzel rods, and snap them in 2:

Pretzel rod

Snapped in two

This recipe makes 20 cookies, so snap 10 rods in two and line both pans:

Pretzel rods on two pans

Using a cookie scoop, scoop out a ball of dough for each pretzel rod:

Scoop dough

Scoop dough

Scoop dough

Scoop dough

Press one edge of dough around the pretzel rod to secure it:

Press dough to rod

Using a fork, dipped in flour, press down cookie to make broom bristles:

Use fork to make broom bristles

Making broom bristles with fork

Broom bristles

Once all the cookies are pressed, place them in the oven to bake for 12 minutes:

Pressed cookies

Cookies may be slightly under-cooked, the dough should just be set, it doesn't need to be brown, when removed from oven:

Baked cookies

Place on cooling rack to cool for 30 minutes:

Cooling

After the cookies are cool, place them on waxed paper:

On waxed paper

Melt chocolate chips with 2 teaspoons of shortening (I found that 2 minutes in the microwave does the trick perfectly):

Chocolate chips and shortening

After the microwave

Stirring chocolate chips

Stirred

Using a spoon, coat the cookie that is pressed to the pretzel, in chocolate:

Coating cookie in chocolate

Coating in chocolate

All coated

Next, melt butterscotch chips with 1 teaspoon of shortening (2 minutes in the microwave works for these as well):

Melting butterscotch chips

Stirring butterscotch

Stirring

Stirred

Let the butterscotch cool a bit and then transfer it to a plastic sandwich bag (a disposable pastry bag works as well):

Into the ziploc

Cut a small piece of the corner from the bag:

Snipped bag

Now, using that opening, drizzle the chocolate with butterscotch:

Drizzle butterscotch

All drizzled

Let the chocolate and butterscotch set (approximately 1 hour), and then serve and enjoy!!

Finished product

Makes approximately 20 cookies!

Happy Halloween!!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

chocolate chip, cookie
This is a modified version of the Tollhouse cookie recipe.

1 cup butter (softened)
1 cup butter flavored shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
4 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
4 1/2 cups of flour
1 24 ounce bag of chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

First, add the butter and shortening to your mixer and cream together:






Add the sugar and continue to mix:





Then add the brown sugar and mix well:





Next, add the vanilla (I am usually very liberal with the vanilla:



Next, scrape down the sides of the bowl:



Then add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until fluffy:





Then add the baking soda and the salt:





Next, add the flour. I have a 1 1/2 cup measure cup, so I do three of these, mixing well between each addition:









Next, scrape down the sides of the bowl again:



Now add the chocolate chips:



Now scrape down the sides of the bowl one last time, allowing even more mixture of the chocolate chips:





Now the dough is ready to be scooped onto your parchment lined cookie sheets:





Bake for 11 minutes and then remove from oven, and scoop onto a cooling rack:





Pour a nice big glass of milk, and enjoy!!



This recipe yields approximately 7 dozen cookies.

Bargasms

cookies, Bargasm
This is a recipe my mom uses, and she calls them, Linda's Bar Cookies. My husband coined the name Bargasms, and I think it's more appropriate.

Here's the basic recipe:

2 cups oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup melted butter

1 14 oz. bag of caramels
1/4 cup of water

1 cup chopped nuts
1 6oz bag of chocolate chips

This is a fairly simple recipe. I was actually doubling the recipe when I took the pictures, but I tried to take pictures of ingredients for a single recipe, but if things look a little different from yours, it's probably because I was doubling.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the first five ingredients in a stand mixer:

2 cups of oats:


1 1/2 cups of flour:


1 cup packed brown sugar:


1 teaspoon baking soda:


1/2 teaspoon of salt (note I have almost a teaspoon in this picture, because I was doubling the recipe):


Mixing it all together in the stand mixer:


Melt 1 cup of butter in a microwave safe bowl or cup:


Then pour slowly into the stand mixer:


Mix well, dough will be clumpy:


For easy cleanup, I take my 9 x 13 baking pan, and line it with aluminum foil, which I then grease, however, you can just grease your 9 x 13 pan, I just like the easy clean up of the lined pan:



Press the dough into the greased pan, reserving approximately 1 cup of the dough for later use:


Place this in the oven for 10 minutes.

Generally, while the crust is baking, I like to deal with the caramels. For this recipe you need approximately 14 ounces of caramel. You can use a bag of Kraft caramels (which is the perfect size for a single recipe):


You can use Werther's (which are easier to unwrap, but generally more expensive, and requires almost three bags):


Or you can use bulk caramels (likes Brach's), if your store has them.

Unwrap the caramels into a medium saucepan. The following picture is what one recipe's worth of unwrapped caramels look like:


Add 1/4 cup of water, and place on medium heat (note, I have more caramels, because of the double batch I was making):


Stir continuously over medium heat, and caramels will start to melt:


Continue stirring until the caramel becomes completely creamy:




I find that if I have the caramels unwrapped before the cookie goes into the oven, my caramel is melted and ready to go by the time the 10 minutes baking are up.

After 10 minutes remove the cookie crust from the oven (it will not be fully cooked):


Spread the pecans evenly over the cookie (cookie does not have to be cool):


Then evenly sprinkle with chocolate chips:


Next, pour the caramel evenly over the top of everything:


Now sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of dough over the top of the caramel:


Return the pan to the oven, and bake for an additional 15-18 minutes, until the top is golden brown, and the caramel is bubbly (I actually slightly overcooked this pan, as I was feeding my baby when the timer went off):


After about 5 minutes, you can pull the foil out of the pan, and continue cooling the cookies just in the foil:


Once the cookies are cool, use a spatula to cut into squares:




Pour a glass of milk, and get ready to taste heaven!

Peanut Butter Cookies

Witch, Halloween, Broom, Cookie
This is a recipe we've been using in my family for many years. The ingredients are as follows:

1 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup of peanut butter
2 cups of flour
2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Start by adding the shortening (I like to use butter-flavored in this recipe) and the sugars to your mixing bowl:



Cream the shortening and the sugars together:



While creaming the shortening and sugars, add the vanilla:



Add the eggs, one at a time:






Beat in eggs, until the dough gets fluffy:



Once the eggs are thoroughly mixed in, scrape the sides of the bowl:



Add the peanut butter (I usually like to do half chunky and half creamy, but I didn't have creamy today):



Add the salt:



And then add the baking soda:



Add the flour one cup at a time:



Mix in the flour well:



Scrape the bowl, to ensure all the flour gets mixed in:



Once the dough is ready, it's time to scoop. I like to have a couple different sized cookie scoops to chose from:



Today, I decided to use my larger scoop:



Drop scoops of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet:



Now it's time to flatten the cookies. Many people use a fork, but I've always liked a square pattern, so I use a spatula (make sure to dip your implement in flour, to avoid sticking):





Flatten all the cookies, and then place in the oven for 11 minutes:




As with the thumbprint cookies, I like to prepare additional parchment sheets, so they are ready for the oven:



Remove the cookies from the oven and let stand for about a minute:



Remove the cookies from the cookie sheets with a spatula, and place on a cooling rack:



I managed to forget to take a picture of the cookies cooling on the rack, sorry.

Enjoy the cookies:



Stay tuned until next time, when I make my famous bar cookies!

If you're looking for high quality pastries and you're located in Southern, CA, I highly recommend Laguna Cakes

V. =)

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies...


There used to be a grocery store in Irvine, California, called Stonecreek Market. It was on Barranca Parkway, and they had the most amazing bakery. My favorite item from their bakery was their Thumbprint Cookies. They were these amazingly rich, chocolaty confections. Stonecreek Market closed, and for awhile they had a bakery at Crystal Court in Fashion Island, so I could still get a cookie if I was lucky enough to make it before they sold out.

I decided I would try to recreate those cookies for my first blog here. Here is a step by step guide to making chocolate thumbprint cookies.

Here's the recipe I used:

2 cups shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
4 cups of flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

First, no kitchen should be without these awesome canisters from Tupperware. The set of four is perfect for storing flour, sugar, brown sugar and powdered sugar:

Tupperware Canisters

The next essential piece of equipment for any kitchen, is a stand mixer. I prefer KitchenAid (my mom and grandma both have them that are older than I am):

KitchenAid Mixer

Start by adding the shortening to the mixer:

Add shortening

Add the sugars and cream together with the shortening:

Add sugars and cream

Add the vanilla and mix well:

Creamed with vanilla

Next, add the eggs one at a time:

Add the eggs

Add the flour 1 cup at a time, scraping the bowl in between cups:

Adding Flour

Once all the flour has been added, dough will be very thick:

Dough is ready

Prepare two cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper:

Cookie Sheets

Use a cookie scoop, so that all of your cookies are the same size. Scoop balls of dough, and drop them into a bowl of chocolate sprinkles:

Sprinkles

Roll dough until thoroughly covered in sprinkles, and then place on cookie sheet:

Closeup

On Cookie Sheet

Place one dozen dough balls on each cookie sheet:

Filled Cookie Sheets


Place in oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove pans from oven, and place on a flat surface, cookies will only be half-cooked. Use a rounded implement (I like a measuring teaspoon, or tablespoon for bigger cookies) and press into dough to make "thumbprint":

Use spoon to make indentation...

Closeup

Make indentation into each cookie:

Indented cookies

Place cookies back into oven and cook an additional 6 minutes. Remove cookies from oven, and place on a cooling rack:

Cooling Rack


Closeup

Let the cookies cool, and then it's time to fill them. Now, I'm relatively certain that the reason Stonecreek's cookies were so rich, is because they used crappy canned frosting to fill theirs, so in hoping to capture the same flavor, that's what I filled mine with as well. I used just a little more than one large can.

Fill a star-tipped pastry bag with whatever type of chocolate frosting that tickles your fancy, and pipe into cookies:

Piping

Continue piping, until your hands hurt, and every last cookie is filled:

Finished


Closeup

Mmmm
Enjoy!!

Yum

This recipe made just a little over 7 dozen cookies. I found that the night the cookies were made, they were extremely crispy, however, by the following day, they had a delightful consistency, that made it hard to eat just one.

Special thanks to my husband, who took some of these pictures!

Check back again soon for another recipe!

Welcome to the Cookie Spot...


The Cookie Spot is my blog dedicated to my love of baking. I've been baking since I was about 4 years old. My mother is a professional pastry chef, and her and my grandmother taught me everything I know about baking delicious, beautiful desserts.

As I create new desserts, I will blog about them here, sharing my love of baking with the world!

Welcome to the most delicious destination on the web!

V. =)

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