Monday, May 10, 2010

Strawberry Cheesecake

So, I asked Heather what she wanted for dessert for Mother's Day this year. She just said "something extra yummy." I was totally out of ideas. I happened to yank the "Taste of Home Baking Book" off our shelf and flipped open the cheesecake tab. There, staring me in the face, were the pictures of this AMAZING, JAW DROPPING sight:

It came out incredible!!! Most people find cheesecakes really intimidating and difficult. This one was really a no-brainer, and it looks like it comes from some fancy, expensive bakery!! It takes a little planning ahead, but other than that, it's really easy! ENJOY this one!!!!!

3/4 cup ground pecans (I just chopped them really fine)
3/4 cup graham cracker squares (about 12 squares)
3 Tablespoons butter

4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 jar (12 ounces) strawberry jelly
3 Tablespoons orange juice
Red food coloring, optional
1 quart fresh whole strawberries

1. In a bowl, combine the pecans and cracker crumbs; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom of a greased 10-inch springform pan; set aside

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, lemon juice and vanilla; beat well. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Spoon over crust. Place pan on a baking sheet.

3. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from the oven; let stand for 15 minutes (LEAVE OVEN ON). For topping, combine all the ingredients; spoon around edge of cheesecake. Carefully spread over filling. Bake 5 minutes longer. Cool pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.

4. Several hours before serving, prepare glaze. In a saucepan, combine cornstarch and water until smooth; add jelly. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until jelly is melted and glaze is thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in orange juice and food coloring, if desired. Cool to room temperature.

5. Just before serving, remove sides of pan. Arrange strawberries on top of cheesecake with pointed ends up. Spoon glaze over berries, allowing some to drip down sides of cake. Refrigerate leftovers.

Source: Taste of Home Baking Book

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Haws Family Sunday Night Crepes

My sister, Lauren Nash, the younger of my two sisters, has made these crepes every Sunday night since I can remember. They are absolutely awesome! Heather and I liked them so much when we would visit her on occasional weekends, that we decided a few years back that we would carry on the crepe tradition at our house as well! When fresh strawberries aren't in season, feel free to substitute other fruit, or frozen fruit, or use only bananas.

Crepe Batter:

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons butter, melted


Nutella (Hazelnut spread with skim milk and cocoa).
Fresh sliced strawberries
Sliced bananas
Whipped Cream (We usually use the Reddi Whip in a can).

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and butter, beat until smooth.
2. Heat a lightly oiled nonstick griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the bottom of the pan evenly.

3. Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Remove crepe and spread with as much Nutella as you would like down the middle. Top with sliced strawberries and bananas. Fold crepe over and top with whipped cream!

"Mile-High" Peanut Butter-Brownie Pie

A few weeks ago, Heather and I were in the check-out line at Wal-Mart. We were standing there and saw the "Pillsbury recipe winners" cookbook on the rack. This pie was on the cover. It looked SO good! So, we bought the magazine, (impulse buyers that we are) and made the pie to take to a "Sushi-pajama party" we had last night with friends. The pie was the hit of the whole evening. We all had at least a piece and a half, and we all loved it especially because it hit that chocolate-peanut butter spot without being too sweet or too rich. Enjoy!!!!!

NOTE: we looked all over town for a "15.5" ounce package of the chocolate chunk brownie mix, and couldn't find it anywhere. So Heather, being as creative as she is, bought a larger size chocolate chunk brownie mix, then weighed out exactly 15.5 ounces of it on her little food scale, then proceeded as directed with the recipe. You don't want more than 15.5 ounces of the brownie mix because it will be too much batter and overflow the pie crust.

1 refrigerated pie crust (or homemade pie crust for single crust pie)
1 box (15.5 oz.) Pillsbury Chocolate Chunk Brownie Mix
1/4 cup peanut butter chips
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons water
1 egg
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 container (8 oz.) Cool Whip, thawed
2 Tablespoons peanuts, chopped
2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 350. Unroll pie crust and place in ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate as directed on box for one-crust filled pie. Flute edge.

2. In a medium bowl, stir brownie mix, peanut butter chips, oil, water and egg 50 strokes with spoon. Pour batter into crust-lined pie plate.
3. Bake 30-40 minutes, covering edge of crust with strips of aluminum foil after 15 to 20 minutes, until crust is golden brown and center of brownie is set. Cool slightly, about 20 minutes. Refrigerate 1 hour or until completely cooled.

4. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter and powdered sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Fold in Cool Whip. Spread mixture over brownie. Sprinkle top of pie with peanuts and chocolate chips. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. Store covered in refrigerator.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tres Leches Cake

For Cinco De Mayo we were having a small party with some friends. We made a wonderful meal chalk full of Spanish Favorites. We had Strawberry Margaritas (virgin of course), Fajitas, Spanish Rice and to top of our meal..... Tres Leches Cake. I am not normally a big fan of Tres Leches Cake but we decided to give this recipe a try. It turned out amazing! Aaron thought it was a lot like bread pudding. Everyone loved it and it was a huge success.

1 cup white sugar
5 egg yolks
5 egg whites
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 pint heavy whipping cream
10 maraschino cherries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter and flour bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.

Beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar until light in color and doubled in volume. Stir in milk, vanilla, flour and baking powder.

In a small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Beat until firm but not dry. Fold egg whites into yolk mixture. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 to 50 minutes or until cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool 10 minutes.

Loosen edge of cake with knife before removing side of pan. Cool cake completely; place on a deep serving plate. Use a two prong meat fork or cake tester to pierce surface of cake.

Mix together condensed milk, evaporated milk and 1/4 cup of the whipping cream. Discard 1 cup of the measured milk mixture or cover and refrigerate. Pour remaining milk mixture over cake slowly until absorbed. Whip the remaining whipping cream until it thickens and reaches spreading consistency. Frost cake with whipped cream and garnish with cherries.

Tips: I would suggest sifting your flour before you add it to the cake. I didn't do this and there ended up being a few lumps that turned into hard little nuggets. Everyone ignored them (lucky for me) but I am my own worst critic!

I used Strawberries instead of the Cherries. I liked the taste of the Strawberries and the freshness that they added.