Eggnog Cheesecake Bars

Eggnog Cheesecake BarsThese were a spur of the moment cookie, because I love the flavor of eggnog, and I was craving eggnog, but I don’t like drinking it.

Eggnog Cheesecake Bars

  • 1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 oz. butter
  • 2 1/2 packages cram cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 T. rum
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup eggnog (the real stuff, not the light version)
  • 2 T. flour
  • nutmeg
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Melt the butter and stir it into the graham cracker crumbs.
  3. Line a 9×13 pan with foil and pat the butter/crumb mixture evenly over it.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and rum until smooth.
  6. Beat in the eggs, then the eggnog, and finally the flour.
  7. Pour the mixture over the baked crust and sprinkle the top with nutmeg.
  8. Return the pan to the oven until it is set. This will take about 30 minutes.
  9. Chill thoroughly before cutting.

 

French Silk Bars

French Silk BarsI made these bars for the first time last year, and immediately fell in love with them. The original recipe is from a Better Homes and Garden’s cookie publication, but I have adapted it fairly liberally.

I made them this year as a straight up chocolate cookie, but the flavoring options are endless. After you make the filling, you stir 3 tablespoons of liqueur into it. If you want to stick with chocolate, use creme de cacao. If you feel like mixing things up a bit try creme de menthe, or Kahlua, or Bailey’s, or even framboise. The choice is yours.

These cookies also go exceptionally well with whipped cream, should you find yourself in search of any serving suggestions.

French Silk Bars

  • 2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 T. creme de cacao (or other liqueur) or heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Line a 13×9 inch pan with foil.
  3. Mix the cookie crumbs with the melted chocolate and press the mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, combine the cream, chocolate, sugar and butter in a saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is homogenous.
  6. Remove from heat and gradually whisk 1/2 of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.
  7. Whisk the yolk mixture back into the remaining chocolate mixture in the pot and return it to the heat.
  8. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until the mixture starts to steam.
  9. Remove from heat, stir in the liqueur, and pour into the prepared crust.
  10. Refrigerate until set and cut into bars.

Peanut Butter Graham Bears

These cookies are cute, they are delicious, and they are a perfect recipe to make with kids. The addition of graham cracker crumbs to the batter takes the flavor to the next level, a toasty, crunchy yet chewy level. The dough is simple to make, and there is no rolling or cookie cutter required. The bears are made with balls and logs of dough that you shape with your hands.

Here they are ready to go in the oven.Peanut Butter Graham Bears, ready to bake

And here they are out of the oven.Peanut Butter Graham Bears

Peanut Butter Graham Bears

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed graham crackers
  • Mini chocolate chips or raisins
  1. Preheat the oven to 325.
  2. Beat the butter and peanut butter together.
  3. Beat in the sugar, brown sugar, baking soda and vanilla.
  4. Beat in the egg.
  5. Stir in the flour and graham cracker crumbs.
  6. For each cookie, roll a tablespoon sized ball for the body, and a teaspoon sized ball for the head. Lay them on a parchment lined cookie sheet and flatten them slightly.
  7. Fashion small logs for the arms and legs, and three small balls. Arrange two of the balls as ears, and place the third one on top of the head, to form a snout for the bear.
  8. Press two mini chocolate chips or raisins into the cookie for eyes.
  9. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.

Christmas Cookie Countdown, Day 19, brought to you by my 7-year-old

We interrupt our regularly scheduled cookie to bring you Jasper’s Brown Sugar Peppermint Brownies.

Brown Sugar Peppermint Brownies, ready for the oven

Jasper is seven years old. He loves math, science, video games, soccer, piano, and baking. This year he made five loaves of potato bread and a batch of chocolate truffles for his teachers for Christmas. Tonight, after supper, he asked if he could  bake brownies.

Jasper’s favourite brownie recipe is from Abby Dodge, in her book the Weekend Baker. He decided to mix things up a bit by substituting brown sugar, because “brown sugar just tastes so yummy.” And he decided to make them more festive by sprinkling candy cane pieces on top of the batter before baking.

Also, he omitted the chocolate chunks I always stir in. We have a difference of opinion about them. He is more of a brownie purist.

I’ve posted my version of the recipe before. You can find it here. I leave it up to you to figure out how to incorporate Jasper’s modifications.

Brown Sugar Peppermint BrowniesJasper loves to bake, but I think his favourite part is licking the bowl. I know when I was his age that was my main motivation.Licking the Bowl

Jasper’s Other Most Favourite Cookie

I’ve already established that my 7 year old loves snickerdoodles. As much as he loves them, he loves these cookies even more. They are jam thumbprints.

Blackberry Thumbprints

In this case filled with homemade blackberry jam. They are also good with strawberry, apricot, orange marmalade, or the classic raspberry. I’ve filled them with lemon curd, with Nutella, and with chocolate ganache. They are all delicious.

You can leave the cookies plain, as I did today, or roll the balls of dough in chopped nuts. Almonds and hazelnuts work particularly well. You can even roll them in coconut if you want.

My favourite recipe for them comes from Carole Walter, in her book Great Cookies. Here is my adaptation of it.

Jam Thumbprints

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds, toasted
  • 8 oz. butter
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • jam
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Beat the butter with the sugar, salt, vanilla, and almond extract.
  3. Beat in the egg yolks.
  4. Stir in the flour and ground almonds until just blended.
  5. Roll the dough into ping pong sized balls. place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  6. Press a hole into the center of each ball with your thumb.
  7. Bake cookies for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and press the centers down with your thumb again.
  9. Fill each indentation with about 1/2 tsp. jam and return the cookies to the oven.
  10. Bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Chocolate Macadamia <3

Chocolate PhantomsThe official name for these cookies is Lora Brody’s Chocolate Phantoms. They are called phantoms because they tend to disappear quickly. You can find the original recipe in Rose’s Christmas Cookies by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

They are deep and rich and chewy an chocolatey, and packed with crunchy, buttery macadamia nuts. You will not be able to eat just one. If you are the kind of person who needs chocolate in your cookies, these are the cookies for you.

Use the best quality chocolate you can find. It makes a difference. In my case, I used a 70% single origin Cuban chocolate from Cacao Barry, which I think has the perfect flavor profile for these cookies, but then again I am kind of obsessive about chocolate.

Chocolate Phantoms (adapted from Rose’s Christmas Cookies)

  • 9 oz.  whole macadamia nuts
  • 16 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces (use the best you can find)
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Melt the butter with 8 oz. of the chocolate. Set aside.
  3. Beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla together, until well blended.
  4. Beat in the chocolate mixture.
  5. Stir in the flour and the baking powder.
  6. Stir in the macadamia nuts and remaining 8 oz. of chocolate.
  7. Drop by heaping teaspoonful onto a parchment lined cookie sheet (these cookies are fairly small). Using your fingers,  mound each one as high as you can.
  8. Bake 10 minutes, or until the tops look dry.
  9. Let them cool in the pan for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

 

 

Yes, they are Magic Cookie Bars

So you don’t consider yourself much of a baker, yet you’ve gotten yourself into the position of having to provide something for your child’s class/a pot luck/coffee hour. You need something fool proof, and oh, also fast because you just haven’t got the time for this.

Magic cookie bars will save you. They are fast, they are ridiculously easy, and unless you leave them in the oven for an hour and accidentally burn them to a crisp, they are foolproof. Also, everybody loves them.

I made a batch today, with some red and green candied chocolate chips sprinkles on top to make them extra festive. You can throw together a batch in the time it takes you to read this post.

Magic Cookie Bars

Magic Cookie Bars

  • 4 oz. butter
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 1/3 cups coconut
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (I use pecans, but any nut will do)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Line a 13×9 inch pan with foil.
  3. Put the butter in the pan and the pan in the preheating oven.
  4. When the butter is melted, remove the pan and sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs over the butter.
  5. Mix the two together and press the crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  6. Drizzle the condensed milk evenly over the crumb crust.
  7. Top with remaining ingredients then press down on them firmly.
  8. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until browned around the edges.
  9. Cool thoroughly before cutting. (I flip the whole thing upside down on a cutting board, peel off the foil, and cut it into squares while it is still upside down. I find it easier to work with this way).