Friday, September 16, 2011

Toffee Blondies

I've been trying to figure out what I should make next. I have some ideas for my next dessert creations, but haven't made them yet. I want them to combine sweet and savory flavors, with an autumn theme. Every magazine I have read lately is about apples, pumpkins, and cinnamon. I haven't baked in a while and I wanted to make something with ingredients I already had on hand. 
I had some left over toffee and chocolate chips so I figured this would be a great excuse to get rid of them. I love these blondies because they are so gooey on the inside! And honestly, anything with toffee, chocolate, and pecans has to be delicious! :)
What I loved even more about this recipe is the cute idea of giving the ingredients as gifts! I've seen a lot of different sites using this idea, but this one is my favorite! You can print the recipe cards at Baked Bree.

Toffee Blondies 
1/4 cup melted butter
2 lightly beaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup Heath Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla in a bowl. Slowly add in the flour, brown sugar, chocolate chips, baking powder, salt, pecans, and Heath chips. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Spread mixture into a greased 8x8 baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the edges start to pull away from the pan. Cool and cut into 16 bars.

Taco Soup

Taco Soup Recipe
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can kidney beans
  • 1 (15 1/2 ounce) can black beans
  • 2 (15 1/4-ounce) cans whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Fire Roasted tomatoes
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles
  • 1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
  • 1/4 cup finely diced jalapenos
  • Sour cream, for garnish
  • Grated cheese, for garnish
  • Diced avocado, for garnish
Saute the onions in a large skillet and transfer to a large crock pot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, jalapenos, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove. To serve, ladle soup into a bowl and top with sour cream, cheese, and avocado. 

Strawberry Cheesecake

Strawberry Cheesecake
Recipe adapted from Bakin Without Eggs by Rosemarie Emro 
Makes 12 to 16 servings

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 tablespoons sugar1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the filling:
1 (8-ounce) package regular cream cheese, room temperature
2 (8-ounce) packages low-fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 pint (16 ounces) light sour cream

For the Topping:
1-1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 cup water
1/4 cup sugar (more or less to taste)

To prepare crust: In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter or margarine, cinnamon, and sugar; blend well. Press into bottom of an ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Put foil around bottom of pan so it does not drip. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

To prepare filling: In a large bowl, with a handheld electric mixer set on medium speed, beat cream cheese, condensed milk, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch, lemon juice, lemon rind (if used), and vanilla. Beat until smooth, approximately 3 minutes. Add sour cream; blend well. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour on center rack. Knife inserted in outer side of cake should come out clean when cake is done. Middle will still be creamy.

Turn off oven and open door; let cake sit in oven for another 2 to 3 hours to cool slowly.

Remove from oven after it is cooled, loosen sides of pan with a knife, and remove sides of pan. Place on a plate and allow to cool completely at room temperature before placing it in refrigerator (so it does not create condensation) covered with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a couple of hours
before serving.
Variations: For a slightly thicker cheesecake use 4 (8-ounce) bars of light or regular cream cheese and one cup (8 ounces) sour cream instead of 16 ounces of sour cream. Or, for a softer cake, use 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk and 1/4 cup sugar and 1/3 cup cornstarch. Either way your cheesecake will turn out scrumptious! 

Gently rinse strawberries with cold water and allow them to drain well. Slice and place in a saucepan. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch, lemon juice and water together and stir until all the cornstarch is dissolved. Add this mixture to the strawberries in the saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook until sauce thickens and is translucent. At the end of the cooking time, add half of the sugar. Taste the sauce, and if desired, add the rest of the sugar. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Allow topping to cool and then serve over the cheesecake.