Tag Archives: Cream cheese

Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

I’m on a roll with recipes that aren’t really good for you. I had blueberries and cream cheese that needed to be used and thought: what can I do with these items? Around the same time, my son asked for a hiatus from waffles for breakfast. So, despite having the brownies, I figured I would venture into coffee cake land. I love coffee cake, it’s an acceptable cake to eat for breakfast! What made this cake appealing was really the fantastic chunks of cream cheese dotted throughout. The cream cheese adds a sweetness and texture that is so unique and incredibly good to contrast with the tart blueberries.

As always, this recipe is very easy and straightforward. No surprises. I saw this recipe on tasteofhome.com and thought I would give it a go. I added lemon zest and lemon juice for a bit of a bright pop.

My son loved this recipe and my husband said it was amazing! So overall, this was a really big hit.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: about 40 minutes

1/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, cubed

TOPPING:
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cold butter

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8 inch square baking dish.

For batter, in a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and
fluffy. Beat in egg, lemon zest and lemon juice. Combine 1 cup flour, baking powder and salt;
gradually add to creamed mixture alternately with milk.

Toss blueberries with remaining 2 tablespoons of flour. Stir blueberries and cream
cheese into creamed mixture (batter will be thick). Transfer to the greased dish.

For topping, in a small bowl, combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter
until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.

Bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Brownies

Yes, my New Year’s Resolution is fading fast. I have kids and they want snacks. Pineapple, apples and blueberries aren’t cutting it anymore!

Brownies. I joke that there’s no point in cutting brownies because they just end up getting slivered to death in my house. A literal death by 1,000 cuts. It’s no secret that I eat the most. I do. I hide them from my husband and children. I am shameless. Truly. Note in the picture the lack of actual brownies. There’s might be seven there. Couldn’t make it to the picture stage.

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In addition to being a brownie addict, I am a bit of a brownie snob.  There is only one type of brownie: fudgey. Take your cakey brownie and go. Don’t try to cover the listless dryness with frosting, it’s a lost cause. People have made their entire careers off of one spectacular brownie recipe (see Maida Heatter). For the longest time I thought the only good brownie came from a mix. Recipe after recipe lead me to the dry, unsatisfactory cake-like brownies I despise. I was partially convinced by Alton Brown that super chemicals unavailable to a lowly home cook made the mix brownies deliciously moist. I held that belief until I came across Maida Heatter and James Beard. Maida’s Palm Beach Brownies are the stuff of legends, and rightly they should be. Crinkly top, moist middle and all over CHOCOLATE. James Beard held little affection for the lowly brownie, but pointed me to an issue I had not considered: eggs. In one sentence, he cleared up the cake vs. fudge issue I had been having. If you spot a brownie recipe with more than 2 eggs, they will be cakey. If not, fudgey. It’s just that simple, most of the time.

Maida Heatter’s recipe teaches that brownies are pretty much eggs, sugar and chocolate. Small amounts of flour for binding and extracts for flavor amp things up a bit, as does a shot of expresso. But, was really sets Heatter’s recipe apart is the amount of sugar. 3 ¾ cups! Holy Crap!   Which might explain how she gets away with 5 eggs and not having a cakey brownie.  But, then I thought of fudge, and pretty much, same thing. Sugar. Lots and lots of it.

So, for me, the perfect recipe will have lots of sugar, 2 eggs and lots of chocolate.  I can’t do so much sugar in a brownie.  I’m by no means a nutrition drill sergeant, I’m doing a blog on brownies, but I have to draw the line somewhere.  3 ¾ cups in 1 pan of brownies is my line.  The recipe is good, trust me.  Really, really good.  But it’s a tad much.

My mom used to make black bottom cupcakes when I was a kid and I loved them.  I’m not that big of a cupcake fan now (read: can’t sliver them and mentally eating a whole cupcake instead of slivers of that amount to the same mass seems gluttonous.).  So, I wanted to recreate the recipe with brownies.    You can make the brownies without the cheesecake topping and they are wonderful.  The cheesecake topping is great, if you like that.  Allegedly, my husband didn’t, but a suspicious number of brownies (whole, not slivered) are missing, indicating otherwise.

Brownies are a rather new invention, probably around the 1900s.   General thought has the creation coinciding with the rise in food science and ready availability of chocolate, refined flour and sugar.    Of course, there is the legend of the Palmer House Brownies, created when a patron asked for a dessert that could be packed up and taken to the Chicago Exposition.  Either way, the brownie is an easily made and transportable dessert.

This recipe was inspired by recipes on Epicurious.com

Black Bottom Brownies

Cream Cheese Topping:

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 egg
⅓ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
⅛ teaspoon salt
6 ounces chocolate chips

Brownie Layer:

6 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease and flour a 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan. Set aside.

Put the cream cheese, egg, sugar, vanilla, and salt together in a mixing bowl. Mix together until well blended. Add the chocolate chips and set aside.

Over medium low heat, melt together the bittersweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate and butter. The chocolate mixture will be glossy. Remove from heat and whisk in the sugar and vanilla. One by one, whisk in the eggs. After the eggs are incorporated, stir in the salt and flour until completely incorporated. Finally, stir in the flour.

Spread the brownie mix evenly into the baking pan. Top with the cream cheese topping. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a pan comes out with only a few moist crumbs, 35-45 minutes.

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Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Being a fairly low carb person, there are certain foods I desperately miss.   Would I love a plate of French Fries?  Yup.  Pizza?  You bet.  Stuffing?  Yes, a million times.  Crackers with my cheese?  Of course!  Bun with my hamburger?  Oy.

Mashed Potatoes?  Not really.  I’m not a potato fan, unless they are completely fried crisp. Then, ok!  I’m mostly in it for the crispy outside shell.  Steak fries?  Pass.  My husband, on the other hand is part Irish and LOVES potatoes.  He’s having to get extremely serious about being low carb because his lack of seriousness has had some health consequences.  So, he reluctantly joins the low carb bandwagon.

I had heard about fake mashed potatoes.  But honestly, the thought of cauliflower really didn’t appeal to me.  Sure, it’s beautiful when raw.  That’s about where my affinity ends.  I’ve used it as a rice substitute, but it’s pretty swamped with strong flavors and more there for filler.  In this recipe, cauliflower is the star.  The. Star.

I tried a ton of recipes and some lacked the heft or texture of mashed potatoes.  Some were just runny.  Others worked better, but really didn’t take advantage of the blank canvas.  I tried to up the flavor here and add really good texture as well.

Cauliflower is wet.  Very, very wet.  And in this recipe we steam it, adding more water to the process.  So, without something more, you’ll have a very thin mixture with just pureed cauliflower.  I used a combination of cream cheese and butter to really give the dish more substance.  I also could have roasted garlic and added it to the puree, but I liked the convenience of granulated garlic.  It added flavor without any additional moisture.

This recipe comes extremely close to garlic mashed potatoes.  My kids ate it up until I told them it wasn’t mashed potatoes, then it became a pariah on the plate.  But really, it stands on its own as a great dish.  No need to fool anyone, just say it’s pureed cauliflower.  Unless they are minors.  Then it’s mashed potatoes.  As an extra bonus, it’s mashed potatoes that are quicker and easier to make then real mashed potatoes!

Your mileage my vary on this dish.  I used 1 really large head of cauliflower.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Serves 4-6, as a side dish
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

1 large head of cauliflower, heavy stalks removed, cut into florets
3 tablespoons of cream cheese, divided
3 tablespoons of butter, divided (I used European Style, which has more fat content)
3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic, divided
Salt and Pepper

Steam cauliflower until soft. I used a steamer insert and placed it over boiling water and it took about 13 minutes.

Place one third of the cauliflower into a food processor (if yours can take more, great, mine couldn’t). Add 1 tablespoon cream cheese, 1 tablespoon butter, and 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic to the food processor. Puree until the consistency desired and there are no remaining chunks of cauliflower. Place in a serving bowl and cover. Repeat process until the cauliflower is all pureed. Salt and Pepper to taste and serve.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Pie

Easy no bake chocolate hazelnut cream pie

My kids are with their aunt and grandparents this week.  Therefore, I have taken this rare opportunity to make things that have gotten the veto from the kids. Lemon Chicken was one. Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Pie was the other one. I’m not sure why the hate for this particular dish. I love the taste of hazelnut, but if you are thinking something will taste just like chocolate, hazelnut may not be a welcome flavor.

The inspiration for this dish came from my peanut butter cream pie experience. I thought, if a pie can be this awesome with peanut butter, what would it be like with Nutella? Also, I wanted to take the opportunity to say “Really!?!?” to those who sued Nutella because they were allegedly “deceived” by the commercials that said Nutella was healthy. Check out the news coverage here.

Let me start by saying the first ingredient is sugar. Yes, sugar. Read a label, people. Commercials make their products sound better than they are. Shocking, I know.

It was a small rant, but important one.

So, this pie is light and cold and completely easy. My elementary school kids made it easy. Great for summer entertaining or potluck!

Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Pie
Serves 8

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (Philadelphia brand tastes best)
1 cup Nutella
2 cups heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks
1 chocolate wafer pie crust

Combine cream cheese and nutella in a mixing bowl and whip until well combined and fluffy. Fold in whipped cream one third at a time, until thoroughly combined. Pour mixture into pie crust. Cover in plastic wrap and freeze until solid. Remove from freezer about 10 minutes prior to serving. Melt a small amount of nutella to drizzle on top for “flair”.

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Hot Crab Dip

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I live in Maryland.  We love our blue crab here.  When our beloved Ravens were in the Superbowl hunt, crab was scarce because everyone was making hot crab dip for the big game.

Seriously.

You think I’m exaggerating? During the playoffs, I ventured to 4 different stores to find lump crab meat on game day, and STILL came up empty.  I totally learned my lesson and bought some earlier in the week for the next game.  Hot crab dip is like buffalo wings here.

Everyone has their own recipe they make at home, but one thing you’ll find is that generally, people are unhappy with restaurant dip.  It’s mostly “filler”,  with too much cheese or mayonnaise.  Nary a “jumbo lump” to be found.  Disappointing.  I realize crab can be expensive.  Around here, crab goes for $16 to an eye popping $44 a pound.  But, when you are paying $14 for a very shallow bowl of dip, you should be able to identify a few chunks of crab!

My recipe is a bit different from others.  I don’t like green or red peppers in my dip.  Peppers, to me, are overwhelming, especially to the sweet and delicate crab meat.  I also don’t like cheddar cheese.  You can sub the Monterey Jack cheese I use in the recipe below if you prefer cheddar, but the reason I don’t use cheddar is that it’s not a smooth melting cheese and tends to clump together.  Especially as the dip cools. When you dip a cracker in a hot dip that uses cheddar, you sometimes get an unsightly mass of cheddar cheese.  Not ideal. Also, and this is a pearl-clutching statement for a Marylander, so brace yourself: I don’t like Old Bay. It’s just too much. To me, it ruins everything it touches. Old Bay is a bold and aggressive seasoning that lacks sophistication, especially for a very subtle dish like crab dip. I realize what I’ve uttered is heresy in these parts. I’m ok with it.

I also used pasteurized crab meat in this dish. I know, gasp! Look, I could spend 1/2 an hour picking through meat looking for shells. Or, not. Pasteurized meat tends to not have shell in it (you still need to be careful with it, as you do get a few), but some think it has a slightly off flavor. There’s so much spice and flavor in this dish, the pasteurized crab won’t make a difference. Now, were this a no filler type crab cake or a cold crab dish, I probably wouldn’t use it. I don’t really taste much of a difference between pasteurized and fresh crab meat, honestly. Let me clarify that I mean pasteurized crab. It’s usually right next to the fresh crab. Not canned crab. I’ve never used that, so I can’t comment on it.

My perfect crab dip is creamy, loaded with crab, with a touch of spice hitting at the end.   A completely ultra lux experience.  So, in my dip I have mayonnaise and, optionally, cream cheese.  I made two versions of this.  One was slightly runny, but excellent.  The other was thick and creamy and also excellent.   I went with thick.  The only difference is the addition of the cream cheese.  If you don’t want an extra thick dip (or don’t have cream cheese handy), leave it out.

Hot Crab Dip
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Serves a large crowd

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup shallots, diced fine (may substitute onions)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon hot sauce (more if you like it spicy!)
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (optional)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked for shells
Crackers or toast points

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine all the ingredients in a baking dish except the crab and crackers. After the mayonnaise mixture is thoroughly combined, gently fold the crab meat into the mixture. This preserves the “jumbo lump” you paid for. Bake until bubbly, about 40 minutes. Serve with crackers or toast points.

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