Oreo Cheesecake Cookie Dough Bars

Yesterday, I spend a considerable amount of time reviewing all 683 posts on this site, and discovered that I made a similar version of these bars back in February of 2013.

The only difference between the two recipes is the crust – this one uses Oreos, the other calls for graham crackers. Both versions are equally delicious, and as evidenced by the fact that I made them twice, they are definitely worth making again.

Which I most certainly will.

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Oreo Cheesecake Cookie Dough Bars – adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

For the Oreo crust:
1 1/2 cups crushed Oreo cookies
5 tbs. unsalted butter, melted

For the cookie dough:
5 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose  flour
3/4 cup chocolate chips

For the cheesecake filling:
10 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper allowing a little overhang. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix the Oreo crumbs and melted butter together until thoroughly combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 6-7 minutes. Remove pan to a cooling rack. Leave the oven on.

While the crust is cooling, prepare the cookie dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla until smooth and combined, about 1 minute. Slowly mix in the flour and mix until just incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla just until incorporated. Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared crust.

Use your hands to form clumps of cookie dough. Flatten the clumps of dough in the palm of your hands to flatten them out. Distribute the cookie dough evenly on top of the cheesecake batter. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until the cookie dough top feels dry and firm and the pan is set. You can give it a little shake to see if it is set. Move bars to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Lift the cooled bars out by the overhang; cut into squares and store in the refrigerator. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Cannellini Bean Hummus

With the big game (aka The SuperBowl) looming on the horizon, all thoughts naturally turn to the most critical part of the day:

The Food. Seriously.

Well, truth be told, it appears to me that most people agree on three very important elements in terms of relevance to the big day: the food, the commercials, and the alcoholic libations. In that order.

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And although J and I haven’t figured out what we are doing just yet, I am definitely going to make another batch of this hummus, and I am hopeful that this tantalizing hotdish (yesterday, I learned that “hotdish” is the proper term for a casserole in the Midwest) will make an appearance. J’s friend Jamie emailed us the link yesterday, simply saying, “J should make this”.

Of course, J’s affection for Tater Tots is well documented…..

Cannellini Bean Hummus – adapted from mideast food

  • 2 ½ cups white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 tbs. of tahini
  • 3 tbs. olive oil, plus additional for drizzling on top
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • water

In a blender or food processor, blend the white beans. Add tahini, lemon juice, cumin, garlic, and olive oil until the ingredients form a creamy, paste-like consistency. Add small amounts of water as needed until desired texture. Pour the mixture into a large serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate for one hour or serve immediately. Before serving, drizzle additional olive oil on top and sprinkle on fresh ground black pepper and cayenne pepper (or smoked paprika).

Thoughts and Randomness (and a house update!)

Big news on the housing front! J and I met with the builders for our home yesterday morning, and gave them our updated ideas for the floor plan. We had a multitude of changes to make, mostly reconfiguring the cabinet/storage space (and shop space!)…. because, well, we NEED and WANT it.

I say “need and want”, because as Dad so succinctly puts it, “It’s YOUR home, YOU are paying for it, and it should to be the way YOU need it and want it  – if they can’t accommodate you, find someone that will”.

He’s right, of course (but don’t tell him that….  )

Fortunately, the builder can and will make the changes we requested, and thanks to Pinterest, I had lots of pictures to show them of features that we want to add, especially to the kitchen.  We both agreed that it was a smart move on our part to wait as long as we did in terms of finalizing the plans, as we discovered during our week long vacation together during Thanksgiving break that we definitely require a whole lotta counter and storage space for all of our gadgets and appliances.

So now, we sit back and wait patiently for the next set of plans to arrive. It’s hard to believe that before this year is over, we will be living in our new home on the ranch.

Or, as Mom puts it, “Living out in the swamp…”

She will change her tune when she sees her suite …..

Doubletree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sunday evening.

Ahhhhh. Another fabulous weekend with my beloved J, capped off by the tantalizing aroma of Cock-a-Leekie Pie baking in the oven for this evenings’ dinner.

Try to stifle the giggles from the name..

I won’t elaborate on the strange looks I received from the family before I translated the recipe into the more common term of Chicken Leek (and Bacon) Pie. You could see the lights go on as they realized what was going in to it……. comical, to say the least…

the very least.….

So ….. moving along….. the other day, I came to the conclusion that it has been a very, very long time since I made an actual batch of cookies. Too long. To the trained eye, it appears that lately, most of my baking consists of bar cookies, pies, and Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug. Because sometimes you just need a chocolate chip cookie, asap.

If not sooner.  

These cookies, though, did not last long in our home. They were the perfect blend of chunky, chewy, crispy, and chocolatey. And will definitely be made again.

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Happy Sunday!

Doubletree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (two sticks), softened
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)

Pulse oats in a food processor until semi-fine or fine. Set aside.

Add butter, both sugars, vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl. Cream together using an electric hand mixer. Add eggs one at a time and mix until you have a smooth mixture. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bottom of the bowl with a spatula at least once.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk the ground oats, flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed, being careful not to overmix. Drop in the chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed throughout the cookie dough.

Using a large cookie scoop (3 tablespoons), scoop cookie dough onto a lined baking sheet. Freeze or refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 2 to 4 hours or overnight even.

To bake: Place cookie dough portions onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until desired doneness. Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack if storing. Store in a sealed container with a slice of sandwich bread to ensure softness of cookies. 

Old Fashioned Date Nut Bread

So I have a plan….. not an evil plan, mind you, just a plan.

Over the past few days, I have been toying with the idea of making a family cookbook with all of our favorite recipes, and giving copies to the posse when they leave home.  Which, given the mental state Sabrina has been in lately, I hope will be soon.

I’m kidding, I’m kidding – call off the firing squad please….

Seriously though, she has been so moody, ultra sarcastic, and the constant complaining about every.little.thing is starting to wear me down. Right about now, I can hear my mother saying, “Patience and strength, my dear, for you still have to get through Alexander’s mid-teen years….”

Oh lord. 

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Anyway, I thought it would be kind of neat and very special to have an actual printed book of our family faves (complete with good pictures!), because even though the information is readily available on the blog, there’s nothing like the feel of a real book.

And besides, maybe it would inspire the kids to participate a little more in the kitchen. One can only hope……

Old Fashioned Date Nut Bread – adapted from King Arthur Flour

This bread is an absolute dead ringer for the date/nut bread of my youth. I can’t wait for Mom and Dad to try it when they come for a visit.

  • 2 cups chopped dates
  • 4 tbs. softened butter
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup hot brewed coffee
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs. brandy
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

     Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan. Place the dates, butter, baking soda, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Pour the hot coffee into the bowl, stirring to combine. Allow the mixture to cool for 15 minutes.

    Add the egg, vanilla, brandy, baking powder, and flour, beating gently until smooth. Stir in the pecans. Pour the batter into the pan, gently tapping the pan on the counter to settle the batter.

    Bake the bread for 45 to 55 minutes, tenting the loaf gently with foil after 30 minutes, to prevent over-browning. Remove the bread from the oven; a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. After 10 minutes, gently turn the bread out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Cool completely before slicing. Wrap airtight, and store at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage

Our favorite Pot Roast

I did it! I finally made a pot roast that was not only edible, it was incredibly delicious. Don’t laugh, I’m serious…

When I served this the other night, J immediately said, “Wow, this is really good”!  And although I don’t have a picture of it (really, it’s such an unattractive shade of brown…), this is definitely one for the record books, and will be lovingly prepared again when my parents arrive in about two weeks :)

Speaking of record books, you might remember my dialogue the other day about continuing this blog versus just saving all of our favorite recipes to the Paprika app. After careful consideration (and several middle-of-the-night-dialogues with myself), I have decided to continue my blog. It is in need of makeover, however, and more than a few better pictures, but I really enjoy the creative outlet it provides for me. Now all I have to do is find technological help in making it better and more user-friendly.

And no, Dad, that last comment wasn’t directed to you.

Ok ok, actually it was…….

Company Pot Roast – adapted from Ina Garten

1 (4 to 5-pound) prime boneless beef chuck roast, tied
Freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour
Olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 to 4 leeks)
5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 cups good red wine, such as Burgundy
2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade ( I used about a cup of water, as we were out of stock)
3 branches fresh thyme
2 branches fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn and sear the other side and then turn and sear the ends. This should take 4 to 5 minutes for each side. Remove the roast to a large plate.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, leeks, and garlic, and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the wine and Cognac and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, 1 teaspoon black pepper. Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to the pot. Put the roast back into the pot, bring to a boil, and cover. Place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally. Turn the heat down to 250 degrees F after about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer.

Remove the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender or a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until smooth. Pour the puree back into the pot, place on the stovetop over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Place 2 tablespoons flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. Taste for seasonings. Remove the strings from the roast, and slice the meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Rice Krispie Treats

After dropping the posse off at school this morning, I paid another visit to the friendly doctors at our local ER. Today’s visit, however, was much more pleasant, for they removed the stitches from my hand. And then gave me the scissors and tweezers they used as a memento.

Like the inch-long scar isn’t enough? 

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No matter though, I’m just happy that those prickly stitches are out and I can wear my ring again. It’s funny how I don’t feel completely dressed without it on. I mean, I haven’t worn anything on that finger in 5 years. And wasn’t sure I ever would again. Alas, fate intervened and my heart and soul found their other half.

It’s a wonderful love story, actually, comparable to the 51 years-and-still-going-strong story of my parents love and life. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for setting such an incredible example of unbreakable love and devotion ♥

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the kitchen to bake something, since I have full use of my left hand again….

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Rice Krispie Treats – adapted from Cookies and Cups

These bars are fun and different – a step up from a regular rice krispie treat and not difficult to make at all. Just make sure to keep the bars tightly covered, as the cookie dough dries out very quickly.

Krispie Treat Layer
  • 5 tbs. butter
  • 8 cups mini marshmallows
  • 6 cups rice krispies cereal
Cookie Dough Layer
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Krispie Layer

Line a 9×13 pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Once melted add in marshmallows, stirring continuously until they are melted. Immediately remove from heat and stir in cereal.

Once the cereal is completely combined with the melted marshmallow, spread into pan and press evenly. Set aside while making the cookie dough.

Cookie Dough

Beat butter and both sugars until combined. Add in milk and vanilla, and mix until smooth, scraping the sides as necessary.

Turn mixer to low and add in the flour until incorporated, then stir in the chocolate chips.

Spread the cookie dough evenly over the krispie layer. Cut into squares to serve. Keep the bars covered tightly with plastic wrap to avoid them becoming dried out.