Raspberry-Swirled Lime Cheesecake Bars

In order to keep myself busy yesterday afternoon, and when my recipe search gave me nothing that appealed, the infamous Lime Monster appeared. (You may remember good ol' LM - the reappearance usually signals intense lime cravings that sometimes border on obsessive and tend to drive others crazy.) From there, the wheel started turning.

Lime, lime. What can I do with that key lime juice? I've got blueberries in the fridge, no raspberries, though. And some cream cheese that really should get used. Wait! Lime juice, cream cheese... raspberry preserves! Swirled through, all pretty-like! And with a chocolate crust! Because I think it'd be contrasting and pretty. :)

Thus, this recipe was born.

And did the Lime Monster approve? Yes, indeed. The raspberry is a sweetness that cuts through that delicious tartness. And while the chocolate crust wasn't as dark as I imagined, it still works. :)

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup plus ¼ cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1/3 cup butter, melted

16 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1½ Tbsp. flour
3 Tbsp. key lime juice
2 eggs
1/3 cup raspberry preserves

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease an 8-inch baking dish.

Mix together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cocoa, and butter. Press onto bottom of the pan.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, and lime juice until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time. Pour over crust. Drop dollops of raspberry preserves into batter, using a knife to swirl through.

Bake at 325F for 40 minutes, or until center is set. Cool on wire rack. Refrigerate for at least four hours before cutting and serving.


Mascarpone Brownies: The Large Batch

This is more of an updated one, rather than a new recipe (that's coming later).

Last week, I promised the girls at physical therapy that I'd bring in some brownies, since who doesn't love homemade brownies? So I figure I'd do a larger batch, with half going with me on Tuesday, and the other half staying here.

Well, yesterday afternoon, my dad was brought to the emergency room. Amazingly, it wasn't a holiday. ;) He was having back and stomach pains, and as the day went on, they got worse, so he was concerned about his appendix. Well, five hours, three iv's, and a ct scan later, we've got the official diagnosis: appendicitis. Because, obviously, timing is everything. He's supposed to start another round of chemo this Wednesday.

So now that half of the brownies has more duties. Comfort to my mom, who tends to be a nervous wreck, and something for my dad to look forward to when he gets home. :)

(The surgery happened a few hours ago, and all went well. We'll be visiting tonight, and hopefully he'll be home soon. They'll probably keep him an extra day or so, only because of the other medical issues.) Either way, positive thoughts and vibes would certainly be welcome. :)

Oh, as a side note, when unwrapping the four sticks of butter, I said to Dave, "This must be what Paula Deen feels like!" And he replied, "So long as you don't start drinking it." :D

2 cups butter, melted
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
6 eggs
4 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
½ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 13x9-inch baking pan.

Pour melted butter over the chocolate. Wait 30 seconds before stirring until chocolate is smooth.

Stir together sugar and cocoa in mixing bowl, then pour in melted chocolate, beating until smooth. Add the mascarpone, eggs, and vanilla. Gradually add flour and salt. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake at 325F for 45-50 minutes, or when a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Let cool on wire rack before cutting into bars.


Blueberry Crumble Bars

Since I know I won't have a chance to post this tomorrow... Happy 2nd Blogiversary to me! LOL It's hard to believe it's been two years doing this and I haven't lost my love for it or anything. And yay for my photography skills improving a bit, too. ;)

I lucked out this week. The grocery store had blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries on sale for $2 each, with the blueberries being a whole pint worth. I'd be a fool not to take advantage of that. So come Saturday morning, I'm seeking out blueberry recipes.

Fate smiled upon me, when she led me to one of my favorite blogs, Smitten Kitchen. And let me tell you, she is not lying when she says how good these are. I opened the container today to find them half gone. (Hey, I won't argue with my dad actually eating fruit. Good, high-in-antioxidant fruit, at that) The only change I made to the recipe (other than halfing it) was to add cinnamon to the dough, and that won my heart for this one. :)

½ cup sugar
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cold butter
1 egg
1/8 tsp. salt
Zest and juice of one lemon
2 cups fresh blueberries
¼ cup white sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease an 8-inch baking pan.

Mix together the sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and flour, then add butter and egg, using a pastry blender to combine. Dough will be crumbly. Spread half onto bottom of prepared pan.

Stir together sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice, then gently fold in berries. Sprinkle evenly over crust. Crumble remaining dough on top of the berries.

Bake at 375F for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.


White Chocolate Coconut Blondies

I will get this posted, one way or another. I'm not allowed to pick up my book, watch Jeopardy, or go to any other website until this is posted. I made these on Wednesday and things just kept getting in the way every time I attempted to get these posted. Even now, it's "Hmm... I should see when that bill is due." Nope, don't do it, Kristen. Post!

Alright. *determined sigh* I had a 'bonus' day off this week, and decided that I should bake something to mail out to Johanna. I texted her early in the morning, asking if she had a specific blondie in mind (she's very fussy about brownies, preferring, sadly, the box mix kind). Well, with no response within about 30-45 minutes, I went with these, having seen them many times over the years at Very Best Baking. Minus the macadamias, since we didn't have any in the house. *shrug*

They came together easily enough, but the finished product didn't leave me all that wow'ed. Maybe more coconut next time? I don't know. Any suggestions?

(No picture due to lack of time on Thursday morning, pre-mailing lol)

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
½ tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 cup white chocolate chips
½ cup coconut

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch baking pan.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Beat sugar, butter, and vanilla until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in morsels and coconut. Press into pan.

Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool on wire rack before cutting into bars.


WND : Nutella Crumb Cake

Finally! I get to participate in World Nutella Day!

Originally created by Misadventures in Italy, with her co-host Bleeding Espresso, WND is a celebration of that food of the gods, Nutella. Personally, the discovery of such divinity was truly an eye-opening moment, and since then, I've converted many a Nutella-deprived soul into its cult of worshippers. (My mom no longer believes in brownies if they don't have Nutella in them.) :)

For this, I wanted to do something different, something that I hadn't found online. A quick bread came to mind at first, but evolution took its course and now we have a Nutella Crumb Cake.

It comes together very quickly and it's probably best to not eat all of the batter, despite how delicious it is. ;) It's loosely adapted from a peanut butter crumb cake recipe, but I think this way is much better. :)

2¼ cups flour
2 cups brown sugar
¼-½ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
14 oz. Nutella
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup milk
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.

Stir together flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda in mixing bowl. Add Nutella and butter, beating until crumbly. Remove 1 cup of crumbs for topping.

Add milk, eggs, and vanilla, beating on low until combined. Continue to beat on medium speed for three minutes. Pour into an ungreased 13x9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips, then the crumb topping.

Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Let cool before cutting. Enjoy at room temperature or cooled.