Lemon Cheese Squares

Summer is almost here! Temperature’s rising, people start grilling and lemonades are again in demand. I have a dessert that is perfect for summer. Main ingredient: Lemon! Lemon is always connected to summer, because the tangy, citrus flavor makes the food so refreshing. So try it and you won’t regret making this. Very tasty and yet so easy to make, you will surely impress your guests when you serve this in one of your bbq parties! Enjoy!

Lemon Cheese Squares

adapted from Taste of Home

  • 1/3 cup stick margarine or butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

FILLING:

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) 4% cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a bowl, cream margarine and brown sugar. Combine the flour, salt and nutmeg; gradually add to creamed mixture. Press into a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. For filling, place the cottage cheese, egg, egg white and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Cover and process until smooth. Add the sugar, flour, lemon peel and baking powder; cover and process until blended. Pour over crust.
  4. Bake at 350° for 30-34 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate until chilled. Cut into squares.

 Yield: 9 servings.

Failed New Year’s Resolution? Oreo Cheesecake Bars to make you feel better!

February… A month has now passed since the New Year’s Resolution craze. The once- packed gym with those resolutioners sweating it out on the treadmill, stair climber, and elliptical machines is now thinning out. Come March, I’m pretty sure I can go to the gym after work and there will be plenty of machines that I can use. In fact, I can reclaim that treadmill that’s located in front of the flat screen tv. As for me, I did not bother making new year’s resolutions this year. It’s bound to be broken anyway… Oh wait, I forgot that I did! and my resolution was this: to try to be better physically, emotionally and spiritually every day. So I try to go to church every Sunday, I try to have a positive outlook everyday, I still keep up with my kickboxing and zumba classes, and I try to run two to three times a week. However, the past few weeks are undeniably so stressful for me so in the process of juggling different responsibilities,  I let the half marathon training slip away. Third week into my supposed-to-be training schedule, I finally half-heartedly admitted to myself that there’s a very high possibility that I won’t be able to do the half-marathon in April. That’s a real bummer, and that made me so mad at myself for “failing” to stick to my training schedule. In a way, I felt so disappointed at myself. I failed my expectation. If only I was  disciplined enough to stick to the plan…  So, to make me feel better [remember, my new year’s resolution is to be better physically, EMOTIONALLY, and spiritually?], I made something that no doubt would put a smile on my face — cheesecake. But this time, I made a mouth-watering, deeply satisfying Oreo cheesecake bars! This yummy goodness is a very nice treat on a gloomy day.

Ahhh… chocolate and cheesecake make everything better.🙂

Oreo Cheesecake Bars

adapted from Thedelishdishblog

For the crust:

  • 23 Oreo cookies
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:

  • 12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 6 tbsp sour cream, at room temperature
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 12 Oreo cookies, roughly chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F  and line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with foil.
  2. For the crust, process Oreos in a food processor until finely ground.  Add in the melted butter and pulse until the mixture is moistened.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan and press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan.
  3. Bake the crust for 10 minutes and set aside.
  4. For the filling, beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and smooth, about 2 minutes.
  5. Mix in the sugar until well combined.  Blend in the sour cream, vanilla and salt.  Beat in the egg and egg yolk on medium-high speed until incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  6. Stir in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula.
  7. Pour the cheesecake batter over the prepared crust, smoothing the top with a spatula.  Bake for about 40 minutes, until the cheesecake is set around the edges but slightly wobbly in the center.
  8. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool about 1 hour to room temperature.  Cover the pan and refrigerate until well chilled, about 3 hours.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

I thought  ‘snickerdoodles’ is a funny-sounding word. So when I saw this recipe from one of the blog sites that I’ve been following, my curiosity got the best of me so tried making it myself. According to online dictionaries, snickerdoodle is a type of sugar cookie made with cream of tartar and rolled in cinnamon sugar. Because of its plain appearance, it sometimes gets overlooked and perceived as a boring cookie. I got my surprise when I made it, because it tastes really good and it is very addictive especially when you pair it with black coffee or tea or even milk. The pumpkin flavor is just a bonus. For first time bakers, I recommend this recipe. Very easy to make, you will feel like you’ve been a baking pro after you make and taste this heavenly goodness.

 

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

adapted from Annie’s Eats

For the cookies:
3¾ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the coating:
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
Dash of allspice


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Whisk to blend and set aside.
  2.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Blend in the pumpkin puree.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until incorporated.
  3. With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.  Cover and chill the dough for at least 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.  Combine the sugar and spices for the coating in a bowl and mix to blend.
  5. Scoop the dough (about 2½ tablespoons) and roll into a ball.  Coat the dough ball in the sugar-spice mixture and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dough to fill the sheets, spacing the dough balls 2-3 inches apart.  Dip the bottom of a flat, heavy-bottomed drinking glass in water, then in the sugar-spice mixture, and use the bottom to flatten the dough balls slightly.  Recoat the bottom of the glass in the sugar-spice mixture as needed.
  6. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until just set and baked through.  Let cool on the baking sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  Store in an airtight container.

 

Princess Cupcakes

My friend’s daughter recently had her 5th birthday. She’s into princess stuff… Pink, glamorous, sparkly dresses, shoes and things that 5-year-old girls are very fond of. So for her birthday, I promised her that I would make Princess cupcakes for her. It’s actually vanilla cupcakes but I added a little bit of red food color to make pink butter cream icing. To make it more girly, I used the Wilton Cupcake wraps with Pink Princess theme to wrap the cupcakes in, and added some pastel-colored sprinkles. It sure was fun making these colorful girly cupcakes.

Vanilla ‘Princess’ Cupcakes

adapted from The Martha Stewart Show – Martha Stewart

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Basic vanilla buttercream, recipe follows
  • Colored cupcake sprinkles, for decorating, optional
  • Cupcake wraps, for decorating, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low-speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
  2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Serve at room temperature.
To make basic vanilla buttercream:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • a few drops of red food color, optional
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. With mixer on low-speed, add 6 cups sugar, milk, and vanilla; mix until light and fluffy. If necessary, gradually add remaining 2 cups sugar to reach desired consistency.

Baked Potato

I know, I know… It’s just baked potato. But I have tried so many recipes for baking a potato and by far, this is the best and easiest baked potato I’ve had. The taste is unbelievable. I love eating the skin too. Just make sure you wash the potatoes really well. This is a perfect no-fuss side dish that you can just stick in the oven while making the main dish. As an added bonus, the aroma of the potatoes baking in the oven is so heavenly. I know, I know… it’s just baked potato. But a very delicious baked potato indeed!

Baked Potato

adapted from Good Eats by Alton Brown 

  • 1 large russet potato
  • Canola oil to coat
  • Kosher salt
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and position racks in top and bottom thirds. Wash potato (or potatoes) thoroughly with a stiff brush and cold running water. Dry, then using a standard fork poke 8 to 12 deep holes all over the spud so that moisture can escape during cooking. Place in a bowl and coat lightly with oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and place potato directly on rack in middle of oven. Place a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any drippings.
  2. Bake 1 hour or until skin feels crisp but flesh beneath feels soft. Serve by creating a dotted line from end to end with your fork, then crack the spud open by squeezing the ends towards one another. It will pop right open. But watch out, there will be some steam.

NOTE: If you’re cooking more than 4 potatoes, you’ll need to extend the cooking time by up to 15 minutes.