I decided to give myself a weekend with a LITTLE baking break – only ONE thing! I actually made another goodie during the school week last week for one of our substitutes. He bailed me out one day when I called in sick and I promised baked goods. I’ll provide the recipe to the best of my remembering, as I kind of made it up as I went. I’ll start with my TWD post first. This week was Thumbprints for Us Big Guys. As my husband described them – almost like a Russian Tea Cake with jam. Tasty none the less 🙂
I started with some good old mise en place as usual. With such few ingredient this was an easy one. I ground up the hazelnuts with my food processor and mixed them with the flour. The processor worked PERFECTLY for this!
The recipe starts out by creaming butter and sugar – I think I have enough of these pics up.
Then I added in some vanilla and almond extract:
Then i slowly added in the flour/hazelnut combo. You can see the hazelnut specks in the dough 🙂
I rolled the dough out into little balls, and used the back side of a (clean) meat tenderizer to make the indentation:
I baked them for 15 min, and they were perfect – lightly browned, but not falling apart.
Dusted with powdered sugar:
And filled with heated raspberry jam (WITH seeds – the only way to do it!)
Delicious 🙂 Still not as good as my favorite jam thumbprint cookies handed down my my awesome grandma, but still good!
So, onto my own creation…. The substitute teacher that I was baking for wanted cheesecake bars. He said to give him three options and he would choose his favorite. I can’t remember the three, but he chose caramel apple. Here’s the pics and then I’ll explain the recipe as best as I can.
They didn’t cut super nice (I got impatient and cut too quickly), so that’s why there aren’t more pictures. Needless to say, they were DELICIOUS!!! Ok, explanation. I started with a shortbread base, then a caramel apple layer, then a layer of cheesecake with a hint of maple, then a oatmeal streusel, finished off with caramel. There isn’t much I would change overall. In cheesecake bars I usually use Neufchatel because I’m not aiming for a super thick, dense cheesecake. I think the apples kept is pretty soft, so next time I would use regular, full fat cream cheese. Also, I would make my own caramel and thin it out a little more. I was in a pinch and used Kraft. Here’s the recipe (I put my future adjustments in parentheses), and sorry for inexact measurements on parts – fruit pies are not something I measure, but simply taste because the sweetness of the fruit makes a difference in the measurements.
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer with the paddle attachment until smooth. Add in the flour and mix. It will be pretty crumbly, but that’s just fine. Press shortbread mixture evenly into the bottom of a greased, parchment lined 8×8 pan. Bake for 12 minutes.
1 Tbsp. butter
2 apples, peeled and chopped – I used one granny smith and one golden delicious
2 Tbsp brown sugar, not packed
2 Tbsp sugar
Spoonful of flour
Cinnamon to taste
Dash of salt
Splash of vanilla extract
Melt the butter in a medium sized sauce pan. Add in the apples and mix with melted butter. Let apples soften a bit and add some juice. Add in both sugars and mix until well coated. Add in the flour (about a spoonful, to help thicken), cinnamon, salt, and vanilla. Stir until the liquid thickens. Taste an apple to adjust sugars and cinnamon to your taste. I don’t like my pies overly sweet, and this amount was perfect. Spread apples over baked shortbread base.
8 oz. Neufchatel cream cheese, softenened (Use full fat next time)
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp maple flavoring
Cream the neufchatel to smooth it out in an electric mixer with paddle attachment. Add in the sweetened condensed milk and continue mixing. Add egg and mix until well combined. Stir in extracts. Pour over apples mixture in the pan.
2 Tbsp butter, melted
Spoonful of brown sugar
2 spoonfuls flour
2 spoonfuls oats
cinnamon to taste
Melt butter, stir in brown sugar, flour, oats and cinnamon. It should be fairly crumbly. If not, add more flour/oats. Sorry for the inexact measurements, I just kept adding until it was the right consistency and taste. Sprinkle on top of cheesecake layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes – until a pick comes out clean.
10 Kraft caramels
milk, as needed
Melt caramels and milk in a saucepan. Add milk until desired consistency. Drizzle over cooled cheesecake bars. Chill the cheesecake bars for several hours or overnight. Cut into 16 bars.
Hope this all makes sense!!
This week – Apple Pie on Thursday! I’m a math teacher and pi day is Sunday, but we are celebrating on Friday. I will also be making more buckeye brownies to send to my brother for his b-day. Not sure if anything else is in the mix yet, probably 😉
Hope you are all having a fabulous week!!!!