Cheesecake Lollipops – A Dessert to Impress Your Friends!

I was invited to a dinner the other night and had to bring something, so I decided to make these again and they were such a huge hit, I have decided to repost the recipe. These lollipops are delicious, impressive and, best of all, deceptively easy to make. You can make your own cheesecake (here is a great recipe from Cook’s Illustrated magazine), but even a good store-bought cheesecake works well for this enticing dessert. First, put the cheesecake in the freezer until it gets nice and firm. Then remove it and scoop golf ball size hunks out of the cheesecake and quickly roll them into balls before they start to melt. Insert a lollipop stick (I opted for long wooden skewers for an impressive display) into each ball and pop them in the freezer for around 2-3 hours until frozen.

While the lollipops are freezing, prepare your toppings by crushing oreos, peanuts, pistachios, almonds, malted milk balls, coconut or toffee. Almost anything can be used, and it’s great to mix and match the flavors.

The next step is whip up a simple chocolate ganache, which is just a mixture of equal parts chocolate and heavy cream, where you bring the cream to a boil, remove it from the heat and pour it over the bowl of chopped chocolate and whisk it together.

When the lollipops are frozen solid, take them out of the freezer, dip them in the ganache, roll Cheesecake Lollipops SHARPthem in your favorite toppings and then immediately stick them back in the freezer to set (you should lay them on parchment paper so they don’t stick)…that’s it.

Just take them out of the freezer about 30 minutes before your ready to serve them (make sure they’re served very cold or they will start to drop off the sticks!) and arrange them like a bouquet of flowers…I guarantee your friends will be impressed!

Papaya Banana Blueberry Orange Hawaiian Smoothie

Blueberry Papaya Banana Orange SmoothieWell, we’re back in Hawaii, so it’s Fresh Fruit Smoothie time…they’re simple to make, they taste great and have the consistency of creamy soft serve ice cream. For this one, I took fresh picked papayas and bananas, cut them into 1/2 inch chunks and froze them overnight. To make the smoothie, put about a cup of frozen papaya chunks, a cup of frozen banana chunks,  6 oz. of  your favorite blueberry yogurt (I use Dannon) into a blender and add about 3/4 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice  (if you don’t have orange juice, V8 Splash is a great alternative…it’s available everywhere. I use their Tropical Blend, but any flavor will do). Pulse the blender for about 30 seconds, give it a quick stir (make sure the blades have stopped!), and repeat a few times. It should be very thick at this point, so to get the perfect consistency, take the top off the blender while it’s running (make sure all the fruit has been pureed before you do this or you may end up wearing some smoothie) and slowly pour in a little more juice until you see a vortex form in the center-you’ll know what I mean when you see it happen-and the Smoothie will be perfect. If you love peanut butter like I do, you can add a heaping tablespoon (I prefer chunky) and blend for a couple of seconds more…it’s incredible!

Incredibly Addictive Caramel Corn with Peanuts

The only problem with this recipe is that, no matter how much you make, it’s not enough. This recipe makes about 8-10 normal servings or 1 incredibly large one. A few tips…stir the sugar with a wooden spoon as the melted sugar crystals won’t stick to wood as readily as metal; if you have trouble cleaning the saucepan, just boil some water in it and the sugar crystals will dissolve; and if you’re thinking about sharing your caramel corn with someone, think again, ’cause, like I said,  there is never enough.

Please click here for the printable recipe.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever!

The Best Chocolate Chip CookiesThis is, without a doubt, the best chocolate chip cookie I (or anyone else) ever tasted! The recipe has been around for awhile…I believe  it was originally printed in The Frog Commissary Cookbook, published in 1985, and named for a restaurant in Philadelphia that was popular in the 1970’s.  It has just the right balance of flavors and textures. I don’t love most oatmeal chocolate chip cookies because it seems the oatmeal flavor is usually overwhelming and the texture is dry, but not with these cookies. They’re crispy on the edges and moist and chocolatey in the center…the perfect accompaniment to a cold glass of milk. One of the best things about this recipe is how well the dough freezes. I chill the dough a little and roll it into 1½” diameter logs (like the ones you can buy in the supermarket), wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them. Then, when the urge strikes, I just slice off a few 1″ pieces and pop them right in a 350˚ oven, and you have fresh, hot homemade cookies in about 12 minutes. You can also roll them into 1″ balls, freeze them and stick them right in the oven when you absolutely, positively immediately need a hot, homemade killer chocolate chip cookie.

Please click here for the printable recipe.

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies For those of you the regularly follow this blog (and I mean both of you, so pay attention!), you know I usually post my own recipes or my take on other recipes with my tweaks, tips or suggestions added, but I really don’t think you can improve on this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated for your basic, delicious chocolate chip cookie.  I made these last night and they were, as the title suggests, pretty close to perfect! The browning of the butter before it’s added to the recipe adds a depth of flavor you don’t find in other chocolate chip cookie recipes, or as CI puts it “A chocolate chip cookie that’s moist and chewy on the inside and crisp at the edges, with deep notes of toffee and butterscotch to balance its sweetness.” I do have one other recipe that I think compares to this for a chocolate chip cookie made with oatmeal (I think it’s actually much better!), but for now, if your jonesing for a killer cookie, try this recipe…you won’t regret it (until you try and fit into your pants the next day).

Papaya, Banana, Blueberry Yogurt Hawaiian Smoothies

This might be the best smoothie ever made…it’s simple to make, it tastes great and has the consistency of creamy soft serve ice cream. I took fresh picked papayas and bananas, cut them into chunks and froze them overnight. To make the smoothie, put about a cup of frozen papaya chunks, a cup of frozen banana chunks,  6 oz. of  your favorite blueberry yogurt ( I use Dannon) into a blender and add about 3/4 cup of V8 Splash (available everywhere…I use Tropical Blend, but any flavor will do). Pulse the blender for about 30 seconds, give it a quick stir (make sure the blades have stopped!), and repeat a few times. It should be very thick at this point, so to get the perfect consistency, take the top off the blender while it’s running (make sure all the fruit has been pureed before you do this or you may end up wearing some smoothie) and slowly pour in a little more Splash until you see a vortex form in the center-you’ll know what I mean when you see it happen-and the Smoothie will be perfect. If you love peanut butter like I do, you can add a heaping tablespoon (I prefer chunky) and blend for a couple of seconds more…it’s incredible!

Cheesecake Lollipops – Impress Your Friends!

This dessert is delicious, impressive and, best of all, deceptively easy to make. You can make your own cheesecake (here is a great recipe from Cook’s Illustrated magazine) , but even a good store-bought cheesecake works well for this enticing dessert. First, put the cheesecake in the freezer until it gets nice and firm. Then remove it and scoop golf ball size hunks out of the cheesecake and quickly roll them into balls before they start to melt.  Insert a lollipop stick (you can also use wooden skewers) into each ball and pop them in the freezer for around 2-3 hours until frozen.

While the lollipops are freezing, prepare your toppings by crushing oreos, peanuts, pistachios, almonds, malted milk balls, coconut or toffee. Almost anything can be used, and it’s great to mix and match the flavors.

The next step is whip up a simple chocolate ganache, which is just a mixture of equal parts chocolate and heavy cream, where you bring the cream to a boil, remove it from the heat and pour it over the bowl of chopped chocolate and whisk it together.

When the lollipops are frozen solid, take them out of the freezer, dip them in the ganache, roll them in your favorite toppings and then immediately stick them back in the freezer to set (you should lay them on parchment paper so they don’t stick)…that’s it.

Just take them out of the freezer about 30 minutes before your ready to serve them (make sure they’re served very cold or they will start to drop off the sticks!) and arrange them like a bouquet of flowers…I guarantee your guests will be impressed!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/ganache-frosting-recipe/index.html