Friday, February 15, 2013

Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars

So my husband's birthday is on Valentine's Day.  As in, yesterday.  Lucky for him, I've never been the biggest fan of Valentine's Day.  I know that seems strange for a female to not really be interested in it.  I've never understood why you pick one day to suddenly show how much you love someone.  Isn't that something we should be doing every day?  So every year, I always tell Ryan that his Valentine's Day gift to me to keeping me out of the chaos that surrounds restaurants every February 14th.  I'd much rather stay home and cook Ryan a big birthday meal than go out and wait for two hours just to get a seat at a table.  No thank you.  Ryan's big meal this year consisted of his favorite meal - homemade spaghetti and meatballs with the homemade focaccia bread.  You might remember that bread from this post, perhaps?  I always want to make him a really good dessert to go along with his birthday dinner and that usually either means this key lime pie or something chocolaty.  But this year, I decided to change things up a bit and make something I'd never tried before.  The recipe seemed way too easy to be real but we pushed on anyway. 

Ryan and I love to eat at On the Border Mexican Restaurant.  One of our favorite things?  Their sopapillas.  You absolutely cannot go wrong with baked, sweet yeast dough that's covered with cinnamon sugar and then dipped into honey.  I mean, that's like heaven on a plate!  When I came across this recipe on The Tale of Two Kitchens blog (you might recall I got her delicious cookies in the cookie swap last December), I knew this was a recipe that I couldn't just put in my binder of "found recipes" and then forget about it.  It combined two of my favorite things - cheesecake and sopapillas!  Cheesecake!  Honey!  Sugar!  CINNAMON!! 

Here's the trick - it needs to be COLD when you eat it.  The taste is not right when its a room temperature or especially not when it's hot.  Just be patient and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours.  You'll thank me for it!

This recipe will easily reduce by half to fit into an 8x8 pan instead of a full 9x13.  Keep the cook times the same but remember to only use half of the can of crescent roll dough on the bottom and the other half on the top.  Feel free to use reduced fat crescent roll dough and reduced fat cream cheese (I think I used one full fat and one fat free - they were on sale) to make yourself feel better about eating the whole thing one piece.

Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars
courtesy of The Tale of Two Kitchens

2 cans of Crescent Roll Dough
2 8 oz. Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 c. Sugar, divided
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 Tbsp. Butter, melted
Honey (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350.
Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
Unroll your first can of crescent roll dough into the bottom of the pan, pinching the seams together.
In a mixer, combine 1 cup of sugar, vanilla, and both packages of cream cheese and mix until smooth.
Spread over your crescent roll dough.
Unroll the second can of crescent roll dough over the top of the cheesecake mixture; again pinching the seams together.
Brush the top of the crescent roll dough with your melted butter (use all the butter!).
In a separate bowl, mix your cinnamon and the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar.
Now go crazy and sprinkle all of the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the entire surface of the buttered crescent roll dough.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the bottom crust is slightly browned.
Cool completely.
Let it chill in your fridge for a few hours.
Cut into bars, drizzle with honey (if you like), and enjoy!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Butterscotch Blondies

So when I think of Blondies, I think of one of two things (neither of which is the band)...

This is my mom's dog Blondie.  She was found on the side of the road where my parents live.  Someone had left her on the side of the road, abandoned.  That was not a new sight around my parents' house because living out in the country usually bring lots of strays around the house.  But my parents had recently lost their Lab, Jake, and even though they weren't looking to add a new dog, they got one!  This is behavior everyone expects out of ME, not my mother.  She's happily living with my parents, even now :)

The other things I think of when someone says, "Blondies" is the food!  Of course, this is a food blog so you knew food was going to come up at some point.  I like blondies - they're brownies but without the cocoa!  What's not to like??  Of course, I'm all for chocolate in most any form.  That Super Bowl commercial where the wife wished for a lifetime supply of chocolate and was hooked up to a chocolate IV bag?  That's me.  However, not everyone is a chocolate fanatic like me (never did understand people like that but I digress) so here is a recipe that should satisfy everyone, chocolate lovers included (because you can always add chocolate to it!)

Note:  The recipes REQUIRES the use of a small stainless steel skillet.  Why?  Because you're going to be browning the butter folks!  Browning the butter means you need to be able to see the color changes in the butter.  If you're using a cast iron or nonstick skillet, you won't be able to see the butter change color and you'll end up with burnt butter and that's just tragic.

Butterscotch Blondies
modified slightly from

2 c. All Purpose Flour
2 1/2 c. Brown Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Powder
10 Tbsp. Butter, salted (if using unsalted, add 1/2 tsp. salt)
3 Eggs

Preheat your oven to 350.

Melt your butter in a small stainless steel skillet over medium heat.
Cook the butter for 6 minutes or until lightly browned.  (Mine took just under 6 minutes.)
Pour into a medium sized bowl and let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, combine your flour, sugar, and baking powder (and salt, if you're using) and mix it all together!
After your 10 minutes of cooling butter is complete, mix in the 3 eggs.
Add your butter-egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir - a lot.  This batter is pretty thick and will require some elbow grease.  Ladies, if you'd like your man to feel manly, let him stir or if you're like me and don't like to be defeated, keep going until you have conquered the combined forces of butter and flour.
Spoon into a 9x13 pan that you've sprayed with cooking spray and smooth out the top.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick/cake tester comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.
Slice into bars and enjoy!