Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cherry Coffee Cake

What is your Christmas morning tradition? When I was a little girl we used to all go to my Grandma "P''s house...she had a huge farm house. Us kids would some times sleep right next to the fully lit and decorated Christmas tree, even though there were enough rooms and beds for all of us I remember waking up in the middle of the night staring at the pretty colorful  lights. Grandma always had the multicolored lights - the more colorful, the better. If we didn't wake up first, my Aunt D would come in checking on us kids to see if we were up yet. I think she was just as excited about the days festivities as us kids were! She's fun and super cool like that...still is! So, once Aunt D and us kids were up at around 5 am, we ran around the house gathering everyone else from bed. Still in our jammies we'd all pile into the living room around the tree and start opening gifts. Aunt D delivering the gifts to the kids and Uncle F with his camera. As soon as we were done, Grandma would head to the kitchen and begin her baking and cooking breakfast...well, as soon as coffee was on! We'd get to play with our toys and Aunts and Uncles until someone grab a bite to eat.

I love this tradition and we carry it on as much as we can in my home. One small difference. I want to spend the morning playing and not in the kitchen, so I usually make my well known cinnamon rolls ahead of time and then warm them up or made this Christmas Coffee Cake the night before. This year I'm making Cherry Coffee Cake. My mom used to make a Cherry Coffee Cake similar to this when I as a kid. It was a hit then and it's a hit today!

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 Tbl butter, frozen
2 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 can cherry pie filling
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
5 Tbl butter, frozen
2 tsp cinnamon

Heat oven to 350. Grease 9x13 pan. In a mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, and baking powder. Grate in butter and mix until it looks kinda crumbly. In a small bowl beat buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture until just moistened. It will be lumpy. Spread into the pan. Spoon the cherry pie filling evenly over the top.

Mix brown sugar, flour, oatmeal and cinnamon in a bowl. Grate butter into the mixture and toss until it resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in walnuts and sprinkle over the cherries. Bake for about 30 minutes.
Serve warm and enjoy!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Have you ever made a gingerbread house? It's kind of a tradition around here to decorate a gingerbread house. It's super fun for the kids and oddly stressful for me. I'm a little impatient and I very meticulously align the walls and roof so that the kids can start slopping frosting and candies on the house only to have pieces sliding around everywhere. This year, I did it the right way. I built the house and we're letting it sit over night to solidify so that the kids can have at it with their confectionery creativity without me trying to rig things up just to hold the poor little crooked thing together! So what do you do with your 5 year old after breaking the news that he has to wait yet another day to adorn his creation? Make candy!
I have never made Christmas bark or any bark for that matter. I can't believe how easy this is. And super duper good too!

2 cups crushed Oreo cookies
1 pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 pkg milk chocolate chips
4ish candy canes, crushed

Line a jelly roll pan with waxed paper or parchment paper. Evenly spread cookie pieces in the pan. Pour chocolate chips in a microwaveable bowl and microwave for 1 minute, stir. Continue to microwave in 30 second increments (stirring in between) until the chocolate is all melted. Evenly pour over the cookie pieces. Sprinkle with candy pieces. Let sit until set - in the fridge or somewhere cool. Break into pieces and munch away! Or better away!



Heath Cheesecake

If you know really know me, you know that I'm a party girl! Not THAT kind of party girl, but in our home...we find every excuse that we can to have a party and have people over for food and fun! My friends have come to expect a lot of goodness at these parties too. I am by the way...flattered! The latest party was Superman's Birthday and ummm ahem *clears throat* Superman is not a big fan of cake or cupcakes *clears throats*tear*. I KNOW! Rude huh...whatever to each his own. Whatever. Superman is however a huge fan of cheesecake and brownie sundaes. So, being the good wife that I am, I put all my dreams and desires for this birthday party aside for him. And I was pretty pleased by my choice to make Heath Cheesecake. Just so you know, this is super rich and sweet and NOT for the lightweight dessert connoisseurs!

2  cups Graham Cracker crumbs
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar (for crust)
3-8oz pkg cream cheese, room temp
3 eggs, room temp
3/4 cup sugar (for cheesecake filling)
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup heath bits, divided
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbl butter

Heat oven to 350.  Combine graham cracker crumbs (I grind them in a blender), 1/4 cup sugar and butter. Mix well and press into the sides and bottom of a 10" spring-form pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until completely smooth, but do not over mix. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. Again, mix well but do NOT over mix. Stir in 3/4 cup of the heath bar bits. Pour over the crust and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 and keep baking for an additional 45 minutes  or until filling is almost set. Turn the oven off but keep the cheesecake in there for 2- 3 hrs. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN WHILE BAKING!
Remove from the oven and allow to continue to cool at room temperature.
Let's make the ganache topping. Add chocolate chips and cream to a small microwaveable mixing bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir until melted. Add butter, cut in chunks. Stir until everything is melted and shiny. Drizzle over the top and sprinkle with the remaining heath bar bits.
Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours!



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Breakfast Wreath

Hello! Just so you know, I do feel really bad about not posting delicious and amazing recipes as often as I should!

Ok, now that is out of the way... Christmas is coming! You know what I realized today? If I was in charge, I would give kids one week off of school BEFORE Christmas and one or two weeks (take your pick) after Christmas. Why? Well, because it's no fun doing all this holiday baking and eating by myself! It would be much more fun dancing and singing and baking and eating and decorating with my four kids. Don't ya think?

I whipped up this little, ok, it wasn't so little but this fun sausage crescent breakfast wreath for my MOPs (Mother Of Preschoolers) Leadership Christmas Party. It was a big hit! It was super duper easy and very few ingredients, I didn't even write down the recipe. Today one of my dear sweet besties requested the recipe, she's good at that..requesting recipes from me and complimenting me...she totally speaks my love language in that way! It makes me happy! Anyway, if you want something festive, flavorful, simple and fun for Christmas morning or a Christmas brunch, this is it!


2 pkg refrigerated crescent rolls
1 8oz pkg cream cheese
1 lb breakfast sausage
3 green onions, sliced greens and whites
1/2 sweet red pepper, diced
1 cup shredded cheese, I used cheddar

Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet brown the sausage then drain the grease. Stir in the cream cheese, onions, peppers and cheese. On a large round pizza pan lay the wide end of the crescent triangles around the edge of the pan making a large sun burst shape. Line with the sausage mixture and fold the shorter end of the crescent triangles over to seal. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden brown. Slice and serve!