Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies

cranberry blissThese cookies are very Christmasy! Their color of red and white is really pretty, and the sweet white chocolate goes well with the tart cranberries. A cream cheese frosting is also really nice. This recipe makes a pretty large batch, so you can definitely halve it. The original recipe is from here.

Ingredients (about 4 dozen cookies)
Cookies:
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
227g (1 cup) butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips/chunks
1 cup dried cranberries

Frosting:
200g (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white chocolate chips/chunks, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Topping:
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup white chocolate chips/chunks, melted

Instructions

Make the cookies: Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well. Slowly add the dry ingredients. Fold in the white chocolate and cranberries.

Chill dough for 1 hour. Place rounded tablespoons on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake at 180C/350F for 10 to 12 minutes, until light golden on the edges. Let cookies cool completely.

Make frosting: Beat together cream cheese and melted white chocolate. Add vanilla and powdered sugar. Beat until smooth. If it’s not thick enough, you can add additional powdered sugar.

Spread the frosting on the cool cookies. Sprinkle with the chopped cranberries and drizzle with the melted white chocolate.

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Avocado Cheesecake

avocado cheesecakeIf you’ve never tried avocado in a sweet recipe, I highly recommend it! Avocado milkshakes, cheesecake, ice cream, etc., have a really nice delicate flavor. The original recipe for this cheesecake was from here. I made a tiny version, 1/4 of this recipe, in a 15-cm (6″) round pan.

Ingredients (makes 16 2-inch squares)
Crust:
150g (5 oz) plain vanilla or shortbread cookies
1 cup shelled pistachios
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt (if your pistachios are salted, leave this out)
1 tsp lemon peel
57g (2 oz) melted butter

Cheesecake:
1-1/2 tbsp powdered gelatin
120mL (1/2 cup) water
450g (16 oz) cream cheese
2 ripe avocados, peeled and with the pit removed
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
200g (7 oz) yogurt
240mL (8 oz) whipping cream
2 tbsp pistachio for garnish, optional

Instructions

In a food processor, blend cookies, pistachios, sugar, salt, and lemon peel until finely ground. Add melted butter and pulse to combine. Press into an 8-inch (21cm) square pan.

Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes, then bake for 15-20 minutes at 180C (350C). Allow to cool completely before adding the cheesecake mixture.

For cheesecake:

Combine gelatin and water and heat in a double boiler or microwave until the gelatin dissolves. Let cool slightly.

Cream together cream cheese and sugar. In a food processor, blend the avocado and lemon until smooth. Add to the cream cheese and mix until well-combined.

Add the gelatin mixture to the avocado and cream cheese. Whisk until combined. Add the yogurt and mix.

Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold into the avocado mixture.

Pour onto the prepared crust. Place in the refrigerator overnight until it sets completely. Once chilled, cut into 2 inch (5cm) squares. Top with chopped pistachios if desired.

Cheesecake Brownies

cheesecake browniesThis mixture of cheesecake and brownies makes a beautiful and popular dessert.

Ingredients
Brownies:
113g (1/2 cup) butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

Cheesecake:
200g (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
100g white chocolate, chopped (optional)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 8-inch square pan.

Make brownie batter:
Melt butter. Stir in sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir slowly – try not to get too much air in the batter. Batter will be thick.

Make cheesecake batter:
Mix cream cheese and sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Mix until combined. If using white chocolate, mix into the cheesecake batter.

Reserve 1/2 cup brownie batter, and spread the rest in the pan. Spread cream cheese batter over brownie batter in pan. Drop blobs of the reserved brownie batter on top and swirl gently with a knife.

Bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool before serving.