Monday, February 26, 2018

Brownie Cake with Cookie Butter Frosting

This cake was on my list as one of the things I would make in 2018. And it's only February and I've already made it, along with Cuban Quesadillas and Instant Pot Cheesecake. I've learned this is the way to make the things on my list - make them early in the year!

And the great thing about making it early in the year? Lots of opportunities to make it AGAIN! And who wouldn't want to make this again and again? It's a brownie cake with cookie butter frosting! Do you know cookie butter? It's made out of those unique Biscoff cookies that you get, among other places, on Delta flights! It has a really distinguishable flavor that is different from anything else. It's great to use in cakes, cookies and bars.

This dessert is very sweet, as you might imagine, you can cut the pieces small, and serve with piping cups of coffee. My dinner guests loved it, and my kids' response on seeing it on the counter: "WHAT is that CAKE?" I guess I should use chocolate shavings more regularly to avoid the shock factor.

Find more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Busy Monday, Inspire Me, Fabulous, Hearth and Soul, Wow Me, Wow Us, Whisk It, Let's Party, Full Plate, Wonderful Wednesday.

Brownie Cake with Cookie Butter Frosting

1/2 cup butter
3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
2 tsp. instant coffee
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup speculoos cookie butter
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. half and half

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Remove the pan from the heat, add the dark chocolate and coffee, and let sit for about 30 seconds, then whisk it all together until smooth and glossy. Add the brown sugar and vanilla, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, 1 at a time, then sprinkle in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold in the dry ingredients gently until no flour specks remain.

Spread the brownie mixture into a greased 9" springform pan and bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake has puffed slightly and the top is settled. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before removing the sides of the springform pan.

For the frosting, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, mix together the cookie butter and butter for a full minute so it’s light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, salt, and half and half and beat for another minute, or until the mixture is fluffy and spreadable.

Spread the frosting on the cake, garnish with chocolate shavings, and cut into wedges to serve. Leftovers can be stored, covered, at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Makes 8-12 servings.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Garlic and Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes

It looks like winter is not yet done in these parts; we expect significant snow this weekend. Scalloped potatoes to the rescue! Scalloped potatoes are the perfect comfort food, and they go well with many different types of meat. This version incorporates garlic and Parmesan for an added taste sensation.

If you have a food processor or mandolin, slicing the potatoes is a snap. And if you don't, it's still not a big deal. Slice up those taters, make this easy white sauce, and let the oven do the heavy lifting. You'll have amazing comfort food in no time at all.

Garlic and Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes

1/3 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 cups milk
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
4 1/2 cups sliced potatoes (about 4-5 potatoes)

In a large skillet, melt butter and saute onions for 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute an additional minute. Stir in flour, salt and pepper and cook and stir until onions are coated. Add milk and cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in cheese.

Grease a 2-quart baking dish and place half the sliced potatoes in the bottom of the dish. Cover with half the sauce and then repeat the layers.

Cover and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 30-40 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Bacon Risotto with Mushrooms and Peas {Instant Pot}

If I had to vote today on what would be my favorite thing to make in the Instant Pot, I would vote for risotto. I love risotto - the creamy rice, the endless meat and veggie combos, the "comfort food" component - I love everything about it. But I don't often have 30 minutes to stand at the stove and stir it. Enter the Instant Pot! It creates beautiful, creamy, delicious risotto with the cover on and sealed, and you can do something else in the meantime!

I have recipes here for risotto in the IP featuring shrimp and asparagus, Italian sausage, and I regularly adapt my favorite shrimp and spinach version for the IP too. But I knew there had to be other winning combinations.

As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and I had a few things to use up in the fridge. And it worked out beautifully. Salty bacon pairs well with mushrooms and peas - I like the textures, the colors and the flavors! A win-win-win all around.

Have you made risotto in your IP yet? I hope you'll try it, I know you'll love it!

There are more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Busy Monday, Inspire Me, Inspire Me2, Show and Share, Fabulous, Hearth and Soul.

Bacon Risotto with Mushrooms and Peas

6 slices bacon, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup Arborio rice
1 cup sliced white button mushrooms
1/2 cup white wine
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Set an electric pressure cooker to browning or saute, and add the cut up bacon. Stir and cook until bacon is almost done. Stir in the onion, and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until the onion is translucent.

Add the rice and the mushrooms, and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes, until the rice is very lightly browning. Pour in the wine, which will bubble immediately. Stir for 1 minute, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Then add the chicken broth all at once.

Lock the cover and turn the pressure valve (so it's not on venting.) Set on High Pressure for 6 minutes.

When the cooker switches to Keep Warm, immediately release the pressure. After the pressure indicator drops, remove the cover.

Stir in the peas and parmesan cheese until the cheese is melted and peas are warmed through. Serve immediately. (Risotto left in the pot will thicken substantially.) Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Creme Brulee Cheesecake {Instant Pot!}

The Instant Pot is great for so many things: my favorites are risotto, mashed potatoes, short ribs, and steel cut oats. And now, cheesecake. That's right, you can make cheesecake in your pressure cooker, and it turns out wonderfully! It is so creamy! I dislike heavy, dry cheesecake, and this one is anything but! All the steam inside the pressure cooker guarantees the perfect texture.

There are so many adaptations you could make to this basic recipe. You could add a fruit topping, chocolate ganache, salted caramel sauce, the possibilities are endless. I did a creme brulee topping, which you add after the cheesecake has been removed from the pressure cooker and cooled a bit. You could also make individual cheesecakes in custard cups or silicone muffin cups.

Because of the build up of steam, you probably will end up with some water on top of the cheesecake, especially where the crust meets the filling. Simply dab a paper towel around the edges, and it will soak up all the water. If you line your pan (both bottom and sides) with parchment, that may help as well.

A note about pans: I have a springform pan that is just under 8 inches and it fits in my 6 quart Instant Pot. Most recipes call for a 6" pan which would likely sit on the trivet inside the pot; mine fits snugly near the top. You may need to adjust the cooking time slightly if your pan is smaller, because your cheesecake will be deeper. The great thing is, you can experiment and make this recipe several times until you get it perfect. And you can eat all the trial runs...with different toppings.

Get more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Inspire Me Monday, Busy Monday, Inspire Me 2, Fabulous, Show and Share, Hearth and Soul, Wow Me, Wow Us, Whisk It, Full Plate, Party.

Creme Brulee Cheesecake

8 graham crackers, finely ground
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
pinch salt
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup flour

16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (low fat works well too!)
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. sugar

Combine the crushed graham crackers, salt, brown sugar and flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the melted butter and mix with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened. Pat into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a greased 7" springform pan. (Alternatively, you can line the bottom and sides with parchment.)

Bake at 325 for 15 minutes or until golden. Let cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add the sugar, sour cream, cornstarch, vanilla and salt, and mix until well combined and very creamy.

Pour the batter into the prepared crust. Place 1 cup of water in the bottom of an electric pressure cooker and insert the trivet. Fold aluminum foil to make a "sling" for your pan - you want the foil to go under the pan and up the sides. You'll need this to get the pan out later. Use the sling to insert the pan into the pressure cooker, then fold down the foil sides.

Secure the lid, ensure the toggle knob is set to "sealing" and set for manual pressure for 26 minutes. When the cycle is completed, let the pressure release naturally.

Remove the lid, being careful not to drip any of the accumulated water from the lid onto the cheesecake. Carefully remove the cake using the foil sling and transfer to a wire rack. Use a folded up paper towel to carefully dab away any water on the cheesecake. Let cool completely.

Sprinkle with the sugar and then place under a broiler or use a hand torch to brown the top. Watch carefully if it's in your oven! Refrigerate for several hours to fully set. Serves 12.
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