Category: Cream Cheese


Finally getting around to writing about the Christmas cookies I baked this year!  I know, I know, it’s March.  But cookies are good any time of year.

I made seven different kinds this year, and only one was a variety I had made before:

Not so "easy" when it comes time to take them out of the pan...

“Easy” Layer Bars from a 1970s utility company cookbook. I REALLY should have lined the pan with parchment.

They don't turn pink when you use organic cherries

Cherry Blossoms from Flour On My Face

These were one of my favorites!

Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies, adapted from Go Bold With Butter (no coconut or nuts in mine)

The recipe made about a billion of these!  My freezer is still full of them.

Orange Cardamom Crinkles, also from Go Bold with Butter. Next time I’d probably double the cardamom.

I need more cooling racks.

So many cookies!

mmm...Nutella!

The only kind I’d made before: Nutella Lava Cookies from Kirbie’s Cravings. These are pretty much the Best. Cookies. Ever.

Plus I made Almond Cloud Cookies (unfortunately I seem to be lacking a picture of those), and that’s not even counting the Tangerine-Ginger-Vanilla Sugar Cookies and Nutella Chip Cookies that I made with some friends of mine earlier in December.  There were so very many cookies this year!

But I couldn’t go without making up my own cookie recipe, so my friends and I brainstormed flavors that would go well together and eventually decided that it would be really awesome to find a way to combine the flavors of habanero, lime, and dark chocolate all together in one cookie.

But how to do it?  I thought the flavors might get lost if they were just directly added to a chocolate dough.  So I needed some sort of filling.  Cheese is my go-to answer for almost every cooking question, so I figured, why not mix the habanero and lime with some goat cheese?

it looks Christmasy!

The filling, just waiting to be mixed…

Upon further reflection, it made sense to add cream cheese to the mix, because goat cheese can be a bit crumbly in texture, so it turned into a cheesecake filling, with cream cheese, goat cheese, lime zest, lime juice, very finely minced habanero, and powdered sugar.  I don’t actually know how much powdered sugar I ended up adding.  I started off with every intention of measuring and added a quarter cup, but upon tasting, it really wasn’t sweet enough and didn’t seem like a dessert, so I added more, a little at a time, until it tasted right.  So when you make these, just be sure you add the powdered sugar slowly until you’re satisfied with the flavor.  You need just enough to take it over the line from savory to sweet, but be careful not to go too sweet, since you’re already surrounding it with chocolatey cookie goodness.

They're big cookies.

 

Cheesecake Cookies!

Dark Chocolate Habanero Lime Cheesecake Cookies
(makes approx. 34 cookies)

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1.25 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2.25 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.25c bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 8oz (1 package) cream cheese
  • 4oz goat cheese
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 habaneros, seeded and finely minced
  • 1/4 cup + extra (to taste) powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the butter and sugar until they’re light and fluffy (this may take a couple minutes).  Add the eggs, one at a time, and then add the cocoa powder and mix it in gently.  Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder, and then slowly add them to the wet ingredients, about a third at a time, and mix until just combined.  With a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chips.

In a separate bowl, blend together the cream cheese, goat cheese, lime zest, minced habaneros, 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, and half of the lime juice.  Taste it, and add more powdered sugar and/or lime juice until you’re satisfied with the taste of the filling.  Be careful not to over-sweeten: the chocolate cookie dough is fairly sweet, so just add the powdered sugar a little at a time.

Scoop up about 2tbsp of cookie dough, roll it into a ball, and then flatten it to a disk in your hand with a slight indentation in the middle.  Scoop a bit of the filling into the middle, and then wrap the cookie dough around it, sealing in the filling.  Roll it back into a ball, and put it on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Space cookies about 2 inches apart, and bake for 14-17 minutes.  Cool on the sheet for a few minutes, and then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.  Enjoy!

PS. You may have extra filling left–it makes an excellent mini cheesecake!  Just take a ramekin, mix a little melted butter with some graham cracker crumbs (or cookie crumbs…whatever you have) in the bottom and then load in the filling and bake at 350 degrees til it’s set.

mmm...leftovers!

Leftover filling mini-cheesecake!

Beets Romano

At long last a new post!  It’s been far too long.  In the beginning I had a good excuse: I was busy getting married!  Then we were eating out a lot and when we weren’t doing that we were eating leftovers (who knew that getting married would leave you with mountains of leftovers in the fridge and freezer…like a giant bag of edamame!)  And then…I couldn’t think of anything to write.  I had a few halfway decent recipe ideas, some of which might turn up in later posts, and a few major recipe fails, but nothing really inspired me until this dish.

I had some beets in the fridge and I really wanted to do something other than making individual lasagnas with them.  Much as I like individual lasagnas, I wanted to branch out a bit.  But what to do?  I remembered that I also had cream cheese in the fridge, and so I grabbed my mom’s old copy of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook to look up the recipe for Noodles Romano–a favorite childhood dish of mine that we simply referred to as “cheesy noodles” (as distinct from macaroni and cheese!).

The resulting dish contains no noodles, and in fact looks nothing like its white-colored inspiration, taking on, instead, a vibrant pink color.  But it sure was tasty!

And now without further ado:

Beets Romano

  • 4 medium-sized beets, boiled until tender
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • a handful of fresh chives, cut small
  • 1tbsp dried dill 
  • 3/4c  frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/3c buckwheat, cooked til tender
  • 1/4c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • Up to 2/3c boiling water*
  • salt
  • pepper

Once you’ve boiled your beets and they are cool enough to handle, slip the skins off of them, dice them up, and put them in a large bowl.  Add the thawed peas and garlic and set aside.

Meanwhile put the softened butter and softened cream cheese in a metal bowl and mash them together a bit.  Then pour in about half of the water and whisk everything together until the cream cheese and butter have melted and you have an even consistency.  If it seems too thick or lumpy, add more water until you have a consistency you like.  Add the dill and chives, and salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the cheese sauce over the beets and peas and stir until everything is coated in sauce.  Then stir in the buckwheat, add a bit more salt if you like, and enjoy!

*I used 2/3c of water right away and this proved to be too much–the dish ended up with the consistency of soup.  Luckily by the second day the buckwheat soaked up all the excess liquid and it turned out exactly how I wanted it originally!  So don’t worry if you add too much water–it will be better on the second day!