Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies

I found this recipe on a blog called and thought they were very inventive and decided to give them a try.  WOW, they are great!  I made them for a bake sale, they went fast and I’ve had several requests for the recipe.  I made them smaller than the ones from

For the cookies:
1 box red velvet cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cheesecake filling:
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the white chocolate drizzle:
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips, melted


1. To make cookies, in a large bowl combine cake mix and flour. Whisk until clumps disappear. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake mix, flour, eggs, oil and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. The dough will be oily. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
2. To make the cheesecake filling, using a mixer, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Using a teaspoon, scoop out cheesecake filling and place on a plate, you will have to surround it in dough, so make them according to the size you  want your cookies. Continue scooping out cheesecake filling into teaspoon balls until you have 24. Place plate in the freezer and freeze for at least two hours.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. To assemble the cookies, take about some of red velvet cookie dough and flatten in your hands. Place a frozen lump of cheesecake filling in the center and wrap the cookie dough around the filling. Gently roll into a ball and place on prepared baking sheet. The cookies will spread. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the cookies begin to crackle. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove from baking sheet to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.
4. Melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl or over a double-boiler. Drizzle the white chocolate over the cooled cookies. Let the cookies set until the chocolate hardens.
Note: if you are going to store the cookies for more than a day, you may want to keep them in the refrigerator.  You want to make sure you completely wrap the cookie dough around the filling before baking-so it doesn’t leak. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 Cookies, Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies No Comments

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

I wanted to make some pumpkin cupcakes that were a little extra special.  I found a cupcake recipe then wanted to put a cream cheese center in it and top it with a fluffy icing that reminded me of whipped cream.  A little looking around the internet gave me a filling that sounded like it would be yummy…  and for the topping, I decided on the frosting I use for my red velvet cake.  It doesn’t compete with the filling and reminds me of whipped cream.

This recipe makes 2 dozen cupcakes.

Pumpkin Cupcake

Pumpkin Cupcake with a sprinkle of nutmeg on the top and a little surprise inside.

Pumpkin cupcake ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree, minus 1/4 cup for filling
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

1.Preheat oven to 350º. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.
2.In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.
3.Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each a tiny bit more than halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Make a hole in each cupcake.  I use a cupcake hole maker that my daughter found for me, I have used an apple corer.  Push in the hole maker with a twisting motion and twist it out a divot and fill the hole with filling by piping it in with a pastry bag.

Pumpkin cream cheese filling ingredients:

  • ½ cups (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
  • 4 ounces cream or Neufchatel Cheese, Room Temperature
  • ½ cups Confectioners’ Sugar (I Added A Little More, about 1/2 Cup)
  • ¼ cups Canned Solid Pack Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/8 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoons Nutmeg

In a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Once smooth, add the cream cheese and whip until smooth. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar to the bowl, and mix on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg; whip until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.


5 Tbs. flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
Put flour in a sauce pan, wisk in milk slowly, so it will be smooth.  Cook on medium heat, wisking until thick.  Put into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing plastic against the mixture and refrigerate two hours or over night.

Whip butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy and no sugar granules show.   add flour mixture and whip until the mixture resembles whip cream.

Pipe onto the cupcakes and sprinkle lightly with nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice.  (I use fresh ground nutmeg)

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Monday, December 3rd, 2012 Desserts, Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes No Comments

Apple Spice Whoopies

My Aunt Rose’s Fresh Apple Cake made into yummy filled cookies!  What could be better?  I’ve seen carrot cakes and even red velvet cakes made into cookies so I wanted to make my favorite cake into  cookies.  I experimented with the spices and the amount of flour and the type of apple, trying several variations and ended up with the following recipe.  I want to thank all my co-workers and family for being my testers and for all their input into the project.



2 cups grated apples, packed (most of my testers preferred Pink Lady and the rest liked Granny Smith apples)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1/3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 to 2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
nuts optional (I used pecans)
1 recipe cream cheese frosting (recipe follows)

Peel, core, and grate apples (takes 2 3/4 to 3 apples), put into a glass mixing bowl.  Add sugar through vanilla and let set for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray it with cooking spray.  To the apple mixture add 1 1/2 cups of flour and the baking soda.  Add more flour to make the dough the consistency between cake batter and cookie dough.  The amount of flour needed depends on the amount of juice the apples make.

Put a heaping teaspoon of dough onto the parchment paper and spread it out so it is flat and not mounded up.  Continue until the cookie sheet is filled, leaving a couple inches between the cookies.  If you want nuts, break the nuts up into pieces and place on top of half the cookies, press the nuts into the cookie dough.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges and when touched, it doesn’t leave a dent.  Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.  Continue until all cookies are baked.  (makes approximately 20 filled cookies, depending on size)

Prepare the  frosting and spread a liberal amount on the flat side of the cookie then place another cookie on it to make a sandwich cookie.

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 ounces cream cheese, softened      
2 Tbs. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups powder sugar (a little more if necessary)

Mix cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth.  Add the powder sugar and mix until smooth.

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Thursday, June 16th, 2011 Apple Spice Whoopies, Cookies No Comments

Chorizo Timbale





Several years ago a friend was working on a chorizo recipe and she let me try it.  Years have past, I misplaced the recipe, but the delicious taste lives on in my memory.  I wanted to recreate the taste, so came up with this recipe.  Chorizo combined with some traditional vegetables and spices, surrounded with a flavorful polenta.  Slice some and top with sour cream and a bit of salsa.
My favorite chorizo, bought regionally, is a dry Basque  sausage with a fantastic flavor.

1 quart chicken broth
1 1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tsp. Cumin
2 Tbs. butter
½ cup chopped cilantro

In a large pan, bring chicken broth to a simmer.  While the broth simmers, slowly pour in the cornmeal, whisking constantly so lumps don’t form.  Stir steadily for 5 minutes until it is stiff.  Add the cumin and butter, stirring with until well blended.  Remove 1/3 of the polenta and place in a bowl and place plastic wrap against it.  To the remaining polenta add the Cilantro and mix thoroughly.  Cover with plastic wrap, placing the plastic wrap against the polenta, so it doesn’t form a crust and put both batches of polenta in the refrigerator for half an hour to cool.

Chorizo filling:
1 Lb. Basque chorizo (I prefer chorizos from Gem Pack in Boise, ID –
½ cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped red pepper (slice off 3 thin slices and reserve before chopping.)
1/3 cup chopped green pepper (slice off 3 thin slices and reserve before chopping.)
1 cup corn, drained
2 small cans sliced black olives, drained
1 small jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
2 finely chopped garlic cloves
2 Tbs. tomato paste
½ cup breadcrumbs
½ cup chopped cilantro
3 eggs
½ tsp. Cumin
8 oz. pepper jack cheese, grated (separate 2 ounces of the cheese after grating)

Chop and assemble all your ingredients.  Remove casings from the chorizo by slicing down the length of the sausage and pealing off the casing, then grind in a meat grinder or cut in chunks and pulse in a food processor in small batches until it is the texture of ground meat.  Mix in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients, except cheese, until well blended.  Mix in the 6 ounces of cheese.

Heat oven to 350°.

Spray an 8 inch spring form pan with cooking spray, dampen hands with cold water and take a small amount of the polenta that has cilantro and pat out, put it in the pan, starting on the sides of the pan (up to about 1 inch from the top rim) and continue with the process, patting out until the sides and bottom is covered and all the polenta with the cilantro is used.  Make sure you dampen your hands often; it makes the polenta easier to work with.

Gently pat the chorizo mixture into the polenta, filling the pan until it is level to the top of the polenta.  Sprinkle the 2 oz reserved cheese over it and gently press it in.  Press the polenta down around the edges so it is even with the filling.  Wet hands and work with small amounts of the rest of the polenta (the reserved polenta that doesn’t have the cilantro in it), patting it out and placing it on top of the meat filling.  Smooth it out so there are no holes.  Place the reserved slices of peppers in a decorative design, pressing lightly so it is imbedded in the polenta.  Cover the pan with foil and place it on a baking sheet in the oven.

Bake 1 hour 15 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue baking 30 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown.  Let cool to room temperature and run a knife around the edge and remove the side of the spring form pan.  Remove the side of the pan.  Run a knife under the Timbale and slide onto a serving dish.  If you wish, you may refrigerate it, but bring it up to room temperature and even warm slightly in a microwave if serving the next day.  Slice in pie shape and serve with sour cream and salsa.  Sprinkle with a bit of cilantro.

If you have some filling left over.  You can form it into a small loaf and bake until done, about 30 minutes or so.

This takes an hour or so to prepare before baking, so make sure you have enough time to make it.

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Thursday, June 9th, 2011 Chorizo Timbale, Main Dishes No Comments

Strawberry-Almond Biscotti

Biscotti…  I never thought of making it until my daughter suggested it as one of our treats for our Christmas gift platters.  She checked and found how to make them.  Next, we talked about the taste we wanted to have and decided on strawberry and almond.  Marla made the biscotti for our Christmas gifts, I decided I wanted to make them again.  Here is our recipe.

1/2 cup butter, softened    Biscotti
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. grated orange peel
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup almonds, finely ground
3 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup dried strawberries, chopped
1/2 cup chopped almonds

2/3 cup white vanilla baking chips, melted

Heat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add orange peel and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Mix in flour, the 1 cup almonds, baking powder, and salt.  Mix well and stir in the remaining nuts and strawberries.

Divide dough in half.  On one side of the cookie sheet, make a log shape about 10″ long.  Form another on the other side of the cookie sheet.  The dough is similar to cookie dough and is easier to form into logs if you dampen your hands with water.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool 25 minutes.  Remove from cookie sheet and place on a cutting board.  Cut off slices about 1/2-inch thick; discard ends.  place slices on the cookie sheet in a single layer.

Bake 10 minutes, remove from oven and turn the slices over, return to the oven and bake another 10 minutes.  Cool completely, at least 30 minutes.  Drizzle one side with melted baking chips.  Dipping a fork in the melted baking chips and drizzling is an easy way.  Let stand until set before storing.


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Friday, January 15th, 2010 Strawberry-Almond Biscotti No Comments

Menu Choices and Techniques

Here are some menu choices and techniques to choose from when planning a cooking lesson.  I will work with you to decide which dishes to make so you can try or improve a specific technique.

*Cheese Sauce (for steamed vegetables or baked potato)
*White Sauce or gravy
*Brown Gravy
*Wine Sauce (for Chicken Piccata)

*Chicken Piccata

*Lime Ginger Salmon
*Honey Coriander Chicken

*Pork chops with Stuffing
*Chicken Tetrazzini
*Parmesan Chicken Marinara
*Potato with Cheese Sauce
*Baked Root Vegetables

*Garlic Mashed Potatoes

*Cauliflower with Mushroom Cheese Sauce
*Broccoli or other Vegetable

*Breaded Fish
*Potato Hash

Thursday, December 31st, 2009 In-Home Cooking Lessons No Comments

Roasted Root Vegetable Chicken Soup

I always make extra roasted root vegetables and I made up this recipe to use them.  Browning the chicken adds great flavor to the soup as does caramelizing the onion.  I have used Orzo instead of of rice and it works well, but if you leave it for left overs the Orzo gets a little too soft for my taste.  If you don’t have any left-over roasted root vegetables, you can roast a small amount for this recipe.

1 whole chicken breast, skinless and boneless, cut into small bite-size pieces
2 Tbs. olive oil
3/4 cup onion, diced small
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, diced fine
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
3 cups chicken broth
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. rosemary
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. thyme
1 Tbs. dried parsley
2 cups roasted root vegetables, cut in small chunks
(roasted vegetables from my Roasted Root Vegetable recipe
potatoes, carrots, and parsnips work well)
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup rice (wild rice is good)
1/2 cup frozen peas (optional)

In a large pan, saute the chicken breasts in the olive oil on medium-high heat until browned, sprinkle with salt and pepper, stirring when needed.  When the chicken pieces are browned and cooked through, remove them from the pan.  In the same pan, on medium low heat, add the onion and cook until they are soft and starting to carmelize, stirring often so they don’t burn. The onion should be  golden brown.  Add the garlic and celery, cooking until the celery is softened, stirring often.  Pour in the wine and boil down so it is reduced by half, scraping any brown pieces off the pan.  Add the lemon juice and chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Add the herbs and rice.  Lower the heat and cover.  Simmer until the rice is tender, cooking according to the directions for the rice.  This will take 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the type of rice used.  Uncover and turn up the heat.  Add the mushrooms, simmer until the mushrooms are softened.  Return the chicken and root vegetables to the pan, salt and pepper to taste. More herbs may be added if desired and frozen peas if desired.

4 generous servings

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Friday, December 11th, 2009 Roasted Root Vegetable Chicken Soup No Comments

Roasted Root Vegetables

Roasting root vegetables with olive oil and a few herbs makes a great side dish.  These are the vegetables I like to use but you can add beets, turnips, and rutabagas if you enjoy the taste of them.   These are great with any meat.   The left over potatoes, carrots, and parsnips gives my Chicken Vegetable Soup a great flavor.

5 medium potatoes
3 parsnips
5 carrots
2 medium sweet potatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
dried rosemary
dried thyme

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Peel all vegetables and cut in large chunks.  The sweet potatoes and potatoes cook fastest so they should be larger than the carrot and parsnip chunks.  Put them in a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil.  Sprinkle them with about half a teaspoon of the dried herbs and sprinkle them with a little salt.  With your hands, mix them up so the herbs are equally distributed.  Spread out on a large cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put into the preheated oven and bake.  Bake for 40 minutes and start testing for doneness by poking them with a fork.  When they are done, the fork will slide into the vegetable easily.  Serve with your choice of meat.

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Friday, December 11th, 2009 Roasted Root Vegetables No Comments

Cake with Raspberry Cheesecake Filling


It was Mom’s birthday and I got to make the cakes for her.  My family loves chocolate cakes so one of the cakes was a German Chocolate cake with coconut pecan frosting.  I wanted the other one to be a white one, but I wanted to try something new with it.  I read about cheesecake filling on the net so thought I would try that.  Now I needed another flavor.  I love raspberry cheesecakes, so that is the flavor I decided on.

First I made the white cake and let it cool.  Then cut the two layers to make four layers.  I put cheesecake filling on the first layer, then a layer of Wilderness Raspberry Pie Filling, next another cake layer… continuing till I used all the cake layers.  Then I covered the cake with butter cream frosting that had a touch of almond flavoring.  It was one of the best cakes I have done and it turned out beautiful.  I can’t wait to make another.

cake21 – 2 layer White cake
1 container of cheesecake filling
1 can Wilderness raspberry pie filling
1 recipe butter cream frosting

Divide the cakes so you have 4 layers, trim off the top of each cake so it is level.  Place first top of cake upside down and spread a layer of cheesecake filling on it to half an inch from the edge.  Next spread a layer of raspberry pie filling, also to half inch of the edge.  Use 1/3 of each filling on each layer.  Put another layer of cake and the next layer of the fillings. Continue, ending with the cake layer.  Spread the frosting on the edge then finish it off by frosting the top.  Decorate as desired.

An easy way to cut the layers so you have 4 layers instead of 2 is to insert toothpicks into the side of the layer of the cake, half way up the side of the layer.  Push the pick in about 1/2 an inch, spaced about 3 inches apart.  Get a length of string, thread, (or my favorite) floss that will go around the cake plus about 9 inches longer.  Lay the floss around the cake so it rests on top of the picks.  Cross the ends over each other, grasp them and pull.  The floss will slice through the cake evenly, making 4 perfectly sliced layers.

*You can find the cheesecake filling in the dairy section next to the cream cheese.

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009 What's Cooking No Comments

Focaccia Bread

I have been wanting to make a good focaccia bread that is light and airy and a little bit chewy, so have been researching blogs, artisan websites, and bookstores.  I found a site with a video that explained some of the terms, like preferment and poolish, and showed what it takes to make a great focaccia.  I made some last Saturday and it turned out just like I wanted.  I followed the directions I found at but added a few ingredients.  It was snowing hard Saturday and I didn’t have any bread drink that Chef Keem uses in his video, so I substituted water.  I’ll plan farther ahead next time and buy some and report the difference; maybe the difference is in the nutritional value.

Here is the recipe I used, technique adapted from  Chef Keem’s as shown on his website.

Focaccia Recipe


1 ¾ cups water (80 degrees)
¼ cup probiotic drink: Kombucha or bread drink (I didn’t have any so substituted water)
2 cups of bread flour
1 package dry yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar


1 cup water (80 degrees)
3 cups bread flour
1 package dry yeast
1 Tablespoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
Preferment from above
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder (next time I’ll use about 1 Tbs. finely chopped garlic)
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1 1/2 tsp thyme
2/3 tsp. basil
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped

Instructions for making the preferment or poolish:
Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl, consistency should be like a pancake batter.  Cover the bowl and poolish with a plastic bag and set aside for 5 or 6 hours, stirring occasionally in a folding motion.

Making the focaccia dough:
Mix together all above ingredients with about 100 beats of spoon, using a turning rather than a beating technique.  Cover with a bag and let the dough rest about an hour.  Pull the dough away from the side of the bowl and drizzle a little olive oil between the dough and the bowl.  Pull and fold the dough 4 to 8 times with well-oiled hands, as seen on Chef Keem’s video.  If you haven’t watched his video, please do, because his explanations are very helpful.  Let the dough rest and pull and fold it again, then rest and fold one more time, letting it rest about an hour between each folding.
Prepare a couple large cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper and drizzling some olive oil on them.  Oil your hands, divide the dough, place on the prepared cookie sheets, and gently work it with your fingertips to stretch it, let as many air bubbles as you can remain in the dough, drizzle some olive oil on top of the dough (about ¼ cup).  Let it rest a few minutes, then work with it some more.  To cover most of the pan, it will take two or three rest periods.  Let it raise, undisturbed for an hour or so, then bake it in a preheated 500° oven.  Start checking after 15 minutes to see if it is done. Turn down the heat to 425° the last 5 minutes.  Mine took about 20 minutes to bake.

You can add a cheese or topping if you wish, before and during the baking process.  Watch Chef Keem’s video for hints on adding toppings.

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Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 Focaccia Bread No Comments