Chat

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars

IMG_8770

True confession: these bars are actually semi-homemade. Another confession: no one will care … they are just that good.

I first tasted a chocolate cheesecake bar during my second year of college living in a house with fourteen (yes, you read that correctly) other 19 to 20 year old girls. As you can likely imagine, there was rarely a moment of peace and quiet. In “The White House” (as we and so many other women before and after us affectionately call it), there were more dance parties, late night conversations, hair-brained adventures, and tear-jerking laughter than could be counted. Things were chaotic, at moments dramatic, but overall simply a lot of fun. Perhaps chief among the highlights of living there were our dessert parties. And when I say dessert parties, imagine a large three story house with dessert in every room and hundreds (again, yes, you read that correctly) of people stopping by. Insane.

These bars are the recipe of my dear friend who made them for nearly every party. They are quick, easy (as I already confessed, they are semi-homemade) but they are oh so delicious. I can’t make them without missing the days spent in that big, old white house.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from my friend Abi’s recipe (source unknown)

1 package pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough (our favorite is Toll House)
1 8oz block of cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 c white sugar

Preheat oven to 375°.

Grease a 9X9 glass pan with butter and set aside.

Remove half of the chocolate chip cookie dough from the packaging and return the remaining half to the refrigerator. Use your fingers to mash the dough into flat pieces. If you bought a tube of cookie dough, use a knife to cut off pieces of the dough and then flatten each piece. If you bought the pre-shaped cookie dough, simply use your fingers to flatten each cookie. Line the flattened pieces in the prepared pan, covering the bottom of the pan with cookie dough. Overlapping is okay, but you don’t want to leave gaps if possible.

Use a mixer to combine the cream cheese, egg and sugar. Blend until smooth, then pour the mixture over the cookie dough.

Repeat the same process of flattening the cookie dough with the dough reserved in the refrigerator. You’ll want to cover the entire cream cheese mixture with cookie dough (or as much as you can).

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the edges are browned and the cream cheese is set.

Let cool on the counter for 30 minutes and then refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Makes 16 bars.

Summer Berry Galette

Summer Berry Galette

IMG_5617

It is blackberry season. We’ve already made several trips to Grammie’s blackberry bushes and eaten more than our fair share of those delicious, juicy and perfectly tart berries. We come home with full bellies, berry stained hands (and mouths) and a semi-permanent smile produced by eating the best summer has to offer.

While everyone (at least around here) loves blackberries straight off the bush, sometimes putting them into a dessert just seems appropriate. This galette has become a favorite at our house and is well worth the effort involved. The crust feels a bit special since it is made with cornmeal and the combination of blueberries and blackberries makes a beautiful blue that is matched only by its taste. Personally, I prefer to eat the tart on its own, but vanilla ice cream is a great accompaniment.

Summer Berry Galette
Adapted from Cooking Light, July 2008

Pastry
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/3 c granulated sugar
1/4 c cornmeal
1/4 t salt
1/2 c cold butter, cut into 1/4″ pieces
1/3 c cold milk

Filling
2 c blueberries
2 c blackberries
1/3 c granulated sugar
3 T flour
2 T lemon juice
1 large egg
2 T turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.

To make pastry, combine flour, sugar, cornmeal and salt in a medium bowl. Add pieces of cold butter. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it is well combined and much of the flour is the size of peas. Add the milk. Using your hands, knead until well combined. Shape dough into the form of a ball and place dough (in bowl) in the refrigerator.

To make the filling, combine the berries with the sugar, flour and lemon juice. Lightly toss to coat the berries with other ingredients.

Lightly grease a large cookie sheet and remove dough from refrigerator. Center ball of dough on pan and roll into a large oval. Pour berries onto prepared dough and spread out evenly over the dough leaving a 2″ border. Fold the border of the pastry over the berries, gently pressing to seal. You will have a pastry crust around the edge and a large oval of berries in the middle.

Whisk the egg in a small bowl and, using a pastry brush, brush the egg over the pastry. Then sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the entire galette.

Bake for 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown. Let sit for 30 minutes before cutting into wedges.

Serves 8-10.