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Cheesecake Brownie Squares

Cheesecake Brownie Squares

1 package fudge brownie mix (13-inch x 9-inch pan size)
2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (16 ounces) chocolate frosting

Prepare brownie mix batter according to package directions. Spread 2 cups into a greased 13×9-in. baking dish; set aside.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, sugar, flour and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Spread evenly over brownie batter. Top with remaining brownie batter. Cut through batter with a knife to swirl.

Bake at 350° for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs (brownies may appear moist). Cool completely on a wire rack. Spread frosting over brownies. Yield: 3 dozen.

Recipe found here: Cheesecake Brownie Squares

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Double Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake

Double Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake

1-1/2 cups crushed vanilla wafers (about 45)
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder

4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 cup 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate baking chips, melted
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1/4 cup half-and-half cream
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup coffee liqueur
1 tablespoon half-and-half cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate baking chips, chopped
16 chocolate-covered coffee beans

Place a greased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan.

In a large bowl, combine the wafer crumbs, butter, sugar and espresso powder. Press onto the bottom and 1-in. up the sides of prepared pan.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, melted chocolate, cocoa, cream and flour until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in the espresso powder and vanilla. Pour into crust. Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan.

Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan.

In a small saucepan, combine liqueur and half-and-half. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat whipping cream until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners’ sugar; beat until stiff peaks form.

Drizzle cheesecake with coffee syrup; garnish with whipped cream, chocolate and coffee beans. Yield: 16 servings.

Recipe found here: Double Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake

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Lemon Cupcakes

Lemon Cupcakes

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 to 3 tablespoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup half-and-half cream

1/4 cup shortening
1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon lemon extract
5 to 6 teaspoons 2% milk

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon peel and extracts. Combine flour and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with cream. Beat just until combined.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 325° for 15-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

For frosting, in a small bowl, beat shortening until fluffy. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar , extracts and enough milk to reach spreading consistency. Frost cupcakes. Yield: 1 dozen.

Recipe found here: Lemon Cupcakes

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Grinch Punch

Grinch Punch

1/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons water
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
12 drops neon green food coloring
1 bottle (2 liters) lemon-lime soda, chilled
2 pints vanilla ice cream

In a large saucepan, combine sugar and water. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved; remove from the heat. Stir in milk and extract. Transfer to a bowl; cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Just before serving, transfer milk mixture to a punch bowl. Stir in the food coloring and soda. Top with scoops of ice cream. Yield: 4 quarts.

Recipe found here: Grinch Punch

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slow cooker mac & cheese

Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese

10 oz. cooked elbow macaroni (or shells, spiral pasta, etc.)
1/2 stick butter, cubed
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra for garnish
1 cup romano cheese, grated
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
cooking spray

Spray a 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.

Place cooked macaroni in slow cooker and add butter. Stir until butter is melted.

Add evaporated and whole milk, parmesan, romano, cheddar cheese, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Stir well.

Cover and cook on low for 3 hours. Stir well and sprinkle with parmesan and another dash of nutmeg, and serve hot.

Tip: If you don’t have a slow cooker, put pasta, milk and cheeses in a large baking dish and bake for 50 minutes at 350º F.

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Homemade Chicken Potpie

Homemade Chicken Potpie

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken broth
3/4 cup 2% milk
3 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (about 10 ounces), thawed
1 sheet refrigerated pie pastry

Preheat oven to 450°. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir until tender. Stir in flour and poultry seasoning until blended; gradually whisk in broth and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Stir in chicken and vegetables.

Transfer to a greased 9-in. deep-dish pie plate; place pastry sheet over filling. Trim, seal and flute edges. Cut slits in pastry. Bake 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Yield: 6 servings.

Recipe found here: Homemade Chicken Potpie

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White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup white baking chips

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, salt and baking soda; gradually add to butter mixture and mix well. Stir in cranberries and chips.

Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 1 minute before removing to wire racks. Yield: 2 dozen.

Recipe found here: White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

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