Valentines Strawberry Cheesecake Cookies

In past years I have made pie for Luke for Valentine’s which I will still do, and other goodies but not cookies. This weekend we have house guest (Luke’s brother and family) and I have students who I want to introduce to the American idea of Valentines day. So this year I tried out some new cookie recipes for Valentine Cookies.

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I made adjustments to my funfetti cheesecake cookies in order to make a new strawberry cheesecake cookie. This are easy-to-make dump and bake recipe taste like fresh strawberry cake with a extra surprise of cheesecake as you finish it off. Plus they have a great traditional pink valentines color and flavor.

Strawberry Cheesecake Cookies

Ingredients

Makes about 32 cookies

  • 1 box strawberry cake mix
  • 1 small box instant cheesecake pudding mix
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 1/2 cup white baking chips, divided

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Instructions

-Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, vegetable oil spray, or a SilPat.

-In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla until dough forms.

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-Stir in 1/2 cup of the white chocolate chips.

-Using a cookie scoop, drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets 2 inches apart.

-Using the remaining 1/4 cup white chips, press a few chips onto the tops of each cookie or extra sprinkles

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Note: depending on what color you want the cookies you can add a little red/pink food coloring to the mix because the strawberry color fades with the baking.

-Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies just start to crack on the top.

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The centers will still be very soft – that’s okay!

Cool for 2-3 minutes, then remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

I stuck these cookies in the freezer right away because I know that when I dole then out I’m sure they won’t last long.

A “Cheesy” New Years Tradition

While Luke and I were dating we went to two fondue places and love it both times. But fondue can be expensive and our closest fondue place is in Rochester, an hour and forty-five minutes away. So last year for New Years Eve we decided to start a new tradition: making fondue at home.

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We bought a basic bottle of white and red wine then went to Wegmans to get nicer cheeses and chocolate to melt. Because we had the day to ourselves, we took our time prepping goodies to dip . For our creamy  white wine cheesy fondue we cut up  tart apples, grapes, mushrooms, broccoli, pita bread, pumpernickel bread, and celery.

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This year’s fondue cheeses
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2014’s fondue dipped goods

After making the fondue last year we decided the breads were too crumby for the hot cheese and that I am not a fan of raw broccoli but everything else tasted great. So this year we used heartier crackers, cut cubes from our own homemade bread, and exchanged green peppers for broccoli.

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Last year for our  rich red wine chocolate fondue we used marshmallows, strawberries, bananas, shortbread cookie pieces, and cheesecake bites.

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After making the chocolate fondue last year we decided the shortbread cookies was too soft and melted and that Luke is not a fan of marshmallows. Last year I had made cheesecake for Christmas /New Years day dessert so I  cut up the leftovers from the freezer.

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This year I made cheesecake balls coated in graham cracker crumbs. I dipped some in white chocolate for the New Years Eve party then froze the rest for fondue.  We didn’t use bananas this year but we did keep the  marshmallows for me, which just meant more cheesecake for Luke.

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We do not own a fondue set but we have a double boiler. Last year we put hot water in the bottom pan of the double boiler and melted our cheese/chocolate in the top pan. This worked pretty well except for one issue: if we removed the cheese fondue from the stove heat then it would begin to harden almost immediately. So we ended up eating our fondue on stools huddled around the stove top of the oven.

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This year Luke dipped into his camping gear to find a burner we could put on the table to use with our double boiler. It’s another temporary solution but it’s better than last year. And let’s just say we already have a item on our Christmas list for 2014: a nice fondue set.

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And what else did we do for our holiday other than eat food? Play Luke’s favorite Christmas present Firefly: the board game yes . . . it’s complicated and nerdy and. . . it’s a lot of fun.

Hope you all had a fun New Year’s Day!!

Raspberry Cheesecake Popsicles

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About two week’s ago I shared my second popsicle recipe of the summer (see Tropical Banana Creamsicles). In that post I hinted at trying two new recipes but only gave you one. (Did anyone read that post carefully and notice this detail?) Well here’s the second one.

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I happened upon one of those rare occasions where berries were on sale at the grocery store. So I found an excuse to buy some yummy healthy antioxidants: Raspberry Cheesecake Popsicles.

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As with my other popsicles/creamsicles etc.,  I try my best to make them a treat but not a high calorie dessert. This particular recipe may yield between 6-8 popsicles. If the recipe makes 6 then they are 80 calories each if it makes 8 then 60 calories each etc.

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Ingredients:

1 to 1 1/2 C 1% milk

1/2 C plain greek yogurt

1 packet dry sugar free cheesecake pudding mix
3/4- 1 C fresh raspberries
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Instructions:
Even simpler then my 3-step instructions for the Tropical Banana Creamsicles.
1. Cream Base: mix together greek yogurt, milk, and dry pudding mix
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2.  Fruit: fold in fresh (or defrosted) raspberries
 
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note: if you want whole berries then you are better off using fresh. If you don’t mind the popsicle having a stronger raspberry flavor then you can defrost the berries and they will mix in with the pudding more.
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Variations: For a few extra calories you can add some chocolate syrup or chocolate chips, use lemon pudding mix instead of cheesecake or 1/2 and 1/2 it, or choose a different berry.
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Last of all:

-Spoon or pour mixture into popsicle molds

-Let sit in freezer for a least 4-5 hours

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Hint: If popsicles are a little hard to get out of the mold run them under a little warm water while applying pressure to the stick.

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Then Enjoy!!!

What is your favorite type of berry? Cheesecake flavor? 

4th of July Funfetti Cheesecake Cookies

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We are coming up on the biggest all-American summer BBQ holiday of the year. So I thought I’d send you my festive cookie recipe now in case you debating what sweet treat to bring or serve at your family/friend BBQ.

I found the original verison of this recipe on pintrest then gave it to my mom so she could make cookies for father’s day. (For original recipe click here!).  After seeing some amazing pictures and hearing how easy and delicious these cookies were I decided to make some of my own to share at our church picnic and with Luke’s co-workers.

So here is my 4th of July twist on the Funfetti cheesecake cookies.

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4th of July Funfetti Cheesecake Cookies

Makes about 32 cookies

Prep time 5-10 minutes

Baking time 30 minutes

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Ingredients

1 box stars and stripes Funfetti cake mix

(If you can’t find this cake mix then get a basic white cake mix and use 2 TBS red and blue sprinkles)

1 small box instant cheesecake pudding mix (you can use vanilla if you don’t like cheesecake)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup white chocolate chips (or red and blue candy coated chocolate pieces)

* If you want: extra red and blue sprinkles and/or some red/blue food die

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, vegetable oil spray, or Silpats.

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2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, vegetable oil, eggs, sprinkles and vanilla until a dough forms. You may be able to replace the oil and eggs for greek yogurt, I would suggest using about a 3/4 C.

3. If you want to add a blue or red tint to the dough add only 2/3 drops of one color and stir it in with the ½ cup of white chocolate chips. If you want red and blue stripes in the dough, add 2 drops each color and lightly stir it together after you have added the white chips.

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4. Using a cookie scoop or small spoon, drop dough onto prepared cookie sheets 2 inches apart.

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5. If you have leftover white chocolate chips or sprinkles you can press a few chips onto the tops of each cookie.

6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookie start to lightly brown on top.

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The centers will still be very soft.

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Let them cool for at least two minutes before trying to enjoy these deliciously sweet treats!

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What’s your plan for the 4th?