Spache the Spatula http://www.spachethespatula.com Childhood Nickname Turned (Almost) Grownup Food Blog Wed, 22 Apr 2015 10:00:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Strawberry-Raspberry Cheesecake Squares http://www.spachethespatula.com/strawberry-raspberry-cheesecake-squares/ http://www.spachethespatula.com/strawberry-raspberry-cheesecake-squares/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 10:00:05 +0000 http://www.spachethespatula.com/?p=27150

Totally found the coolest thing ever at the grocery store the other day…

These pretty, little cheesecake squares are creamy, dreamy, no-bake delights! | spachethespatula.com #recipe…Greek yogurt cream cheese! I hadn’t planned on making cheesecake, but as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to have it.

I’ve actually used full-on Greek yogurt in my cheesecake before (see here), but the thought of it already being combined into the cream cheese tickled my fancy—I don’t know why, haha.

These pretty, little cheesecake squares are creamy, dreamy, no-bake delights! | spachethespatula.com #recipe These pretty, little cheesecake squares are creamy, dreamy, no-bake delights! | spachethespatula.com #recipeThis is a no-bake cheesecake. I know I may have just said I was not the biggest fan of no-bake cheesecakes, but this one may have converted me!

I formed this in a square baking dish to cut into squares, but you could also form it in a spring-form pan for a more traditional cheesecake shape. I just think the little bars are adorable, and easy to serve!

These pretty, little cheesecake squares are creamy, dreamy, no-bake delights! | spachethespatula.com #recipe These pretty, little cheesecake squares are creamy, dreamy, no-bake delights! | spachethespatula.com #recipeI think these squares are just gorgeous. The cheesecake portion is a light baby pink, and then there is a beautiful, orchid-colored, berry gelée on top. I threw some edible flowers on top, just to glam these little squares up even more.

Perfect for Spring, right?

These pretty, little cheesecake squares are creamy, dreamy, no-bake delights! | spachethespatula.com #recipe These pretty, little cheesecake squares are creamy, dreamy, no-bake delights! | spachethespatula.com #recipeThe slightly tangy cheesecake mixture has fluffy whipped cream folded right into it, making it so light and sumptuous! If you couldn’t tell by the obscene amount of photos, I’m kiiiinda obsessed.

You could actually make this recipe using any berries or combination of berries. Blueberries would be lovely! If you use something like blackberries, you may want to pass the blended berry mixture through a sieve to catch and seeds!

These pretty, little cheesecake squares are creamy, dreamy, no-bake delights! | spachethespatula.com #recipe

Strawberry-Raspberry Cheesecake Squares

Yield: 16 squares

Ingredients:

for the crust:

  • 8 honey graham crackers
  • small pinch of salt
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

for the starwberry-raspberry gelée:

  • gelatin leaves ***(see note)
  • 1/2 lb. strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 5 to 6 ounces raspberries, washed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

for the cheesecake:

  • 1 lb cream cheese Greek yogurt, at room temperature (This is what I used. Feel free to sub regular cream cheese.)
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • small pitch salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions:

for the crust:

  1. Pulse the graham crackers and salt together in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Drizzle in the butter and pulse until the crumbs come together.
  2. Press into the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish. Place in the fridge while you make the next parts.

for the starwberry-raspberry gelée:

  1. Fill a large baking dish with cool water. Place the gelatin leaves in and soak for 10 minutes until softened.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the fruit, sugar, and vanilla extract. Heat over medium high heat util the fruit starts to break down and the sugar is dissolved. Pour into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour back into the saucepan.
  3. Remove the gelatin leaves from the water and kind of wring them out with your hands. Place into the saucepan and stir over low heat for a few seconds until fully dissolved. Reserve 3/4 of a cup of the gelée mixture in the saucepan, and pour the rest into a bowl. Set aside while you make the cheesecake.

for the cheesecake:

  1. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese sugar vanilla, and salt until very smooth. Add in the gelée (except the reserved portion) and mix to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, while the cream to stiff peaks. With a rubber spatula, gently fold into the cheesecake mixture.
  3. Pour into the crust and refrigerate for 45 min until firmed up a bit. Pour the reserved gelée over the top (you can warm it up over low heat if necessary), and refrigerate uncovered for at least 4 hours, and up to 24.

***Instead of gelatin leaves, you can also use a packet of powdered gelatin. Sprinkle it over 2 tbsp of cool water in a bowl, and proceed with the recipe.

recipe adapted from here

These pretty, little cheesecake squares are creamy, dreamy, no-bake delights! | spachethespatula.com #recipe

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100 Calorie Greek Yogurt Muffins – 2 ways http://www.spachethespatula.com/100-calorie-greek-yogurt-muffins-2-ways/ http://www.spachethespatula.com/100-calorie-greek-yogurt-muffins-2-ways/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 10:00:32 +0000 http://www.spachethespatula.com/?p=27121

On Tuesday, I stepped inside of a hospital for the first time since my little sister, Rebecca’s accident.

You choose---Whole grain and refined sugar-free? or a more standard AP flour and sugar version! Both contain tons of blueberries and are less than 100 calories each! | spachethespatula.com #recipeIt never occurred to me, that this would be “A Thing.” I actually didn’t even realize that I hadn’t been inside of one since the beginning of 2013. Mikey and I were simply going to visit someone who had just gone through a fairly standard surgery, and I thought nothing of it. And then we walked in.

We went in through the Emergency Room entrance, because it was closest, and right as we were passing through the sliding doors I felt my heart flutter. Oh crap, will there be families in here bawling their eyes out? Has someone they love gone through something horrible?! Nope. It was calm. I saw maybe one woman sitting in a chair, perfectly fine. Oh. Good.

We got in the elevator. When the doors opened, we were on a floor full of patient rooms. Nurses were all around, there were carts with IVs and heart rate monitors in the hallway. Suddenly, I started to panic. Everything felt like was going so fast. I don’t think I was even blinking. I thought my heart might beat out of my chest. Why can’t I catch my breath? We were about to walk into the room when I turned to Mikey… “I’m kind of freaking out…” And then the tears came. And I was crying and I didn’t know why. I mean, I knew why, but why now? Why here—3000 miles away?

And suddenly I felt really silly, because I didn’t know this was going to happen, and I wasn’t prepared for it. I tried to wipe away my tears and put on a smile. We stayed for what felt like an eternity. Every tiny thing brought back memories I try not to recall… the EKG, the circulation boots, the gait belt, the small alcove in the room, even the frickin’ white board… I clenched my hands in my pockets so hard they were hurting. What the hell is wrong with me?  I kept thinking.

When we left, the cold outside air could not have felt better on my face. I felt relieved, and suddenly like everything was okay. And I felt stupid for freaking out so much.

You choose---Whole grain and refined sugar-free? or a more standard AP flour and sugar version! Both contain tons of blueberries and are less than 100 calories each! | spachethespatula.com #recipeAnd that’s my little story that I felt like I had to tell. It feels good to write it down, so thanks for bearing with my craziness, haha! Oh and coincidently her birthday was yesterday! So Happy Birthday week, sis! Glad I get to say that you :)

Let’s talk about muffins! I made these two different ways, but the both include: greek yogurt, egg whites, blueberries, and cinnamon.

One is a whole-grain, refined sugar-free version that uses maple syrup, whole wheat flour, flax, and includes apricots:

You choose---Whole grain and refined sugar-free? or a more standard AP flour and sugar version! Both contain tons of blueberries and are less than 100 calories each! | spachethespatula.com #recipeAnd the other is a more traditional, all-purpose flour and granulated sugar muffin that only has blueberries in it:

You choose---Whole grain and refined sugar-free? or a more standard AP flour and sugar version! Both contain tons of blueberries and are less than 100 calories each! | spachethespatula.com #recipeThe latter are fluffier, but I kinda like the flavor and texture of the whole grain ones better. But, both are delicious, and both are under 100 calories each :)

You could switch the blueberries and apricots for any frozen fruit (blackberries or strawberries would be delish!), or even some chocolate chips (OMG choco chips + raspberries! YES!). These aren’t overly sweet, so they make a perfect breakfast or snack.

You choose---Whole grain and refined sugar-free? or a more standard AP flour and sugar version! Both contain tons of blueberries and are less than 100 calories each! | spachethespatula.com #recipe

100 Calorie Greek Yogurt Muffins - 2 ways

Yield: Each batch will yield ~2 dozen*

Ingredients:

for the whole grain version:

dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup frozen apricot pieces

wet ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 and 1/2 cups nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

for the all-purpose flour version:

dry ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/2 cups frozen blueberries

wet ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup egg whites

 

Directions:

for either version:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 stand-size muffin tins with liners.
  2. Pulse the oats in a food processor until ground up (it's fine if a few larger chunks remain). Add to a large bowl with all of the dry ingredients. Toss the frozen fruit in the flour mixture and coat.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Add in the flour and fruit mixture, and carefully fold to combine.
  4. Scoop into the muffin liners (about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the top is lightly browned and the insides are cooked. Allow to cool.

*my batches made exactly 23 standard muffins

You choose---Whole grain and refined sugar-free? or a more standard AP flour and sugar version! Both contain tons of blueberries and are less than 100 calories each! | spachethespatula.com #recipe

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Grapefruit & Avocado Salad with Pistachios http://www.spachethespatula.com/grapefruit-avocado-salad-with-pistachios/ http://www.spachethespatula.com/grapefruit-avocado-salad-with-pistachios/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 10:00:02 +0000 http://www.spachethespatula.com/?p=27106

The dreary Seattle weather is back :(

A vibrant, juicy salad with creamy avocado, peppery arugula, and unctuous pistachios oil | spachethespatula.com #recipeIt’s all rainy and cold, and I totally dread when I have to take Rook out for walks. Somehow, despite my raincoat and galoshes, I still end up freezing and damp. It might be because I’m in full Spring mode. You see, the second it officially becomes Spring (or actually the same applies to any season), I dress as if it is that season… So under that raincoat and those galoshes maayyyy have been a backless, floor-length sundress, with slits up the side of my legs…

Smart apparel, Rachael! You show that incessant drizzle and 50 degree temperatures who’s boss. Surely the weather will brighten up to fit your desires…

On top of dressing like it’s Spring, I also fully commit to cooking like it’s Spring!

A vibrant, juicy salad with creamy avocado, peppery arugula, and unctuous pistachios oil | spachethespatula.com #recipeDoesn’t this just seem like a “Spring-y dish”? Pretty pastel pinks, and greens, and yellows.

This is a cute and fancy-looking salad you could serve as a first course at a dinner party! It’s also make a nice accompaniment to a sandwich of some sort. It’s light and refreshing, but it still has some nice fattiness from the creamy avocado and buttery pistachio oil. And yes, there is more arugula. I told you guys I’m obsessed! It’s the only green I can snack on totally plain. I love it’s zippy bite!

A vibrant, juicy salad with creamy avocado, peppery arugula, and unctuous pistachios oil | spachethespatula.com #recipe

By the way, pistachio oil is one of my favorite ingredients, because it is so damn flavorful! It can be a little pricey, but you don’t need a lot, and I promise the flavor is worth it. If you’re wondering what else to use it in, you can try these other recipes I’ve made herehere, or here!

I also used some black lava salt to finish this dish, because I like the contrast of the black on the light Spring colors, but if you don’t have any, don’t sweat it! Just use any flakey sea salt.

Grapefruit & Avocado Salad with Pistachios

Yield: 1 serving (easy to repeat for more servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup arugula
  • 1 tsp pistachio oil (this has a TON of flavor, but if you don't have it, you can just use a good, fruity olive oil)
  • 2 or 3 (1/4") slices of pink grapefruit, seeds and skin removed
  • 1/2 small avocado, sliced
  • ~10 roasted and salted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • black lava salt (or any kind of finishing salt---this one just looks pretty!)

Directions:

  1. Place the arugula onto a small plate. Lay the grapefruit slices over top, and then the avocado. Drizzle the pistachio oil over the top, and sprinkle with the chopped pistachios. Finish with the black lava salt.

*You could also toss the arugula with the pistachio oil instead of drizzling it over the top of everything.

A vibrant, juicy salad with creamy avocado, peppery arugula, and unctuous pistachios oil | spachethespatula.com #recipe

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Skinny Curry Chicken Salad http://www.spachethespatula.com/skinny-curry-chicken-salad/ http://www.spachethespatula.com/skinny-curry-chicken-salad/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 10:00:44 +0000 http://www.spachethespatula.com/?p=27092

Happy Monday!

A sweet, spicy and many chicken salad that has zero mayo, and is crazy low-cal (we're talking less than 200cal per serving!) | spachethespatula.com #recipeCan Mondays be happy? Maybe if you pack this for lunch 😀

I made you a healthy version of chicken salad! There’s no mayo in sight, but there *is* a ton of flavor. It’s amazing over greens, like I’ve served it here, but it also makes an awesome sandwich, and it’s fantastic served with crackers for dipping!

But isn’t this kind of gorgeous? It’s almost like a flower.

A sweet, spicy and many chicken salad that has zero mayo, and is crazy low-cal (we're talking less than 200cal per serving!) | spachethespatula.com #recipe A sweet, spicy and many chicken salad that has zero mayo, and is crazy low-cal (we're talking less than 200cal per serving!) | spachethespatula.com #recipe

So this chicken salad not only has homemade curry powder in it, but a also a secret ingredient that gives it a huge amount of flavor—Major Grey’s chutney. It’s the same stuff I use in this panini, and it’s super delicious. It’s a mango chutney that also has raisins, onion, vinegar, and spices in it—it’s complex and addictive, and it plays really, really well with curry powder!

The “creamy” ingredient in this chicken salad is non-fat Greek yogurt. It’s tang is softened by the sweet chutney, and it’s super high in protein and low in calories! I also added in some fresh basil and chives, for freshness and vibrancy. Oh, and the toasted almonds are totally mandatory! They add a great crunch, and a little bit of fat to a otherwise crazy low-fat dish.

The resulting chicken salad is sweet, spicy, and a little tangy.

A sweet, spicy and many chicken salad that has zero mayo, and is crazy low-cal (we're talking less than 200cal per serving!) | spachethespatula.com #recipe A sweet, spicy and many chicken salad that has zero mayo, and is crazy low-cal (we're talking less than 200cal per serving!) | spachethespatula.com #recipeI really love serving this chicken salad over arugula that has been tossed in some olive oil, because a) I’m totally addicted to arugula, and b) it’s so easy. Plus then you can dress it up with perfectly ripe strawberries and it looks all pretty. BUT I have a sneaking suspicion that it would make the best melt ever if you piled it on some toasted bread and melted brie cheese over the top!

I like to poach my chicken for this chicken salad, just because it’s quick and healthy, but if you’re super short on time, you could just use the meat from a rotisserie chicken without the skin!

A sweet, spicy and many chicken salad that has zero mayo, and is crazy low-cal (we're talking less than 200cal per serving!) | spachethespatula.com #recipe

Skinny Curry Chicken Salad

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 10 to 12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 heaping tbsp Major Grey's mango chutney
  • 1 to 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 to 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 1 heaping tbsp curry powder (homemade is best!)
  • 1 to 1 and 1/2 oz. sliced almonds, toasted
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

to poach the chicken:

  1. Place the chicken in a large sauce pan, and just cover with cool water, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Shred chicken breasts with two forks.

to make the salad:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, chutney, basil chives, and curry powder. Add in the chicken and toss to coat. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the almonds.

*The flavors will develop a bit more if you leave it in the fridge for a couple hours!

**If you want to serve it like I have, toss some arugula in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the chicken salad on top, and arrange some sliced strawberries around the outside.

A sweet, spicy and many chicken salad that has zero mayo, and is crazy low-cal (we're talking less than 200cal per serving!) | spachethespatula.com #recipe

P.S. — The “Print” button on my recipes finally works again!!! Whoo-hoo!!!

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Fruit for Friday!

A vibrantly refreshing and tropical fruit salad full of fresh coconut! | spachethespatula.com #recipeI think I typically give you guys like sweets or cocktails on Fridays but with all of the sunny Seattle weather lately, this just feels right. And I mean that, coupled with the fact that I’ve been staring longingly at the photos from my family Caribbean cruise last year has really got me hankering for summer.

Yes. I said hankering. We’ve been over this. I speak like a person born in the 50s sometimes (um, of course that is when my mouth is taking a break from it’s rather colorful language…).

A vibrantly refreshing and tropical fruit salad full of fresh coconut! | spachethespatula.com #recipe A vibrantly refreshing and tropical fruit salad full of fresh coconut! | spachethespatula.com #recipeBut isn’t this so pretty?! I’m kind of obsessed. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of this tropical rainbow if colors!

Coconuts are definitely one of the most beautiful foods.

A vibrantly refreshing and tropical fruit salad full of fresh coconut! | spachethespatula.com #recipe A vibrantly refreshing and tropical fruit salad full of fresh coconut! | spachethespatula.com #recipeHowever, they are a real bitch to crack open and retrieve the meat from. I sat on my little porch slamming away at this thing with one of the world’s largest knives, praying I wouldn’t hack myself.

But that wasn’t even the most difficult part. Scarping out the flesh when you don’t own a true coconut flesh scarier thingy is not the easiest task… I went back and forth between a grapefruit spoon and a zester until I had enough for this salad. I will say though, the fresh stuff is SO MUCH better than dried! Even the water tastes better than what you can get at the store. (Do remember to strain your coconut water through a fine mesh sieve, though, because you don’t want any nasty husk chunks.)

A vibrantly refreshing and tropical fruit salad full of fresh coconut! | spachethespatula.com #recipe A vibrantly refreshing and tropical fruit salad full of fresh coconut! | spachethespatula.com #recipeThis would be a great picnic or cook-out dish because it only gets better as it sits. Plus, there aren’t very many ingredients, and it’s super simple to scale up. I considered adding this recipe to my Too Easy category, but I felt like the stupid coconut was enough to ban it, haha. Granted, you could totally use dried coconut flakes and store-bought coconut water and it would definitely qualify!

A vibrantly refreshing and tropical fruit salad full of fresh coconut! | spachethespatula.com #recipe A vibrantly refreshing and tropical fruit salad full of fresh coconut! | spachethespatula.com #recipe A vibrantly refreshing and tropical fruit salad full of fresh coconut! | spachethespatula.com #recipe

Tropical Fruit Salad

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

for the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup fresh coconut water*
  • zest and juice from 1 small lime
  • 1 tsp agave syrup (feel free to add more if your fruit isn;t quite as sweet'
  • 1 to 2 tbsp fresh mint, sliced into strips

for the fruit:

  • 3 starfruit (6 to 7 ounces), sliced and deseeded
  • 1/2 mini watermelon (a little less than a pound), cut into chunks
  • 1-2 ounces freshly shredded coconut meat*

Directions:

  1. Mix together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the fruit. Pour the dressing over top and gently toss to coat. You can serve immediately, of let it hang out in the fridge for a couple hours for a more developed flavor.

*Feel free to use store-bought coconut water and dried, unsweetened coconut flakes if you want to make you life a little easier (It just won't be quite as awesome :P)

A vibrantly refreshing and tropical fruit salad full of fresh coconut! | spachethespatula.com #recipe A vibrantly refreshing and tropical fruit salad full of fresh coconut! | spachethespatula.com #recipe

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Mini Thin Mint Cheesecake Parfaits http://www.spachethespatula.com/mini-thin-mint-cheesecake-parfaits/ http://www.spachethespatula.com/mini-thin-mint-cheesecake-parfaits/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 10:00:08 +0000 http://www.spachethespatula.com/?p=7770

People still have Girl Scout Cookies around, right?

No-bake Thin Mint cheesecake in miniature parfait form! | spachethespatula.com #recipeI know…I totally did this last year, too. I posted a Thin Mint recipe super late. Actually, last year’s recipe was posted at the end of June, so I’ve arguably done a much better job this year! Plus, Keebler makes a grasshopper cookie that you could use, if your Thin Mints are long gone by now 😛

Actually, I debated even posting this recipe. I wasn’t super wild about it, but Mikey insisted. And he may have made a (really) good point that I’m not exactly the best judge considering I am not the hugest fan of no-bake cheesecake or mint in desserts…

No-bake Thin Mint cheesecake in miniature parfait form! | spachethespatula.com #recipe No-bake Thin Mint cheesecake in miniature parfait form! | spachethespatula.com #recipeThe question may be asked, Why the eff would I make something I knew I wouldn’t like? Because I like to try to convince myself to like things. I hate not liking foods. For instance, I want to like celery so badly! It seems like such a healthy food that very few people have a problem with. I used to force myself to eat it, despite the fact I find it to be ungodly bitter and nasty in both flavor and texture. I gave up on celery (or should I say HELLERY), though. That unholy vegetable can go straight to hell and stay there.

Minty desserts seems like something that can be easily changed though, no?

No-bake Thin Mint cheesecake in miniature parfait form! | spachethespatula.com #recipe No-bake Thin Mint cheesecake in miniature parfait form! | spachethespatula.com #recipeMeh. I guess not. I mean…I certainly didn’t hate it, and it is cute as hell…

LOL have I convinced you to make these yet? No but really, if you are a Thin Mint fan, you will LOVE these. The cheesecake part tastes like a creamy Thin Mint, and then there is the Thin Mint crumble that gives great textural contrast. As a Thin Mint-lover, Mikey thoroughly enjoyed it and said these absolutely had to go up on the blog.

(But I mean, if you’re more of a Samoa or Do-Si-Do lover like myself, let me point you here or here!)

No-bake Thin Mint cheesecake in miniature parfait form! | spachethespatula.com #recipe No-bake Thin Mint cheesecake in miniature parfait form! | spachethespatula.com #recipe

Mini Thin Mint Cheesecake Parfaits

Yield: 8-10 (depending on size of glass)

Ingredients:

for the Thin Mint crumble:

  • 10 Thin Mints
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • tiny pinch kosher salt

for the cheesecake:

  • 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (I like to use Neufchatel)
  • 1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • small pinch salt
  • 1/4 tsp pure peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

for the whipped cream:

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

for the Thin Mint crumble:

  1. Pulse the Thin Mints in a food processor until course crumbs. Drizzle in the melted butter, and add in the salt, and pulse until everything is moistened.

for the cheesecake:

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate for 30 seconds, stir well, then continue microwaving for 15 seconds, stirring super well after each time, until fully melted. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, salt, and extracts. Add in the cooled melted chocolate and beat until combined.

for the whipped cream:

  1. In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.

to assemble:

  1. Scoop the cheesecake mixture into a pastry bag (or a large Ziplock...which is what I use) fitted with a pastry tip. Layer the cheesecake mixture and Thin Mint crumble in small glasses (I have teeny party desire glasses, but shot glasses will even work, or martini glasses!).
  2. Serve with extra Thin Mint crumble and whipped cream on the side.

No-bake Thin Mint cheesecake in miniature parfait form! | spachethespatula.com #recipe No-bake Thin Mint cheesecake in miniature parfait form! | spachethespatula.com #recipe

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What I’m Still Learning About Blogging http://www.spachethespatula.com/what-im-still-learning-about-blogging/ http://www.spachethespatula.com/what-im-still-learning-about-blogging/#comments Fri, 03 Apr 2015 10:00:50 +0000 http://www.spachethespatula.com/?p=7085

Rookie BloggingToday I kinda just feel like rambling and getting a few things off my chest, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do! I want to talk a little about some stuff that after 5 years of blogging, I’m just now starting to figure out…

Because I am the product of an English degree, and I love writing essays, that’s kinda how this post is going to look (only not quite as succinct, and with a few sections).

The sections I want to cover are:

  • Finding a Voice
  • Recipes
  • Criticism
  • Expectations

Finding a Voice

I feel like I often lose sight of the fact that this is my blog, and I can say or post what ever I want on it. I mean… I know it’s mine, but I feel like I’m constantly worrying about things like if people will like what I post, if I’m creative enough, if I’ve managed to inject any of my own voice into my writing, if people will like the me that I put in writing, if my words will offend anyone, etc.

I always say (to Mikey) that the most difficult part of my posts is the writing. As someone who LOVES writing, this absolutely should not be the case. The photo-taking, the editing, and writing up the recipes are processes that I’ve become used to, and can accomplish pretty mindlessly at this point (even if they are time-consuming), but I draw a huge blank when it comes to the surrounding text.

In day-to-day life, I’m actually a really outspoken person, though quite shy in new situations. I think the issue here is that even though I’ve been blogging for years, it still feels like a new situation. In real life, you can pick up on how people are feeling, and what their reactions to you are, but it’s so much different on the internet. You have the potential to be reaching tons and tons of people who you might never meet, but they will still form an opinion about you. Basically, it’s like being a room full of strangers that you can never introduce yourself to, and they all might be talking about you, but you’re not sure—disconcerting, right?

I love making people happy (which is a HUGE reason I love sharing food with people!), and I really don’t like to be disliked. But is it really possible to know if you’re liked or disliked on the internet? I think that’s why I tend to leave so much of myself out of my posts, so no one can form a true opinion.

Here on my blog, I spend a lot of time trying decipher what people want to hear, instead of just saying what I want to say. But you know what? It’s a hell of a lot easier to be yourself, and not worry about the rest.

Actually, this is the easiest post I’ve ever written because it’s 100% me, and basically a transcription of the thoughts swirling around in my crazy brain.

Recipes

In much the same vein as the section above, I’ve struggled with whether or not my recipes are things other people would like or care about…you know, whether or not they are “Pinterest-y.”

Sometimes I’ll post a recipe that I’m absolutely in love with, and it gets almost no attention (like these all-homemade bagel bites…c’mon guys…that’s basically your childhood all grown up…). Then I’ll post something that I thought was totally stupid and almost didn’t post, and suddenly it’s sending thousands of visits to my blog. Huh?!

Fortunately for my sanity, I kinda gave up on guessing what people like in terms of recipes a while ago, and have stuck with posting things that I like, and know are delicious.

That still doesn’t change the fact that I feel utter and complete confusion over seeing a recipe on Pinterest, for ham slices stuffed into a muffin tin and filled with canned pasta sauce and cheese, getting thousands of re-pins. I mean…I know my aversion to ham might make me slightly biased, but WTF people???

Criticism

This is actually the thing that spurred this post. I came across a website that is basically dedicated to bashing blogs. When I realized they had a section for food blogs, and that some of my very favorite blogs had hundreds and thousands of proclamations of hate, something clicked.

You can’t please everyone, and you damn sure shouldn’t try because there are always going to be people who dislike you for no reason—especially on the internet.

As a people pleaser, it’s insanely difficult for me to see hate or criticism, and not want to find out why, or how I could fix it. I know that 9 times out of 10, it’s a fool’s errand, and I’m definitely trying to overcome it. It’s especially hilarious because my food blog is just a tiny teeny speck on the internet, and there isn’t even that much criticism to be had. On the other hand, Mikey is helping to make Halo 5—part of a franchise with a rabid, passionate fan base that is not afraid to say exactly what they think, or pile on the criticism, and it doesn’t phase him at all.

I need some tougher skin, I think!

Expectations

The rest of the sections deal with everyone else’s expectations, but this one is all about personal expectations—what I think my blog should be, where it should be, etc.

It’s super easy to get caught up comparing yourself to everyone else. This is true for life in general, but when it comes to your aspirations for your career, and especially something that is your life’s passion, it seems even more so. I’ve totally driven myself crazy before wondering how blogs that have been around less than a year are somehow so popular, or if my content is nothing new or interesting, and—the thought I vocalize the most aloud to Mikey— whether or not there is a secret food blogging club that everyone else is privy to but me (lol). Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing something wrong because I’m not where others are. Sometimes I wonder if I’m expected to be using a more professional tone on my blog because I see it on others. Sometimes I wonder where everyone is getting this ridiculous surplus of gorgeous antique props…

It’s impossible to know everyone’s situation and you can’t be anyone but you. This is something that I hope I can not only be better at accepting, but celebrating! It’s exhausting to worry about everyone else, and just worrying about myself is a big enough task as it is!

If you stuck it through to the end of this long, somewhat ramble-y post, you deserve a serious pat on the back. I hope I’m not the only one who doesn’t know what they’re doing here, and is just kinda fumbling through it. I hope that I can bring a bit more authenticity to my posts from here on out, and not be scared of just being myself.

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Too Easy: Lemon Herb Compound Butter http://www.spachethespatula.com/too-easy-lemon-herb-compound-butter/ http://www.spachethespatula.com/too-easy-lemon-herb-compound-butter/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 10:00:32 +0000 http://www.spachethespatula.com/?p=7068

It’s another crazy easy recipe kinda day!

Dress up your favorite savory recipes with this fresh and vibrant compound butter using lemon and a variety of herbs! | spachethespatula.com #recipeCompound butters are stupid simple to make, but can add so much dimension to any dish! Just swap out any plain butter in you savory recipes with a compound butter, and you will add so much favor.

I’ve actually shared a compound butter on the blog before (the blood orange butter in this post), but I thought making a post entirely dedicated to it would be a good reminder for those of us that forget they exist, haha.

I loooove compound butters, but I always forget to make them!

Dress up your favorite savory recipes with this fresh and vibrant compound butter using lemon and a variety of herbs! | spachethespatula.com #recipe Dress up your favorite savory recipes with this fresh and vibrant compound butter using lemon and a variety of herbs! | spachethespatula.com #recipeThis particular compound butter is fresh, vibrant, and perfect for Spring! It’s just lemon zest and some fresh herbs stirred into soft butter, but it’s a total recipe game changer.

I used fresh mint, basil, and parsley here, but you can totally switch up the herbs to suit your tastes! I think that chives would have been an awesome addition. You could also swap the lemon zest out for any other citrus zest for a completely different flavor. Cilantro-lime? That would be perfection on a flank steak. Orange-rosemary? Would probably be heaven stirred into some sort of brown rice pilaf. Grapefruit-thyme? Kiiiinda wanna slap some of that on a white fish fillet.

Dress up your favorite savory recipes with this fresh and vibrant compound butter using lemon and a variety of herbs! | spachethespatula.com #recipe Dress up your favorite savory recipes with this fresh and vibrant compound butter using lemon and a variety of herbs! | spachethespatula.com #recipe Dress up your favorite savory recipes with this fresh and vibrant compound butter using lemon and a variety of herbs! | spachethespatula.com #recipeThis is actually the compound butter that I mentioned yesterday in my gnocchi post! I browned up some of the boiled gnocchi in this, and it was pretty dang delicious!

Dress up your favorite savory recipes with this fresh and vibrant compound butter using lemon and a variety of herbs! | spachethespatula.com #recipe Dress up your favorite savory recipes with this fresh and vibrant compound butter using lemon and a variety of herbs! | spachethespatula.com #recipe Dress up your favorite savory recipes with this fresh and vibrant compound butter using lemon and a variety of herbs! | spachethespatula.com #recipe

I think it would be even better tossed into some pasta with some shaved parmesan and a bit of pasta water. It’s like the grown-up version of butter and parmesan spaghetti 😀

Other incredible ways to use this super easy compound butter?

  • It’s FANTASTIC to cook scrambled eggs in
  • Great for just spreading on toast or rolls
  • Excellent topper for any meat
  • Perfect to stir into mashed potatoes
  • Basically almost any place you would use regular butter

Also, it totally just occurred to me that today is April Fool’s Day, and I should have done some sort of joke post…Ohhhhh well. How easy this one is, is basically a joke, right?

Dress up your favorite savory recipes with this fresh and vibrant compound butter using lemon and a variety of herbs! | spachethespatula.com #recipe

Lemon Herb Compound Butter

Yield: 1/2 cup of compound butter

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh herbs*
  • pinch of kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Stir together all of the ingredients in a bowl until fully combined and incorporated.
  2. Scoop the butter onto wax or parchment paper, and roll it up, twisting the side.
  3. Refrigerate until solid and use in place of butter in all of your favorite savory recipes.

*I used a combination of fresh mint, parsley, and basil, but feel free to use any fresh herbs you have on hand (chives and/or marjoram would be lovely).

Dress up your favorite savory recipes with this fresh and vibrant compound butter using lemon and a variety of herbs! | spachethespatula.com #recipe

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Ricotta Gnocchi with Roasted Carrot Cream Sauce http://www.spachethespatula.com/ricotta-gnocchi-with-roasted-carrot-cream-sauce/ http://www.spachethespatula.com/ricotta-gnocchi-with-roasted-carrot-cream-sauce/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 10:00:19 +0000 http://www.spachethespatula.com/?p=7046

So, this is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten…

Homemade gnocchi takes just 15 minutes to make! Serve it with this outrageously tasty roasted carrot sauce for one of the best meals you'll ever taste! | spachethespatula.com #recipeAnd I can’t decide which part I like better: the homemade gnocchi, or the insane sauce. I pick both…together…and you can’t make me choose! Also, heads up, this post has 4 kajillion pictures—don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

Did you know that ricotta gnocchi is actually crazy easy to make at home? Yeah, for a while I didn’t either. But guess what? It takes like 15 minutes and you can freeze it to enjoy whenever you want! Woooo!

Homemade gnocchi takes just 15 minutes to make! Serve it with this outrageously tasty roasted carrot sauce for one of the best meals you'll ever taste! | spachethespatula.com #recipeTraditional gnocchi uses potatoes but you can replace that with ricotta cheese for a fast and easy swap. Plus, I learned a cool trick to drain your ricotta lightening fast, so you don’t have to wait for it to slowly drip overnight.

Basically, you just smear the cheese onto paper towel, and press super hard on top with another paper towel. Things can get just a tad sticky if you’re using a super high-fat ricotta (by the way, you want to make sure you use a really good ricotta here) like I did, but it’s nothing  a silicone spatula can’t handle!

Homemade gnocchi takes just 15 minutes to make! Serve it with this outrageously tasty roasted carrot sauce for one of the best meals you'll ever taste! | spachethespatula.com #recipeThe gnocchi are soft and pillowy and adorable, and you’ll definitely feel like Susie Homemaker after creating something so gourmet is just minutes.

You can serve them with any sauce you want (even a jarred marinara if you’re so inclined). I’ve served them super plain crisped up in a little lemon-herb compound butter (with a side of roasted sprouts because I’m a brussels sprout fiend…):

Homemade gnocchi takes just 15 minutes to make! Serve it with this outrageously tasty roasted carrot sauce for one of the best meals you'll ever taste! | spachethespatula.com #recipe Homemade gnocchi takes just 15 minutes to make! Serve it with this outrageously tasty roasted carrot sauce for one of the best meals you'll ever taste! | spachethespatula.com #recipe Homemade gnocchi takes just 15 minutes to make! Serve it with this outrageously tasty roasted carrot sauce for one of the best meals you'll ever taste! | spachethespatula.com #recipeBut I tend to prefer them with a creamy-ish sauce. It just makes them even more cloud-like! And this roasted carrot cream sauce? Maybe the best sauce on the planet. Fo. Real.

I mean, carrots and garlic roasted to perfection, then pureed with cream, some pasta water, and a bit of parmesan cheese? How can you top that?

Homemade gnocchi takes just 15 minutes to make! Serve it with this outrageously tasty roasted carrot sauce for one of the best meals you'll ever taste! | spachethespatula.com #recipe Homemade gnocchi takes just 15 minutes to make! Serve it with this outrageously tasty roasted carrot sauce for one of the best meals you'll ever taste! | spachethespatula.com #recipe Homemade gnocchi takes just 15 minutes to make! Serve it with this outrageously tasty roasted carrot sauce for one of the best meals you'll ever taste! | spachethespatula.com #recipe Homemade gnocchi takes just 15 minutes to make! Serve it with this outrageously tasty roasted carrot sauce for one of the best meals you'll ever taste! | spachethespatula.com #recipeIt doesn’t hurt that it’s crazy simple to make, either! You should probably use it for every pasta you ever make now.

See what I’ve done here? I’ve provided you with two easy recipes that are great together, but also great to pair with other things 😀

Homemade gnocchi takes just 15 minutes to make! Serve it with this outrageously tasty roasted carrot sauce for one of the best meals you'll ever taste! | spachethespatula.com #recipe Homemade gnocchi takes just 15 minutes to make! Serve it with this outrageously tasty roasted carrot sauce for one of the best meals you'll ever taste! | spachethespatula.com #recipe Homemade gnocchi takes just 15 minutes to make! Serve it with this outrageously tasty roasted carrot sauce for one of the best meals you'll ever taste! | spachethespatula.com #recipe

Ricotta Gnocchi with Roasted Carrot Cream Sauce

Yield: about 4 servings

Ingredients:

for the ricotta gnocchi:

  • 12 ounces really good ricotta cheese (I use Calabro)
  • 1 ounce freshly-grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 and 1/2 to 5 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
  • kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper
  • semolina flour, for dusting

for the roasted carrot cream sauce:

  • small bunch (6-8 ounces) carrots, scrubbed and tops cut off
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan, + more to serve
  • chives, snipped to garnish

Directions:

for the ricotta gnocchi:

  1. Line a large plate with 3 layers of paper towel. Using a silicone spatula, smear the ricotta over the paper towel. Using 3 more layers of paper towel, press down firmly on the ricotta, blotting out as much moisture as possible.
  2. Scrape 8 ounces of the drained ricotta into a large bowl (reserve any extra for another use). Add in the parmesan, 3 and 1/2 ounces of flour, and the eggs. Stir to combine with your silicone spatula, and season with salt and pepper. The mixture should be sticky, but not at all loose. If needed, add in extra flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached (if you're using a really good ricotta, you shouldn't need to add any extra flour).
  3. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper, and dust with semolina flour; set aside.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Shape into a disc and divide into 4 equal pieces. Roll each quarter into a 6-inch log, then cut that log in half. Roll each half log into 12-inch log and cut into 8-10 gnocchi each. Place the gnocchi on the dusted baking sheet and shake them around just a bit. Now you can put the whole baking sheet in the freezer and freeze until solid, then transfer the gnocchi to a Ziplock baggie.
  5. To cook, cook in boiling water for about 4 and 1/2 minutes from frozen, and 3 minutes if fresh. Reserve some pasta water for your sauce!

for the roasted carrot cream sauce:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss together your carrots, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes, giving them a good shake half way through.
  3. Add the roasted carrots and garlic to your blender or food processor, along with the cream, parmesan, and 1/2 cup of pasta water (you can add more 1 tbsp at a time if you want it looser). Puree until you reach your desired consistency (I like to keep it just a tad chunky). Toss with your hot gnocchi or pasta.
  4. Serve garnished with some chives and a bit more parmesan. Prepare to be wowed with deliciousness!

gnocchi recipe from here

Homemade gnocchi takes just 15 minutes to make! Serve it with this outrageously tasty roasted carrot sauce for one of the best meals you'll ever taste! | spachethespatula.com #recipe Homemade gnocchi takes just 15 minutes to make! Serve it with this outrageously tasty roasted carrot sauce for one of the best meals you'll ever taste! | spachethespatula.com #recipe

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Peanut Butter Bananas Foster Cheesecake (with Do-Si-Do Crust!) http://www.spachethespatula.com/peanut-butter-bananas-foster-cheesecake-with-do-si-do-crust/ http://www.spachethespatula.com/peanut-butter-bananas-foster-cheesecake-with-do-si-do-crust/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 10:00:25 +0000 http://www.spachethespatula.com/?p=7030

I just can’t even with this disgustingly beautiful creation…

A Do-Si-Do Girl Scout cookie base, a peanut butter & banana cheesecake filling, and a bananas foster topping...it doesn't get any better than this folks! | spachethespatula.com #recipeIt’s that time of  the year where I end up with like 10 boxes of Girl Scout cookies, and I try to come up with creative ways to use them all. Last year, I made Samoa Blizzards and Thin Min Ice Cream—both fantastic, by the way. Girl Scout cookies bring out the best in my culinary ideas, I guess!

I feel like the Do-Si-Do is one of the most neglected Girl Scout Cookies, and I just don’t get it! They’re salty, peanut buttery, and crumbly in a fantastic way. I kinda think they’re basically like a fully peanut butter version of an Oreo.

A Do-Si-Do Girl Scout cookie base, a peanut butter & banana cheesecake filling, and a bananas foster topping...it doesn't get any better than this folks! | spachethespatula.com #recipe A Do-Si-Do Girl Scout cookie base, a peanut butter & banana cheesecake filling, and a bananas foster topping...it doesn't get any better than this folks! | spachethespatula.com #recipe

That’s actually what inspired this cheesecake! I’ve made Oreo crusts for cheesecakes, and I thought that Do-Si-Dos might work just as well. Guess what? They do :)

So that’s what we have going on for the crust here, but what about the rest of this gorgeous thing? Peanut butter and banana is one of my all-time favorite flavor combos, and you really can’t go wrong with adding caramel to the mix.

The cheesecake filling is full of actual banana and crunchy peanut butter. The topping is caramel-y, buttery banana slices that are totally reminiscent of bananas foster.

A Do-Si-Do Girl Scout cookie base, a peanut butter & banana cheesecake filling, and a bananas foster topping...it doesn't get any better than this folks! | spachethespatula.com #recipe A Do-Si-Do Girl Scout cookie base, a peanut butter & banana cheesecake filling, and a bananas foster topping...it doesn't get any better than this folks! | spachethespatula.com #recipe

You guys, I could NOT stop taking pictures of this cheesecake. It’s just so photogenic and gooey (also that picture directly above looks like a delicious version of PacMan…)!

Somehow, Rook was not nearly as impressed as I was, and spent the whole time looking for trouble on the porch. He’s bad.

He likes to bark wildly at any dog that walks by. He also likes to freak out at people in uniforms, like the mailman or anyone wearing an orange vest (no idea why!), and the woman in our neighborhood who walks her cat on a  leash. Quite frankly, I’m with him on the last one…that’s just weird…

A Do-Si-Do Girl Scout cookie base, a peanut butter & banana cheesecake filling, and a bananas foster topping...it doesn't get any better than this folks! | spachethespatula.com #recipe A Do-Si-Do Girl Scout cookie base, a peanut butter & banana cheesecake filling, and a bananas foster topping...it doesn't get any better than this folks! | spachethespatula.com #recipeI like to serve each slice of this cheesecake with a dollop of whipped cream (straight from the Reddi-Whip canister, haha!), and half a Do-Si-Do. Serve, and prepare for jaws to drop.

A Do-Si-Do Girl Scout cookie base, a peanut butter & banana cheesecake filling, and a bananas foster topping...it doesn't get any better than this folks! | spachethespatula.com #recipe

Peanut Butter Bananas Foster Cheesecake (with Do-Si-Do Crust!)

Ingredients:

for the crust:

  • 1 box Do-Si-Do peanut butter sandwich cookies (you can reserve 4-5 for garnish)
  • 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted

for the filling:

  • 1 lb (2 8oz. packages) cream cheese (I like to use Neufchatel---it has 1/3-less fat)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup crunchy natural peanut butter (only ingredients should be peanuts and salt)
  • 2 medium bananas (about 1 cup mashed)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs

for the topping:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 4 bananas, sliced

to garnish (optional):

  • whipped cream
  • Do-Si-Do cookies, cut in half

Directions:

for the crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch diameter spring-form pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, grind the cookies into a coarse meal. Add in the melted butter and pulse until it clumps together. Press into the base of your prepared pan, and 1/2"-1" up the sides.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes until golden; set aside.

for the filling:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat together the cream cheese and sugar, until combined. Add in the sour cream, peanut butter, bananas, and vanilla, and beat to combine. Add in the eggs, 1 at a time, beating to combine after each.
  2. Pour the filling into the crust, and wrap the entire pan in a wet dish towel (yes, I promise you it will be okay in the oven). Bake for 45-50 minutes until set, but still slightly jiggly in the center. Immediately place in the fridge to chill completely, preferably overnight.

for the topping:

  1. In a large skillet, combine the butter and sugar over medium-hight heat. Continue to cook for 3-5 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Add in the bananas and a pinch of salt and toss to coat.
  2. Pour over your chilled cheesecake. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, and half a Do-Si-Do.

A Do-Si-Do Girl Scout cookie base, a peanut butter & banana cheesecake filling, and a bananas foster topping...it doesn't get any better than this folks! | spachethespatula.com #recipe A Do-Si-Do Girl Scout cookie base, a peanut butter & banana cheesecake filling, and a bananas foster topping...it doesn't get any better than this folks! | spachethespatula.com #recipe

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