Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Red Velvet Cheesecake

(From Rose and Vince Camacho's kitchen)

1 1/2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
2 (1 oz.) bottles red food coloring

1 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Press into bottom of 9-inch spring form pan. Beat 3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese and 1 1/2 cups sugar at medium-low speed with an electric mixer, 1 minute. Add eggs and next 6 ingredients, mixing on low speed just until fully combined. Pour batter into prepared crust. 

Bake 325 degrees for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until center is firm. Run knife along outer edge of cheesecake. Turn off oven. Let cheesecake stand in oven 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven; cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Cover and chill 8 hours.

Beat 1 (3 oz.) package cream cheese and 1/4 cup butter at medium speed with an
electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating
until smooth. Spread evenly over top of cheesecake. Remove sides of springform pan. 
Garnish if desired.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pastel Cream Wafers

Phenomenal cookies! They take a little time to make, but it's well worth it!
Makes 5 dozen
1 cup butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar for decoration
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Food coloring (optional)
1. Mix flour, salt, and 1 cup of butter or margarine thoroughly. Stir in whipping cream and mix well. Chill 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
3. Roll dough 1/8 inch thick on lightly floured board. Cut into 1 1/2 inch rounds. Transfer to waxed paper heavily sprinkled with sugar, turning to coat both sides. Place on un-greased baking sheet. Prick in 4 places with fork. Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until slightly puffed. Put two cooled cookies together with filling.
4. To Make Filling: Blend 1/4 cup soft butter, 3/4 cup sifted confectioners' sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla. If desired, tint with food coloring.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Make Salads in Advance -- Pretty, Too!

The most important part of the layering is making sure the dressing and the spinach (or whatever 'leaf' you choose) don't touch. As long as they stay separate, these salads can be made up to 4 days in advance and will stay fresh in the fridge with a lid on. This is one trick to eating salad every day for lunch at work. You can make a few jars on Sunday night and just grab one to bring to work daily. When you're ready to eat, just shake it up.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Easy, Droolisimo Appetizer for Holidays & Beyond

Tasty and easy appetizer -- serve with crackers!

Crab Mousse
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 8-ounce package cream cheese (whipped cream cheese works great, too)
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
8 ounces lump crabmeat
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice
* I add in some cayenne pepper

Pam or Canola spray a serving dish. Heat the soup then add and dissolve gelatin in a saucepan, heating until hot and bubbly. Stir well to make sure the gelatin is completely dissolved and there are no lumps. Place and mix right in serving dish, adding the cream cheese first so it melts, crabmeat, celery, green onions, lemon juice and cayenne, if so desired. Stir gently but thoroughly.

Smooth the top with a spatula or knife. I sprinkle on more green onions and some cayenne for color! Cover with plastic wrap. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill until firm, about 3 to 6 hours.

When ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap and loosen the edges of the mousse by running a knife around the sides.
Serve with crackers.