Best easiest Oreo Mini CheeseCakes

Landed after a long tiring business trip, he drove back home from the airport. It was late. He felt smelly and exhausted.
He couldn’t wait to see his wife and daughters. He longed to be laying in his soft bed again, have his favorite food, have her arms massaging his tight neck. He longed to be treated to his favorite dessert.
Recharged by the cool shower he had a scrumtious meal, while his handsome nose sensed the strong aroma of Vanilla roaming in the air on the first floor. He looked at her and his eyes moved around the room.  He spotted something. He spotted little mini cheesecakes orderly arranged on a tray, at the far end of the room. He knew what would happened next. Those cheesecakes she made, not plenty, waited just for him. Still, they felt hot and he decided to wait. Slowly, he fell into light sleep.
But I just saw them, he later said rubbing his eyes, where did they all go?

best mini cheesecakes

I’m sorry but I could not stop eating these bad boys! Phew.

Is there anything better than mini cheesecakes? well yeah if I really put my mind into it but that’s another post. Think about it – mini desserts – few bites – easy on the calories and the guilt trip, right? Wrong!

Why are they so addictive you are asking? o.k. I’ll tell you: they are little cuties, fabulous, scrumptious, mouth filling, surprising and delicious…with mini chocolate chips…in mini cups…in mini-mum effort.

best mini cheesecakes ever

I’m sure there are many mini’s out there and you don’t have to take my word for it, but these are my mini perfects, a delight to eat, easy to make, requires almost no time and so cute I want to hug them. Not only that but they are much more fun when served up-side-down.

Oh, allow me to enlighten you with one tip that will make you feel naturally and legally high: shamelessly pour my chocolate ganache over a mini cheesecake. Talk to me later.

best mini cheesecakes ever

best mini cheesecakes ever

best Oreo mini cheesecakes ever

ingredients:

(making between 15-20)

1 8 oz. low-fat cream cheese, softened
1 c. low-fat plain yogurt
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla paste
pinch of kosher salt
Oreo cookies
mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
baking cupcakes liners

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
 
 
Preheat oven to 375. Place one Oreo cookie in each mini baking cup. Arrange cups on a large baking sheet. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl combine cream cheese, yogurt, salt and vanilla paste. Beat until smooth. Add sugar and combine. Add one egg at a time and beat on higher speed until batter is smooth and fluffy.
Slowly pour the batter over the Oreo cookies filling up 3/4 of each baking cup. Sprinkle each baking cup with mini chocolate chip. Bake 25-35 minutes or until set and golden brown. Let cool in the cup liners then remove paper and serve these cool little mini cheesecakes on a pretty serving dish. A.Delight!
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Poached pears in spicy Moscato and silky chocolate ganache

What matters to you most when having dinner with others –  great food or a great company?

I’ve been asked that a lot, so the situation is usually something like this: When I’m invited to dinner I always bring something I cooked or baked. My mother has taught me to never visit friends or family empty-handed.

delicious poached pears with chocolate glaze

So good friends of ours invited us for Thanksgiving dinner and here is the problem:  I usually eat at home before I go. I am not being rude, I simply do not eat the food that’s been served because…well…some of my friends, as hilarious as they are, simply don’t know how to cook. I’ll nibble here and there sure and I will also admit, that while I’m very social and love to meet people, I find myself hard to impress when it comes to food. Wow! I think I just became my mother.

delicious poached pears with chocolate glaze

Listen, cooking is not everyone’s cup of tea I get that (my oldest daughter knows how to boil water really well), but if I had to switch great company with so-so food I rather keep the company. We have hilarious friends we can laugh with on anything, sometimes I wish the food was just as funny. And this Thanksgiving has been filled with reminders that we have dear friends who care enough to remember our own holiday celebration, Hanukkah, when they decorated the dinner table with chocolate money and Hanukkah gifts just for us. I am more grateful today then I was yesterday.

Back to the million chocolate money question: great food or great company? I choose the last two. Great company compensates on a lot of so-so’s…great company makes me forget I’m hungry…great company makes a so so food and life – awesome.

delicious poached pears in chocolate ganache

The poached pears dessert I made for Thanksgiving dinner was an absolute treat and my mouth thanked me when I had one at the time of the photo shoot. Yours will too. A treat I tell you.

poached pears in moscato wine

Easy, delicious and guess what? low in fat. The big deal here is Moscato wine. I use it for its unique fragrance, light-body and low in alcohol. Moscato is refreshing and crisp and makes any dessert feel good.

delicious poached pears

So…shall we:

ingredients:

5 medium firm pears, peeled, halved while stem still attached and cored
1 cinnamon sticks
3 c. Moscato wine
1/2 c. water
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 c. white sugar
5 cloves

chocolate ganache:

2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

garnish:
sprinkles “cookies and cream”

*     *     *

In a heavy pan combine pears, liquid and spices. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer on low, occasionally turning them over, until pears are fork tender. Let pears cool in the syrup.
At this point, you can refrigerate the pears in the syrup for a day or 24 hours. The pears will become darker and much richer in flavor.

Meanwhile, on low heat bring heavy cream to a gentle simmer. Remove from heat and add the vanilla and chocolate chips, let sit for 3 minutes then stir to combine until the chocolate melts. Whisk to smooth. Pour sprinkles on a plate. While chocolate is still warm, gently deep each pear in the ganache, then in “cookies and cream” sprinkles and arrange on a serving dish. Serve warm or chilled.

Do not discard the pears’ syrup just yet. Add hot water and you got a new hot beverage for those cool long nights. Take a sip……Ahhhhhhhh…….

Midnight Roasted Red Grapes – a recipe

Ever wondered, like me, what’s the story behind Kahlúa liquor, I often use in my recipes?

For you I’ve gathered some facts from different websites:

“coffee-flavored rum-based liqueur from Mexico. The drink also has sugar, corn syrup and vanilla bean” source.

“First produced in 1936 by Veracruz, Mexico native Pedro Domeca” (source)

“It takes 7 years to create each bottle of Kalúa, from harvest of the coffee beans, vanilla, and sugar cane to bottle”.

“Coffee liquor with a cool twist” (now that’s my definition).

Now that we know what Kahlua is, let’s move on shall we.

In case you wonder, the name of this recipe – Midnight Roasted Red Grapes – is because I roasted the grapes around midnight, after I realized that taking pain-killer for my headache isn’t worth it, especially if contains chemicals. A bottle of water helped just a bit so I got up, went into my newly renovated kitchen (I love going into my new kitchen in the middle of the night. Hard to explain), I opened the fridge and found a bunch of fresh red grapes. Initially I wanted to bake cookies but didn’t want to make a mess when having a headache. I stared at the grapes, then at the oven, looked at the grapes again, then the oven – bam! bake them.

midnight roasted red grapes recipe

Herbal tea was well on its way while I gathered my simple almost every day ingredients – grapes and sugar. Roasting fruits is my latest FoodFashion. The flavor of the fruit enhanced so much more, the texture gets a beautiful rustic elegance, the color deepens and the recipe is not an everyday thing one would do in a kitchen, enhances the experience. And don’t make me start on the aroma…

midnight roasted red grapes

midnight roasted red grapes

Ingredients:

2-3 cups of red fresh grapes (want white? use it)

1 tbsp light brown sugar

pinch of kosher salt

1/4 c. Kahlua liquor

*  *  *

Preheat oven to 425°F. In a large bowl mix ingredients except for the salt, until well combined. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange marinated grapes. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Roast grapes between 15-20 minutes, when skin is lightly crisp and soft and grapes are dark and juicy. Carefully remove pan from oven. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serving suggestions:

Top it with my No bake cheese cake

Add to my low-fat yogurt breakfast

Delicious snack on its own

Addition to fresh fruit salad

Arranged on skewers for a pretty presentation and serve with goat cheese

Or do what I did: couldn’t keep my hands off of them and ate them right off the pan. Careful, it’s hot.

Ideas are endless.