Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Sausage & Cheese Roll-ups

This morning I was in the mood for puff pastry, so for a nice, leisurely, mid-morning breakfast I decided on simple sausage & cheese roll-ups. 

I don't mess with making my own puff pastry, although it isn't that difficult to make.  I use Pepperidge Farm brand.  It's so flaky and delicious, and well, EASY.... why not, right?

To prepare, allow the puff pastry (1 sheet will make 11 roll-ups) to thaw per package directions.
While that's happening, brown about two thirds of a small size tube of your favorite ground breakfast sausage and drain on paper towels.  This recipe is for one sheet only.  Just double the ingredients if you are using both sheets, which will give you 22 roll-ups.

Combine 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard in a small bowl and mix well.  I used Mrs. Butterworth's syrup and Gulden's mustard, but any syrup / mustard combo you wish to use will work.  You can use honey instead of the syrup if you want.

You will also need about 3/4 cup of grated cheese (any kind you like), 1 egg yolk beaten together with a tablespoon of water, some flour, salt and pepper, and a rolling pin.

Once the pastry sheet is thawed, unfold it.  Rub flour onto your rolling pin, then on a well floured surface, roll the pastry sheet out in both directions to thin the pastry and press the fold lines together well. 

Using a pastry brush, brush the syrup and mustard mixture onto the surface of the pastry, avoiding about a 1/2 inch space all the way around the edge.  Sprinkle a thin layer of grated cheese over the brushed area only, then add a layer of the crumbled sausage over the cheese.  Top the sausage with another thin layer of cheese.  Add salt and pepper at this point if you so choose.

Gently roll the pastry up into a log, being careful not to roll it too tightly.  Cut the ends off the roll and discard ( about a half inch on each end should be cut away).  Place the roll-up on a baking sheet seam side down.  To make cutting it into slices easier, chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Remove from the fridge and, using a sharp serrated knife, slice the log into 11 equal roll-ups and place each one on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with butter flavored non-stick spray.   With a pastry brush, brush the egg wash over the tops and onto the sides of each roll-up all the way around.  Use all of the egg wash.  Just go back over the tops again until you run out if you had some left over.

Bake until the roll-ups are nicely browned, about 15 to 18 minutes, but baking time will vary depending on your oven.  The interior pastry should not be doughy, so look at the tops of the roll-ups to make sure the center portions of the dough are slightly puffed and flaked in appearance. 

Remove to a wire rack and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

My roll-ups are just under 3 inches in diameter.  Two of them with a cup of coffee made me happy, but I won't tell you how many my husband devoured!  He likes them.....

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Easy Key SubLIME Squares

This recipe is easy and results in a light and flavorful lime-based dessert square that's easy to cut and serve.  I was actually developing a recipe for a Lucky Leaf contest and realized after I finished that the particular product I used (Lucky Leaf Key Lime Pie Filling) didn't qualify.  The contest specifically requires a "fruit pie filling & topping" product, so I have another similar idea in mind with one of the qualifying products.  Since I was so happy with this one, I thought I would share it.

First, the ingredients:

For the crust:
 2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1 stick of melted butter

For the filling:
1 (21 oz.) can Lucky Leaf Key Lime pie filling
1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1 (8 oz.) brick of softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons lime juice
Optional:  3 drops green food coloring

To make the crust, combine all the crust ingredients into a medium bowl and stir well with a fork until all crumbs are moistened.  Lightly spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with butter flavored non-stick cooking spray.  Pour the crumb mixture into the center of the dish and press into the bottom and halfway up the sides.  Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

For the filling, in a large mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and sugar and beat until smooth using a hand or stand mixer on high speed.  Add the pie filling, Eagle Brand milk, and lime juice and beat again just until smooth.  Add the eggs, beating again until smooth.  If using food coloring, add it and beat again.  Scrape sides and bottom of bowl and beat for another minute.

Remove baking dish from the fridge and pour the filling into the center.  Spread evenly.  Bake in a 350 degree oven on center rack for 30 minutes.

  The color should not change during baking.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely at room temperature, then refrigerate at least 4 to 6 hours.

Cut into squares and sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.  Store in refrigerator. 

If you like these and want to up the pucker power, next time you make them, just add another tablespoon of lime juice and that should do the trick!  They cut beautifully.  I used a cookie spatula to remove the cut squares from the baking dish. 

Now, back to the kitchen to develop that contest recipe using a qualifying ingredient......

Friday, October 23, 2015

Butter Almond Toffee

Oh my goodness, how I love this stuff!  I first started making it about 5 years ago. A nurse practitioner at a family practice clinic I was managing at the time brought some she had made to the clinic and shared her recipe with me.  I have altered the recipe a little to suit my own preferences and now I make it every year beginning in the fall through to the end of the holiday season.   Here are the ingredients and measurements for all of them:

4 sticks of butter (salted sweet butter)
2 cups of white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (12 oz.) bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 and 1/2 cups of crushed roasted almonds

That's it, just 5 simple ingredients, and you are ready to go!  I don't always use a candy thermometer to make this because I have made it so many times, I can tell by the color of the butter/sugar mixture when it's done, but if you aren't confident with my method, by all means, get a candy thermometer if you don't already have one before making this toffee.

Here we go....

First of all, cover a sheet pan with foil and spread softened butter thinly onto the foil.
Then, before you begin the cooking process, get your almonds ready by crushing them. I put them in a zip up bag and use my meat tenderizing mallet to do this.  Regular roasted almonds are fine, but I prefer Squirrel Brand Crème Brulee Almonds because they add such a unique flavor you just don't get from any other toffee I have ever tasted, and it's so darn good!  After you crush the almonds, pour the chocolate chips out into a bowl for easy grabbing and then you're ready to begin cooking.

Using a heavy-bottomed medium sauce pan, put the 4 sticks of butter, 2 cups of sugar, and the salt  into it and turn the heat on to medium low. 

   As the butter begins to soften, just break it up with your spoon and continue stirring and cooking at medium low heat until the butter is completely melted.

Once the butter is all melted, as shown above, turn the heat up to medium high and continue stirring constantly.  It will thicken and begin to bubble.

As you continue to stir, the color of the mixture will start to darken.  Once it starts to look about the color of a brown paper sack, here's where you will want to use your thermometer to check the temperature.  You want it to be 285 - 290 degrees.  When using a candy thermometer, only place it half way in, and don't let it touch the bottom of the pan, or you will not get accurate readings.  Once it reaches that temperature, immediately remove it from the heat and pour it onto your buttered foil.  To get to this point, using my gas stove top, it takes me about 13 minutes from the time I turn the heat to medium high.  Yours may differ.  I also don't generally use a thermometer and instead go by the color of the mixture to know when it's ready.  For me, that's easy - it needs to be the same color as my coffee is after I put 2 spoons of creamer in it!  From here on, you will need to work quickly, which is why your almonds and chocolate chips need to be ready to go.

When you pour the hot butter/sugar mixture onto the foil, it should spread out nicely over the foil. You may need to even it out a little with a spoon in the center, but it begins to set quickly, so you must work fast.  Once it is evenly spread over the foil, immediately sprinkle all the chocolate chips onto the surface and allow them to sit there and soften for a few minutes. 

After they have softened, use an off-set spatula (or what ever else you want to use) to spread the chocolate evenly over the top.

Next, sprinkle the crushed almonds all over the surface of the chocolate.  I use a spatula to press the almonds gently down into the melted chocolate, but you can use the back of a spoon and it will work just as well. 
Now, all that's left to do is allow the chocolate to set before you break the toffee up into pieces.  I refrigerate it for at least 1 hour, then it releases easily from the foil so you can break it up and store it in air tight containers. There is no need to refrigerate the toffee once it's placed into air tight containers.
The bottom looks like this.  Here's a perfect example of the color you are looking for!
Warning:  This recipe makes quite a bit of toffee!  Around my house, however, this presents no problem.
This toffee has a perfect soft crunch that doesn't stick to your teeth.  If you like toffee, I encourage you to try it.  The more times you make it the better you get at doing it - just keep in mind that advance preparation is important! 
Now... excuse me, but someone in my kitchen needs to step up and do some quality control, so it may as well be me.  Time for tasting!!  xoxoxox

Monday, October 5, 2015

Breakfast Tortilla Wraps

If you've ever had one of Taco Bell's Breakfast Crunch Wraps and like them, take a stab at making them at home.  It's not hard to do - they are actually sort of fun to make, and you can be as creative as you want when it comes to what goes inside them.

Today, mine are simple.  Cheese, eggs, sausage.... that's how my husband likes them.
Here's how I make them: 

I'm using "Starving Husband" size here, aka large burrito size.  I like the Mission brand because they are so soft and pliable, they never crack when I go through the fan folding step later.
You can make smaller ones, of course, by using a smaller size tortilla.  If you make the smaller version, just use one egg per wrap and decrease the size of the sausage patty as needed.
Here's the ingredient list for these, but keep in mind that you can add ingredients to this and make them how you want, providing everything  fits into the tortilla, that is! 

Large burrito size tortillas

2 eggs for each wrap you make

Grated cheese (any kind you like)

Ground breakfast sausage (Jimmy Dean is our favorite, use what you like)

Salt and pepper to taste

Rather than making one big sausage patty as I have here, you can crumble it instead if you prefer, but the patty makes a really nice foundation and just makes  the whole process easier.  I actually place the sausage right on my griddle before I turn it on and press it into the size and shape I want it to be, then turn on the griddle and begin cooking it.  I've discovered this is the easiest way, since I make it pretty thin.  If you attempt to do this on a plate or other surface, it's not so easy to remove it in one piece and get it onto the griddle.  By the way, a griddle is not necessary.  You can make this in a large frying pan as well if you don't have a griddle.
This gives you a good idea of the size.

           While the sausage is cooking, also "framble" 2 eggs.  Put a little butter on the cooking surface and break the two eggs onto it side by side.  Break the yolks with  a spatula, give them a slight mixing, and leave them alone until set, then flip them and allow them to cook until done to you liking and salt and pepper the eggs to taste.   As the sausage and eggs finish cooking, remove them from the cooking surface onto a plate. 

Above, you can see that I have placed the sausage, egg, and another layer of cheese onto the first layer of cheese I put on the tortilla to begin with.

Here's the fun fan-folding process I mentioned earlier.  The Mission Tortillas make this so easy, but if you are dealing with tortillas that aren't soft enough to do this without cracking, place them between a few paper towels sprinkled with a little water and microwave them for about 30 to 40 seconds and it should soften them up enough.   Have your cooking surface ready by melting about a tablespoon of butter on a medium hot surface before you begin this next step. All you do is make a fold over the top and continue folding all the way around in the same direction. Hold it in that position as I am doing here, and place your spatula on top of it, lifting the bottom with your hand. It's important to put cheese as the top layer because it's what holds the folded tortilla in the folded position while cooking.  Carry it to the cooking surface, turn it upside down so the spatula is resting on the cooking surface with the folded side of the tortilla resting on the spatula and your hand on top, then gently pull the spatula out from under it. 
Here's how it will look after you place it on the griddle.

Check each side by lifting a bit with the spatula to see when it's time to flip. This is the perfect level of "doneness" because the tortilla has a nice crunch to it when you eat it.
This is one easy hand-held breakfast! 
I also make a dinner version of this with taco meat, crispy tostadas, sour cream, lettuce and tomato, cheese, and salsa in the center.  Next time I make them, I will post it.  The crispy tostada separates the hot and cold sides of the wrap, and the cold side is not left on the cooking surface as long as the  taco meat side.  If you've had the original Crunch Wrap from Taco Bell, that's what this dinner version is, only better, because you make it with your own ingredients right at home.  Kids love these things!
I encourage you to make these!  It's really not difficult, and you will come up with an endless list of things you like to put in them, as I have.  Left over pulled pork or shredded brisket works well, and I have also made it with many other different meat and cheese combinations. 
So good!!







Monday, August 31, 2015

Pecan Pie Cheesecake Squares

I know it's a little early, but I'm already in the Fall baking mode! Here's a new recipe I've just finished that will be great for the upcoming Fall months.  I've been having fun with the Great San Saba River Pecan Company products, and this is another example of what you can do with one of them. 

Lookie... it's loaded with pecans!
Here's the "How To":
First up, prepare the baking dish.  Generously spray a 9 x 13 with non-stick cooking spray. 
Now, for the crust layer. Combine the following 3 ingredients into a medium bowl and work together with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened, then press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish and up the sides just a bit all the way around.
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick melted butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
 Tah-dah!  Done with that part. Easy... and no need to prebake it... just set it aside for the moment!  Is there some official way to spell "Tah-dah"?  Hope I didn't get it wrong.  It might be "Ta-da" or "Tuh-dah", or even some no-dash variation.... anyway.... back to the recipe.
Time to make a mixture with the Pecan-Pie-In-A-Jar! 
Ingredients for this mixture:
1 jar of Pecan Pie In A Jar (1 lb. 13 oz.)
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Whisk the eggs well, until there is no separation of whites and yolks.
Pour the entire jar of that pecan pie stuff, along with the whisked eggs, into a heavy-bottomed medium sauce pan and stir together until well incorporated before you turn on the heat.  Add the butter and cinnamon, then turn on the heat to medium high, stirring constantly, until it begins to bubble.  Turn heat down to medium, and continue cooking and stirring constantly until it thickens.  You want the level of thickness to be beyond what will pour off the spoon.  It should "plop" off the spoon.  It takes about 15 minutes or so. When you get it to the plop stage (I'm pretty sure that's not an actual culinary term used to describe the readiness of anything), remove from the heat and set aside, allow to cool.
It's time now to preheat the oven to 350 degrees!
There's one more mixture to put together... the cream cheese mixture.  Here's what you need:
2 bricks (8 oz.) softened (room temperature) cream cheese
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat the cream cheese and sugar together at medium speed until smooth.  Whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a separate bowl, then add to cream cheese and beat again until smooth.  Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl just to make sure it's all well mixed. 
Add cooled pecan pie mixture (it's ok if it's warm, you just don't want it to be hot), to the cream cheese mixture, and beat by hand until well mixed.   
Then, as seen above, spoon onto, then gently spread evenly over the entire crust layer.

Bake until set, which should be around 35 to 40 minutes, depending on your oven.  There will still be a slight jiggle, especially in the center. 
Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating for at least 4 hours before cutting into squares.  Keep refrigerated.

Here's how they should look.  Don't be surprised if you get some uneven edges when you cut, because the knife will be running into pecan halves, but who cares, right?  There's one sure fire method for getting rid of the ones you don't feel are perfectly cut enough.  Eat them, quick, before anybody discovers some of them weren't perfect.  Works every time for me.....

Thursday, August 27, 2015

San Saba Lemon & Raspberry Pecan Blondies

Oh my goodness!  I've been having fun in the kitchen developing recipes for some of my favorite products.  I recently made a cheesecake with The Great San Saba River Pecan Company Peach Pecan Amaretto preserves.  Well... just so happens, they also have a Raspberry Pecan preserve, so I just couldn't leave that alone. 

These blondies have a substantial enough bottom layer to support the soft, gooey top layer!

I started by pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees and preparing a 9 x 13 glass baking dish by spraying it generously with non-stick cooking spray.

Here's the ingredient list:

1  18.25 oz. box Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme cake mix
3  eggs, at room temperature (divided use)
1/2  stick melted butter
1  tablespoon water
1  tablespoon lemon juice
1  11 oz. jar Raspberry Pecan Preserves  (divided use)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (I used cinnamon coated but plain is fine)
1  14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1  teaspoon vanilla

Combine the cake mix, 1 egg, melted butter, water, and lemon juice in a large bowl.  Use a pastry cutter or fork to break the egg up and get most of the cake mix moistened, then just get in there with your clean hands and continue mixing until you can form a ball of dough.


Then press the dough mixture into the bottom and slightly up the sides of the prepared baking dish.

Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven, leaving the oven on at 350 degrees.  Next, place the entire jar of preserves into a small bowl and remove 1/3 cup of them and set aside (no need to whisk  or warm up). Whisk  the larger portion to loosen to a easily spreadable stage.  Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, you may need to heat the preserves.  If so, you can warm them in a saucepan over low heat or microwave them at 50 % power until just liquid enough to spread easily over the dough, but this probably won't be necessary. 
Spread the preserves over the dough and sprinkle with chopped pecans as shown.
Next, combine the condensed milk, 2 remaining eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl and mix at medium speed until smooth.  The mixture will be thin and bubbly on top. Slowly pour it over the top of the preserves/pecan mixture.  Some of the preserves and pecans will show through. 
Next, drop spoonfuls of the preserves you set aside onto the milk mixture and then gently swirl it a bit using the tip of a butter knife.
Here's what it looks like prior to swirling!
Now, return it to the oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until it is set.  The top should be nicely browned and it will still have a slight jiggle to it.  It will firm up as it cools!

Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.  I chose to loosen it around the edges of the pan and remove it to my cutting board to cut into squares, but you can just cut it in the baking dish if you prefer.  Use a sharp serrated knife to cut them with for best results.

Optional:  Dust with powdered sugar after cutting.
These are so delish!  Now I just need a nice hot cup of coffee and it's a good start to a great day!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Instant Gratification Salsa

Were it not for me, the tortilla chip industry might go under.  There are always bags of them in the pantry. Big bags.  If not, my husband begins to spiral downward  into his "where's my chips and salsa" panic mode, and I don't like it when that happens, so to keep his panic devils away, I just make salsa to go with his tortilla chips, and he's a happy guy. 

What used to be my emergency back-up salsa has pretty much turned into my all-the-time version just because we like it so much, and it's so easy and quick to make.  It's nothing like the old version, for canning purposes, using all fresh ingredients and spending a few hours in the kitchen getting it done.  This stuff just goes right into the fridge, where it will keep for 3 weeks, but it never lasts that long. 

I start out by grabbing 4 cans of tomato products out of the pantry.  I go with 1 mild and 1 regular can of Rotel tomatoes, and 2 cans of Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted ones.  I really love this brand of fire roasted tomatoes in this salsa because it adds a great smoky flavor - so much better than any other brand I've used.  Next, I drain the two cans of fire roasted tomatoes until most of the liquid is out, then I dump all 4 cans of tomatoes into the food processor. I don't drain the Rotel tomatoes. 

After that, I toss in some salt (not quite a teaspoon... I use the "palm measure" method), about a  tablespoon of sugar (yes, sugar!!!), and about a tablespoon of lime juice.  Finally, I add 3/4 of a scoop of Simple Salsa and process it to the degree of smoothness I want it to be at.  All that's left to do is taste it, adjust the salt, sugar, Simple Salsa amounts if necessary, and I'm done.  I jar it up into wide mouth jars and into the fridge it goes. 


You can add anything you want to this... onions, jalapeno peppers, fresh cilantro... use all regular or even hot Rotel tomatoes... but I don't.  We just really like this smoky, slightly sweetened version.  Whatever you do, don't forget the salt!  The nice thing about making any salsa is that you can start with lesser amounts of the spices and taste your way up to eventual perfection as you increase the ingredients to your liking.  If you don't have any left to jar up by the time you're done doing that, uh.... oh well, you won't have any jars to wash, right?

I discovered Simple Salsa at a booth they had at a local garden show.  I bought 2 canisters of it, one mild, one not.  I've had to re-order via their site, which is
It can be added to soups, stews, dips, steaks, chicken, fajitas... it's not just for salsa.  It's good stuff!

No panic devils are getting the best of me! 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

No Measure Puff Pastry Pinwheels

I love easy baking, I mean, sometimes you just need easy.  Good and easy, that is.  If the end product isn't good, the "easy" is pointless.  Here's one that's good and easy!  Puff pastry pinwheel recipes have been around for a long time, and what's good about them is how versatile they are.  You can go sweet or savory.  They're the perfect appetizer size, and people really like to eat them! Well, not all people -I do have a friend that can't eat garlic and utterly detests the taste of parmesan. I can just see him now, rolling his eyes and thinking how horrible and disgusting these would be.  He certainly wouldn't like them. Sorry Neil.

Anyway, I almost always have a few packages of puff pastry in the freezer, so after looking online at lots of puff pastry recipes for something different than my usual to do, there they were - pinwheels.  I decided.... heck, I don't even need a recipe for these things.  I'll just make 'em with what's in my pantry and fridge and see what happens.  So that's what I did, and I didn't measure a darn thing.  Guess what?  They were really good. 


I raided the pantry and fridge and took these things out to use:
  • jarred spaghetti sauce
  • Italian herb seasoning
  • Garlic powder
  • Grated parmesan cheese
After rolling out the pastry sheets to a longer, thinner rectangle on a lightly floured surface,
I simply spread a thin layer of the sauce with the back of a spoon onto the pastry, then sprinkled some Italian herb seasoning and garlic powder over the sauce.  After that, I sprinkled on the parmesan cheese.  I did take care to stay about an inch away from the edge of the pastry on the long side, so I could dampen the inside edges with a little water to prevent them from pulling away as they baked.

I carefully rolled the pastry sheets up into a log and placed them on a baking sheet and stuck them in the freezer for about 15 minutes so they would cut nicely.  I wasn't particular about the exact width of each slice when I cut them, I just tried to stay at about 3/4 of an inch. I brushed the tops with a wash of 1 egg and a little water - something I always do when baking puff pastry because it gives the surface a glossed finish for a nicer presentation.   I placed them on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray and baked them at 400 degrees for about 18 - 20 minutes, until they were nice and golden brown on top.

I could have heated up some of the left over sauce and used it for dipping, but I didn't think of that until it was too late.  Maybe next time.....

I'll be experimenting with pinwheels again, these were so good ... oh... and so easy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Strickland Springs Skillet Peach Cake

It's the perfect time to bake with beautiful fresh peaches, or, you can use frozen or canned in this recipe if fresh ones are out of season.  I make this in my good old trusty 10 inch Lodge iron skillet. This is a very simple recipe using few ingredients.  It may be summer, but pair this warm cake up with some really good vanilla ice cream, and you won't care how hot it is outside! 
I know... the name is a little long... I could have just called it "Peach Cake", but, hey.... I decided to name it after the East Texas country oasis I will someday call home.

Here's how you make it:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and then melt 1/2 stick of butter and spray your skillet with a little non-stick spray before you pour that butter into your skillet.  My skillet is well seasoned, but I do this anyway.  Don't have an iron skillet? Just use what you do have.  A baking dish of any sort will work, you want something smaller than a 9 x 13, such as a 8 x 8.   If you use a dark pan, the baking time may be shorter, so keep an eye on it, and even if you use a non-stick pan, spray it anyway with some non-stick spray.  You'll thank me when it's time to clean the pan.

Cut 5 or 6 fresh peaches into bite sized pieces and set aside. 
In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 cup chopped pecans and set aside.

Now, into a medium bowl, put:

1  cup all-purpose flour
3/4  cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon salt)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Whisk all that together, then pour in 2/3 cup of whole milk and whisk just until well mixed.

Pour the batter into the skillet, directly over the melted butter.  Drop the peaches into the batter.  I do this by hand, picking the peaches up and covering the entire surface of the batter with them.  Use a spoon if you don't want to do it my way!  Don't stir... the batter will rise up slightly around the fruit.
Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and sprinkle the cinnamon, sugar, pecan mixture all over the top and return to the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes, depending on your oven. 

When you see nice browning all around the edge and the batter has risen in the center, it's done.  You should be able to see nice bubbles happening throughout it.  Remove from the oven and allow to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving.  Next time I make this, I think I will add about a half cup of good peach butter to the batter, just for extra flavor.

You can always use other fillings with this recipe if you want - apples or berries would be good, to name a few, and you can also double it and bake in a 9 x 13.  Now, excuse me... but I've gotta go see if there's any vanilla ice cream in my freezer!!!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Peach Pecan Amaretto Cheesecake

Delish!  I had some concerns about this one when I was developing the recipe.  I've never made a cheesecake with an alcoholic beverage in it before - other desserts, yes... but not cheesecake.  I wasn't sure if it would work, but it did.  I added one tablespoon of Amaretto to the batter, plus I combined that wonderful San Saba River Pecan Company Peach Pecan Amaretto preserves with some Amaretto and swirled it all into the middle.  I just poured half the batter in, swirled in dollops of the preserve mixture, and topped it with the rest of the batter. I used the remaining preserves and put them in a food processor along with more Amaretto and a little powdered sugar to make the glaze and the finished it off with some fresh white peach slices in the center and some chopped cinnamon pecans.  I was hoping  the little chunks of peach and the pecans in the preserves wouldn't sink all the way to the bottom of the batter, and they didn't but they did sink a little.

Next time, maybe I'll add a little more of the batter to the bottom layer and see what happens, and perhaps try adding a little peach nectar to the batter, but I don't want to overpower the delicate flavor of the Amaretto, so I'm not sure about that.  I also decreased the amount of sugar in my basic recipe to account for the sweetness of the preserves.  It was just right.  I'm happy with this one.  It's almost time to start seeking inspiration for the next one!  I hope I still fit through the pantry door by the time I'm over this crazy cheesecake obsession I'm in the midst of.  Stay tuned!