Monday, March 12, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Combining all my favorite flavors, these dense, rich cookies pack a chocolatey peanut butter punch!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup natural peanut butter
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups instant rolled oats
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Cream butter, sugars and peanut butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing in well. Stir in oats and chocolate chips. Dough will be quite stiff.

Using a medium large scoop, drop cookie dough onto parchment lined baking sheet. With the bottom of a glass, press down each cookie. Bake 14 to 16 minutes, or until set. Cookies will be slightly moist in the center. Do not overbake! Cool for a minute, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy with a tall glass of milk!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Temple (Cricket) Vest

My Dad wanted a white vest to wear so he wouldn't get chilled when he's in the Provo Temple. My parents went out shopping to try and find one, but couldn't. While they were shopping my Dad said to my Mom, "Why are we shopping for a vest when Allison could knit one for me?!"

Card by BlondeDesigns

We found some 100% worsted weight white wool at a very reasonable price and I adjusted a free pattern I found on It didn't get done until his birthday at the beginning of February, but my Dad is happy as a clam about it.

My dear knitting friend who is from Australia said to me when I showed her what I was working on, "Oh, your Dad could wear it to play cricket!" I had a laugh thinking of my 78 year old Dad playing cricket in the temple. Hee, hee!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Wind Up Robots - Toy Tuesday

Wind Up Space Robot at Blickenstaff's

I want one of these. For myself. Not to share with the kids at all. 
Kind of silly, I know, but I think they are AWESOME!

Monday, March 5, 2012

New York Style Cheesecake

{G} requested a New York style cheesecake for her birthday cake at the end of December and so did the Mr. for his birthday last week. It's definitely a favorite at our house!

Over the years I've adapted the recipe a little here and a little there. I've lowered the cooking temperature and increased the cooking time, added more cream cheese, and discovered a little trick that has helped prevent cracks in the top of my cake while it cools down.

New York Cheesecake
adapted from the Ultimate Philly Cheesecake recipe book

You want to bake your cheesecake in a "moist" oven. I've never had a steam setting for my oven, so I always place a 13x9 inch casserole baking pan half filled with hot water on the bottom rack of the oven as soon as I turn it on to preheat. Leave the pan of water in the oven until the cheesecake is cooked.
Allow your cream cheese and eggs to come to room temperature before mixing. And don't over beat your batter!

Preheat oven to 325º F. Place pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven.

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp melted butter

5 (8 oz) pkgs Philidelphia Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream

For the crust: Empty one package of graham crackers in a food processor and process until you have fine crumbs. Mix the 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter and press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9" springform pan lined with a parchment paper circle. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 300º F.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing at low speed after each addition, just until blended. Fold in sour cream and pour over baked crust.

Set timer and bake cheesecake for 1 hour 30 minutes. Don't open the oven door while your cheesecake is baking! Keep checking the cake every 5 to 10 minutes for the next 30 minutes. 

As soon as the center dot of your cheesecake is about the size of a silver dollar and almost set (the edges will be puffy and might be slightly brown at this point), turn off the oven and immediately invert a metal bowl over your cheesecake IN THE OVEN.

Then shut the door of the oven and allow the cheesecake to fully cool down and come to room temperature covered by the inverted bowl while remaining in the oven. When the cheesecake is cool, remove from oven  and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight, keeping the cake in the springform pan.

When you're ready to eat the cake, carefully run a knife or metal spatula around the rim of the pan to loosen cake and remove the springform sides and serve the cheesecake topped with pie filling or fresh fruit and fruit glaze.

This recipe also works well in a 10" springform pan. Your cheesecake will be shorter and will need less time in the oven to bake. Enjoy!

New York Cheesecake Recipe

Friday, March 2, 2012

Dutch Oven Peasant Bread

For {I}'s Medieval Feast I made 8 loaves of the amazingly simple New York Times No Knead Dutch Oven Bread. I scoured the house for pots with form fitting lids and used both ovens to crank out four loaves at a time between two ovens. It worked like a charm! {I} loves this bread and had been talking it up to his classmates, so the slices of bread went pretty quickly. Crusty exterior with a chewy center, it's just like European peasant bread. So yummy and unbelievably easy to make!

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