Happiness Project#75: Funfetti Cookie Cheesecake!

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Holy Sweetness! This cheesecake. This funfetti cookie cheesecake is quite possibly one of the yummiest things that I have ever wrapped my taste buds around. After toying with it’s balance through a couple of failed baking sessions. But at last, THIS. Which I am quite proud of, I must admit. Because unless you’ve been hiding under a rock all of our life, you can’t not like cookies, cake AND sprinkles. The best of everything dessert. In my humble opinion, at least.

This cheesecake has basically saved me. From my very turbulent heart. The past two weeks has been some of the most impossible weeks I’ve ever faced. In comparison to my very difficult stay in the mental ward, when I had been suicidal shortly after the birth of my daughter, 3 years ago. That’s how rough the past couple of weeks have been. From unexplainably losing a mommy friend of mine (one of my closest this past year & a half), to the tragic passing of one of my Crown Books comrades, to discovering that I have, yet again, another tumor rapidly creating mass chaos within my body, I was at the edge of my tolerance. For, well, everything. Including life in general.

However, thanks in part to a new support group of women that I’ve been interacting with, as well as the calming presence of my doctor, I’m feeling more optimistic and hopeful about where I am right now in life, than I have in years. YEARS. Which, in my life, is a cause for much celebration! Starting with THIS cheesecake. Something you do not want to miss out on. Trust me. Ready? You’ll need:

For the cookie crust:

24 pre-baked sugar cookies (which you can create from scratch or with pre-made freezer dough)

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles

To prepare your cookie crust, first, finely crush up those 24 pre-baked sugar cookies in a food processor. Your cookie crumbs will want to resemble a texture akin to grainy sand.

Dump the crumbs into a small bowl. Add in the 1/2 cup of sprinkles, as well as the melted butter. With your hands, mix all three ingredients together until the full mixture is slightly moist.

Now to the 9 inch springfoam baking pan. Lightly grease the bottom of the pan, so that the cookie crust does not stick to the surface upon extraction. Preheat the oven to 325d. While the oven is warming up, take heavy ply aluminum foil and tightly wrap up the entire bottom and outside surface of the pan. This is to prevent water from seeping into the cheesecake layer while being baked. Once wrapped, take your funfetti cookie dough and firmly press into the bottom of the cheesecake pan. Bake this bottom layer in the oven for 8 minutes.

While your cookie layer is baking away, you can work on preparing the cheesecake layer. Here’s what you’ll need:

24 ounces of cream cheese, warmed to room temperature

1 cup of granulated sugar

4 eggs

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

3/4 cup whole milk

On a stand or with a hand held mixer, beat the cream cheese together with the sugar, until smooth. Add in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl between each addition. Add in the vanilla extract, slowly followed by the whole milk. Mix well until your cheesecake batter is lump free.

By now, you”ll be able to take out the cookie layer from the oven. Let rest for a few minutes, at room temperature, before spooning in the cheesecake batter on top.

For this recipe, I used a water bath to control the overall temperature of the cheesecake while it was baking. For a water bath, take a tall lipped pan, or a turkey roasting dish (that is wider that the spring foam pan) and, after placing the cheesecake pan within it, slowly pour boiling water into the bathing pan, until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan.

Let bake for 50 minutes, until the edges of the cheesecake is slightly firm to the touch, and the center of the cheesecake is slightly gooey.

Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake rest inside the oven, with the oven door cracked open, for 45 minutes to an hour.

Upon removing the cheesecake from the oven, smoothly remove from the water bath, and unwrap the cheesecake pan from the aluminum foil. Again, let stand, at room temperature for a good half hour.

Now comes the waiting. Cover the top of the cooled cheesecake with plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for at least 7 hours.

Once you’re ready to serve (after that long 7 hour wait), remove the pan from the fridge, and gently pop open the pan. Now here’s the super important tip: when releasing the cheesecake from the pan, do not shake the cheesecake out of the pan. That was my mistake with my 1st failed recipe. Let the cheesecake pull away from the pan itself. Even if that means waiting a few minutes for it to do so on it’s own. Therefore, your lovely cookie cheesecake will come out nice and clean.

AND now sprinkle! With as many sprinkles as your happy heart desires! Must I say, the more the merrier? OR scoop on some cold vanilla ice cream. Because cookies, cake, sprinkles AND ice cream? Kinda brilliant!

Until next time, all my love! xoxoxo

 

 

 

Happiness Project Recipe #19: “Love, Baby” Vanilla Sprinkle Donuts!

Oh lovely, yummy, drool worthy donuts! How dearly I heart thee! Besides my weekly cravings for peaches, pizza and curly fries, lately donuts have set my taste buds a wildly a-spinning as well! However, for the sake of my baby’s fast developing health, this is one craving which I will not so easily cave in to. Why? Just because I happen to be an obsessive dessert junkie, does not mean I want my little one to become one as well! Very soon, I shall begin experimenting with more fruit based recipes versus my usual sugar and cream based desserts, which will be a fascinating new (and exciting) adventure for me! There’s never a better time than the present to change some of my rather “unhealthy” eating tendencies, right? Right! So for those of you who are still hankering for a yummy, sprinkled dessert, you must try this recipe! Due to the lack of needing to oil or fry anything (like you would with a traditional donut), anyone, no matter what level of baker you are, can very easily re-create this cake-like donut recipe! And you will love it! Yes, you will! Ready? Set? Go!

Donuts:

2 cups all purpose flour

2/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

one large pinch of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

12 tablespoons low fat buttermilk

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons melted, salted butter

A handful of rainbow sprinkles for garnish

Vanilla Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3-4 tablespoons whole milk

Preheat your oven to 325F. Lightly coat a donut pan (I bought mine at Sur La Table) with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. There’s no need to break out your trusty stand mixer with this recipe though! You can easily do this by hand. Pour in the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and melted butter and stir until just combined. Your batter will be very sticky and will resemble a thick, dough like consistency.

For this next part, there are two different methods you can use to distribute your batter. You can either use a professional icing bag with a round decorating tip of any size or you can create a make shift piping bag with a Ziploc bag (by cutting an opening in the bottom corner to form a tip) to pipe out your batter. Divide your batter evenly among the donut wells: this recipe will make you around 8 to 10 donuts, depending on how thickly you choose to pipe them out. Bake for 8-9 minutes until the donuts spring back to the touch. Let your donuts cool completely on a wire rack before you ice them with the vanilla glaze. To create the glaze, in a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar with the vanilla extract and whole milk. Stir with a spoon until smooth and glossy. With that said spoon, you can now drizzle the glaze over the donuts or if you’re feeling adventurous (and comfortable with getting messy), dip the top halves of your donuts into the actual glaze. Oh, such messy fun! To finish it all off, top with those rainbow sprinkles.

See? I told you it was this easy! So go get that donut fix on! I dare you!

Happiness Project Recipe #15: Celebration Sprinkle Cake Pancakes!

All I’ve been yammering about for the past 7 days is my near constant craving for cake batter pancakes so after my husband & I discovered something rather miraculous last night (Patience, my friends! You’ll have to wait & see!), I decided that even with all the cramping & nausea, I had to whip up a batch of this yummy, sprinkle pancake recipe. And let me tell you, these pancakes are very, VERY pretty little things! Who doesn’t like a little burst of rainbow happiness on a Saturday afternoon?! I do! Best of all, they’re super quick & relatively easy to create too! So no, you now have NO excuse not to whip up these tasty morning treats! None! *wink wink*

Pancakes:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup yellow cake mix

1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups vanilla almond milk

handful of jumbo sized sprinkles

Glaze:

1 1/3 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon whole milk

1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

First, whisk together the flour, cake mix, baking powder, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Combine your milk, eggs and vanilla extract into another small bowl. Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture and stir with a whisk or wooden spoon to combine. Next, fold in your jumbo sprinkles, as many as you would like.

With a preheated skillet over medium heat (lightly buttered up with a non-stick cooking spray), use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to portion out the batter into the pan. After 4-5 minutes, flip the pancake over and cook on the second side until nicely golden. Repeat with as much of the batter as you intend to use.

Once you’ve cooked up all of your pancakes, stir together the milk, vanilla extract and powdered sugar for your glaze until it’s consistency is smooth & glossy. Drizzle or drop in small spoonfuls over your rainbow pancakes! And then top with MORE sprinkles, if you’d like! There’s no such thing as too many sprinkles, I say!

See? Easy! So get yourself into that kitchen & get cooking! Life is all about celebrating the sweet & simple things! Especially when there’s sprinkles involved!

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