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Applesauce Cheesecake Bars

Lobo apples

1. Obtain some APPLESAUCE

For the applesauce, I made homemade applesauce! Mostly from Macintosh apples and a couple Lobo apples from apple picking with A. It was the most amazing applesauce I've made so far (from the Macintosh apples maybe?), and it came out a dusty pink colour. I used this recipe but they are all very similar: 

The Kitchn: How to Make Applesauce in the Slow Cooker.

2. Preheat oven to 350ºF. You will need a 9x13" pan. 

3. Make the shortbread cookie crust:

Mix together :

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 sticks butter (salted, or add pinch of salt)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

 Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper. Don’t miss this step like I did, because then I had a lot of trouble taking the first few bars out of the pan later.

Press the crust mix into the pan and bake at 350 for 10-15 min. No longer than 15 min or the crust may start to burn at the second bake. 

Alternatively you could do a graham cracker crust (which might come out of the pan easier), and/or use muffin cups.

4. Make the Filling:

  • 3 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour -  this sounds odd but it’s to help balance the extra liquid from the applesauce. You could try cornstarch, arrowroot, or another thickener of your choice.
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Optional: pinch of salt

In a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together. Sprinkle in the flour and blend well. Add in the eggs, one at a time, then the remaining ingredients. Beat until well blended. The filling may be fairly runny.

Pour the filling into the crust-lined pan. Bake at 350ºF for 50 to 60 minutes. Check if centre is set with a toothpick. Cool.

I sprinkled cinnamon sugar on top for decoration. Refrigerate several hours.



Make-ahead / freezer cookies: Chai shortbread cookies

Chai shortbread cookie dough: hee!

I love to post about baking. I think baking is my favourite stress-relieving activity outside of yoga & exercise.

Freezer cookies, or "icebox cookies", are so useful. When I have time before the holidays, I make a batch or two and freeze them. Then they are quick to cut and bake, and I only bake the amount I need - otherwise I tend to polish off any leftovers ;)

From has a great roundup of freezer cookies: Give the Gift of Dough: 9 Sweet and Savory Icebox Cookies

One of my favorites is the recipe for Recipe: Earl Grey Tea Cookies, specifically the Chai tea version. Around Christmas, I also love to make & freeze the Cookie Recipe: Best Cut-Out Sugar Cookies. But the Chai cookies are what people ask me to make again & again. 

Leroy, sometimes, will have a little nap while I work. 

Leroy napping while I bake

Chai Tea Cookies (from The Kitchn)

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Chai tea mix, ~2 Chai tea bags
Optionally: 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon, each
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsalted butter

In a small food processor, or in a mortar & pestle, blend the sugar and Chai tea together until fragrant. Combine the remaining ingredients by hand or in a food processor, until a rough dough is formed. The dough will be wonderfully moldable like playdough. 

Chai shortbread cookie dough

Put the dough on a piece of wax or parchment paper, and form into a log 8 to 9-inches long Wrap the paper around and roll the log into your desired shape. I can never get a perfect circle, but maybe an oval or rounded rectangle. Freeze the wrapped dough, or chill for at least 30 minutes.

To bake, preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking sheet. Use a sharp knife to slice the chilled or frozen log of dough into 1/3-inch-thick pieces. Place on the baking sheet and bake until the edges are just beginning to brown (and you'll smell them!), 10 to 12 minutes. 

Be sure to taste test - you may like them more or less golden brown. 




For the dogs! Peanut butter butternut squash dog treats

We have these two delightful creatures in our household: 

My first time baking dog cookies: peanut butter butternut squash

I finally had a chance to make them some treats with some leftover roast butternut squash. Peanut butter butternut squash! The dogs will eat both peanut butter and squash by themselves as a treat, so these were a hit. They disappeared right away and made for great bribes to leave the pizza guy alone for a few minutes. 

Here is the recipe from the Austin Gastronomist

Easy and fast to make. I rolled most of the dough out and cut it into squares, and any odd chunks of dough I just lazily rolled into small balls. 

Peanut butter butternut squash dog treats

My cookies turned out chunkier than the recipe webste depicts, I think because I used chunky peanut butter and also a chunkier squash puree.

They will last about a week out of the refridgerator. 

I'm looking for easy dog treat recipes that don't have wheat flour. If you know any great dog treat recipes, please share! 


Bell pepper egg-in-a-hole (frog-in-a-flower?)

Bell pepper egg-in-a-hole

I finally made eggs in bell pepper rings this morning. Hubby asked for & received egg-in-a-hole in bread. I've always thought of it as toad-in-a-hole or frog-in-a-hole; how about you? 

Green pepper was great - I bet the other colours would be even tastier! 

If you'd like a recipe, the amazing Pioneer Woman has one (and I love her list of names). Use bell pepper rings instead of bread. Try different thicknesses for the bell pepper rings so the egg doesn't flow over. 



Slow cooker Barbacoa beef

Do you like cilantro, lime, and chipotle chilis?

Beef Barbacoa

We received a super 7 qt slow cooker for Christmas and I'm having fun trying new recipes. I remembered to take photos this time.

I followed this recipe from TheKitchn: Recipe to feed a crowd: slow cooker Barbacoa beef.

Slow cooker beef Barbacoa: before

I didn't have overnight, so I put the browned beef and other ingredients in the slow cooker and left it on low for the full workday. It turned out great! The added chipotle chilis (those things are magic) and broth makes it amazing.

Slow cooker beef Barbacoa: after cooking