1. STRAWBERRY BROWNIE KABOBS
1 box brownie mix (we have Ghiradelli Brownie Mix on sale this week)
2 16-oz packages of large strawberries
1 bag marshmallows
2 squares of Baker's melting chocolate
Wooden skewers, cut in half
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray mini muffin tins with non-stick spray. Prepare the brownie batter according to the package's instructions and divide batter among muffin tins. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Allow brownies to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Clean, dry, and cut the strawberries so both ends are flat (I just liked the look of them this way). Layer the strawberries, brownies, and marshmallows on the skewers and lay them out on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 30 second intervals until completely melted. Transfer to a piping bag or ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle each kabob. Transfer to the fridge to allow the chocolate to set and until ready to serve.
2. RED VELVET GOOEY BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft
8 ounces cream cheese, brick-style (must use full-fat cream cheese; not lite, whipped, spreadable, etc.)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
One 18.25-ounce box red velvet cake mix, sifted (don't skip sifting or you'll have lumps that won't incorporate; if the brand of cake mix you use is slightly larger, that's fine, but smaller is not okay or the dough will be too wet)
12-ounces (1 bag) semi-sweet chocolate chips
To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer) combine the butter, cream cheese, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, about 5 minutes.
Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the cake mix, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.
Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the chocolate chips, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.
Using a large cookie scoop, 1/4-cup measure, or your hands, form 16 equal-sized mounds of dough, roll into balls, and flatten slightly. The dough is very sticky and gloppy; this is normal.
Preheat oven to 350F, spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Place dough mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet). If you had a hard time getting dough into neat mounds before chilling, take time now to smooth them out.
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just set, even if slightly undercooked and glossy in the center. Cookies firm up some as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving. I let them cool on the baking sheet and don't use a rack. Note that baking time is longer than for most cookies due to the very moist and wet nature of the dough and the size of the cookies. If you rolled your cookies smaller, reduce baking time accordingly.
Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 4 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.
3. RASPBERRY SWIRLED LEMON CHEESECAKE BARS
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
FOR THE CHEESECAKE:
16 ounces cream cheese- room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Zest of a lemon
4 tablespoons milk
2 eggs- room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR THE RASPBERRY SWIRL:
4 oz. of fresh raspberries (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper, criss-crossing two rectangular pieces so there is an overhang on either side for easy lifting. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl mix together the crumbs and butter with a spoon until moist. Press into the prepared pan and bake for about 10 minutes or until crust is set around the edges.
Beat together the white sugar, and cream cheese until smooth.
Add the egg, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy.
Spread filling mixture over baked crust.
In a food processor or blender, purée the raspberries until smooth. Press through a fine mesh sieve, getting as much liquid out as possible. Discard the solids. Stir in the sugar.
Dot the raspberry mixture over the filling and use a toothpick or skewer to swirl together.
Bake for 30 minutes or until set around the edges and slightly jiggly in the center.
Cool completely on a wire rack and then chill until cold before serving.
4. EASY CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES
3 doz. chocolate sandwich cookies (like an Oreo)
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate baking squares
1 tube pink icing
1. Place cookies in a gallon-size sealable plastic bag, seal and crush with the back of a large wooden spoon (you can also use a food processor.)
2. Empty cookie crumbs and softened cream cheese into mixer and mix until fully incorporated.
3. Transfer chocolate mixture to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for an hour. Roll mixture into 1” balls and place on rimmed cookie sheet lined with wax/parchment paper and freeze for an hour.
4. Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl/glass measuring cup and melt on low for 1-2 minutes until it starts to melt, stir for 60 seconds. If chocolate pieces remain, microwave for another 60 seconds and stir until chocolate is completely melted.
5. Remove chocolate balls from the freezer and drop one by one into melted chocolate. When completely covered, return to wax/parchment lined cookie sheet. Repeat process until all are covered.
6. Take your tube of pink icing and decorate your chocolate.
7. Return truffles to the freezer until completely set and then store in the refrigerator.
Makes 36 truffles