Salted Caramel Cheesecake Squares

Ingredients
Crust:

Cooking spray, for spraying the foil
2 sleeves (10 ounces) graham crackers
1/2 cup pecans
8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Filling:
Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
Caramel Topping:
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons salted butter
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Flaky sea salt, for garnish

Directions
Watch how to make this recipe.

Special equipment: a candy thermometer

For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-by-13-inch rectangular baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Place the graham crackers and pecans into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture becomes crumbs. Add the butter and vanilla and pulse again until combined. Pour into the prepared pan and press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan. If they come up the sides, that’s okay!

For the filling: Beat the cream cheese, granulated sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Add the sour cream and mix again.

Pour the mixture into the crust, smooth the top and bake for 50 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the door, leaving the cheesecake to sit in the oven with the door open for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool for an hour.

For the caramel topping: Add the brown sugar and butter to a pan, set over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Add the condensed milk, corn syrup and vanilla and bring to a boil, stirring continuously.

Place a candy thermometer in the caramel mixture and continue to boil until the caramel reaches 225 degrees F. Turn off the heat and let the caramel cool for about 5 minutes before pouring over the cheesecake.

Allow to set for 2 hours, then cut into squares with a sharp knife. Arrange on a plate and garnish each square with a pinch of sea salt.

Classic Cheesecake

Ingredients
Crust:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch fine salt
Filling:
2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups sour cream
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla paste (see Cook’s Note) or extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
Topping:
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
Berries, optional.

Directions
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F.

For the crust: Melt the butter, covered in the microwave, in a medium microwave-safe bowl, or a saucepan. Brush a 9-inch springform pan with some of the butter. Stir the remaining butter together with the crumbs, sugar, and salt. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom of the pan, taking care to get the crust evenly into the edges. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool. Wrap the bottom and up the sides of the pan with foil and put in a roasting pan.

For the filling: Beat the cream cheese on medium speed with a hand-held mixer until smooth. Add the granulated sugar and beat just until light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl and beaters as needed. Slowly beat in the sour cream, then eggs, vanilla and both citrus zests; take care not to over whip. Pour into the cooled crust.

Bring a medium saucepan or kettle of water to a boil. Gently place the roasting pan in the oven (don’t pull the rack out of the oven). Pour in enough hot water to come about halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes—the outside of the cake will set but the center will still be loose.

For the topping: Stir together the sour cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Spread over the top of the cooked cheesecake and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Turn the oven off, cook the cheesecake in the residual heat in the oven for about 1 hour. This gentle finish minimizes the risk of the dreaded crack in your cheesecake.

Remove cheesecake from the roasting pan to a rack. Run a knife around the edges and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Bring cheesecake to room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Remove the springform ring. Dip a knife in warm water, wipe dry before slicing each piece. Serve with berries, if desired.

Raspberry Cheesecake

Ingredients
For the crust:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 whole extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the toppings:
1 cup red jelly (not jam), such as currant, raspberry or strawberry
3 half-pints fresh raspberries

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. To make the crust, combine the graham crackers, sugar and melted butter until moistened. Pour into a 9 1/2 -inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1 inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Test your oven with an oven thermometer to be sure it’s accurate! To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Reduce the mixer to medium and add the eggs and egg yolks, two at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, lemon zest and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.

Place the cheesecake on a sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees F and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and open the door wide. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving.

Melt the jelly in a medium saucepan over low heat. Toss the raspberries in the warm jelly gently until well mixed. Pile the berries on top of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cheesecake

Ingredients
Crust:

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
Filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream
Serving suggestion: Fresh or Marinated Berries, or Raspberry Sauce

Directions
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

To make the crust: In a small bowl, mix the cracker crumbs with the melted butter and the sugar together until evenly moistened. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake the crust until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool the pan on a rack.

Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held mixer, cream the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. (Stop mixing and scrape down the sides of the bowl and beaters as needed.) Beat in the sour cream. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and cream. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake until the top of the cheesecake is lightly browned, but the center still jiggles slightly, about 45 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before serving.

To remove the cake from the pan, run a knife or offset spatula around the edges to release the edges from the pan. Open the springform pan and remove the ring.

Cut the cheesecake into wedges and serve with berries or a raspberry sauce if desired.

Lemon and Raspberry Pound Cake

Ingredients
Cake:

One 6-ounce container fresh raspberries
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the pan
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the pan
1/2 cup lemonade
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon lemon zest, left out to dry for 30 minutes, plus juice of 1/2 lemon
Pinch kosher salt

Directions
For the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Put the raspberries in a bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the granulated sugar and butter. Add the eggs 1 at a time, mixing after each addition. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add all but 2 tablespoons of the flour (reserve the 2 tablespoons for the raspberries). Add the lemonade and salt and mix until combined. Add the lemon zest and mix. Scrape the bowl.

Toss the remaining 2 tablespoons flour with the raspberries in the bowl; this will stop them from sinking. Fold the raspberries into the batter with a spatula.

Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and even out the surface. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center does not come out totally clean but isn’t wet with batter either, 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Let the cake sit in the pan for 30 minutes, then carefully turn it out onto a cooling rack set over a baking sheet to cool.

For the glaze: Combine the powdered sugar, lemon zest and juice, salt and 2 tablespoons water in a bowl. Gently whisk until thick but pourable, adding a little more water if needed. Drizzle the glaze over the cake and let set.

Potato Casserole

Ingredients
Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing the baking dish
6 large russet potatoes
Pinch salt
8 ounces sliced bacon
1 cup milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
Pinch garlic salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
2 cups grated Cheddar.

Directions
Watch how to make this recipe.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Place the potatoes and salt in a pressure cooker with water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the potatoes until very tender, about 5 minutes. (If you do not have a pressure cooker, boil the potatoes in a pot of water with a pinch of salt until tender, about 20 minutes.)

While the potatoes boil, cook the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the bacon on paper towels and, when cool enough to handle, crumble it into small pieces. Set aside.

Add the milk, mayonnaise, sour cream, butter, garlic salt, pepper and 1 cup of the cheese to a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Whip the mixture until thoroughly combined. Drain the potatoes and add to the mixer. Mix again to combine and the potatoes are whipped smooth.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon and remaining 1 cup cheese over the top and bake until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through, about 20 minutes.

Raspberry Cheesecake

Ingredients
For the crust:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 whole extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the topping:
1 cup red jelly (not jam), such as currant, raspberry, or strawberry
3 half-pints fresh raspberries.

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the crust, combine the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter until moistened. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.

To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs and egg yolks, 2 at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.

Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees F and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and open the door wide. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving.

To make the topping, melt the jelly in a small pan over low heat. In a bowl, toss the raspberries and the warm jelly gently until well mixed. Arrange the berries on top of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Note: Measure your springform pan. The bottom of mine measures 9 inches, but it says 9 1/2. I put the springform pan on a sheet pan before putting it in the oven to catch any leaks.

Raspberry Tiramisu

Ingredients
1 cup seedless raspberry jam
6 tablespoons orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)
1 pound mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
28 soft ladyfingers or 2 (12-ounce) pound cakes, cut into 3 by 1 by 1 1/2-inch pieces
3 (1/2 dry pint) baskets fresh raspberries (about 3 3/4 cups total)
Confectioners’ sugar, for serving

Directions
Watch how to make this recipe.

Stir the jam and 4 tablespoons of the orange liqueur in a small bowl to blend.

Combine the mascarpone and remaining 2 tablespoons of orange liqueur in a large bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream, sugar, and vanilla in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Using a large rubber spatula, stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture to lighten. Fold the remaining whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture.

Line the bottom of a13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish or other decorative serving dish with half of the ladyfingers. Spread half of the jam mixture over the ladyfingers. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the jam mixture, then cover with half of the fresh raspberries. Repeat layering with the remaining ladyfingers, jam mixture, mascarpone mixture and raspberries. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups chocolate chips, 2 Hershey’s chocolate bars, chopped or M&M’S
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional).

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl stir together flour, salt, and baking soda. In another large bowl stir together butter, both sugars, eggs, vanilla and cocoa. Gradually stir flour mixture into butter mixture and mix until combined. Stir chocolate chips and walnuts, if using, and stir to distribute evenly.

For cookies: Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets and bake about 10 minutes. Cool on a baking rack.

For bars: Pat dough into a greased 9 inch square baking pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cut into squares when cooled

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips, or chunks
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine salt.

Directions
Evenly position 2 racks in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. (on convection setting if you have it.) Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone sheets. (If you only have 1 baking sheet, let it cool completely between batches.)

Put the butter in a microwave safe bowl, cover and microwave on medium power until melted. (Alternatively melt in a small saucepan.) Cool slightly. Whisk the sugars, eggs, butter and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth.

Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a wooden spoon; take care not to over mix. Stir in the chocolate chips or chunks.

Scoop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared pans. Wet hands slightly and roll the dough into balls. Space the cookies about 2-inches apart on the pans. Bake, until golden, but still soft in the center, 12 to 16 minutes, depending on how chewy or crunchy you like your cookies. Transfer hot cookies with a spatula to a rack to cool. Serve.

Store cookies in a tightly sealed container for up to 5 days.

For a Rocky Road Bar:

Lightly butter a 9 by 13-inch baking pan. Make the batter as per cookie recipe and fold in 1 cup chopped walnuts along with the chocolate chips. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake until the edges are light brown and the batter sets, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly and cover surface with 4 cups marshmallows and 1 cup chocolate chips. Broil at least 8 inches from the heat until marshmallows turn golden brown, about 2 minutes. (Keep an eye on the marshmallows, and turn the pan frequently–they go from golden to char in a wink.) Cool, cut and serve.