Chocolate Dipped Cream Cheese Butter Cookies

I’m not going to lie…one of the reasons I love the holiday season is the 12 Days of Cookies emails I receive from the Food Network. Just when you think you’ve seen all the Christmas baking recipes there is, another one lands in my inbox and become nearly giddy. Yeah, I probably could use a hobby besides baking. But who has the time?!

I finally found time in Claudia’s busy retirement schedule (I swear she’s busier now that she doesn’t work full time!) to fit in some quality baking with her for this blog. Last night she came over and we decided to try a couple new butter cookie recipes we have been eyeing. This one was the big hit. You really cannot lose when you incorporate cream cheese into the dough and dipping the cookie in chocolate! These are a nice twist on the traditional holiday butter/sugar cookie. The cream cheese makes the cookie a little denser and the chocolate adds a nice sweetness. Because the dough needed to be chilled, Claudia decided to make the dough prior to us getting together, so I do not have any pictures of these steps. I figured combining all ingredients into a bowl didn’t really require visual representation anyway.

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Pumpkin Creme Pies

I love baking. As you can tell, I post more dessert recipes on this blog than mains, soups and side dishes. Part of it is that I’m a better baker than I am chef. The other part is that they are just so darn pretty.

I have been on a huge pumpkin kick this past month. Since Claudia’s famous pumpkin pie has already been featured, that leaves me to find other pumpkin-related desserts that can compete.  I think I found a serious contender. This recipe was adapted from a recipe posted by The Deutsch Girl on the Tasty Kitchen website. These sandwich cookies are super simple to make and absolutely delicious. The perfect mix of warm spices and sweet cream cheese. They also freeze extremely well, which is good if you can’t manage to finish all 24 cookies this recipe makes!

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Cheesecake-Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes

Ever since the I got back from vacation a week ago I can’t stop thinking about pumpkin. Maybe it’s the cooler weather or the leaves changing red, yellow and orange. It could also be the fact that Starbucks is now serving their delicious Pumpkin Spice Latte that has made me obsessed with making anything and everything pumpkin.

Since I have featured 2 of my absolute favourite pumpkin recipes with you already – Pumpkin Scones and Claudia’s Pumpkin Pie - I had to find a new recipe that me and Claudia enjoyed enough to share. Enter Silvana Nardone from Every Day with Rachel Ray and her Cheesecake-Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes. Because there is cream cheese baked inside, these are probably one of the richest cupcakes I’ve ever tasted. And they are absolutely, positively delicious! If you want a substitute for pumpkin pie or pumpkin cheesecake this Thanksgiving, these babies are by far your best bet. Your family and friends will love you for it.

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Layered Lemon Bars

Claudia will be heading off shortly to the lovely state of Arizona. She reminds me frequently that the weather is averaging 80 degrees fahrenheit and that she will be basking in the sun’s rays for a few weeks, while I struggle to leave my home in -30 celsius weather here in Winnipeg. Therefore, I figured this dessert is perfect for the present occasion. Layered Lemon Bars not only remind me of summer evening BBQs at my parents, but are also a refreshing and light dessert that perfectly follows the heavier and hearty meals of winter.

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Bavarian Cheesecake

My Baba is well known for 3 of her culinary endeavours in our household. #1 – Perogies. #2 – Spaghetti and meatballs. I have no idea where a Ukrainian woman learned how to cook Italian food, but it was amazing. #3 – This Bavarian Cheesecake recipe. It is to die for. I remember every summer when Claudia, my Dad, my brother and I came back from our 3-week stints in Saskatchewan, Baba would have a big batch of spaghetti and meatballs and this dessert to welcome us home. It was so comforting and definitely worth sharing. Apples, cinnamon, cream cheese, crunchy walnuts and my own optional addition – caramel sauce. How can you possibly go wrong with this rich delight? You will win friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, and probably even world wars with this dessert. Trust me, it’s a winner.

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