Saturday, December 12, 2009

Peppermint Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

I cut this recipe out of a magazine a few years back and have been staring at the beautiful picture every time I open my homemade cookbook. So I finally decided to try it for a cookie exchange and it was DE-licious. You will be so happy with the result. But just a warning- cut them into small squares or you will be sick. They are that good.

(Courtesy of Food Network)

20 chocolate wafer cookies (Oreos)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine salt

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs, room temperature

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon light or dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons sour cream, room temperature
1/2 cup crushed candy canes (see Cooks Note)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the crust: Process the chocolate wafers in a food processor with the butter, sugar, coffee, and salt until fine. Evenly press the crust into the prepared dish covering the bottom completely. Bake until the crust sets, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Put the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl; heat at 75 percent power until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir, and continue to microwave until completely melted, up to 2 minutes more. Blend the cream cheese, sugar, and sour cream together in the food processor until smooth. Scrape down the sides, as needed. Add the eggs and pulse until just incorporated. With the food processor running, pour the chocolate into the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour the filling evenly over the crust. Bake until filling puffs slightly around the edges, but is still a bit wobbly in the center, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a rack.

For the Glaze: Put the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in microwave safe bowl. Heat glaze in the microwave at 75 percent power until melted, about 2 minutes. Stir the ingredients together until smooth; add the sour cream. Spread glaze evenly over the warm cake and scatter the crushed candy canes over top. Cool completely, then refrigerate overnight. Cut into small bars or squares. Serve chilled or room temperature. Store cookies covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Cook's Note: To crush the candy canes, remove wrappers and place in a resealable plastic bag. Use a rolling pin to roll and break the candy up into small pieces, about 1/4 inch or so. (I personally think this is a joke. I tried it and it didn't work. I found a ziplock and a hammer to be much more appropriate!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

103 Christmas Gift Ideas

1. M&M's - Have a Merry and Most wonderful Holiday Season!!
2. Soup or soup mix - Wishing you a "Souper" Holiday Season!!
3. Frozen or ready to bake pizza - Warm up to a wonderful Holiday Season “Topped" with Christmas cheer!
4. Apples and Hershey's Hugs - A teacher can't live by apples alone...She needs "Hugs" too!!
5. Popcorn Balls - Hoping you have a "Ball" this Holiday Season!
6. Loaf of Bread - For being there when you were "Kneaded", for "Rising" to the occasion, large or small. For never "loafing" on the job; for helping others to "Heel" with TLC. No matter how you "slice it", you do a terrific job loving Others. Merry Christmas!!
7. Jolly Ranchers - Have a “Holly, Jolly" Christmas!!
8. Rootbeer - We're "Root"ing for you to have a Happy Holiday Season and a Wonderful New Year!! (see rootbeer deer at end of list!)
9. Chex Party Mix - Remember Santa "Chex" his list twice to see who's been naughty or be good for goodness sake!! Merry Christmas!!
10. Box of Hostess Ho-Ho's - Hope a merry "HO - HO - H0" fills your heart the whole year through! (Put a Santa sticker on the label)
11. Wire Wisk filled with Chocolate kisses- We “WHISK” you a Merry “KISSmas!!"
12. Jar of Jelly – Have a Holly, “Jelly” Christmas!!
13. Christmas Tray - We "Tray"sure your friendship! Merry Christmas!!
14. Bell - With each chime of this festive bell, may a Christmas wish come true. And bring you peace and happiness to last the whole year through! Merry Christmas!
15. Yule Log - We send you warm greetings this Christmas Season!!
16. Potpourri - May this sweet scent bring back thoughts of warm Christmases long ago! Merry Christmas!
17. Cleaners - You add sparkle and make our life brighter! Merry Christmas!
18. Nuts - We're nuts about you! Merry Christmas!
19. Lifesavers - You've been a life saver! Have a great Christmas!
20. A juice pitcher filled with candy canes- We pitcher you raising a little "cane" during the holidays! Have a Merry Christmas!!
21. Broom - You're "Dust" the finest neighbors we know! Merry Christmas!
22. Paper Towels - Blot out your troubles; absorb the Christmas Spirit!
23. Measuring Cup or Glass Measure - Wishing you Joy Beyond Measure!
24. Bananas - If we could choose our friends, and we searched the whole world through- we'd go bananas trying to find a better bunch than you!!"
25. Any Star ornaments - "Remember the reason for the season!"
26. Chocolate Mousse Mix - "Merry Christmousse" to our "Deer" Friends!
27. Wooden spoon - Whether stirring up cakes, cookies, soups or souffl├ęs; you'll find this spoon useful in so many ways. But whatever its use, it says, "Merry Merry Christmas from us to you!
28. Flowers - If friends were flowers, we'd pick you! Happy Holidays!! Or "You make friendship bloom all year round!"
29. Heart Christmas Ornament - May the Joy and Love you give away, come back to you on Christmas day!
30. Sugar cookies with cinnamon sugar or sprinkles on top- May your Christmas be sprinkled with laughter and love! Merry Christmas!
31. Hershey's Hugs - A friend always knows when you need a little hug!
32. Christmas music CD or Tape - May the sweet song of Christmas make your heart rejoice! Or "May the merry sounds of Christmas bring a Joyful Melody to your holiday season. Merry Christmas!!”
33. Filled Basket - Wishing you a basket full of Christmas blessings
34. Salsa - Add a little Spice to your Holidays! Merry Christmas!
35. Stocking or filled Jar - Have a fun filled Christmas this year!
36. Lamb - Have "eweself" a Merry little Christmas!!
37. Candle - May your days be happy, your heart be light, your Christmas Merry, and the New Year Bright!!
38. Holly - Happy Holly days!
39. Calendar - Keep Christmas in your heart the whole year through!
40. Shaped Sugar Cookies - Rolling out a batch of Christmas Cheer, for someone we think is very dear!!
41. Cherry 7-up - Just a Little Christmas Cheer from Happy Hearts this time of year!! Merry Christmas!!
42. Sparkling Cider - Wishing you a Sparkling Holiday Season!
43. Warm Casserole or Bread - Bundled up with warm wishes!!
44. Popcorn or Carmel Corn - Just "Popping" by with a Holiday Hi! Or "May your Holidays be Poppin'!"
45. Seasoning Mix - Seasoned with Love! Merry Christmas!!
46. Eggbeater or Eggnog- Have an "Eggstra" Special Holiday!!
47. Hershey's Hugs and Kisses - Christmas Hugs and Kisses to You or "Holiday Hugs and Kisses to you!"
48. Apple Pie or Apple Crisp - Wishing you a Scrumptious Christmas!
49. Fruit Basket - May your New Year be Festive and Fruitful!!
50. Any Sweet Treat - Wishing you a season filled with sweetness!
51. Oranges - " Orange" you glad we're Friends!? Merry Christmas!!
52. Chocolate Orange - "Orange" you glad it's Christmas? Hope your Christmas is a Sweet one!
53. Sprite - May your Christmas be Merry and Sprite!
54. Ice Cream Snowballs and Hot Fudge - Here's some packaged "snowball" treats - Just Drizzle Hot Fudge and its ready to eat!...Enjoy!!
55. Snicker Bar - Don't "Snicker", just be glad you got Something!!
56. Mints - Friends like you are worth a Mint!! Merry Christmas!!
57. Matches - No one “Matches” you as neighbors! Merry Christmas!
58. Strainer with a Christmas bow- We couldn't “restrain” ourselves from wishing you a very Merry Christmas!!"
59. Box of Light Bulbs - Have a bright and radiant Christmas! Or “May your Christmas be merry and bright!”
60. Bubble Gum or Bubble Bath - May your holidays "Bubble" over with fun!!
61 Pencil and Notepad - Merry Christmas from our pad to yours!! or Merry Christmas to a "noteworthy" friend!
62. Jar of Pickles - Just in brine, Our wish for a merry Christmas!!
63. Grater and Cheese - To a Grate Neighbor! Merry Christmas!
64. Ice Cream - Have a "Cool" Yule!!
65. Bear shaped Honey - Have a “Beary” Sweet Christmas!!
66. Santa - "Ho - Ho - Hoping your Christmas is Merry!"
67. Angel - Hoping you have a Heavenly Christmas!!
68. Eggnog - Have an "Udderly Moovalous" Christmas!!
69. Gingerbread House - Nibble, Nibble like a mouse, We hope you'll nibble at this house! Merry Christmas!!
70. Mugs with Hot Chocolate Mix - To our special friends who are so Dear, We wish you all a cup of Cheer! (Or for a Teacher- To a Special Teacher dear, wishing you a "Cup of Cheer"!
71. Cocoa Mix - Wishing you a warm and wonderful Christmas!
72. Muffins or Muffin mix - You're getting "Muffin" for Christmas!!
73. Gum - By Gum, You're a great Neighbor!! Have a Merry Christmas!
74. Veggies and Dip - Dip into a wonderful Holiday season and a Healthy New Year!
75. Christmas Shaped pasta - (Or any Pasta and a bottle of Sauce) Have a Pasta-tively Happy Holiday!"
76. Jar of Jam - Hoping you have a Holiday "Jam" packed with fun!! Have a "Berry" nice holiday season!! Or Hoping your Christmas is "Jam-packed" with Christmas Cheer!!
77. Cookie Dough - Here's a little extra "dough" for Christmas! Or Everyone Needs a little extra "dough" for Christmas!!
78. Homemade Frozen Rolls - Here's a little holiday treat. Rise and bake, it can't be beat! Warm fresh rolls just for you. Top with butter that's all you do! Warm Holiday Greetings to you!
79. Brownie Mix - (Or any Mix) Whip up this mix for a wonderful holiday fix! Wishing you a "rich" Holiday Season!! (Be sure to attach the recipe!)
80. Homemade caramels - Hoping you have a "Rich" and "wonderful" Holiday!!
81. Pie - Just a "Holiday Hi" and a tasty Pie!! Happy Holidays!!
82. Divinity - May your Christmas be "Divine" and your Holidays so Fine! Sweet Christmas Wishes!
83. Rice Krispie Treats - Snap, Crackle, Pop; We think you're really tops!
84. Toffee or Brittle - Any way you break it, we think you're the greatest!
85. Fudge - "Fudge" a little on the calories and enjoy the Holiday Season!
86. Cheese Ball and Crackers - We don't mean to sound "Cheesey", we just hope you have a "Ball" this Holiday Season! Or "Spread a little Christmas Cheer this Holiday Season!
87. Apple Anything - (Pie,Cobbler, crisp, muffins etc.) Sending you a "Bushel" of love this holiday Season!! Or “You are the apple of my eye, Teacher!"
88. Banana Bread - Banana Bread just for you, because you have so much to do... We also love you a whole "Bunch" too! Merry Christmas!
89. Cinnamon Rolls - Here's a sweet treat "Rolled" up with warm Holiday Wishes! Merry Christmas!
90. Homemade Chocolates - You're so Sweet...having you as neighbors is really a treat! Have a Heavenly Holiday Season!
91. Cake or Cupcakes - You take the "Cake" neighbor, We think you're first rate! Happy Holidays to you!!
92. Cornbread or Mix - We're not trying to be "Corny" we just want you to have Merry Christmas!
93. Carrot Cake - I Really "Carrot" a lot about you!! Merry Christmas!
94. Spiced Drink Mixes - Hoping your Holidays are "Spiced" Just right!
95. Homemade Ice cream of a Frozen Treat - Here's the Scoop,,,,Hoping your Holidays are a "Blizzard" of fun!
96. Recipe - Just like you's tried and true, just for you! Happy Holiday Baking or Merry Christmas Cooking!
97. Pizza - Hope your Holiday has a touch of "Pizza - z!!" Merry Christmas!!
98. Candle - You Light up my Life! Thanks for your friendship! May your Christmas be Merry and Bright!
99. Crayons and Coloring Book - Hope your Holidays are Colorful!
100. Plant - The kindness you show makes our friendship grow and grow! Hope you have a Happy Holiday!!
101. Soda Pop - I'd "Soda" like to wish you a merry Christmas!
102. Stuffed animal or Beanie Baby or Webkinz- "Pawsing" to wish you a Merry Christmas!
103. Donuts - "Donut" you know we love you??? Have a happy Holiday!

These “root deer” would be a great gift to put together with the kids. Just decorate each bottle in a six pack of root beer with pipe cleaner, pom-poms, googly eyes, felt, and a jingle bell collar.