Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

There were more, but they were devoured by the time I got my camera out

You really don’t have to read further than the name to be hooked.  I found these cookies on one of my new favorite blogs, BrownEyedBaker, and they were fantastic. I did make some alterations;  I chose to go for crushed chocolate graham crackers instead of crushed Oreos and I’m happy I did because these had a creamy and milky enough taste without the added Oreo filling.  Plus, it’s healthier and, while I’m not a health-nut when it comes to dessert, if the healthier option tastes just as good (if not better), then why not go for it?

These cookies are incredibly easy and simple, but they have that little extra something that makes them interesting and special.  They taste exactly like an Oreo cookie, chocolatey but also milky.  In fact, I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies a few days later and discovered the Oreo cheesecake cookies taste exactly like a fresh chocolate chip cookie dipped in milk.

These cookies are crispy on the outside and chewy-soft on the inside.  The cream cheese really does a fantastic job of keeping these babies moist and soft even after spending a couple days out and uncovered.  Plus it gives the cookies their unique and intriguing creaminess.  This is one of my new favorite recipes and perfect for summer gatherings.  It’s certain to impress and leave nothing but cookie crumbs on the plate.

OREO CHEESECAKE COOKIES:

Yields 1 dozen cookies (you’ll want the whole batch!)

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate (chopped to chocolate-chip sized pieces)
  • 1/2 cup (aprox.) crushed chocolate graham cracker crumbs

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat liner.
  2. Cream together your butter and your cream cheese in a medium until smooth and well-combined.
  3. Add in your sugar and vanilla, mixing until they’re well-combined.
  4. Add in your flour and mix on low until it’s just incorporated.
  5. Use a plastic or wooden spoon to stir in your chopped chocolate.
  6. Pour your chocolate graham cracker crumbs onto a plate and, using an ice-cream scoop to scoop up your cookie dough, roll your cookie dough banks in the crushed graham crackers until thoroughly coated.  Place on the baking sheet 1-2 inches apart (they spread out a bit, but not too much).
  7. Bake for 10 – 13 minutes, until the edges are golden (it is a little hard to tell when these are done, but you want them still a little soft when you take them out so that they’re not too crunchy when they cool).
  8. Let them cool for a minute or two on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Tips:
Because the cookies get rolled in crushed chocolate graham cracker crumbs, it can be a little challenging to see when they’re done.  It took me a couple batches to figure out how long to bake them since it’s tough to see the edges turn golden.  I’ve decided that at 10 minutes, they’re coming out, even if they look a little soft (they’ll firm up and bake a little more on the sheet).

Raspberry-Swirl Cheesecake vs. Caramel Macchiato Cheesecake

It has been way too long since I’ve made cheesecake.  It’s probably my third favorite dessert (second being brownies, and first being whatever I haven’t tried on the menu yet).  After doing a brief search through my saved recipes and through some of my favorite sites for new recipes, I quickly narrowed it down to some ten candidates.  My head was whirling in cheesecake-baking excitement.  I gave word of my upcoming cheesecake expedition to my mother, who promptly replied “keep it to one pan”.  I was crushed; ten cheesecakes would not fit into one pan.  But, two could.  So, I chose raspberry and caramel-macchiato to be pan-mates (later, I discovered that they went rather well together, but that was a happy accident).

The raspberry cheesecake comes from the fabulous Ms. Stewart.  It is a tartly sweet, wonderfully summery dessert with a smooth and creamy texture.  The caramel macchiato cheesecake comes from AllRecipes and actually has a taste to match its title (I was surprised).  This cheesecake is a bit denser, with a rich texture and a smoky-sweet coffee flavor.  I topped it with a luxurious caramel sauce recipe from SavorySweetLife (I have included the recipe in this post)

RASPBERRY SWIRL CHEESECAKE:

(original yields one 9″ cake, but I halved this version)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cups + 5 tbs sugar
  • 4 oz raspberries
  • 16 oz (2 packages) cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (I used Slovakian rum since we ran out of vanilla)
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)

Directions: 

  1. Toss your raspberries into a food processor for about 30 seconds till they’re smoothly pureed. Strain the raspberry puree through fine sieve into a small bowl and throw out what remains in the sieve.  Whisk in 2 tbs of your sugar.
  2. Into a medium sized bowl, beat your cream cheese until fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and add in your remaining 1/2 cup + 3 tbs sugar slowly and steadily.
  3. Mix in your salt and vanilla (or rum) and, when they’ve combined, mix in your eggs, one by one (careful no to over mix, only stir until just combined).
  4. Your batter is ready to be poured into your crust (directions for creating and baking a half-and-half cheesecake are listed after the Caramel Macchiato recipe)
  5. After pouring in the batter, drop tablespoons of the raspberry puree on top and swirl with a toothpick

CARAMEL MACCHIATO CHEESECAKE:

(original yields one 9″ cake, but I halved this version)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 eggs
  • 4 oz sour cream
  • 1/8 cup brewed espresso (strong coffee will work, too)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (I used rum in this one, as well)

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, beat your cream cheese until fluffy. Slowly add in your sugar and keep beating until well-blended.
  2. Mix in your eggs, one by one, and beat well after each one. Then, mix in your sour cream, espresso, and vanilla/rum.
  3. Your second batter is ready to be poured into your crust
  4. Before you serve your cheesecake, top it with caramel sauce (it is, after all, a caramel macchiato cheesecake)
Baking Your Half-and-Half Cheesecake:
  1. Bake/make your crust
  2. Preheat your oven to 325°F
  3. You’ll want to get a piece of sturdy paper material (I used a strip cut from a pastry box) that’s not too thick for your divider.  You can use something plastic, metal, etc. for it, just remember that whatever it is, it will be touching your cake so make sure it’s sanitary.
  4. Fit the divider into your pan (trim the divider if necessary) after you’ve baked your crust and secure it to make sure it stays put while you pour your batter (it’s easiest to have someone hold the divider while you pour).
  5. Carefully, steadily, pour the first batter into one half of the pan.  Then, do the same with the second batter.
  6. Pull the divider out and, voila, two cheesecakes in one pan.  Place the pan in the oven and bake for 50-65 minutes, until the cheesecake is set but still a little wobbly near the center.

CARAMEL SAUCE:

Yields 2 cups (and you’ll want all of it)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (heat for about 30 seconds in your microwave till lukewarm)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (heat for about 30 seconds in your microwave till lukewarm)
  • 2 tbs rum (use actual rum, not vanilla)

Directions:

  1. In a small or medium saucepan, cook your sugar and water over medium-high heat.  Monitor your syrup carefully until it changes colors around the edges to an amber-brown (350°F on a candy thermometer)
  2. When your syrup changes color, remove it from the heat and stir the mixture quickly with a wooden spoon or whisk (this keeps the syrup from burning).
  3. Continue stirring and carefully pour in 1/2 cup of warmed heavy cream and your butter (I just warmed my butter with/in the cream to make it easier).  This will make your mixture froth and spit, but stir on until everything is dissolved.
  4. Once the sugar’s completely dissolved, add in your 1/4 cup of warmed heavy cream and your rum, stirring until your caramel sauce is smooth.
  5. Once it’s cooled just a little bit, pour the sauce carefully into a heat proof jar and let it cool.
  6. Before topping the caramel macchiato cheesecake, warm the caramel in the microwave until pourable but not too hot.

Review:

Starting first with Ms. Stewart’s raspberry-swirl cheesecake, this fantastic dessert was top-notch.  Ms. Stewart has yet to disappoint, and this tart little treat was absolutely wonderful.  It had the perfect, sweet creaminess of a fine cheesecake with the playful tartness of raspberries.  The base was smooth, creamy, and indulgent, without being overly dense or heavy.  The flavor from the raspberry top came through the whole cake to give it a sweet, fresh flavor.   The recipe is simple, easy, and yields a stunningly gorgeous cheesecake just right for a summer treat.

The caramel macchiato cheesecake was luxuriously delicious and held its own against the fabulous raspberry-swirl.  The deep, smoky flavor from the coffee really comes through in this dessert.  I was a bit surprised at how much it tasted like a real caramel macchiato; the blend of sweet cream and dark coffee hit the perfect note.  The body of the cake was rich, dense, and utterly luscious.  It had the classic thickness of a cheesecake, but without feeling heavy.  This recipe was also simple and painless with an incredible result.  The caramel drizzled on top was perfect and neatly brought together this fantastic coffee-flavored indulgence.

The caramel sauce was sinful, dark, richly-flavored, and delicious.  I don’t think I’ll be using any other recipe from now on.  The caramel was rich, thick, and smooth with a deep and intense flavor.  There is a complexity and depth to this caramel that is truly extraordinary.  I will be topping everything I can with this from now on.

*Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten what exact recipe I used for the crust.  It was one of these two and it was absolutely fantastic:

CRUST 1:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup butter (melted)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
CRUST 2:
  • 1 1/2 cup crushed graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
Directions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F
  2. Mix together all of your ingredients and press evenly into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan
  3. Bake your crust for 8 to 10 minutes.  Wait till cooled before pouring in batter.

French Toast Cupcakes w/ Maple Syrup Cream Cheese Frosting


This recipe comes from one of my favorite food blogs, The Cupcakery.  I have been making a lot of chocolate desserts lately (I’m huge on chocolate, the thicker, richer, and darker, the better) and I decided to try something new that contained absolutely no chocolate.  So, I found this cupcake recipe and it sounded absolutely divine. Plus, as I adore anything cream cheese, this frosting had me sold.

I followed the original recipe pretty closely, but I did make a couple tweaks, so I’ve listed the modified recipe below.

Ingredients:

(cupcakes)

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. maple extract
  • 1/2 tsp. praline extract
  • 1/2 cup milk

(frosting)

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (make sure it’s also at room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 dash of cinnamon (for dusting/decorating)

Directions:

(cupcakes)

  1. žPreheat your oven to 350° F. Line your muffin tin(s) with baking liners (recipe yields 12 smaller cupcakes, or I suppose 6 large ones)
  2. Whisk together your flour, baking powder, cinnamon, clove, and salt in a cooking bowl
  3. žBeat butter, sugar, and eggs until creamy in a medium/large mixing bowl. Add in maple and praline extract
  4. žWhisk flour mixture and milk into this, in roughly three additions of flour and two of milk. Then beat until smooth
  5. žUse an ice-cream scoop to divide the batter into the cupcake tins and bake 20-25 minutes (mine took about 23 minutes).  They’re done when they’re  a golden brown, tops are springy when lightly touched, and a toothpick comes out clean
  6. Let the cupcakes cool for a bit until they separate away from the tin, then take them out (I used a fork and my fingers to gently nudge them out, but you could also just carefully invert the pan)
  7. Let them cool completely on a rack before frosting

(frosting)

  1. žCream together your butter, cream cheese, and salt (keep in mind cream cheese is already a little salty).  Add in your maple syrup
  2. Reduce speed and carefully pour in sugar 1/2 cup at a time until the frosting has the sweetness and the consistency you want (I prefer my cream cheese frosting more tart and thicker, so I used much less sugar than the original recipe).  Beat on medium-high until smooth
  3. Refrigerate the frosting for 5 minutes or so to reduce melting while you pipe it onto your cupcakes
  4. After frosting your cupcakes, decorate with some dusted cinnamon on top
Review:
This is a wonderfully crafted recipe (no surprise coming from The Cupcakery).  It yielded a perfect 12 cupcakes with just enough leftover batter for a delicious fingerful.  The cupcakes rose without any fuss and did not overflow their cups at all. They smelled absolutely heavenly (think a spiced combination of Christmas and chai tea) and they tasted exactly the same.  The frosting called for much more sugar than I used, and I don’t feel it needed anywhere near four cups of confectioner’s sugar; it was sweet enough with less than half of that.  Just by itself, it had a mild maple syrup flavor, which, while pleasant, wasn’t as powerful as I was expecting.  On the cupcakes, however, the flavor was drawn out as it played off the delicious spice of the base.