That was a very unintentional, but necessary break. I missed catching up with y’all, but spent the time cooking, cleaning, putting up Christmas decorations (yay!), enjoying time with family, and (!!!!) welcoming my nephew into the world a bit earlier than expected. I don’t plan on catching up completely tonight, but it is nice to be back and sharing with you. Let’s start with some recent finds.
One of my latest finds is Orange Leaf’s newest flavor: York peppermint patty. I actually got to try it last night, and it tastes perfect. A very festive and delicious new flavor.
Krispy Kreme also has a seasonal flavor for you to try: red velvet cake. I’ve heard about this flavor before, but I still need to try it. I mean, how could it be anything but delicious? They also dressed up some of their regular doughnuts to look like a snowman, red and green sprinkles, and a wreath.
This last one isn’t actually a recent find, but it’s still super exciting. Last year, I told you about an amazing Indian restaurant that my friends and I found in Round Rock (a little north of Austin). What I haven’t told you is that I’ve been back several times, and it continues to be a favorite. Sadly, I’ve only gotten to go whenever we plan a trip to Ikea (my main reason for heading to Austin). Happily, they are opening a new location in San Antonio!!!!! The grand opening is 12/17, and you can find more info on their website. If you like Indian food, I strongly recommend you make a visit.
I also wanted to give you a rundown on our Thanksgiving. Here’s a look at our plates:
You may notice a distinct lack of casseroles on these plates. I made double batches of both corn and sweet potato casseroles to take to our potluck Thanksgiving dinner at grandma’s house, but both of them were completely devoured by the family. (Always a good sign.) So, next year, if I want to bring leftovers home, I’m going to have to make at least a triple batch of each. 😉
This year, we used this turkey breast recipe. I liked their cooking method, it was quick and easy; however, the taste wasn’t what we were expecting. When you bill something as spicy, I expect a kick. This had an ok flavor, but I couldn’t really taste the maple, and I definitely wouldn’t call it spicy. Not a bad recipe, but not the turkey recipe that we plan to use forever. It did come out pretty though. I made the pan sauce too, which you’ll see topping my hubby’s stuffing. According to him, it was good, but not amazing.
I also made some pecan tassies and cinnamon ice cream, but I completely forgot to take a picture of them. They are a favorite family recipe, but I don’t want to share them without a photo. (Shucks, I’ll just have to make them again soon, so I can take that picture.)
To make it up to you, I want to close this post with a completely decadent and unnecessary dessert recipe. I have been drooling over this recipe since I first saw it, and now that I’ve made it, I can’t wait any longer to tell you about it. These cheesecake bars are topped with a delicious mixture similar to pecan pie but with the amazing addition of hazelnuts. Do you really need another reason to make it? I do have to say that the crust on this worked better than on any other cheesecake I’ve ever made. I usually have problems with them crumbling, but this one stayed perfectly intact. If you do make this and if you can find the will power, I recommend you hide a piece or two for a couple of days. As good as it was the first day, after a couple days, the nut mix seeps into the cheesecake mix and tastes even better. It’s also good to take it out of the fridge 15-30 minutes before you want to serve it; this allows the flavors to be a bit more pronounced.
Hazelnut Pecan Cheesecake Bars (from Table for Two)
For the crust:
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. sugar (I always leave out sugar in the crust.)
6 tbsp. melted butter
For the cheesecake:
16 oz. softened cream cheese
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
For the nut topping:
1 c. chopped hazelnuts
1 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. light corn syrup
4 tbsp. melted butter
3/4 c. dark brown sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment. In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar (1/4 c.), and melted butter (6 tbsp.) to the consistency of wet sand. Press into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes, remove to let cool briefly, and lower the oven temp to 350 degrees.
2. In another large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, eggs, sugar (2/3 c.), milk, vanilla, and flour. Gently pour over the crust. Bake 25-30 minutes or til just set. Remove from the oven and let cool 20 minutes.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the hazelnuts, pecans, corn syrup, butter (4 tbsp.), brown sugar, and egg with a pinch of salt. Carefully spread this mix over the cheesecake. (It’s ok if the cheesecake middle falls a bit or seeps over the nuts.)
4. Bake another 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Once cool, refrigerate 8 hours or overnight before serving.
Hopefully, that was worth the wait! And, hopefully, it won’t be long before I can share a little more with you.