Cheesecake Dip, Two Ways

  With Easter just two short weeks away, the Easter brunch/dinner menu planning frenzy is sure to begin for many of us.  I think of Easter as sort of the official launch into spring cooking.  We put the heavy casseroles and hearty stews behind us and welcome in a lighter, more colorful fare.  You may be thinking to yourself that I’ve lost my mind if I’m calling cheesecake dip “light,” but I served it with fresh strawberries, which totally cancels out the calories in the dip, right?  Either way you look at it, I think this would make the perfect addition to your Easter brunch or could even serve as a light dessert for dinner.   I added toasted coconut and coconut extract to mine, but because I knew that many of my readers aren’t huge coconut fans, I threw in a chocolate chip version as well.  This recipe is incredibly flexible so don’t be bound by the ingredients on the page.  In my book, you could almost add whatever you want to cheesecake and it would be delicious.   I paired mine with strawberries, but you could change up the fruits to your liking or serve it with graham crackers.   See, I told you….very flexible, so it can fit into any menu.  Happy Easter menu planning!

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Cheesecake Dip, Two Ways

Ingredients:

1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup gluten free powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided (for chocolate chip version)

1/2 cup toasted coconut, divided (for toasted coconut version)

1/4 tsp coconut flavor extract (for toasted coconut version)

Directions:

In an electric mixer, beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add powdered sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract and beat on medium high speed until light and fluffy.  If making the chocolate chip version, carefully stir in all but 2 Tbsp of the chocolate chips.  Place in a small serving bowl and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips.  If making the toasted coconut version, stir in the coconut extract and all but 2 Tbsp of the toasted coconut.  Put in a serving bowl and sprinkle with remaining coconut.   Enjoy with fruit or graham crackers. 

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Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Sometimes, I feel like I am constantly running from store to store for last minute ingredients that somehow I’ve either forgotten to put on my shopping list or actually looked at on my shopping list 100 times in the store, yet still managed to forget.   My husband thinks it’s particularly funny that often the items I am running out for should be staples in my pantry.  Case in point: the other day I was making dinner for a friend who recently had a baby.  In typical fashion, I didn’t plan ahead for a dessert so on the day of, I pulled up my old standby chocolate chip cookie recipe and started whipping up a  batch. I got about halfway into the recipe and realized I had NO flour. Zip. Zero.  Zilch.   Seriously?!?!?! No flour?!?!?!  I mean, my husband and I are eating gluten free these days, but I usually have some flour around the house for these kinds of occasions.   To make matters even worse, I’d already dragged my kids to the store once that morning for a different ingredient I’d forgotten.  So, I scoured the internet for cookie recipes, hoping for a magic flour free option to appear.    I found a promising recipe for monster cookies that used oats instead of flour.  Since I had already started the other recipe, I just combined them and the results were better than I could expected.  Hearty like an oatmeal cookie should be, crispy on the edges and chewy in the center.   And perhaps best of all, it saved me from another trip to the store.  You know what they say…”necessity is the mother of invention!”

These cookies come together much like your traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Start by creaming your butters and sugars together and then adding eggs and vanilla.  Mix in the dry ingredients until well combined.

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Refrigerate the dough for several hours.  This is a very important step in achieving that perfect crispy edge, chewy center texture.  Scoop 12 heaping tablespoons on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  If you don’t want to bake the whole recipe at once, you can put the leftover dough in plastic wrap, roll it into logs and put it in your freezer for later.

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Allow the cookies to cool for several minutes on the pan and then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.Image

Enjoy warm or a room temperature with a glass of milk.

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Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:
1 c butter

1 c white sugar

1 1/2 c packed light brown sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 c creamy peanut butter

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp hot water

4 1/2 c gluten-free oats

2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together butter, peanut butter, white and brown sugars.  Add eggs, beating after each addition.  Mix in vanilla.  Stir together hot water and baking soda and then add to the batter.  Stir in oats and chocolate chips.  Refrigerate for at least one hour.  Spoon onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 min until the edges are golden brown.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack.