Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars from Awesome on 20

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars from Awesome on 20

My husband is crazy for caramel. He also insists that the word be pronounced with three syllables. Saying KAR-MUL is practically a sin in this house. He’s very particular about that.

It also has to be football, never ever soccer.

Three meals a day? Breakfast, dinner, tea. It gets a bit confusing sometimes.

It took me months to learn the difference between the washing and the washing up. One’s laundry and one’s dishes. Why can’t they use different words for different things?

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars from Awesome on 20

Luckily, cheesecake is a language we both speak. These caramel swirl cheesecake bars live on a buttery shortbread crust and are run through with sweet sticky salted caramel sauce. I love it because it’s delicious, duh, but also because it’s much easier to transport and serve than a regular cheesecake.We brought this to Geoff’s birthday party, and everybody loved it. And I made the whole thing for what it would have cost to buy one dessert at a restaurant.

This recipe is slightly simplified from the brilliant Shauna of Piece of Cake. Everything she does is beautiful.

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars from Awesome on 20

No matter what version of English you speak, I think we call all agree that caramel swirl cheesecake bars are totally awesome.

Photos by Monica Szczupider

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars
Serves 20
Creamy cheesecake bars swirled with caramel on a shortbread crust
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
For the crust
  1. 14 tablespoons butter, melted
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 2 cups flour
For the cheesecake
  1. 1-1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
  2. 6 tablespoons sugar
  3. 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (if you just have regular caramel sauce, just add salt.)
For the crust
  1. Position a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat to 350. Cover a 9x13 inch baking pan with foil. Do your best to tuck it in smoothly in the corners and fold the extra over the side. (I'm terrible at this.)
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add in the flour and mix until just combined. Your mixture will probably be very buttery. This is awesome.
  3. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. I like to use a bit of wax paper to keep the dough from sticking to my hands. This helps make a smoother layer.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The edges will be slightly brown, but the center will still be pale. Pop it on a rack to cool.
For the cheesecake
  1. Reduce your oven temp to 325.
  2. If you have an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese for a few minutes to smooth it out. If not, this will count as your workout of the day.
  3. Beat in the sugar and vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time.
  4. Scrape down the sides of your bowl and then give everything one good last mix to make sure it's all smooth and lovely.
  5. Pour the cheesecake batter over your cooled crust. Plop small spoonfuls of caramel throughout the batter. Using a butter knife, carefully swirl your caramel over the surface of the cheesecake batter. Be careful not to scrape the crust with your knife.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes. The cheesecake will still be ever so slightly wobbly in the center.
  7. Let your cheesecake cool to room temperature on a rack, then transfer it to the fridge to chill for at least four hours, overnight is better.
  8. Cut into rectangles and store in the fridge in an airtight container, if you can make them last that long.
Adapted from Shauna Sever @ Piece of Cake
http://awesomeon20.com/
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Brownie Butterscotch Pudding Parfait from Awesome on 20

Brownie Butterscotch Pudding Parfait

Brownie Butterscotch Pudding Parfait from Awesome on 20

My brain shuts down in the summer. It’s a real problem. I’ve never handled heat very well. I mean, I know we have practically perfect weather here, with temperatures always between 60 and 90, but without air conditioning, my house becomes mildly unbearable in the July afternoons. I get cranky and unpleasant. Don’t even ask me to go into the kitchen and cook you something. I don’t do sweat.

But I need dessert. A dessert that doesn’t require me to think. Or know what day it is. It’s summer. I can’t handle complicated in summer. My daughter wanted brownies, I wanted pudding. We threw them both in the same cup, kept it simple, and let the grocery store do most of the work. Guess what. It tasted awesome!

Brownie Butterscotch Pudding Parfait from Awesome on 20

Okay, so you do have to turn the oven on for a little while if you bake your own brownies. I waited until right before bed when it was a little bit cooler in the house. They needed to go in the fridge to cool first anyway, so might as well let that happen while I’m sleeping, right? Or you could be extra lazy and buy premade brownies. I never object to lazy.

I layered chewy brownie bits, creamy butterscotch pudding, fluffy whipped cream, and crunchy toffee bits. Two times. It was immense. Pure joy!

Brownie Butterscotch Pudding Parfait from Awesome on 20

Hopefully my brain function will return to normal as the temperatures creep down. Maybe my sugar addiction will subside as well. Seems unlikely. Until then, brownie butterscotch pudding parfait, baby!

Brownie Butterscotch Pudding Parfait
Serves 4
Layers of chewy brownie, creamy butterscotch pudding, fluffy whipped cream and crunchy toffee bits, so easy you can do it with your brain shut off.
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Total Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 brownies (from your favorite recipe, box mix, or store bought)
  2. 1 box butterscotch instant pudding mix
  3. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  4. 1-1/2 cups skim milk
  5. 1/2 cup whipped cream (fresh or from a can or tub)
  6. 1 Heath bar, chopped
Instructions
  1. Pour milk and cream on top of pudding mix in a medium bowl. Whisk for two minutes and refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Crumble half of your brownie into the bottom of a 4 to 6 ounce container.
  3. Spoon in two big spoonfuls of butterscotch pudding. Don't over think it.
  4. Add a big dollop of whipped cream.
  5. Crumble in the rest of your brownie.
  6. Add another layer of pudding followed by whipped cream.
  7. Sprinkle with toffee bits.
  8. Return to refrigerator until ready to serve.
  9. Be prepared not to move for a while after eating. It's probably too hot anyway.
Notes
  1. Heavy cream and skim milk can be replaced with 2 cups whole milk. Using all skim milk makes the pudding too thin for me.
http://awesomeon20.com/
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Cookie & Cream & Mint Milkshake from Awesome on 20

Cookies and Cream and Mint Milkshake

Cookie & Cream & Mint Milkshake from Awesome on 20

Two of the things we love most in this house are animals and ice cream. They’re connected. Just give me a second.

My almost teenage daughter is with us for the month, and I’ve sort of let her take over the blog a bit, at least when it comes to picking recipes. Loco moco? Yeah, that was her idea. And today she wanted cookies and cream milkshakes with mint chocolate chip ice cream. She’s my baby. She can have whatever she wants. Sort of.

Here’s the catch. We’ve been trying to reduce our use of palm oil in this house. Like with most things, I’m not puritanical about it. I try to take a balanced approach, and I do my best to avoid it. 

See, palm oil is grown and harvested in delicate ecosystems in the tropics, like Indonesia and Malaysia. The fields that are cleared to grow palm oil are home to many endangered species including orangutans and Sumatran tigers. Palm oil production threatens their habitats and makes them vulnerable to poachers. Every time we buy products with palm oil, we are contributing to that destruction. 

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Okay, that was kind of a bummer, but there’s a touch more bad news. Most commercial cookies found in your grocery store aisles, including Oreos, which I love, are made with palm oil. So, we set out on a mission to find palm oil-free cookies. This took us to whole foods, where after reading a few labels we were successful in finding cookies at a reasonable price, about four dollars. What a relief!

We tossed about five cookies in the food processor with some milk, crushed them to smithereens, and then let them hang out for a couple of minutes to soften up. Then we threw some minty green ice cream into the mix, gave it a buzz, topped it with fresh, sweetened whipped cream, and of course, sprinkles. Almost teenage girls don’t eat anything without sprinkles.

Cookie & Cream & Mint Milkshake from Awesome on 20

We struggle to make ends meet in this house, which means that organic sustainable food can sometimes seem out of reach. But a bit of extra effort can sometimes lead to pleasant surprises. I love it when ethics come in the form of cookies.  Cookies which turn into milkshakes that taste awesome and save cute animals are the awesomest!

Cookies and Cream and Mint Milkshake
Serves 1
A milkshake loaded with cookies, chocolate chips, and a cool mint punch
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 chocolate sandwich cookies
  2. 1/4 cup milk
  3. 2 cups mint chocolate chip ice cream (Trust your eyes and make it as thick as you like)
  4. Whipped cream
  5. Sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Put five cookies into your food processor or blender with the milk and pulse until the cookies are smashed up.
  2. Leave the cookie mixture to soak up the milk for a few minutes. This might be a good time to whip your own cream by hand, if you're into that sort of thing.
  3. Add the ice cream and blend until smooth.
  4. Pour the milkshake into a tall glass and top with whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cookie.
  5. Put a straw in that baby and try not to implode your face. Or just eat it with a spoon. That's what I'd do.
Notes
  1. This would also be totally awesome with a shot of creme de menthe liqueur and maybe some Bailey's or Kahlua. Whatever you have on hand. Obviously, not for almost teenagers.
Adapted from Food Network
Adapted from Food Network
http://awesomeon20.com/
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Check us out at Chef in Training’s link party
Loco Moco from Awesome on 20
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Double Chocolate Muffins from Awesome on 20
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