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BSI: Cream Cheese Roundup and Winner

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I had some wonderful submissions to this week’s BSI contest. Get ready to drool!

Green Chile Pepper & Cream Cheese Burger from Debbi Does Dinner Healthy.

Pomegranate Margarita Cupcakes from Food 4 Thought

Double Chocolate Cheesecake from Cupcake Muffin

Irish Cream Cheesecake from it’s a Greyt Vegan Life

Spiced Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting from My Bizzy Kitchen

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German Chocolate Cheesecake from Nutmeg Nanny

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Strawberries and Rosewater Mousse from Anasbageri~Ana’s Bakery (her blog is in Portugese, which I translated with Google’s language tools)

You guys made it hard for me!  I didn’t have as many recipes to choose from as last time, but those that were submitted were so good that I didn’t know how I was going to pick a winner.  To figure it out, I ended up discussing the merits of each recipe with my husband during our nightly walk with the dog, and after all was said and done, we both agreed that Christina’s vegan Irish Cream Cheesecake impressed us most.  Not only the concept, but that even the star ingredient was homemade as well.  It pretty much rocks our faces off, and we haven’t even tasted it  yet!  So congrats Christina, I will be sending you some vegan homemade soap from my sister’s shop, The Flying Pig Gift Boutique.

I’m still looking for a host for this week’s BSI contest so anyone that is interested can leave me a comment or shoot an email to vraklis@yahoo.com.

Carrot Cake Cookies


This is another recipe from my foodie Mama, Marina, and it won me second place in the “filled cookies” category at the state fair this year!  I also won first place with another cookie recipe of hers, but this is the recipe that everyone on Facebook demanded after seeing the picture, so I’m posting it first.  My only other first place ribbon was for Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies, in the “refrigerated cookies” category, which I have already posted the recipe for. I got eleven ribbons total and plan to share most of the recipes with you in future posts.

I don’t know what to say about these cookies that isn’t obvious just from looking at the picture.  They are delicious!!  Imagine classic carrot cake flavors combined with the buttery taste and soft, chewy texture of a cookie and there you have it.  Perfection!


CARROT CAKE COOKIES
Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 ½ cups finely grated carrots
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
Cream Cheese Filling (recipe follows)
Powdered sugar for dusting (I skipped this)

Heat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with Parchment paper, and set aside. Cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla until well combined. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger; stir to combine. Gradually add flour to butter mixture; mix on a low speed until just blended. Mix in oats, carrots, raisins and walnuts. Chill dough in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight. Drop dough onto parchment paper, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Bake until light brown, about 12 minutes. Cool cookies on cooling rack. Repeat with remaining dough. Once cooled completely, pipe or spread about 2 teaspoons of filling on half the cookies & sandwich together with a second cookie; dust with powdered sugar on both sides. Serve at room temperature. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

CREAM CHEESE FILLING:
Makes about 2 cups

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons crushed pineapple, well-drained and squeezed dry
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

Place the cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Beat the cream cheese until soft. Gradually add the butter, and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Sift in the powdered sugar, and beat until smooth. Add vanilla, and stir to combine. By hand stir in the pineapple and walnuts.

Recipe source: Marina C.

Carrot Cake Breakfast Muffins

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These are the best tasting wholesome muffins I’ve ever made. Made with whole wheat flour, honey, apples, carrots & walnuts, they are not only good for you but have a very moist and tender crumb (this surprised me) and are really delicious (this surprised me too). They are so good, in fact, that I replaced my dinner with them tonight!

[OK, fine. Here’s the full disclosure. I meant to only have one as a snack (I baked them in the afternoon) and it was so yummy, I nabbed another. And another. Then I had to break one apart to take a picture of the inside so I figured I may as well eat that one too. By then I no longer wanted dinner!]

I plan to store them in the freezer and pop one or two into the microwave on busy mornings. I think they’d be wonderful with a cup of black coffee.


Carrot Cake Breakfast Muffins
Recipe adapted from An Edible Mosaic
Makes 12 large muffins

Muffins
2 eggs
1/3 c canola oil
1/4 c 2% milk
1/2 c honey
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 large finely shredded carrots
1 large or 2 small sweet apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped (I used Fuji)
1/2 c chopped walnuts

Glaze
1 oz Neuchâtel cheese (low-fat cream cheese)
1 1/2 tsp honey

Preheat the oven to 350F and put paper liners in your muffin pan.

Beat together the eggs, oil, milk, honey, and vanilla. In a separate bowl mix together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Lightly stir the wet ingredients into the dry, then fold in the carrot, apple, and nuts. Fill the muffin tray (the batter will come up to the top and mound in the center) and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

To make the glaze, warm the Neuchâtel in the microwave, then stir in the honey. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cooled muffins with a fork, or put it into a Ziploc bag, cut the corner, and squeeze it over the muffins while sweeping the bag back and forth.

Nutritional Information (per muffin): 224 Calories, 11g fat, 37mg cholesterol, 225mg sodium, 29g carb, 3g fiber, 4g protein

I very finely shredded the carrots so they're hard to see, but I promise they're there!

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