Between work and travelling home to Cleveland for Thanksgiving, I’ve been super busy the last few weeks. But the good news is – I made you cookies! And these aren’t just your basic cookies. These are soft and molasses-y gingerbread cookies.
That I stuffed with a cheesecake filling. You’re welcome. 🙂
I first came up with this idea last year, when I tried these cheesecake-filled pumpkin snickerdoodles. Umm…you should probably try those too. Seriously one of the best cookies I’ve ever eaten. But because I couldn’t leave it alone, I started thinking of other flavors that would pair well with the cheesecake filling. Since we have finally made it to the holiday season, the first thing that came to mind was my family’s gingerbread cookies. They are soft and a little cakey, much like the original pumpkin version.
These are perfect for Christmas, with a little colored sugar on top. But you could roll them in plain granulated sugar as well. A little bit of lemon zest in the cheesecake filling would also be delicious. Or, for that matter, a lemon cookie would also be great. Or chocolate, or peanut butter….I’ve got a ton of ideas for the base recipes, and I plan to work on some other cookie flavors to pair with it. In the meantime, enjoy the gingerbread. It is that time of year, after all. 🙂
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup molasses
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 cups flour
- Coarse red and green sugar, for decorating - optional
- Beat all ingredients together with an electric mixer until well combined. Scoop by teaspoonfuls onto a parchment- or wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Freeze 15 minutes until firm.
- Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add egg, molasses, and vinegar and mix well. Mixture will look curdled. Combine dry ingredients and add to shortening mixture slowly. Mix until well combined.
- Using a scant tablespoon of dough, flatten slightly and top with one teaspoon of the chilled cream cheese mixture. Top with another slightly flattened scant tablespoon of cookie dough. Seal edges and roll into a ball. Dip the top in colored sugar, or roll completely in granulated sugar. Place on baking mat- or parchment-lined cookie sheets. Flatten slightly.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes, or until cookies have puffed and started to crack, and are beginning to firm up around the edges. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
- Add a teaspoon of lemon or orange zest to the filling for a delicious twist!
I’ve been super busy and on the road the last few weeks, so I didn’t get a chance to post a new recipe. To make up for it, I’ve got both a recipe and a gallery of decorated food for you today! I added a new page at the top of the site with pictures of a lot of the cakes and cookies I have decorated. I plan to keep updating it both with old items I already have pictures of, and with new items as I create them.
And, as I said, I have a new recipe for you. This is a take on the old Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad that I’m sure many of you have had. It’s a buttery pretzel crust with a sweet cream cheese filling topped with strawberry studded Jello.
Since I’m not a big fan of strawberries, my mom started making this with raspberries and raspberry Jello. I decided to change it up again and make it more Thanksgiving- and Christmas-oriented. I made a basic cranberry sauce, but I amped it up with a little bit of raspberry as well. And I decided to make them individual-sized in cupcake liners.
You can make this in small mason jars, or in an 8″ square pan. Or double it so it’s the size of the original recipe and make it in a 9×13-inch pan. I didn’t add any flavors, like cinnamon or orange zest, to the cranberry sauce, but they would be great additions. And if you prefer to go a little more traditional, or want to make it a different time of year, you can use any combination of frozen fruit and jello. How does cherry sound? Or what about blueberry in the spring? You could add a little lemon zest into the cream cheese layer for any of the berry flavors. Or maybe a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips instead with the cherry (or raspberry or strawberry…) version. (So that’s going on my to-make list. 🙂 )
It’s not overly sweet, so it can be served as a side dish or a dessert. It wouldn’t be out of place on a brunch menu either. Anyway, I hope you guys try this out, whatever version you choose!
- 2 cups (3 ounces) mini pretzel twists or thin sticks
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 ounces (half of an 8 ounce tub) frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 6 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
- 2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) fresh or frozen raspberries
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon raspberry jam
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners and spray with baking spray. Or, spray an 8-inch square baking pan or 12 small mason jars with baking spray.
- Combine the pretzels and sugar in a food processor and pulse until the pretzels are coarse crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse a few times until combined.
- Divide crumbs between the 12 liners, 12 jars, or dump into square pan. Pack crust down firmly. Bake for 5-10 minutes, depending on container, or until lightly browned. Let cool completely.
- Combine the cream cheese and sugar with a hand or stand mixer until light and fluffy. Fold in the whipped topping. Spoon or pipe onto cooled crust. Refrigerate while you make the final layer.
- Combine the cranberries, raspberries, water, and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to simmer. Reduce heat slightly and continue cooking until all of the cranberries have popped and the mixture has thickened, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the raspberry jam. Cool to room temperature.
- Once cooled, spoon or pipe onto cream cheese layer. Return to refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours.
- Keep leftovers refrigerated.