Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins Recipe

These Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins are incredibly moist and flavorful.

A combination of pumpkin puree and virgin coconut oil, blended with a healthy helping of cinnamon, give these muffins a layered dimension of flavor in every bite.

And, really, these mini muffins can function as one giant bite apiece, but I suggest savoring them.

Especially with coffee.

I’ve been wanting to create a pumpkin muffin recipe for a while, and I wanted to incorporate coconut oil.  I’m really glad I did, because I feel that the coconut oil was what pushed these over the edge of awesomeness and made them totally irresistible.

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Above are of some of the ingredients.

The cream cheese goes towards the cheesecake filling that is used to top these muffins with a deep swirl of melt-in-your-mouth smoothness.

I used more cinnamon that I find is called for in similar recipes.  I like to taste my spices.

But there’s no nutmeg.  I know people often put it in pumpkin recipes, but I do NOT eat nutmeg.  It’s too strong and, at least for me, it distracts from the other flavors.  I find that cinnamon is a wonderful compliment for pumpkin, but if you really, really love nutmeg, then you can toss in a smidgen.  If you must.  But it’s unnecessary.  (Don’t do it.)

Plus, you can use vegetable oil if you don’t have coconut oil handy, but the coconut oil adds so much flavor that it’s worth the effort to pick some up if you don’t already have it on hand.  Like I said, it’s the turning point for intense flavor and moisture.

Virgin or extra virgin coconut oil will have a stronger coconut taste and aroma, so that’s the best to use.

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And you do lose some health benefits by melting the oil (which is solid at room temperature) in the microwave, but when I’m baking while heating something for dinner after working a full day… I take shortcuts.  Didn’t feel like washing a saucepan.

Just make sure if you melt the oil in the microwave, that you do it on 50% and for no longer than necessary.  About 30 seconds at a time.

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Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon with a fork or whisk until the colors are completely combined and the cinnamon is evenly distributed.

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Mix together the sugars and wet ingredients.

I just used a fork.  (Shortcuts means not pulling out the mixer.)

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This time, I actually blended the sugars and pumpkin first, then added the oil and eggs, but you could throw all of it together at the same time, too.

As long as it’s all well blended.

Then you’ll gradually add in the flour mixture.  Do not overmix it, though.  It should be smooth, but if you beat it too much the muffins may be tough.

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Here are the filling ingredients.

Again:  just mixed it with a fork.

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I had considered layering the pumpkin mix, then cream cheese mix, and then more pumpkin, but I’m glad I decided against it.  This method was easier and, as long as you swirl it, the cream cheese mixture still makes it into the center of the muffin.

Fill the mini cupcake liners about 3/4 full with pumpkin batter, then dollop about a teaspoon of the cream cheese mix on top.

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Next, you’ll swirl a toothpick through the muffins, which will drag the cheesecake portion over the top and mix it into the center, too.

Don’t over do it.  You’ll want some large chunks of cheesecake, so don’t swirl it to the point of thinning it out so much you can barely see the cream cheese any more.

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Doesn’t that look AMAZING???

And they taste even better.

You can eat them right out of the oven, but I prefer them at room temperature.  They should be stored in the refrigerator, because of the cream cheese, but can be left our for a while without spoiling.  (I ate a few of the ones I’d brought into work and left out in the break room all afternoon, before putting them back in the fridge at the end of the day.  They were fine.)

I suggest serving them at room temperature, but they’re also good cold right out of the fridge.

I haven’t tried freezing them.  They were gone in a few days!  ;)

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Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1/2 cup melted coconut oil, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Cheesecake filling:
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C).  Prepare mini muffin pans with 5 dozen mini cupcake liners.

In a small bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt with a whisk or fork.  In a large bowl, use a mixer or a fork to cream together pumpkin, granulated and brown sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla.  Gradually incorporate the flour into the pumpkin mixture until batter is smooth.  Do not overmix.

Make the cheesecake filling by creaming together the cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla extract.

Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full with pumpkin batter.  Top each with approximately a teaspoon of cheesecake filling.  Combine by gently swirling a toothpick through the batter.

Bake for 14 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let sit in pan for two minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Store covered in the refrigerator.  Serve at room temperature.

[Note:  I use virgin coconut oil because it has wonderful taste and aroma of coconut that compliments the muffins, but you can substitute vegetable oil if you need to.]

Here is the free printable PDF:

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins Recipe

Happy Baking!

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Graveyard Brownie Halloween Cupcakes

Graveyard Brownie Halloween Cupcakes

These Graveyard Brownie Cupcakes are SO MUCH FUN to make (and eat!) and very, very rich.

If you’re a chocolate lover, then you need to try these!

To make them a little less decadent, you could make regular cupcakes in place of the brownie base, and even try a milder flavor like yellow cake dyed orange.

But I was in need of some heavy-duty chocolate.  This hit the spot.

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The first thing I did was make some of my Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins with my girls.  We made them the day before.

Then we melted some white candy melts to make the chocolate bones using this skeleton mold from Wilton.

We crushed up a handful of Oreo cookies in a plastic bag for our graveyard “dirt,” and we baked up some box brownies according to the package directions.

I’d thought about making the brownies in a big pan to construct a large graveyard scene, but then switched to the cupcake idea.

I was going to use regular cupcake lines and write RIP in icing on some Milano cookies for the gravestones, but then I found these cute graveyard cupcake liners that come with their own paper gravestones on toothpicks.  I happened upon them at Walmart, but there are similar products online and at other stores, too.

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We let the brownies cool completely, then iced them with chocolate icing.

We pressed in the graveyard picks and some pumpkins and bones into the icing, before sprinkling over a little of the Oreo dirt.  (If you sprinkle the cookie crumbs first, the chocolate pieces won’t stick into the icing.)

Then we savored the festively decedent chocolate culinary celebrations.

I recommend you share them, and not attempt to eat 18 thick piles of chocolate all by yourself.  Because:  wow.  ;)

Graveyard Brownie Halloween Cupcakes

Happy Halloween Baking!

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Dark Chocolate Dipped Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cookie Bars

Dark Chocolate Dipped Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cookie Bars

I’ve been wanting to make cinnamon cookies for awhile.  And, apparently, my new obsession is dipping things in chocolate.

This particular recipe is a thick, cake-like cookie with a strong hint of cinnamon and an emphasis on brown sugar.

And the chocolate just makes it incredibly amazing.

Plus – and this is my favorite part – that thick cookie soaks up warm coffee like it was born for it.  It’s like the perfect breakfast.  (And dessert.  And snack.)

Dark Chocolate Dipped Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cookie Bars

All the good stuff.

Theoretically you could use light brown sugar … but then you’d be missing out on the extra oomph of molasses.

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We’re getting there…

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Coming together…

(I’m getting excited.)

Dark Chocolate Dipped Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cookie Bars

Not that I promote eating raw cookie dough or anything but… ohmygosh this stuff is like a gooey pile of heaven.

But it’s a little sticky too, so use nonstick cooking spray to coat your hands before spreading it in the pan.

It will be thin, but that’s okay – it’s gonna rise.  Just make sure there are no holes allowing the pan to show through.

Dark Chocolate Dipped Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cookie Bars

Yum!  Good stuff right here.

Don’t overbake it, though.  I probably could have cooked this one right here about a minute less, since it’s going to keep cooking just a little when you pull it out.  The cookie needs to cool completely in the pan.

Dark Chocolate Dipped Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cookie Bars

When you cut your cookies, they will present a nicer display if you trim off the crispy edges.

You can see my “edges” in the photo above.  They were a little larger than necessary, but, you know, those were the parts that didn’t make it to the pot luck.  ;)

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You could dip them into chocolate any way you want, but I certainly recommend using dark chocolate.  It has a nice deep flavor that complements the cookie.

I like the way it looks when you dip the corner, but technically you could dip just the bottoms or a full half of the cookie instead.

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Or drizzle the chocolate over it.

Were you still thinking about those “edges” I mentioned?  Here they are (above).  I drizzled the leftover chocolate over them.  For parties I think the dipped corners are gorgeous, but the drizzle does the job too.

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Did I mention these were amazing with coffee?

Did I only mention it once?  ‘Cause these are uh-mazing with coffee.

(Even if you accidentally put too much creamer in your coffee.  Still amazing.)

Dark Chocolate Dipped Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cookie Bars

Dark Chocolate Dipped Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cookie Bars

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
10 oz. dark chocolate (I used Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Melting Wafers)

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).  Line a 15 by 10-inch jelly roll pan, or baking sheet with sides, with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.  In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars.  Stir in the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time.  Add in the flour mixture, a little at a time, until fully combined.

Spread the dough onto the baking sheet.  It is easier to work with if you lightly coat the parchment paper and your hands (or spoon) with nonstick cooking spray.  The dough will be a little wet and it will be very thin in the pan.

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes.  Place pan on a cooling rack and allow cookies to cool fully in pan.

Slice the cookies into bars by first trimming off the crispy edges.  Cut three rows lengthwise, then slice those pieces about an inch thick.  You’ll have about 4 dozen cookies that measure about 1 by 3 inches.

Melt the chocolate according to the package directions.  Dip each cookie into the chocolate then place the cookie onto parchment or waxed paper to allow chocolate to set.  Store covered.

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Click below for the free printable PDF recipe with photos:

Dark Chocolate Dipped Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cookie Bars

Happy Baking!

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Ginger Cookie Truffles

Ginger Cookie Truffles 1

So the other day I was sitting there thinking:  if people make Oreo Truffles all the time, can I make truffles out of other cookies too?

The answer is OH VERY YES.

And the more specific answer would be DUDE IF YOU LIKE SPICE COOKIES/CAKE AT ALL YOU TOTALLY HAVE TO TRY THESE RIGHT NOW.

I chose these ingredients because I’m a big fan of spice cakes and gingerbread cookies and things like that.  My mom can practically live off of ginger snaps.  And fall is on its way.  (Or maybe it’s already here.  I’m not sure:  I live in Florida.)

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Anyway, these truffles are basically a combination of cookie crumbs and cream cheese smushed together and dipped into white chocolate.

Then, for a fun touch, drizzled with a little cinnamon chocolate.  Just ’cause.

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It took me a little bit of forever to crush up all the cookies because my food processor broke, but it wasn’t difficult.

I like these ginger thins because they’re pretty crispy, which made for great crumbs.

I’m sure you could substitute a different cookie, but you might have to adjust your amounts, and – you know – these ginger thin cookies are incredible so why would you??

Unless you come up with something better – then please let me know.  Food is my favorite type of experiment.  ;)

Oh, and if you’re wondering, I picked up all of my ingredients at Walmart.  But you can also get them online if you can’t find these things locally.  I totally swear by those Ghirardelli wafers.  They seriously rock both in the ease-of-use and taste categories.

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The end result?

A silky smooth creamy center exploding with spice and encased in a mildly sweet chocolate that’s decorated with just a hint of cinnamon.

They look good and taste even better.

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Ginger Cookie Truffles

Ingredients:

10.5 oz. (2 boxes) Anna’s Swedish Thins or other ginger cookies
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
10 oz. white chocolate (I used Ghirardelli White Melting Wafers)
1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (optional)

Crumble the ginger cookies in a food processor or by hand until finely ground.

Mix the cream cheese into the cookie crumbs until well combined and smooth.

Scoop out large teaspoonfuls of the cookie mix and shape into balls.  Place the balls on a tray lined with parchment paper or tin foil.  Freeze for 10 to 15 minutes.

Melt the white chocolate according to the package directions, stirring until smooth.  Take out the cookie balls and dip them into the chocolate using a fork, one at a time, until fully coated.  Shake the fork to allow excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl.  Set the truffles on a sheet of parchment or waxed paper until chocolate hardens, using the side of a second fork to push the truffle off the first fork.

When all the truffles are done, sprinkle a teaspoon or two of cinnamon into the remaining chocolate, depending on how much chocolate is left, and stir to combine. Then use a clean fork to drizzle the cinnamon chocolate over the truffles.

Allow to fully set, then store in the refrigerator.

Makes about 2 dozen.

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Click here to print the free PDF of the recipe:

Ginger Cookie Truffles

Happy Eating!

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Polka Dot Peanut Butter Bananas

polka dot peanut butter bananas

I gotta tell ya . . . ever since I was a kid, I could just never get into Ants on a Log.

You know those things where people spread peanut butter over pieces of celery and dot the peanut butter with raisins meant to resemble little bugs?

Yeah.  I can’t stand celery.

It’s one of those things that I do – very, very occasionally – cook with.  Like in soups.  BUT, I dice up the celery super small and use less than what’s called for.

In other words, if I don’t like the taste and texture of something, I’m not going to eat it as a “snack.”

So, especially considering that I’m not a huge raisin fan either, Ants on a Log was never a thing for me.

Until now.

See, bananas I like.  And combine them with peanut butter and chocolate chips, and BOOM:  super awesome.

Seriously.  The combo kind of tastes like cookies or cheesecake.  It’s like a dessert, but in a slightly healthy snack.  Well, it’s fruit anyway.  And you could use any type of nut or seed butter.

Best part?  The kids can make these treats themselves.

I went ahead and sliced the bananas in half and then in half again (to make four quarters out of one banana, which was easier for their little hands to hold), but then I gave them plastic knives to scoop and spread the peanut butter, and I put out a little dish of chocolate chips for them to stick in the peanut butter.

So it was interactive for them and they got to eat something they made.

Ridiculously simple and ridiculously good.

Happy Eating!

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July 4th Fireworks Painting and Cookies

July 4th Fireworks Painting Activity and Iced Cookies with Roaming Rosie

Happy Fourth of July!

This year, my kids and I did a painting activity and a cookie project that mimicked fireworks.  First, we stamped fireworks with toilet paper rolls, and then we baked some chocolate cookies and iced them in patterns to represent bursts of color.

Both of these things were done on dark backgrounds to make it look like our paint and sugar fireworks were exploding against a nighttime sky.

Even threw in some glitter (edible and not-so-much) for a little extra spark!

Fireworks Painting with Toilet Paper Rolls and Glitter 1

First up:  the painting project.

We reused some toilet paper rolls by transforming them into stamps.

To make the firework-shaped stamps, cut slits around one side of the cardboard roll, making the incisions about a quarter-inch wide (my kids made a few slivers; don’t aim for uniformity here), and then bend back the strips against the palm of your hand to make the pieces stick out.

I put some red, white, and blue (washable) paint into three small paper plates, and we dipped the stamps into the plates and then pressed them into the paper to make our fireworks.

To get a neat effect, overlap your stamps.

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After you’ve covered your paper in fireworks, sprinkle with glitter for a fun sparkly touch!

Allow the paint to dry before shaking off the excess glitter and displaying your art.

Fireworks Chocolate Iced Cookies from Roaming Rosie 1

These cookies were not only fun to make – they were delicious too!

Just like the painting activity, we used the red, white, and blue colors against a dark background (in this case chocolate) to represent the fireworks bursting against a night sky.

We used the recipe that I made for my Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies, but I made double the batch of icing.

You don’t actually NEED to double the icing – the recipe already makes plenty – but I wanted to make extra, double, totally sure that we’d still have enough icing if my girls ended up squirting most of it onto the counter instead of the cookies.

It turned out, one batch probably would have been more than enough . . . except that one of my containers burst and half of the blue icing spilled out onto a couple of cookies.

But that’s an anomaly.  (Hopefully.)

Fireworks Chocolate Iced Cookies from Roaming Rosie 2

When you make the icing, be sure to stir it well until there are no lumps and it drips easily from the fork or spoon in thin ribbons.

Not watery – just thin.  If it’s too thick or clumpy it will clog your spout.

I used my Wilton Candy Making Decorating Bottles.  Mine are quite old but they usually work fine only sometimes explode.  (But seriously, this is the first time I’ve had a problem.)  I’ve been meaning to pick up some new ones anyway.  They’re pretty easy to clean and my girls just love using them.

But if you don’t have bottles like these, you could just as easily put the icing into three separate plastic baggies and snip off the ends to squeeze out the patterns.

If you’re using the bottles, I poured the white icing into them and then mixed in the food coloring with a wooden skewer, the kind used for making shish kabobs.  You could do the same with the baggies, or, if you’re not lazy like me, you could put the icing into three bowls and add the red and blue food coloring to two of them, and mix them before pouring them into the containers.

I made the icing while the cookies were in the oven.  You could make it much earlier in the day, but the longer it sits, the more likely to thicken and then you’ll have to worry about mixing in more water or stirring it to thin it again.

Fireworks Chocolate Iced Cookies from Roaming Rosie 3

As you can see, we took the easy way out with these “cut out” cookies:  no cookie cutters.  We just sliced them up with a pizza cutter.  Easy Peasy.  Re-roll and slice again.

(If you’re wondering, that’s cocoa powder sprinkled over the counter to keep the dough from sticking, which you can use instead of flour when making chocolate cookies.)

We made the cookies into rectangles or large squares, all slightly different.  Once baked and fully cooled, I spread some waxed paper to catch the drippings and we all drizzled the icing onto the cookies, overlapping the colors, in a bit of a star burst pattern so that they would kind of look like fireworks exploding.

And, before the icing could harden, we added some white sparkling sugar to add a little extra spark to our cookies and to match the glitter on our paintings.

Again, you can find the cookie recipe on my post for Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies.

Happy Fourth!

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Cookie Butter Fudge

Cookie Butter Fudge Recipe

So I decided to create a recipe for Cookie Butter Fudge.

And … oh … this is quite possibly both the best and worst thing I have ever done.

This fudge, people, is RIDICULOUS.

If you’ve read my other fudge recipes, you know that I abhor the types of fudge that don’t set and require refrigeration.  So, in that vein, this fudge has no condensed milk, or even marshmallow creme or anything like that.  It’s just good old fashioned homemade fudge.

With cookie butter.

*drools*

If you are here, I’m assuming you’re familiar with cookie butter.  If not, you should seriously consider acquainting yourself immediately.

I used the Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter which I often sometimes eat by the spoonful straight from the jar because, you know, it’s awesome. So that’s what I recommend.

But if it’s not available in your area (or you don’t want to order it from Amazon), I’ve seen similar products at Publix (European cookie spread) and Target (Biscoff creamy spread).

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So, here we go…

Simple ingredients.  Just milk, cream, butter, and sugar for the base, and cookie butter and vanilla for the extra flavor.

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Dump the first ingredients in the pot and whisk together.

If you’ve forgotten to set out your butter ahead of time, just slice it and throw it in cold.  Bring up the pan to a boil slowly, making sure the butter melts and gets combined.

But once it gets to a boil, do NOT stir it again.  (It will get all grainy and weird.)

Cookie Butter Fudge Recipe

As it comes to a rolling boil, it’s going to expand.  A LOT.

So use a very large pot.

Cookie Butter Fudge Recipe

As it cooks, it will reduce back down.

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Once it gets to soft ball stage, it will be much thicker with larger bubbles.

This takes about 15 minutes.

Unless I’ve forgotten to leave it at a rolling simmer.  If the temperature is too low, it can take a lot longer than 15 minutes to get to soft ball stage.  Just make sure you get there, or the fudge won’t set.

Cookie Butter Fudge 8

Take it of the heat and quickly stir in the vanilla and cookie butter.

Cookie Butter Fudge 9

You’re going to beat it over a bowl of ice to help it cool down and set.

Stir it well, but as soon as it is thick enough to pull away from the sides and bottom of the pot while you stir it, go ahead and dump it in your prepared pan.

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You’ll need to let it sit for awhile to finish setting up.

Once it’s hardened (this should take between 30 minutes and an hour), pull it out by the foil.  You can let it sit longer, on a cooling rack, if it feels wobbly and soft.

Then place a large platter over the fudge and use that platter to flip it over:

Cookie Butter Fudge 11

You’ll want it to rest upside down for a bit to make sure the bottom dries out.

Then place a cutting board over it and flip it back to right side up.

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Cut the fudge with a long sharp knife, wiping the blade on a towel between slices.

Cookie Butter Fudge Recipe

Let the fudge rest for awhile (at least two hours but I’ve left it out as long as overnight) so that it hardens all the way around.

You want it fully set not only so that you can stack the pieces on a plate or in a container, but also for the wonderful texture balance of the sugary, buttery flakiness of the exterior that contrasts with the utter softness of the interior that will melt in your mouth like a liquid drop of cookie joy.

Cookie Butter Fudge Recipe from Roaming Rosie

Cookie Butter Fudge

Ingredients:

1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup Speculoos Cookie Butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare an 8×8-inch baking dish with tin foil and a light coating of butter or cooking spray.

Whisk together the milk, cream, sugar, and butter in a large saucepan.  Bring it to a rolling boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer it without stirring.  This is important:  do NOT stir the mixture!  After 15 minutes, test the temperature with a thermometer.  Once it reaches 235°F or soft ball stage, remove from heat.  Do NOT stop simmering until it reaches this temperature, or it will not set.  This may take more than 15 minutes.  It will be noticeably thicker when it’s done.

Remove from heat and stir in the cookie butter and vanilla extract.

Fill a large bowl with ice and place the saucepan into the bowl on top of the ice.  Stir the fudge over the ice until it is very thick.  Then (making sure not to let any of the melted ice get into your fudge) pour it into the prepared baking dish, spreading it smooth.

Place baking dish on a wire rack and allow to set.  This may take a half hour or longer, depending on the temperature and humidity of your home.  Carefully remove the fudge from the dish by pulling out the foil.  Place a large plate over the fudge and flip it over so that the fudge can rest upside down for a few minutes, to let the bottom to dry.  Follow the same procedure to flip it right side up on a cutting board.

Cut into squares or rectangles with a sharp knife, wiping the blade on a towel between slices.  Allow the pieces to sit without touching for at least a 2 hours or overnight to make sure each piece is fully set and has a nice solidity all the way around the smooth interior.  Then store covered.

Makes about 3 dozen 1-inch pieces.

[Note:  I used Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter, but you can substitute any European cookie spread.]

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And to print the free PDF of the recipe, click here:

Cookie Butter Fudge

Happy Baking!

Roaming Rosie Signature