by Heather Harris Brady

This recipe is based on a cookie from Maida Heatter’s Book of Cookies. I’ve tweaked it into more of a cheesecake, and added a poached raspberry topping.

The streusel is both topping and crust, with a citrusy cheesecake filling in between. This is a great choice for a make-ahead dessert, as it’s actually better the second day. If you time it right you can have a nice cold creamy cheesecake contrasted with the warm topping and the crunchy streusel.

Streusel Cheesecake, Makes one 8″ cheesecake (about eight servings)

  • 1 c. white whole-wheat flour or GF flour blend
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1 c. rolled oats
  • 1 T. lemon juice + fine zest of one lemon OR 1 t. lemon bakery emulsion
  • 8 oz. container whipped cream cheese
  • 1/2 c. greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. sugar

Poached Raspberry Sauce

  • 1 c. cherry or rose wine
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/3 c. sugar mixed with 1 T. cornstarch
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries, washed and cleaned

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl.


Cream well, then add the flour, cinnamon and oatmeal. Mix to coarse crumbs.


Set 3/4 c. of crumbs aside.


Press the rest into the bottom of a non-stick springform pan. Slide it into the oven and bake 15 minutes.


While the crust is pre-baking, combine the remaining ingredients and blend well.


Take the crust out of the oven and pour the cheesecake filling over it.


Sprinkle the top evenly with the reserved crumbs. Return it to the oven and bake another 25-30 minutes.


The edges should be lightly browned and the center should be just set.


At this point it needs to cool thoroughly. You can even freeze it to speed things up if you have to, but when it’s cool enough wrap it and let it get nice and cold all the way through.


About 20 minutes before you’re ready to serve start the sauce. Your wine options are open, but a fruit wine gives you a lovely color. I used this one, a lovely gift from friends who grow the cherries on their farm locally.


Combine the wine and water in a pan, then whisk in the sugar mixture. Cool until clear and thick.


Gently stir in the raspberries and turn off the heat.


The sauce will warm the berries through and bring out their flavor.


Top each slice of cheesecake with a spoonful of sauce and serve.




Store any leftovers wrapped in the refrigerator.

Three years ago: Peach Cobbler
Two years ago: Fresh Peach Pie
One year ago: Semolina Cake with Fresh Peaches & Goat Cheese


by Heather Harris Brady

You might have noticed that my posts have decreased in frequency over the past few weeks, and that’s simply because we don’t have air-conditioning! When it’s over 90 and almost 100% humidity turning the oven on is the last thing from my mind. But – that said, birthdays still happen regardless and so I turned to this chocolate torte. It’s based on a recipe from the May 1998 issue of Gourmet, and it is lovely – rich and silky. If you want thicker “cake” layers you can use two boxes of vanilla wafers, but I like it thinner so there’s almost equal parts chocolate and cookie. This would be a good recipe to adapt with GF cookies too.

No-Bake Chocolate Torte, Makes one 8″ torte (about eight servings)

  • 8 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 60%), melted and cooled
  • 1 stick of butter, soft
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 T. Kahlua or other flavoring of your choice
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • Two pints heavy cream, cold
  • 1 12-oz box vanilla wafers

Beat one pint of the cream to soft peaks, beat in the vanilla and set it aside.



Put the butter and powdered sugar in the mixer bowl.


Cream well and beat in the chocolate.



Fold in the whipped cream.


Set it aside.


Combine the kahlua and milk in a bowl. Dip each wafer in the milk and then put it on the bottom of a springform pan. Cover the bottom as best you can.


Cover the cookies with 1/3 of the chocolate.


Repeat for the second layer.


Repeat one more time, ending with the chocolate on top.



I used some additional chocolate to add a drizzle to the top, just for pretty.


Refrigerate for at least six hours, preferably overnight. Run a knife around the side of the pan and remove the side. Beat the second pint of whipping cream to soft peaks and serve it with the cake. Fresh raspberries are nice with it too!


I find serving easier if you run a knife around underneath the cake before you cut it into slices. Store any leftovers wrapped in the refrigerator.


Two years ago: Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake
One year ago: Blueberry Lime Scones


by Heather Harris Brady

This recipe comes from Susan Purdy’s cookbook A Piece of Cake. This is a very easy pie, although for some reason it’s called a cake in the cookbook. It’s perfect for anyone who considers themselves to be piecrust-challenged, because the crumbs become both topping and crust! It should be said the crust is more like a butter cookie than what you’re used to but it’s nice, especially next to the warm, fragrant peaches in the middle.

This would be terrific for brunch, and because gluten doesn’t really play much of a role, I think you could easily sub in a GF flour blend here.

Peach Streusel Pie, Makes one 9″ pie

1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. sugar

1 stick of butter

3/4 t. cinnamon

8-10 fresh ripe peaches, sliced and combined with 1 T. lemon juice

1/3 c. white or brown sugar

2 T. quick-cooking tapioca

Preheat the oven to 375. Combine the butter, sugar and flour in a bowl.


Mix well, until you have a bowlful of pretty crumbs.


Scoop out 3/4 c. of the crumbs and stir the cinnamon into them. Set those aside. Press the rest of the crumbs into your pie plate.


Mix the tapioca, sugar and peaches together. Put them into the pie shell and cover evenly with the cinnamon crumbs.



Bake for about 40 minutes, until the crust starts to brown.




Two years ago: Picnic Dogs
One year ago: BadaBing Chewy Cherry Bars


by Heather Harris Brady

Judging by the amount of pie searches on this site it looks like a lot of you are baking, so rock on! As long as you have the oven on you might think about throwing in a batch of these cookies. They are based on one I grabbed from a local coffee shop. I wasn’t expecting much, because it was obviously a scoop-and-bake, but it turned out to be amazing. Soft, and chuck full of oatmeal and yummy berries. It was probably also chuck full of sugar, so I decided to recreate them my own way.

These are still soft, bursting with oatmeal and berries, but they have lots of other good things as well – like a granola bar merged with a thick oatmeal cookie. I used dried cranberries and fresh blueberries, but you could sub in most any berry that strikes your fancy. With all the whole grains and berry goodness here, you might even be able to justify having cookies for breakfast!

Double Berry Cookies, Makes about 12 4″ cookies

  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 c. wheat germ
  • 1/2 c. milled flax seed (optional)
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1 c. dried cranberries
  • 1 c. fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 375. Cream the butter and sugar together well, then add the egg. Beat for one minute on high, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the cinnamon, salt, and vanilla.


Add the rest of the dry ingredients, beat on medium until well combined.



Then beat in the milk and continue beating on high for one minute, until the batter is thick and fluffy. Fold in the berries by hand.


Drop the batter onto a greased cookie sheet.


Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned.


Cool on racks and store covered in an air-tight container.



Two years ago: Cheesecake Ice Cream with Cherries Jubilee
One year ago: Fresh Raspberry Cake Roll


by Heather Harris Brady

Since it’s been absolutely sweltering for the past week, my oven’s been getting a rest, but I made an exception for this cheesecake because the kids picked blueberries with grandpa and the berries are gorgeous. So think of this as a summer cheesecake. It’s much lighter than most, bright with lemon on the inside and pineapple on the outside. It’s also easy. If you have a food processor you can have it ready for the oven in under 10 minutes.

This would be easy to adapt to gluten free by switching to GF crumbs.

Cheesecake with Caramelized Pineapple, Makes one 8″ cake

For the topping:

  • One fresh pineapple, peeled and cored
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 2 T. water
  • 2 T. butter

For the crust:

  • One box of ‘Nilla wafers, or other vanilla wafer cookies
  • 1/3 c. butter, melted
  • 2 T. sugar

For the filling:

  • 2 8-oz. pkgs. 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1-3/4 c. lowfat cottage cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. lemon zest or 1 t. lemon extract or lemon bakery emulsion

Optional: Fresh blueberries

Fill a baking dish with water and put it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 325.

Make the crust: Pour four cups of the wafers into a food processor, along with the sugar. Grind to fine crumbs. Pour the crumbs into a mixing bowl and stir in the butter. Reserve one cup of crumbs, then press the rest into the bottom of a greased 8″ springform pan.


Wash the food processor bowl and reassemble, and put all the filling ingredients in.


Process until smooth, about one minute.


It will be nice and thick.


Spoon it into the pan and smooth the top.


Put it into the oven to bake for about 40-50 minutes. While the cake is baking make the caramelized pineapple.

Combine the water, brown sugar and butter in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium heat.



Chop up the pineapple. When the syrup has boiled for about five minutes, add the pineapple.


It might splatter a little bit. Cook for another 10 minutes. Apparently I forgot to take a picture of the cooked pineapple, but we’ll get to it in a minute. The pineapple will start to get a little transparent. Take it off the heat and set it aside.

When the cheesecake is only a tiny bit jiggly in the center, take it out of the oven.


The top might crack a little bit but that’s okay. Run a knife around the outside, then take the reserve crumbs and put them around the outside edge and spoon the pineapple into the middle, like so:


Reserve the pineapple syrup. Put the cake in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled. To serve remove the ring from the pan and slice.



Drizzle each plate with some of the pineapple syrup, add the cheesecake and fresh blueberries.


Two years ago: Mustard Roasted Potatoes
One year ago: Gooseberry-Raspberry Pie



by Heather Harris Brady

Hopefully everyone’s out enjoying their July days – here’s a simple butter cake if you like to celebrate a weekend meal with dessert like I do. Without the sauce the cake would be lovely topped with sliced fresh fruit but with the sauce you have options. You do the cake and the sauce warm, cold, or one of each. The simple flavors of the butter and flavorings come through in the soft, sliceable yet delicate cake, and the velvety chocolate sauce can be casual or elegant. You decide.

Sunday Night Cake with Chocolate Sauce, Makes about nine 3″ servings

For the cake:

  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 2/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. vanilla or orange extract
  • 2/3 c. nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 T. sour cream
  • 1-3/4 c. all-purpose flour

For the sauce:

  • 1 14-oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate (chopped, chips, etc.)
  • 1/2 c. dark cocoa
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325.

Cream the butter and sugar together well with a spoon.


Best in the egg, baking powder, baking soda, salt and flavoring.


Then the yogurt, sour cream and flour.


Stir well for about 30 seconds, until the flour is hydrated and you have a thick, creamy batter.


Spread the batter into a greased 8″ square pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the center is baked through.


While the cake is baking make the sauce. Combine the milk, sugar and chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat.


Stir until the chocolate melts, then whisk in the cocoa powder.


Let boil for five minutes.


Beat the egg in a bowl, then add some of the hot chocolate mixture to the egg.


Return it all to the pan and whisk. Cook for another minute and set aside until ready to serve.


Cut the cake into squares.



And top each serving with a spoonful of sauce. If the sauce is cold it will be a little thicker, like so:



If both the cake and the sauce are warm the sauce is a little thinner:



Store any leftovers wrapped in the refrigerator.

Two years ago: Baby Back Ribs with Dry Rub
One year ago: Lemon Ginger Cake with Saskatoon Berries


by Heather Harris Brady

The first of our in-state blueberries are here and they are awesome! To show them off I made these pancakes for brunch, accenting them with lemon and ricotta. You can make them with blueberries in or without, I’ll show you both. Either way they are light, fluffy and delicious, perfect to soak up syrup or a fresh lemon glaze like we used here.

Blueberry Lemon Pancakes, Makes about 20 4″ pancakes

  • 1-1/2 c. milk
  • 3/4 c. fresh ricotta or farmer’s cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • Grated zest of one lemon
  • 1 t. lemon extract
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 qts. fresh blueberries, washed

Combine the milk and cheese, whisk well with the eggs and sugar.



Add the lemon zest, oil, extract and baking powder.


Then stir in the flour.


Your batter should be the consistency of very heavy cream.

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a griddle. Cook on one side until bubbly, when the sides start to stand up by themselves they’re ready to turn.


When they’re brown on both sides, and the center’s firm to the touch, they’re ready!



If you want to make them with blueberries stir 1-1/2 c. of fresh blueberries into the batter. Make sure the berries are completely coated, then cook them as above.


I usually check the middles in between the berries before I take them off the pan, to make sure they’re REALLY cooked all the way through.


Top with the rest of fresh blueberries, butter and syrup.



Two years ago: Candied Rose Petals
One year ago: Angel Dinner Rolls



by Heather Harris Brady

While I have been using this crepe recipe from The Joy of Cooking for a few decades longer than I really like to think about, this is the first time I’ve treated them like a cheese blintz. But when I found some fresh farmer’s cheese in the grocery store I wanted to take it for a spin. If you haven’t tried it before it’s similar to ricotta and a package might look like this:


Although this batter needs to sit for 15 minutes, these crepes go together quickly and are nice for a brunch or light, hot-weather supper if you’re into that kind of thing like we are. I like to mix the batter up in a large measuring cup, so it’s easier to pour. If you have an actual crepe pan, great, if not a large non-stick pan will work.

Crepes with Farmer’s Cheese & Fresh Fruit, Serves four

For the crepes:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 2 T. powdered sugar (leave this out if you’re making a savory dish)

For the filling:

  • 1 c. fresh farmer’s cheese
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/3 c. plain non-fat yogurt

4 c. fresh fruit of your choice, ready to serve

Beat the first four ingredients together in a large measuring cup.


Add the next three ingredients and whisk to blend.


There’ll still be a few lumps but that’s okay. Let the batter sit for at least 15 minutes.


While the batter is resting make the filling. Stir the sugar and farmer’s cheese together.


Then whip the yogurt in by hand. Put it in the fridge until you’ve finished the crepes.


Heat the pan and add about a tablespoon of batter. Swirl the pan around to cover the bottom. It should start to set immediately.


When you see a brown lacey edge it’s ready to turn.


Sometimes if the pan isn’t yet hot enough it will stick a little. But that’s okay.


When you get rolling they will turn nicely.


When you’ve used all the batter you’re ready to fill them.


Turn a crepe mottled side up and schmear a spoonful of cheese filling on it.


Roll it up, starting with the filled side and put it on a plate. Continue on, two crepes per serving.


Remember that one from before that didn’t turn? If you have others like that, that won’t roll as nicely, you can still spread them with cheese. Just fold them in quarters instead.


Top each serving with a cup of sliced fresh fruit and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.



Even if you’re making this for two go ahead and make the full batch of crepes. They freeze well between sheets of waxed paper and they’ll be ready to go when you are.

Two years ago: Macarons, Italian Style
One year ago: Traverse Cherry Pie


by Heather Harris Brady

Somehow I have found myself the mom of a high school senior, so we’ve been trying to cram some college visits in this summer – hence the lack of posts last week. I know, if I was prepared I could schedule some ahead of time. I aspire to that level of blogging someday ;) But hey, I did get my new camera battery charger so yay! Better photos ahead.

To make it up to you here’s a pretty strawberry torte. The layers are lemony, soft yet firm enough to stand up to the weight of the berries. Despite it’s glamorous appearance, it goes together pretty quickly and you don’t have to have the oven on for long.

Strawberry Lemon Torte, Makes one 8″ torte

  • 1/2 c. soft butter
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • Two eggs, separated
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 t. fresh lemon zest
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 c. almond flour
  • 2-1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 c. greek yogurt
  • 1-1/2 quarts fresh berries, washed and cleaned
  • 6 c. stabilized whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease two 8″ round pans. Cream the butter and sugar together.


Add the egg yolks and flavorings. (I’m using farm fresh eggs here, which give you the amazing yellow color.)


Beat in the dry ingredients.


Then stir in the yogurt. Whip the egg whites to soft peaks, and fold those in.



Spread the batter in the pans.


Bake for about 15 minutes, until the centers are firm.


I like to let them steam in the pans for a few minutes, before I turn them out on racks.


Put the first layer on a cake plate and top it with a layer of berries. Fill gaps with smaller berries.



Then top it with a layer of cream.


Second layer, rest of the berries.


Cover it all with the rest of the cream.


Chill thoroughly before serving.



Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, lightly covered.

Two years ago: Strawberry Cookie Cones
One year ago: Easy No-Bake Raspberry Pie


by Heather Harris Brady

A healthy sundae – whaaaa? Yes, maybe you just can have it all.

Again, I apologize for these photos. This time my camera battery charger disappeared, so please bear with me until my new one gets here. Here’s something to sweeten the deal, a light, healthy (mostly!), and refreshing but chocolately summer dessert. On the bottom we have a nice fudgy brownie square and on top – banana peanut butter ice cream.

Sounds normal enough right? Well hold on to your retro avocado-colored appliances because things are about to get weird. These brownies are made with an avocado (no other added fat) and only 1/3 c. of sugar. The ice cream – no added sugar or cream. I’m calling these fudge squares instead of brownies, because they are somewhere in between fudge and a brownie. It’s nice if you can do a little prep work the day before – put the banana slices in the freezer, make the brownies and refrigerate them.

Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream, Makes four 1 c. servings

  • Two large bananas
  • 1/3 c. natural peanut butter (the only ingredient should be peanuts)
  • 1-1/2 t. lemon juice

Fudge Squares, Makes nine 3″ squares

  • One large Haas avocado
  • Two eggs
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. dark cocoa
  • 3 oz. melted dark chocolate
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 c. greek yogurt
  • 1/3 c. unbleached flour (can use gluten-free)
  • Kosher salt and mini chocolate chips for sprinkling the top

Slice the bananas onto waxed paper and put them in the freezer until completely solid (preferably overnight).


Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the avocado, eggs, vanilla, yogurt and sugar in the food processor.


Blend well.


Scrape down the bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Or be a rebel like I am and scrape it down after you put the dry ingredients in.


Blend to a dark creamy batter.


Spread it in a well-greased pan and sprinkle the top with the salt and chips.


Bake about 20 minutes, until the center is set.


Let cool, preferably refrigerate overnight. When you’re ready to serve, combine the banana slices in the food processor with the peanut butter and lemon juice.


Blend well. After about 20 seconds it will smooth out to something very much like soft-serve ice cream.


If you want it firmer return to the freezer for a few minutes. To dish put a fudge square on each plate.



Top each square with a large scoop of the banana peanut butter ice cream.


Serve immediately.

Two years ago: Strawberry Shortcake
One year ago: Thousand Island Dressing

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