Raisin Tea Cakes

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We have bit of a gloomy day today, leaden skies and intermittent snow.  Here’s a delicious way to brighten the afternoon–raisin tea cakes.  Serve warm with butter and strawberry jam.  Too bad we don’t have any Devonshire cream to dollop on top!

Raisin Tea Cakes

2 cups flour

4 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

½ cup cream cheese

1 cup milk

3/4 cup raisins, washed and drained

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in the cream cheese and rub till mixture is crumbly.  Stir in raisins.  Add the milk and stir to make a soft dough.  Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead gently just until dough clings together.  Shape dough into a roll about 9″ long.  With a sharp serrated knife, cut dough into about 12 equal pieces (about 3/4″).   Place circles of dough onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes.

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Raspberry Cheesecake Squares

If you’re blessed to have a source of fresh raspberries at this time of year, here is a delicious recipe.  It’s definitely a favorite in our family.

Shortbread Crust

2 cups flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup butter,  cubed and slightly softened

1/2 cup raspberry jam

2 1/2  cups fresh raspberries

Filling

1 pkg (250 g) cream cheese

1/2 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 tbsp lemon juice

For the crust:  In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the flour and sugar.  Add the cubes of butter and mix until dough forms.  Pat the dough into a 8″ x 10″ cake pan and bake for about  12 minutes at 350° F just until crust is set.  Remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes.  Leave oven on.  When the crust has cooled, spread a thin layer of  raspberry jam on it and arrange the raspberries in a single layer over the jam.  For the filling:  the filling can be prepared while the crust is baking.  Beat together the cream cheese and sugar till smooth.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly.  Stir in the lemon juice.  Pour the filling over the crust and raspberries, taking care to pour evenly.  Return the pan to the oven and bake for a further 30 minutes, until cream cheese is set and starting to turn golden.  Cool completely before cutting into squares.  Store squares in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  A surfeit may be stored in the freezer to enjoy at a later day.

O (Sugar Cookie) Christmas Tree, How Lovely are Your Branches

Merry Christmas and God bless us, every one!

My sugar cookie Christmas tree looks a bit sad and pathetic.  I was too tired by the time I started plying icing to do a good job, but the cookies are delicious, if I do say so myself.  Plus this is a much easier project than say, gingerbread houses.  If you had time and energy, you could do a Christmas tree forest!

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

3 oz cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg yolk

1/2 tsp vanilla paste

1/3 tsp almond extract

2 1/4 cups flour

Cream together softened butter and cream cheese.  Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Stir in egg yolk and flavorings, mix well.  Gradually add flour and mix well.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for about 45 minutes or so.  When dough is chilled, roll to about 1/8″ thickness and cut shapes as desired.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes, until cookies are set and golden around the edges.  Carefully transfer baked cookies to wire racks to cool completely before decorating.

Cherry Jubilee

We were invited to visit with some family and new friends on the weekend.  I made this dessert to take along.  It  goes together fairly quickly and always seems to be a hit.

Cherries n’ Cream

Cookie Crumble Crust:

1 cup butter plus 2 tbsp

2 1/4 cups flour

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup finely chopped almonds

Filling:

1 250 g pkg cream cheese

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 tsp almond extract

500 ml whipping cream

4 tbsp icing sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Topping:

1 can cherry pie filling

For crust, melt butter, then add flour, sugar, nuts and mix well.  Mixture will resemble a soft cookie dough.  Spread on a large, ungreased baking pan.  Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.  Stir mixture often as it bakes, breaking it apart into fine pieces.  After baking, let crumbs cool slightly.  Reserve one cup for topping, press remaining crumbs into a 9″x13″ baking pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 5-7 minutes, being careful not to overbrown.  Remove from oven and cool.  A few minutes in the freezer will speed the process nicely.

Meanwhile, beat together whipping cream, icing sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.  Refrigerate until needed.  Beat together cream cheese,  sugar and almond extract until smooth.  Fold whipped cream into cream cheese.  Spread  mixture onto cool crust.  Carefully layer cherry pie filling over cream cheese.  Sprinkle with reserved crumbs.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.

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