mini tagalong cheesecakes

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As many of you are aware, FH and I were assaulted by tiny Girl Scouts the other week. Despite my best efforts, I was left with a couple boxes of Tagalongs hanging out in the pantry.  

I hadn’t opened them yet because… well, I know what happens when I open a box of Girl Scout cookies (or any cookies, to be honest) and let’s just say it’s not pretty.

Those “servings” on the side of the box? Lies.

The number of servings is closer to one than the number alleged on the side of the box, and the serving size varies mainly depending on how much space is between me and my self-loathing on that day.  (Oh, I went to the gym yesterday? That’s like 10 extra cookies!)

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A question lingered a moment in my head, “Do these little monsters know what they’re doing when they chase us with cookies and look at us with their stupid doe-eyed faces? Do they!?”

Like, I can walk by a cookie display at the store without caving (usually), but walking by a small child with a sad look who is practically begging me to purchase cookies? Even worse, one that COMES TO MY DOOR WITH COOKIES AND TRIES TO GUILT ME INTO BUYING THEM?

I’m pretty sure they know what they are doing to us. Preying on the weak.

So I was left with a problem to solve – how do I open the box of cookies without immediately inhaling all of the contents and collapsing into a pile of self-loathing on the floor?

My solution? Chop up all the cookies and divide them between another bite-sized treat… Thus, the mini Tagalong cheesecake was born.

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tagalong cheesecakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 21 cheesecakes

Serving Size: 1 min icheesecake

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 cup peanut butter (not "all natural", I use Jif)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 box Tagalongs, coarsely chopped** (or 1.5 cups mix-ins of your choice)
  • 21 whole cookies* (see note below)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees and line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each liner* (see note below)
  2. In a small bowl, gently beat eggs with vanilla extract, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. Add peanut butter and continue beating until incorporated.
  4. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until combined, scrape down sides of the bowl. .
  5. Drizzle in egg mixture, a bit at a time, beating until incorporated. Add sour cream and beat until combined.
  6. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl and stir in chopped cookies by hand.
  7. Divide batter evenly among cookie-lined cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake about 22 minutes, or until filling is set. Outsides should be stiff but it's ok if the centers jiggle a little when you tap the pan.
  8. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate uncovered (or they will get condensation on top) at least 4 hours or overnight.
  9. Serve with whipped cream, drizzled chocolate, and additional chopped cookies, if desired.

Notes

*For the "crust" you can use a cookie of your choice - I used a second box of Tagalongs for the first 16 and then used Oreos as needed for the rest.

**You could use 1.5 to 2 cups of any mix-ins for these cheesecakes - chopped peanut butter cups or chocolate/peanut butter chips would also be great.

I got 21 cupcakes out of this recipe, your yeild may vary depending on the depth of your cupcake tins.

With the variety of frozen cheesecakes sold in stores, I'm willing to bet that you could freeze these and thaw as needed but have yet to test this on my own.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/02/25/minitagalong-peanut-butter-cheesecake-recipe/

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girl scout fake out

Tagalong Bars

Everyone loves girl scout cookies. I think part of their allure is that you can only have them one time out of the year. You spend the whole year building them up in your head, even resorting to stalking little girls… Apparently stalking children is OK, so long as they’re the ones using the treats to lure you to their vans… “Come over here, I have a van full of cookies”… I’m onto you, girl scouts…

No matter how much you love girl scout cookies, there’s no way you can look past their insane price tags. Well you can, but I had to limit myself to two boxes last year. TWO BOXES!!! I mean, they’re usually parked right outside the grocery store, which sells similar cookies at half the price. I get that we’re helping their cause, but really? Four to five dollars a box? And there’s only like twelve cookies in there… that’s going to last me what, six minutes? Maybe seven if I slow down to savor them…

Some time last week I made the millionaire shortbread recipe from my Baked cookbook, but was completely underwhelmed. I may post the recipe, since tons of people rave about it, but it was just too… monotone. It didn’t have enough flavor, and the flavor it did have just kinda melded together into one basic flavor: sugar. I tried sprinkling some sea salt on top which helped, but not enough to make me eat them. I had however been planning to try my hand at Tagalongs for some time, and the millionaire shortbread motivated me to finally make them, being that they are similar in that they are layered shortbread bars.

No way I’m rolling and cutting 43824239430 shortbread cookies, pressing a little indent into each one, filling it with peanut butter and then covering it in chocolate. Just typing that made me tired. Bar form? Now that’s what I’m talking about. I knew what not to do with the shortbread from the millionaire bars, so I found a new shortbread recipe and set myself on the path to girl scout cookie heaven. If you like Tagalongs, you’ll love these – they’re so good. You must make them. Must.

Home Made “Tagalong” Bars

[ Printable Recipe ]

For the cookie layer

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk

For the peanut butter layer

  • 1 2/3 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the chocolate layer*

  • 6 ounces semi sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes

For the cookies:

  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract and milk. Add flour and mix on low until just incorporated. It will be on the dry side.
  3. Pour out onto parchment paper and form into general rectangle shape. Roll close to 9 x 13” and transfer into 9 x 13 baking pan. Press into bottom of pan until it reaches the edges, leaving a slight lip on the edges.
  4. Poke holes in shortbread with a fork and bake at 350F for about 20 minutes, until lightly golden on top. Cool completely on wire rack before topping.

For the filling:

  1. Beat the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla until mixed. Spread over shortbread layer. It will be thick and difficult to spread, an offset spatula worked best for me J

For the topping:

  1. Melt chocolate, butter, and corn syrup in a double boiler*. Pour over peanut butter layer and place in fridge to harden.

Notes:

*If you’re lazy you can use just melted chocolate, about 7 or 8 ounces will cover it.

*Melt in a double boiler, a non-reactive bowl over simmering water, or a microwave in 30 sec intervals @ 50% power

*Cut with a knife, wiping with a warm, damp cloth in between. They may get a little messy…

[ shorbread adapted from here ]

[ chocolate layer adapted from Baked ]