If you are a cheesecake fan, I am sure you will like this one.  The recipe makes 12 muffin-size cakes.   The muffin cups are lined with “Nilla”, round vanilla cookies.  Sometimes the cookies have a tendency to rise to the top after the filling has been poured in.  To prevent this from happening, just hold the cookie down with the tip of a knife until filled.  The cheesecakes will firm up as they cool so try not to over bake or the cakes will be dry but…will still taste great.


12-Vanilla Wafer cookies “Nilla”
1-8 ounce AND 1-3 ounce cream cheese, regular or low fat, at room temperature
1/4-cup sugar
2-large eggs
1/4-cup chopped toasted almonds
1/2-teaspoon real almond extract
Optional Topping:1/2-cup raspberry jam, softened in microwave

Preheat oven to 350° Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners and place one vanilla cookie, flat side, down in each section.  Beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and almond extract until smooth. Pour into prepared pan filling sections three quarters full.  Top with the almonds and bake cheesecakes for 15 to 20 minutes.  Cool and chill for at least 2 hours.  Remove from muffin papers, place on a plate and spoon a bit of softened raspberry jam on top of each cheesecake.
Here is my absolute favorite bread pudding recipe.  It is a very forgiving recipe, you can use more or less milk depending on how soft and moist you like your bread pudding.  If you like it drier, add the minimum of liquid.  I do find using all half and half or cream adds a tremendous amount of richness, but you really can make it with just milk.  I have found two secrets to making this recipe turn out the best; let the pudding soak overnight to absorb all the liquid or at least a few hours and baking it in a water bath.  A handful of chocolate chips is an optional add on.


1 pound Brioche loaf, or any bread
1/2-Cup sugar
6 large eggs (you can get away with 4)
7 to 8 cups milk, or a combination of half and half, milk and cream
1-Cup raisins (optional)
2-teaspoons real vanilla flavoring
Pinch of salt
Additional sugar and butter for top

Lightly butter a 9x13 in casserole dish.  Cut or brake up bread into about 2 inch pieces.  Layer bread and raisins in casserole dish.  In a separate bowl mix the eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt and milk, (cream, etc.)  Pour over bread, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.

Remove plastic, sprinkle with additional sugar and dot top with 2 Tablespoons butter.  Place the pan in another larger pan (roasting pan) and fill with enough hot tap water to come up about an inch on the side.  Bake 375° for 45 min.  You will know when it is done when it has puffed up and is light brown on top.  It tastes best if served slightly warm. You can make it the day before and heat it in a low oven during dinner.  You can “Guild the Lilly” and serve with heavy cream or custard sauce.

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I have a sensitivity to gluten so I was thrilled when I came across this recipe.  Cornstarch replaces the flour to create a very flavorful brownie.  Cocoa powder and chocolate chips combine to bring a real depth to the chocolate flavor along with a bit of ground cinnamon to add a delightful undertone to this delicious chocolate concoction. Cut two strips of parchment paper and line your pan with slight overhangs on all sides for ease in removal, and spray with cooking spray.  As with most brownies over cooking will produce a dry product.  Test yours with a toothpick inserted in the middle upon removal will have just a few moist crumbs attached.  This recipe is a winner whether you are gluten free or not.

                                              GLUTEN-FREE FUDGY BROWNIES

1/3-Cup cornstarch
1/4-Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2-teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2-teaspoon salt
3/4-Cup sugar

6-Tablespoons butter
12-ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1-teaspoon real vanilla extract
1-Cup toasted chopped nuts, optional, I used walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 Line 8-inch square pan with parchment and spray with cooking spray.  Combine cornstarch, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and set aside.  In a large microwave safe bowl melt the chocolate chips and the butter in 30-second intervals, stirring each time until smooth, about two minutes.  Add sugar and vanilla, stir in eggs one at a time until well combined.  Stir in cornstarch mixture and stir vigorously until mixture is smooth.  Now add optional nuts and pour into prepared pan.
Bake about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of pan come out with a few moist crumbs attached.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Use paper overhangs to lift out brownies and cut into 16 pieces.
These freeze perfectly or can be kept in an airtight container for up to 4 days.