Holiday Baking – Cheesecake

Holiday Baking

Tis the season to be jolly & holiday baking does just that!

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Saint Nicholas Day, Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Lucia Day, Kwanzaa, the message is the same. It is a celebration of a miracle that resulted in a celebration geared toward love, sharing and respect for everyone. Also associated with the celebrations are good fellowship and indulging on enormous amounts of decadent food. Why the food is so important is unknown.

A few years back, Chef Mike entered a holiday baking contest sponsored by a local television station and food market. In the deserts/cake category, he won a 100.00 gift certificate to the local market.

In the spirit of sharing, Chef Mike is sharing his award winning Cheesecake recipe. For those who like a New York style cheesecake, you will love this crustless version. “This is one of the best cheesecake recipes you’ll ever find”  and it has been kept a secret until now.

Chef never liked a graham cracker crust so he came up with this version.

Chef Mike’s award winning No Crust Cheesecake

The Wet Works
1 lb. Ricotta Cheese
1 lb. Cream Cheese
1-pint sour cream
Juice of ½ of a lemon (1 ½ tbs. Real Lemon)
1 tbs. vanilla
4 eggs
¼ lb. (1 stick) butter + extra for pan

The Dry Goods
2 tbs. cornstarch
1 ½ c. Sugar
3 tbs. flour for dusting pan

The Procedure
Using a handheld or stand mixer

Beat ricotta until smooth
Add cream cheese and blend
Add sugar gradually
Add eggs slowly, one at a time
Mix until smooth
Add lemon, vanilla, cornstarch and then softened stick of butter
Mix until smooth
Add the sour cream

Beat mixture until smooth (no lumps)

The Hardware & The Process
1. Coat a 9″ spring form pan with melted butter or Crisco and flour it *
*I brush melted butter on the inside of the pan and line with parchment paper then brush the parchment paper with butter again.
2. Pour mixture into pan ¾ of the way to the top
(this recipe will make more than enough for the 9″ spring form pan and you may have some left over – be prepared to pour remainder into a baby spring pan or baking dish)

3. Put on a cookie sheet into a COLD oven Bake at 350° for 1 hour.
4. Turn off oven and DO NOT OPEN the door.

5. Let stay in oven for two (2) hours with door closed.
6. Remove from oven and pan after it has cooled down.
7. Cool completely and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
Your patience will be rewarded!

8. Enjoy by topping with your favorite fruit pie filling, whipped cream or just plain (the best)



Holiday Cookie Time – fill up your cookie jars and gift tins

It is that time of year again when we begin to fill up our cookie jars and gift tins with our tried and true cookie recipes.  While mixing the dough, have you ever thought about how cookies came about?  They are from the Dutch word koekje, meaning “small or little cake.”  According to culinary historians, the first historic record of cookies was their use as test cakes.  A small amount of cake batter was baked to test the oven temperature.  The English, Scotch, and Dutch immigrants originally brought the first cookies to the United States.  The simple butter cookies we make now strongly resemble the English teacakes and the Scotch shortbread. Chef Mike’s favorite cookie is Walkers English Shortbread. He is always trying new recipes to duplicate it, but he never gets it as good, one of the few store bought cookies found in the kitchen at Fox Hill.

Coming in second,  is Italian Pizzelles.  Chef Mike grew up in Philly in a predominantly Italian neighborhood where every Christmas, his mother and all the other neighborhood moms would bake holiday treats to share. I think some ladies had specialties and that’s why the task was split up. This recipe has been around since he can remember and he began using it at the age of 10. Chef Mike inherited his mother’s pizzelle irons that were originally purchased at Fantes Kitchen in South Philadelphia. Scroll down to see the recipe Mike still uses today


Eight Categories of Cookies

What is your favorite type of cookie to make?  Here at Fox Hill, our favorite is rolled as we have close to 100 cookie cutters!!!  There are eight categories of cookies – dropped, refrigerated, molded, bar, sheet, rolled, piped and wafer.

Drop cookies are made from soft, moist dough that is dropped from a spoon or ice cream scooper.   These would be Oatmeal, chocolate chip, or peanut butter.

Refrigerated cookie dough is rolled into logs or other shapes, wrapped in plastic wrap and chilled or frozen until ready to be sliced and baked.

Molded cookies are made from stiff dough that can be molded or shaped such as balls which can be left ball shaped or flattened on a sheet pan for baking.

Bar cookies are stiff dough formed into long, rectangular, flattened bars, baked and then cut into slices.  A good example is Biscotti  or mondel broit – a hardened sliced cookie bar.

Sheet cookies are made from a batter, thick or thin, easily spread evenly in a pan with sides.  Once baked and cooled, various shapes are cute.  Brownies are a good example!

Rolled cookie dough once mixed is chilled then rolled out and cut with various shaped cookie cutters.

Piped cookie dough is soft and easily pushed through a pastry bag fitted with a pastry tip to form various shapes.

Wafer cookies, also known as Tuiles, are a thin batter prepared from egg whites, sugar, flour, butter and cream spread over stencils placed on a silicon-baking pad.  They bake without changing shapes, and are easily molded while warm to form cups, tubes, mini bowls and even flowers.

Everyone’s Favorite Cookie

We can guess that everyone’s favorite is Chocolate Chip as there are 7 billion chocolate chip cookies eaten in the United States every year, with about 50% of those being homemade cookies.  That is amazing as the chocolate chip cookie was invented by accident. That’s right!  Being out of baker’s chocolate, a home cook chopped up a block of Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate to use instead.  Expectation was the chocolate would melt and disperse through the cookie dough as regular baking chocolate would. Instead, the chocolate pieces retained their individual form, softening to a moist, gooey melt, and the world had its first known chocolate chip cookie!

There are endless lists of favorite holiday cookies such as 10 Best Christmas Cookie Recipes, All-Time Favorite Christmas Cookies, Best Christmas Cookies – Favorite Classic Recipe, etc.   We found this one – The Most Iconic Holiday Cookie In Your State – to be an interesting one!  When cookie season rolls around, Virginians bake up Lemon Cookie Cake and serve it by the slice.   We are sharing the recipe in case you would like to try something new this holiday season!

Lemon Cookie Cake 


¾ cup salted butter@ room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp. lemon juice*
1 tsp lemon zest
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
½-¾ cup white chocolate chips


¾cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 tbsp. lemon juice*

* You will need a total of 3-4 lemons


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9 or 10 inch cake pan by placing parchment paper in the bottom of the pan and spraying the sides with a nonstick spray.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Mix in egg, vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, add flour and baking soda.
  5. Stir in white chocolate chips.
  6. Spread the dough evenly into the cake pan. Bake for 21-23 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden. The center may still look a little undercooked but it will firm up and continue cooking as it cools.
  7. Remove from oven and allow cooling until almost completely cool in the cake pan, then transfer to cooling rack.

1. Beat the butter until smooth.
2. Slowly add 3 cups of powdered sugar. Mix until combined.
3. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest and mix until smooth.
4. Ice cooled cookie cake.
5. Slice and enjoy.

If you decide to make this recipe, please let us know.  Snap a picture and share it on our Facebook page.

While visiting with us this holiday season, you are sure to be able to sample some of our holiday baking treats!   Of course, you are welcome to bring some of your homemade treats and we will gladly exchange!

Recipe courtesy of Life Love and Sugar


Sylvia’s Pizzelle Recipe

3½cups all-purpose flour                                                            
1 tablespoon baking powder
6 eggs
1½ C. sugar
1¼ C. Vegetable oil or melted Crisco
1 Tablespoon Anise Seeds
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

Before you start assemble all ingredients.
Blend the flour, baking powder and Anise Seeds in a bowl & set aside

Beat eggs and sugar until your arm gets tired.
add the oil or melted shortening, a little at a time.

Gradually add the combined dry ingredients

This recipe is the way my mother wrote it, but today, I use a food processor or stand mixer.
This is a simple traditional pizzelle, that makes an awesome cannoli too!

This post is dedicated to the memory of my mother, who would have been 99 years old last month.