Sunday, June 10, 2018

Pie: Miracle Worker

When I think of Jell-o, it hurts my teeth. As anyone who has had braces or had their wisdom teeth removed can tell you, there are times when your diet consists only of the softest, most easily swallowed foods to avoid having your teeth come within a millimeter of food particles, triggering *all* of the pain. I vividly recall my diet consisting primarily of ramen noodles, scrambled eggs, and Jello for quite some time in my teen years (coincidentally, also in college, but mostly just because I was more interested in spending money on shoes and not food). Because of these memories, I don't usually make many desserts that feature Jello as the main ingredient. But it's hot in Florida, like the surface of the sun is having summer vacation here right now hot, so I wanted to make a dessert without the word "lava" in it. I wanted something that could work miracles and help me cool off while also delivering something sweet and delicious, so this was definitely a job for pie. A strawberry cream pie, specifically:
It screams summer in all the right (non-sweaty) ways.
It's a strawberry cream pie, but I've been referring to it as a strawberry dream pie because: 1. I am a huge dork, 2. Not only is it a fantastic combination of light, airy filling, but it also packs a nice blend of tart, sweet bite from the strawberries, and 3. Because it's only 129 calories a slice. A friggin' steal! I mean, you could eat half the pie in one sitting if you wanted to and still be better off than eating that one so-so hamburger at your neighbor's backyard barbecue. Also with the added bonus that this pie doesn't require you to stand anywhere near an open flame when it's 6,000 degrees out while making lame jokes about someone leaving the heat on outside. Stay inside, enjoy air conditioning, eat pie, and thank yourself for being able to avoid pretending to like people for another day. That's pretty much what the weekend is made for anyway, right?
That and finding sneaky ways to eat butter in all your meals, including dessert.
I've mentioned my easy and low-cal pie crust recipe before, but it was ages ago, so we've all promptly forgotten about it by now because the internet has given us the gift of a goldfish-adjacent attention span. To make your pie crust, you'll need:
  • 3 tablespoons of butter, cut into small chunks
  • 2 tablespoons of granular Swerve
  • 6 sheets of cinnamon graham crackers
  • 1 tablespoon of water
Invest in a small food processor, and you can make all the pie crust in the world!
 Dump the butter, Swerve, and graham crackers in a food processor and grind until smooth. Then, add in the tablespoon of water and mix everything together til a wet crumb is formed.
Good things start with graham crackers.
Press your crumbs into a pie pan and then place into the freezer to set for 30 minutes. I only have a shallow pie pan, and I ended up making wayyyy too much filling, so the recipe below for the filling will work for a deep dish pie crust. I'll give tips for what would work better for a shallow pie pan as well for all my fellow shallow (pan) people. Once set, remove from the freezer, preheat your oven to 375 and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden. Place on a cooling rack and set in the fridge while you make your pie filling.
Jello, you were there for me when I could eat literally nothing else. Thanks, braces.
To make the filling, you'll use:
  • 1 8 ounce tub of Cool Whip Free
  • 1 small package (0.3 oz) of sugar free strawberry Jello
  • 2-4 cups of strawberries, reserve 6 for topping, sliced*
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
*For a deep dish pie, use 4 cups of strawberries. For a regular, shallow pie pan, use 2 cups of strawberries. In either case, reserve a few for garnish. I had about 1/3 of the filling leftover when I used 4 cups of strawberries, and I think one pack (2 cups) of strawberries would've been the perfect amount for the filling instead. I did get to enjoy leftover filling with graham crackers though, so, no complaints either way.

Boil your water, and mix it with the Jello in a medium-large bowl until the Jello is completely dissolved. In a measuring cup, measure out 1/2 cup of cold water, and then dump in ice cubes until your water reaches the 1 cup measuring line. Throw this in with your boiling Jello mix and whisk until the ice is completely melted:
I say large bowl because I clearly whisk with the speed and grace of a tornado.
 Your mixture should thicken a bit while whisking, but set aside completely for 10 minutes to firm up and keep your filling from being a soupy mess (outside is enough of a soupy mess--don't let your pie follow suit). I took this time to remove the tops and slice all my strawberries into small chunks, and then took my remaining six strawberries, chopped the tops, and very thinly sliced them vertically. Yes, I did all this in ten minutes. I am wise with time. Thanks for noticing (she types while still in pjs at 3 p.m.).
Jello abuse!
 When I poked my mixture with a whisk after ten minutes of setting, it was nice and firm. The whisk didn't sink to the bottom of the bowl, and the Jello gave some resistance (futile!). Now, we're ready for Cool Whip. Then again, we're never not ready for Cool Whip during summer, really.
Mix in the Cool Whip until you have a beautifully smooth, pink bowl of pie filling.

Now add in however many strawberries as your pie pan will allow.

Give a good stir until everything is well mixed, then top your bowl with plastic wrap and place your pie filling in the fridge to firm up for thirty minutes. Once the filling is firmed up, time to make the magic happen.
Get that gorgeously tanned (consider my pasty body jealous) pie crust.
Turn out your filling into the cooled crust, and smooth with a spatula.
Now, take those thinly sliced strawberries and create whatever decoration your heart desires on top of your pie. I went with a sunburst pattern because it's summer, and I like constantly being reminded that the sun is trying to kill me during this season.
Plus, sunburst patterns just look pretty.
 Now, much like all things that have Jello in them, you must do the unimaginable: put your pie into the fridge to set for at least 4-5 hours. I know. I saved this painful tidbit til the end because the pie is most definitely worth the wait. The irony--the pain of waiting for the pie that is there to solve the pain of summer. The longer you let it set, the easier it will be to slice and serve, so make a day ahead if you have time.
A beautiful color contrast. Pictured on top: me after 5 minutes in the summer sun. Pictured on bottom: a normal person's tan after being outside all summer.
Worth. the. wait.
After those long, grueling hours of wanting to eat pie and not being able to, the time has finally come. Slice up, enjoy, repeat. Low calorie, but not low flavor. The cinnamon crust and the sweet filling are a combination so great, you will forget you live on the surface of the sun. It's nice and cool while also being delicious and satisfying. I sincerely enjoyed this pie, and my Jello-tooth-PTSD was a non issue since it's mostly there to add some extremely yummy strawberry flavor to the pie.
The chunky texture of the strawberries also helped.
Definitely keep leftover pie (yes, this is a thing) in the fridge. I made this pie last weekend and had a few slices (and a massive bowl of leftover filling) before saving the remaining slices for my husband to enjoy with me now that he's back from his work trip across the pond. I am told it was hot there, too, but not "Florida hot." This is a real thing. The kind of heat that singes the skin while the humidity simultaneously makes you sweat even at a standstill. Magical! The pie has kept excellently though, and leftover slices are going very quickly because it most definitely it an excellent remedy for the heat. I truly believe if world peace is ever found, it will be through someone's pie recipe. Praise pie, and it's curative deliciousness. 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!
Pie: solving problems for centuries.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Liquid Hot (Dessert) Magma

I am super excited because I finally bought a set of ramekins (your 30s are wild, man). I've always wanted a set because single-serving dessert ideas are a necessary evil when your husband travels for work, like, a lot. When he goes, I'm usually in need of cake or pie to cope. But when my eyes and my stomach see cake, it's viewed as a hearty challenge to see how big of a slice I can eat in one sitting. Enter the ramekin, and I can eat like an actual 31 year old and instead of a 13 year old. Adulting is mostly about learning portion control and how to do your taxes, and I kind of suck at both. What I lack in typical adult capabilities, I make up for in the fact that I clean a mean house and can bake my way out of most adult situations. Need to make a phone call? Sorry, I've got cookies in the oven. Have to answer the front door? Nope, covered in cake batter. I'm starting to realize it might not be adulting that I'm not good at but simply socializing...it's a good thing I can cram my mouth full of cake and not have to talk about this any further. Thanks, ramekins! You made my dreams come true (both the antisocial and pro-dessert ones) with the amazing capability to bake tiny, delicious lava cakes in you:

Liquid hot dessert magma: peanut butter (left) and dulce de leche (right) editions.
Did I also mention owning ramekins makes having several different flavors of cake possible in one week? The versatility is thrilling! I would've been just as jazzed about this at age 18 as I am ate age 31 because I simply appreciate being able to eat as many different cakes as possible in an average week. Variety is the spice of life (says the woman who plans out outfits in advance and keeps a written weekly planner). But the bottom line is this: chocolate peanut butter lava cakes and dark chocolate dulce de leche lava cakes will change your life. But not in the, "They've made my pants fit tighter" manner, because these are guilt free even with ice cream on top! The peanut butter lava cakes are only 206 calories a serving (add a scoop of peanut butter Halo Top for 80 calories) and the dulce de leche lava cakes are only 171 calories a serving (add a scoop of sea salt caramel Halo Top for 80 calories). Even if you don't like peanut butter or caramel (we can't be friends, but...), you can fill your cake with a traditional fudge or try something fun like a raspberry coulis. Whatever your poison, the base chocolate cake recipe is to die for. It is so decadent and delicious you'd never know it was only going to set you back as far as a salad calorie-wise. Perhaps the best thing about these cakes (aside from being able to top them with a ludicrous amount of ice cream with no guilt) is that the lava cake should be eaten fresh, piping hot from the oven. That's right, NO WAITING TIME! My impatient little heart could burst (it would burst caramel and peanut butter, at this point). These cakes come together and get inhaled in under 30 minutes, so if I haven't sold you on all the benefits by now, you probably don't like dessert, so I'm not sure what you're even doing here.
Maybe you just enjoy a cleverly written blog. Good for you.
 I made these cakes in a medium bowl, starting with my dry ingredients. This makes two cakes (my ramekins are 7 ounces each). You'll need:
  • 1/4 cup + 1 TBS All Purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Swerve granular
  • 2 TBS cocoa powder (if you want a dark chocolate cake, use 1 1/2 TBS regular cocoa powder and 1/2 TBS dark cocoa powder)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • Dash of salt
Mix these together in a bowl and preheat your oven to 425, then grab the wet ingredients.

Where would I be without unsweetened applesauce...
In the same bowl as your dry ingredients, add:
  • 1/4 cup + 2 TBS skim milk
  • 2 TBS unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar (works with the baking soda to puff up your lava cakes)
Mix together until your batter is nice and smooth. Prepare your ramekins with cooking spray and dust with more cocoa powder. Pour 1/4 of the batter into one ramekin, 1/4 of the batter into another ramekin, and then find your center of choice (fudge, peanut butter, dulce de leche, fruit filling, etc.).
Place 1 TBS of your preferred yummy center into each ramekin. Pictured here is creamy Jif--accept no peanut butter substitutes. Jif will make magic happen.
Then take 1/4 of the cake batter and drop on top of your filling. Repeat with the other cake. Your filling might stick out a bit like the world's strangest belly button (pictured above, if you tilt your head..sorry), but it will melt down as your cake bakes, so don't worry.
Things turned out juuuust fine in the end.
 Place your ramekins on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for 12-15 minutes. You want the sides completely cooked, but the top will still be a little underdone. My oven cooks hot, and my cakes were ready at 13 minutes.
Tops not totally set, but the sides are--this is what you're looking for.
Give the cakes just a minute or two so that the ramekins don't burn off your fingertips when you handle them. This will be one of the longest minutes of your life.
Kinda looks like the Pizza Hut logo.
 I'd still recommend using oven mitts unless you're looking to remove your finger prints so you can rob a candy store (or a bank if you're an adult). Run a dull knife around the edges of your cake to completely loosen the sides from the ramekin. Place a serving plate on top of your ramekin, and then invert:
And pray you've used enough Pam.
 Tap the ramekin a few times until you feel the cake release. My peanut butter cakes came out easier than the dulce de leche ones because the caramel is so deliciously sticky that it didn't want to let go of the ramekin where it had leaked out a bit. Things should still come out nicely with just a small indent in the bottom/top of the cake where your filling is:
So chocolatey.
Don't worry about that tiny imperfection though. That's what the ice cream is for:
Hellllooooo, gorgeous!
 You could call it a day and devour here, but I went for broke and added chocolate sauce on top of my peanut butter lava cake.
Yep, worth it.
 With my other cake, I did a small dissection/science experiment for photo purposes. I had to get a photo of that peanut butter ooze:
Yep, that's the stuff.
 What? My husband is gone. Maybe I wanted to eat both cakes in one sitting since I didn't have to share with anyone. The dogs can't have chocolate! In all honesty, I saved this one for the next day. I swear. With my dark chocolate dulce de leche cakes, I remembered to take a photo of the caramel oozing across the plate before topping with ice cream and scarfing down in under 15 seconds.
Dulce de leche is arguably the sexiest of all dessert toppings. Just check that lava flow!
Having to pick a favorite lava cake flavor is like having to pick your favorite child...you all secretly have one but don't want to say which. Look, they're both absolutely amazing depending on your flavor palette. As a Texan obsessed with dulce de leche, the dark chocolate lava cake with caramel-y center was hands down my favorite. It was so delicious I felt like there was no way in hell it was actually under 200 calories, and I even checked my math five times to be sure. It is, and dear sweet baby Jesus is it good. With my leftover lava cake, I left it in the ramekin topped with foil and saved for the next day. If you have leftover lava cakes, reheat in the microwave for 45 seconds (without the foil, obviously, unless you like blowing up your microwave). This gets the center nice and melty again. Whatever you do, whichever amazing flavor you prefer, do not forget the ice cream! Lava cakes are like the world's most delicious edible ice cream bowl.
The cake soaks up the melty ice cream, keeping you from becoming a giant sticky mess.
I mean, check that peanut butter ice cream melt into the chocolate cake into the melty peanut butter center. Meltception! I think I need to go make one of these right now...that photo is making my tongue feel things. I'm a huge fan of Halo Top ice cream because it's on the healthyish side but still tastes so creamy. Let it sit out to soften for 30-45 minutes to reach maximum flavor potential. I'm still really patting myself on the back for coming up with a single serving dessert featuring cake, melty, gooey center, and ice cream for fewer calories than a handful of potato chips but still tasting like it should be at least 1500 calories (looking at you, Chili's molten lava cake). Where there's a gluttonous will combined with bikini season, there is most definitely a way. Bottom line is it won't give your bottom anymore lines, so make the cake, devour the cake, and remind yourself that every once in a while, being an adult is actually pretty damn fun. 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!
Fun because you can totally eat this for breakfast if you want to. Adulting!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Kahlua Cake: Worth the Calories

My weekend started off with a Mud Dauber wasp stinging me when I opened my front door and is going to end with a tropical storm tomorrow. "Florida: the Murphy's Law of States." But painful wasp stings and flash flooding can't bring me down because I just made what I consider one of the best chocolate cakes I've ever baked and/or eaten in my entire life! I've always been a firm believer in the mood-lifting power of chocolate, and it certainly doesn't hurt that the other star ingredient in this cake was booze (Kahlua, specifically). I had my doubts about this cake because I am not a fan of coffee at. all. Turns out to make coffee flavor bearable, you only need to add rum to it. God Bless the good folks at Kahlua for figuring that one out. I don't think I'm going to be picking coffee up anytime soon outside of cakes, though. I'm one of those obnoxious morning people that wakes up ready to take on the day's obstacles (thanks, high-functioning anxiety!). I actually made this boozy chocolate confection for my boss's birthday. She is both a coffee lover and a chocolate lover and once mentioned Kahlua being one of her favorite liquors, and this steel trap mind of mine held on to that information (yet, I have to meet a person ten times before I remember their name, so...my mind is more like a rusty steel trap in need of WD-40, but a steel trap nonetheless).
And it will never forget how good this cake was.
I have been crazy about bundt cakes recently. When you have to bake on a tight schedule and know there's not much time for decorating, the bundt pan takes care of the heavy lifting for you with its intricate design. So, if you're a lazy baker, bundt pans are your bestie. This chocolate chip Kahlua bundt cake with Kahlua ganache in no way comes across as a lazy-looking or tasting bake by any means. It has the right balance of dark chocolate, booze, and sweetness. I really hate the word, but moist is literally the only way to describe the texture. It practically melts on your tongue. So it's great if you're even feeling to lazy to chew! ...we've all had those days. I wish I could tell you I somehow managed to make this cake low cal, but that would be a lie. Birthday calories don't count, you see (and other lies I tell myself) --an additional working title for my autobiography. If you make this into 20 servings, each slice will knock you back 358 calories. Not terrible by any means, but a typical bundt cake's 16 servings is 448 calories a slice, which fills me with an urge to go run five miles before I eat it, and I'm not even a runner (I'm told running from your problems does not count). In the end though, this cake is worth any and all calories because it holds within it the power to provide the eater with a solid 1-hour post-cake euphoria.
And you only need six ingredients! ...plus my two secret weapon ingredients.
No one, and I mean no one, will believe this came from a box mix. I indulged that fact to coworkers, and they were stunned. By adding in a few crucial extras, you can take a simple cake to the next level with ease. So easy, a kid could do it! Although letting your child bake a booze cake is probably frowned upon? I don't know much about kids, but I have a solid inkling they shouldn't be left alone with booze or an oven. To bake this boozy beauty, you'll need:
  • 1 Devil's Food cake mix
  • 3/4 cup of butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 large eggs at room temp
  • 1 cup of Kahlua
  • 1 cup of light sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350, and get out the two secret ingredients to your cakey success:
You know what makes chocolate better? More chocolate.
 Get out your bundt pan, and spray it with cooking spray. Use so much cooking spray your kitchen could turn into a slip and slide (it still won't be enough cooking spray), and then dust the pan with cocoa powder to help ensure your cake comes out in one piece with a nice dark coloring. Now, as for my second secret ingredient: flour. I've heard time and time again to coat things in flour if you don't want them to sink to the bottom of your cake. I wanted to give this science experiment a shot.
I was apprehensive to say the least.
I figured adding flour to my chocolate chips would take away from their chocolate chippiness (this is a thing), but I'm happy to report this is a baking hack that actually works. I placed my 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips in a large baggie and dumped two tablespoons of flour on top and a tiny drizzle of Kahlua to give it something to stick to (and because, well, more booze). I zipped up the bag and gave it a good shake, coating the chips completely. I set aside, getting back to my main ingredients.
Mmm, Kahlua-y goodness.
In my stand mixing bowl, I placed my cake mix, eggs, cooled melted butter (don't curdle your eggs and sour cream!), sour cream, and Kahlua and mixed for 4 minutes on medium-high. The batter is light and super fluffy, and you will have a hard time restraining yourself from licking the beaters, so save those for later. Dump your baggy of chocolate chips in with the cake batter and give a good stir. Turn out your batter into your prepared bundt pan and bake for 45 minutes at 350. Don't forget to lick the beaters while you're looking for something to do in those 45 minutes.
So fluffy, you'll also want to dive in fork-first.
Remove from the oven and let your bundt cake cool on a cooling rack for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, take an angled spatula or a butter knife and run it around all the ridges and edges of your bundt pan to ensure the cake isn't sticking anywhere.
Then, flip everything upside down!
 Invert everything so that your cooling rack is on top and the bundt pan is on the bottom.
And release!
Then flip again so your pan is on top of the cooling rack. Gently remove from the top of the cake. As you can see, even with all that Pam and cocoa, I still had a piece or two that stuck to my bundt pan, proving even seventeen layers of cooking spray just weren't enough. Don't worry, ganache is like a delicious concealer for any cake impurities. Place in the freezer to cool completely for 30-60 minutes before ganaching.
Doesn't get much simpler than this.
Dump one cup of chocolate chips and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of Kahlua into a microwave safe bowl. Nuke for 30 seconds, then whisk together until the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache is silky smooth. Dump into a measuring cup for easy pouring, and let firm up for 10-15 minutes. You want it to stick to the cake and not all run off...that would be a tragic waste of chocolate and alcohol.
I was tempted to just pour the whole thing into a mug and calling it adult hot chocolate.
Take your bundt cake out of the freezer and place on a cake round or cake plate on top of a cooling rack. I placed a layer of Parchment paper under my cake round so I could control the messy chaos. Once my ganache had firmed up, I slowly drizzled it back and forth over the top of my cooled cake.
Check out that chocolatey goodness.
And because there's no such thing as too much chocolate, I threw a few handfuls of extra semisweet chocolate chips on top (it's akin to satisfying my need to put sprinkles on top of everything, what can I say).
It does make it pretty!
I then placed this into a cake box and let it set up overnight before taking to work with me the next day. Since the ganache is all booze and the dairy is all baked, this one is best at room temp where the moistness (sorry) is at full wow-factor.
Look at that chip distribution!
Happy to report that my chocolate chips did not all sink to the bottom! The flour trick will be reused for all fruit or chip cakes to come. I always know a recipe is good when the room falls completely silent when people are eating. Especially since most of the time my office is a buzz with chit chat and laughter--to keep us quiet, you really do have to give us a darn good reason. And a chocolate cake full of booze and more chocolate is apparently the best way to do that. The birthday boss enjoyed it, so that was a win in my book, as did the rest of my coworkers. Spirits were high for the rest of the day, but when the cake is high in spirits, I suppose that's only the natural order of things. And now I know how I like my coffee--with a helping of booze and chocolate cake. Thanks, Kahlua! 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!
I could make at least 6 more of these cakes with that one bottle alone....

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Less Complications, More Churros!

I have a tendency to make things way more complicated than they need to be. But I do consider it both a strength and a weakness that in most situations I'm able to leap to the worst possible conclusion in under five seconds. This way, I'm prepared for most curve balls, but sometimes, I have to be reminded that the best things are life are simple. The best things in life are also usually desserts, and it is nice to be able to throw together something yummy in under 10 minutes....you know, compared to my usual half-day forays into baking and decorating (did I mention the complicated thing?). Since I was having what I will refer to as "a week," and had a potluck party to get ready for, I wanted a dessert that was quick, easy, and complimentary to my stress eating. This meant it needed to be sweet and able to be inhaled in mass quantity with minimal swimsuit season damage. And so, churro cheesecake dip with dulce de leche topping was born:
It might not look like much, but what it lacks in beauty it makes up for in personality. And by personality, I mean flavor.
Look, I love cheese. At this point, my body is probably made of at least 15% Gouda. And I love cake. I'd aim to venture my cake-to-body percentage is ridiculous. So the only way either of my food vices could possibly be any better is by combining them together to form cheesecake. I should know, I'm still noshing on those cherry almond cheesecakes from last weekend. At this point, I'm going to go out on a limb and say if cheesecake were a drug, I'd probably need to go to meetings to deal with my addiction. I was totally flying blind while making this recipe, on a cheesecake high most likely, but I knew I wanted churros, and I knew I still somehow had dulce de leche leftover from Cinco de Mayo. I also knew I was so, so very tired and so, so very lazy, so an easy dip it was. Since I have a regular supply of Cool Whip Free and reduced fat cream cheese on hand, I knew I also was going to make this so, so very low in calories. The ENTIRE bowl of dip is a little over 1,000 calories, so depending on how many servings you want to divvy up (read: people will bogart the dip...it was referred to at one point as "cheesecake crack"), you're still going to be on the low end calorie wise if you're feeding a small gathering and not just yourself. I won't blame you if you don't want to share. This is hands down the best dip I've ever made, appetizer or dessert wise. And you're talking to a dip connoisseur here; Texans don't mess around with whatever tops their tortilla chips, people.
Six ingredients from cinnamon bliss!
This is not complicated by any means, but I'm still glad I wrote down how I made this churro cheesecake dip because I was totally making things up as I went along. End result: cinnamon + dulce de leche = my new drug of choice. To make this amazing goodness, gather:
  • 8 ounces of 1/3 fat cream cheese at room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups of Cool Whip Free
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Swerve granular
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 TBS of dulce de leche
  • Optional: additional 2 TBS Cool Whip to decorate
There are minimal steps here, which is good when you've been up since 5 a.m. on a Saturday and can't remember how to tie your own shoes let alone mix things together (I can sleep when I'm dead. Or when I make it to the padded cell of my dreams). Blend the cream cheese in your stand mix until fluffy, then add in the cinnamon, Swerve, and vanilla. Blend on medium high until things are nicely mixed. Add in the Cool Whip Free and blend on low until everything has been incorporated.
A bowl full of dreams.
Dump into a serving bowl and place into the freezer for 45-60 minutes, just until things are firm. If you *don't* want to top with dulce de leche because you hate enjoying life or just don't have time to resist the urge to dive into this, you could call it a day here and eat the dip. But take the hour. Relax. Read a book. Take a nap. Read a book while taking a nap. Just remember, the name of the dip dessert game is simplicity.
And also, hella good yumminess.
 Dump three tablespoons of dulce de leche in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds:
Do not lick--will be hot.
 Stir until smooth, and then use an angled spatula or small knife to spread across the top of your firmed up churro cheesecake dip:
There's a fine line here, and it is make of sticky, sweet caramel.
 You could also call it a day here and place into the fridge to finish setting, but I prefer to garnish dip. Jazz things up a bit. Make them slightly complicated and a bit pretty (side note- this is now my new name for my autobiography).
She was a complicated woman, but she loved dessert.
I used a 1M tip to create a quick swirl of Cool Whip Free in the middle of my dessert and finished things off by placing a Stacy's Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chip in the center.
I am now also obsessed with dessert pita chips. I did not know such a thing existed.
Place back in to the fridge to let set for a few hours (mine sat in the fridge for about 4 hours until we were ready to go to the party this dessert was debuting at). Plate and serve with cinnamon sugar pita chips, cinnamon graham crackers, Nilla Wafers, apple slices, etc. You really can't go wrong.
Because, churro.
To paraphrase a friend after she tried a bit: this stuff is legit. It is so creamy and sweet, but the cinnamon gives the cheesecake the perfect balance. The dulce de leche layer on top makes it absolutely irresistible. A few people had never heard of churros or dulce before at this party (because sadly, not everyone can be a Texan), but said it didn't matter because whatever it was, that dip was damn good. So the moral of the story here (aside from the magic that is Tex Mex anything) is that a simple dessert you throw together on a wing and prayer that it won't suck can sometimes turn out to be the biggest crowd pleaser you've ever made. Does this mean I'm going to start trying to make things less complicated on a regular basis? I'd like to say yes, but my Level 99 anxiety is already laughing in the back of my head, so, we'll see. In either case, I have literally one spoonful of this dessert leftover from the gathering we went to last night (I wasn't even letting a milligram of this awesome stuff go to waste), and I'm saving it in the event of an emergency (a.k.a., Monday morning). 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!
Gonna need another cheesecake fix real soon, though.