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      Recipes — cherry desserts

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      Sweet Heart's Cherry Cheesecake

      Sweet Heart's Cherry Cheesecake

      Ok. Here’s a throwback recipe I’ve had for years! You know that cookbook that just shows up in your college apartment and you’re not sure who’s it is? It may have even been there from the girls before.  I still have it:)

      I used this cheesecake recipe for a Valentine’s dinner for my then college boyfriend, now hubby for over 20 years!  

       Since then we've enjoyed many Valentine's dates. Some romantic,  Some with our boys and chocolate treasure hunts. 

      But that very first Valentines Day, I remember, mostly because of the company, and partly because of the cheesecake. Who doesn’t love cheesecake?! 

       Truthfully there isn’t anything fancy or unique about this cheesecake. It’s just a good fool proof recipe you can count on. But what I’ve learned through the years of baking is this…. quality vanilla can transfer your confections from good to great! Tongan rum with it’s cherry undertones is the perfect companion to these cherries.  If you’re in hurry, by all means, use the canned cherry pie filling at the grocery store.  Although, if you want to make your own sweet cherries, go to our previous post cherry hand pies. Either way don’t forget that yummy vanilla!




      1/3 cups crushed chocolate wafer cookies or vanilla wafers

      1/4 cup melted butter

      2 tablespoons sugar


      4 Large eggs

      ½ cup butter softened

      2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

      1 cup sugar

      1 tablespoon cornstarch

      1 teaspoon baking powder

      1 tablespoon lemon juice


      1 cup sour cream

      2 tablespoons sugar

      1 teaspoon Vanillapura Madagascar/vodka vanilla extract


      -1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling

      1 tsp of Vanillapura Tongan/rum vanilla extract

      -3 tablespoons kirsch or orange juice, if desired

      - Or make your own cherry hand pies



      1. STEP 1

      Heat oven to 325°F. Wrap outside of 9-inch spring form pan with aluminum foil. Lightly grease inside of pan. 

      1. STEP 2

      Combine all crust ingredients in bowl. Press onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool.

      1. STEP 3

      Place egg whites into bowl. Beat at high speed, scraping bowl often, until soft peaks form. Set aside.

      1. STEP 4

      Combine 1/2 cup butter, cream cheese and egg yolks into bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add all remaining filling ingredients except egg whites. Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Gently stir in beaten egg whites.

      1. STEP 5

      Spoon filling into crust. Place cheesecake onto center rack of oven. Place pan of warm water on rack below cheesecake to prevent cracking. Bake 55-65 minutes or until center is set and firm to the touch. Cool 15 minutes.

      1. STEP 6

      Loosen sides of cheesecake from pan by running knife around inside of pan. Cool completely. (Cheesecake center will dip slightly upon cooling.)

      1. STEP 7

      Combine sour cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and vanilla in bowl; mix well. Spread evenly over top of cheesecake. Spoon out 2 to 3 tablespoons cherry sauce from pie filling; drop by teaspoonful onto sour cream topping. Carefully pull knife or spatula through cherry sauce to form hearts. Cover; refrigerate at least 4 hours.

      1. STEP 8

      Stir together remaining pie filling and kirsch in bowl; spoon over cheesecake at serving time.  Don’t forget to add the vanilla. Store refrigerated.

      A big thank you to Land O Lakes for this long time favorite recipe.



      Cherry Hand Pies

      Cherry Hand Pies

      Valentine’s Day is coming up and I’m starting to think of some fun sweet confections.   My hubby is a nut for cherry pie. But it can’t be just a boring regular pie. It’s Valentine’s Day for Gosh sakes.  You gotta go the extra step and make them heart shaped hand pies!  This makes them easier to eat and  guilt free for eating more than one or two! The cherry filling is homemade which makes all the difference. Don’t forget to add Indonesian/rum Vanilla. It will bring out the cherry overtones and send these hand pies over the top.  They are irresistibly delish!


      • 1 can red tart cherries in water; reserving half of the liquid (I buy Oregon Fruit Products, usually sold in the canned fruit section rather than with the canned pie fillings in the baking aisle)
      • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
      • 1/3 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
      • Scant 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract
      • 1-2 tsp Vanillapura Tongan/rum vanilla extract
      • 1 recipe pie crust (see below, or buy if you prefer)
      • Egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water) 


      1. Mix the cherries, half the liquid from the can, sugar, cornstarch, and almond extract in a heavy-bottomed pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, for 8-10 minutes or until the liquid turns thick, gels, and bubbles. Remove from heat add vanilla and let cool.
      2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Also, bring the pie crust dough out of the fridge to soften slightly (15 min).
      3. Roll out half of the pie crust on a floured surface. Use a 3 inch, heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut hearts out of the dough. Transfer to parchment-paper-lined cookie sheets.
      4. Spoon a couple tablespoons of cherry filling onto the center of each heart.
      5. Cover each with a second dough heart. Press the edges closed with fork tines.
      6. Use a sharp knife to cut an X (for a kiss) in the top crust.
      7. (Alternately, use a tiny heart cookie cutter to punch a heart out of the center of the top crusts, before placing them over the filling.) Brush each hand pie with egg wash, then sprinkle with sugar.
      8. Bake for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown at edges.
      9. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.


      homemade cherry ice cream

      homemade cherry ice cream

      It’s hot outside and we have one more week of summer left before school starts! We’re trying to fit in all the summer we can. Which means… ice cream! Not just any ice cream… homemade cherry ice cream. I love homemade ice cream during the summer.  Cherry is my very favorite, and we have cherries coming out of our ears!!

      This is super easy so you can still go out and have fun while you’re waiting for it to set. No ice cream maker needed! If you like it really sweet try soaking the cherries in 1 Tbsp of sugar. Or for chocolate loving goodness add 1 cup of chocolate chunks.



      • 1 pint of heavy whipping cream
      • 1 15 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
      • 1 1/2 cups of fresh cherries, pitted and cut in half
      • 1 tsp of VanillaPura Madagascar/rum vanilla extract


      1. In a stand mixer, beat the heavy cream until stiff peak forms.
      2. When the stiff peaks have formed, fold in the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chunks, cherries, and vanilla.
      3. Freeze in a bread loaf pan until the ice cream has set.

      Cherry Crisp with fresh cherries

      Cherry Crisp with fresh cherries

      I absolutely love this time of year with the fruits stands popping up everywhere and farmers markets crowding the parks on Saturday mornings. Here in Utah, it's cherry season. Cherries are popping up everywhere! Doesn't this cherry crisp sound delish? Try it!



      Cherry Filling

      • 32 oz cherries, pitted and sliced in half
      • 3/4 cup sugar
      • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
      • 1/4 cup cornstarch
      • 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
      • 1 tsp of Indoensian rum VanillaPura extract

      Oatmeal Crumble

      • 1 cup all-purpose flour
      • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
      • 1 cup brown sugar

      1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted



      1. Preheat the oven to 375F degrees

      Cherry Filling

      1. Add the cherries, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and cinnamon to a very large stock pot. Toss with a spoon until the cherries are evenly covered.
      2. Heat the mixture over low heat stirring occasionally. The cherries will first start to release their juices, and then the mixture will start to thicken.
      3. After the juices have thickened (about 10-15 minutes), remove from the heat.
      4. Pour the mixture into a 9x13 inch glass or ceramic pan.


      Crumble Topping

      1. In a medium bowl stir together the flour, oats, and sugar.
      2. Stir in the melted butter. The mixture should look like wet sand.
      3. Crumble the oatmeal topping over top of the cherries.
      4. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until you see the top starting to brown and cherries bubbling through. If the top is getting too brown, tent a piece of aluminum foil over top and continue baking. 

      Recipe Notes

      *If using frozen berries, they'll need to boil for 5-10 minutes longer. 

      **Large rolled oats or large flake oats work too. Do not use instant or steel-cut oats.

      Recipe can be halved and made in an 8x8 or 9x9 inch ceramic or glass pan.

      Store leftovers covered in the fridge.