Bruschetta Bar

Who’s ready for a party??

A Bruschetta Bar is perfect for entertaining guests, with tons of options for toppings like Classic Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella, Mushroom Bruschetta and Roasted Eggplant White Bean Spread!

Because today I’m bringing you a fun, inventive way to serve up some light snacks to your next party guests – a homemade Bruschetta Bar!


In all honesty, today’s post should only be considered the tip of the iceberg, because the possibilities are endless. I’ll get you started with some of what I consider the “must-have” basics for any Bruschetta Bar, and then leave it up to you to get creative from there and come up with some of your own toppings. You could even add these Butternut Squash Crostini with Crispy Prosciutto and Sage or these Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey to the spread if you really want to wow everyone. There are endless possibilities!

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, I came up to the Bay Area last week for a friend’s baby shower. She’s due just a few weeks before me (another girl!) and I am so excited to be going on this journey with her. It has been great to have someone to talk to and compare stories with as we both experience pregnancy for the first time. It is a pretty big life change, after all!

So when my friend asked if I’d be willing to help with some food for her shower, of course I jumped at the chance. She’s been having a little rougher time with morning sickness than I have, so I was sure to ask her what types of food were sounding best to her before planning the menu. I would hate to show up to her shower with a bunch of food that made her feel sick!

A Bruschetta Bar would not be complete without both a sweet and savory option: Classic Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella and Honeyed Ricotta Goat Cheese Spread with Fresh Nectarines!

After a little discussion back and forth, we decided on a Bruschetta Bar. We thought it would be the perfect “light snack” to have available for a mid-afternoon shower, would hold up well in the heat (this was an outdoor shower in the month of August, after all) and actually sounded appetizing to her.

So how do we create a Bruschetta Bar?? Well, my friends, it is incredibly easy (like, you’re going to smack yourself in the forehead after reading this if you have never thought of serving a Bruschetta Bar at a get-together before.) You simply put out a bunch of different topping options (or, better yet, have your friends each bring a topping, potluck style), toast up a big batch of crostini and set it all out for your guests to go to town. That’s it, no last-minute frantic rush in the kitchen or need to dish out plates for your guests. My favorite kind of entertaining!

A Bruschetta Bar is an easy entertaining idea that will keep all guests happy, especially with a Classic Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella and Roasted Eggplant White Bean Spread!

As you can see by now (and as I mentioned before), there is really a myriad of directions you could go for your Bruschetta Bar. Here are the basics I settled on for my friend’s shower:

Classic Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella
Mushroom Bruschetta
Roasted Eggplant White Bean Spread
Honeyed Ricotta Goat Cheese Spread with Fresh Nectarines

Each topping is incredibly easy to make, with minimal ingredients and not a lot of cooking required. At first glance it may seem intimidating, but I promise you it’s a breeze to throw together. You can also prep a lot of the toppings ahead of time, which means less pressure on you to be in the kitchen and more time to sit and enjoy the company of your guests.

A Roasted Eggplant and White Bean Spread stars in this super-easy Bruschetta Bar.

Read on for the topping recipes, toast up some crostini and be sure to tell me about some of your other favorite variations in the comments below!

Classic Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Classic Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella
Prep Time
10 mins
 

Fresh tomatoes, garlic and basil come together to form the perfect topping for golden crostini when paired with creamy mozzarella.

Course: Appetizer
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into slices the size of your crostini
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. For best results, refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Serve in a bowl with a platter of mozzarella alongside.

 

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Mushroom Bruschetta
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

Finely chopped mushrooms sauteed in olive oil with a touch of fresh tarragon make the perfect addition to a fun Bruschetta Bar.

Course: Appetizer
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Add oil to a saute pan over medium heat. Once oil is warm, add mushrooms, stirring over medium heat until they begin to sweat. Add tarragon and garlic and continue stirring until mushrooms are cooked through. Squeeze in lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Roasted Eggplant White Bean Spread | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Roasted Eggplant White Bean Spread
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

Roasted eggplant and white beans come together to form a smooth, silky spread that is perfect to spread on toasted crostini.

Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 5 cloves peeled garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium mixing bowl, toss together the eggplant, garlic, olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spread mixture out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

  2. Add roasted eggplant and garlic, cannellini beans, olive oil and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor and process until a smooth puree forms. Add salt and pepper to taste, pureeing between each addition to incorporate. 

  3. For best results, refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

 

Honeyed Ricotta Goat Cheese Spread with Fresh Nectarines | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Honeyed Ricotta Goat Cheese Spread with Fresh Nectarines
Prep Time
10 mins
 

This sweet, tangy and creamy spread is delicious when paired with fresh nectarines and used to top crunchy crostini.

Course: Appetizer
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey
  • 6 fresh nectarines, thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Stir together ricotta, goat cheese, cream cheese and honey in a medium mixing bowl. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Serve in a bowl alongside a platter of the freshly sliced nectarines.

Sirloin Steak Bites with Bourbon Rosemary BBQ Sauce

Getting back to the serious stuff today!

A big platter of Sirloin Steak Bites with Bourbon Rosemary BBQ Sauce is the perfect way to #ownyourparty this summer!
This post was created in partnership with True Aussie Beef & Lamb and Big Green Egg in exchange for free product. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Well, if you count mouthwateringly delicious Sirloin Steak Bites with Bourbon Rosemary BBQ Sauce as serious, that is. And when I say mouthwatering, I mean MOUTHWATERING. Seriously, this stuff is so good.

It’s not every day that you get sent a cooler full of delicious #TrueAussieBeef and #TrueAussieLamb, plus a Big Green Egg and are told to throw a summer party celebrating the #GreaterOutdoors but when you do, you happily oblige.


IMPORTANT PSA: If you’ve read any of my other recent meat-centric posts, you know that I’ve partnered with True Aussie Beef and Lamb and Big Green Egg in their #GreaterOutdoors campaign to give away a Big Green Egg to one very lucky reader. Well, TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO ENTER! Be sure to keep reading until the end of this post for instructions on how to get in on this. Do it now!

Sirloin steaks cooking on the Big Green Egg, soon to be drenched in sweet and tangy Bourbon Rosemary BBQ Sauce.

I already shared the Island Style Teriyaki Beef Sliders and Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Mint Pea Pesto that I made with my #aussome beef and lamb products for a summer pool party with friends, and today it’s time to tell you all about what was surely one of the greatest hits: Sirloin Steak Bites with Bourbon Rosemary BBQ Sauce!

Can I first tell you about the insanely huge piece of sirloin I used to make these? Ummm, I mean, we were serving a crowd of about 20 people and we STILL only used half of it. The other half is waiting contentedly in the freezer for the next chance we get to throw a party and I’m pretty excited about it.

I’m not sure I’ve told you before, but my husband is most definitely a steak man. Tri tip is one of his favorite things to grill up on the weekend and, if we go somewhere for date night that has a good steak on the menu, you can bet that’s what he’s going to order. So you can imagine how excited he was to see this gigantic piece of sirloin come out of the freezer.

Perfectly cooked sirloin steaks resting before being cut into bite-size pieces and coated in a delicious Bourbon Rosemary BBQ Sauce.

And since he’s the expert, I asked him how HE would like the steak cooked. We needed something crowd-friendly, hence the steak bite idea, but I have to give him credit for helping me come up with the tangy, sweet and boozy Bourbon Rosemary BBQ Sauce.

The BBQ sauce is something you’ll definitely want to make in advance, as it just gets better and better with a little time in the refrigerator for the flavors to really meld together. I made it the night before we were grilling, and it set up perfectly. It’s really not complicated, and just requires a little time on the stovetop.

The next day (or a few hours later), it’s time to grill! In order to keep the steak as moist as possible (and for ease of grilling), we cut it into four approximately one-pound pieces for cooking. Keeping the size of the steak a bit larger helps seal in all of the juices, so once you DO cut into it, each steak bite is juicy, tender and delicious.

Sirloin steaks finishing up on the grill before being cut into pieces and coated with sweet and tangy Bourbon Rosemary BBQ Sauce.

After the steak is done, let it rest as long as possible and simply cut it into bites a little bit before you’re ready to serve. Toss the bites in a tad more of the BBQ sauce, and serve the rest of the sauce on the side for extra dipping.

Finally, add some toothpicks to your serving platter for hungry fingers to serve themselves. I’m pretty certain your Sirloin Steak Bites with Bourbon Rosemary BBQ Sauce are going to be the hit of the party!

Sirloin Steak Bites with Bourbon Rosemary BBQ Sauce are the perfect addition to a summer spread.

Okay, now for the equally important stuff: how to win a Big Green Egg! Simply click on this link before tomorrow and enter in your information. Then wait and see if you’ve won! Seriously though, we have been so happy with our Big Green Egg cooking experience and have been cooking on it more often than you can imagine. So many endless outdoor cooking possibilities!

Here’s to kicking off another summer week, hopefully with some delicious steak bites in the mix!

A big platter of Sirloin Steak Bites with Bourbon Rosemary BBQ Sauce is the perfect way to #ownyourparty this summer!
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Sirloin Steak Bites with Bourbon Rosemary BBQ Sauce
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

Tender, mouthwatering steak bites are drenched in a sweet and tangy bourbon rosemary BBQ sauce. The perfect addition to a summer entertaining spread!

Course: Main Course
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the BBQ sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 of an onion, finely minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of pepper
For the steak:
  • 4 pounds sirloin steak, cut into 1 pound pieces
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. The night (or a few hours) before you’ll be cooking the steak, make the BBQ sauce. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook until all ingredients come together and sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. 

  2. Remove sauce from heat, let cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until ready to use.

  3. When you’re ready to cook the steak, you’ll first need to prep your Big Green Egg (or other outdoor cooking appliance.) Bring the Egg to a temperature of approximately 500 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  4. Season each steak with salt and pepper and brush with a light coating of the prepared BBQ sauce. Reserve the rest of the sauce for later.

  5. Once grill is preheated, add the steaks, searing on all sides. 

  6. After searing the steaks, bring the grill’s temperature down to about 375 degrees Fahrenheit to finish cooking. Move the steaks to the outer perimeter of the grill to receive indirect heat, and cook until they reach an internal temperature of 130 degrees (for medium-rare).

  7. Let steaks sit and rest (to finish cooking and bring them to the perfect temperature) for another 10 minutes or so. If you want your steak more well-done, simply bring it to a slightly higher temperature before removing to rest. 

  8. Just before you’re ready to serve, cut the steaks into bite-size pieces and add another light coating of the BBQ sauce. Toss to combine. 

  9. Serve any remaining BBQ sauce in a bowl on the side for dipping and be sure to include toothpicks!

Sirloin Steak Bites with Bourbon Rosemary BBQ Sauce | CaliGirlCooking.com

Virgin Stone Fruit Sangria

Because every pregnant mama deserves a delicious virgin sangria, right?!

A tall, refreshing glass of Virgin Stone Fruit Sangria.

I tell ya, when you’re pregnant, you sure do get some funny cravings. And once you start thinking about something, it’s pretty hard to stop. For example, I’ve been craving doughnuts virtually my entire pregnancy, but have yet to satisfy my craving. I don’t know why I haven’t, maybe because I’m trying to be “healthy”? (Says she who has been baking the likes of cinnamon rolls and Chocolate Cherry Bread basically nonstop.) But perhaps if I DID give in to my craving and just go to Dunkin’ Donuts already, I’d be able to stop thinking about them! Anyone out there  have some insight on this?


But anyhow, one of the other things I’ve been really thinking a lot about in this day of pool parties and beach days is fruity, refreshing sangria. Sure, my Spindrifts and La Croix’s get me through an afternoon lounging in the sun, but sometimes I want something just a little more special (and, let’s be honest, I REALLY miss the wine.)

An overhead shot of two glasses of refreshing Virgin Stone Fruit Sangria, perfect for summer entertaining!

I got this idea for a virgin sangria when I was looking for some glasses of wine to use as props for one of my photo shoots. Since I’ve been on the wagon, the hubs hasn’t been opening too many bottles of wine because he’d then have to drink the whole bottle himself….womp womp. TBH, I’ve been totally okay with this because (a) I would be really bummed if he opened a bottle I really wanted to taste/enjoy with him and (b) that’s basically every bottle of wine we own.

So, in lieu of opening a bottle of wine which I would subsequently get to enjoy no part of, I turned to my refrigerator and realized that the bottle of cherry juice I had stuck in there would look JUST like red wine. And I could drink it up afterwards! This got me thinking, what else could I make that used cherry juice as a red wine substitute? Some sort of fruity sangria was the first thing that came to mind.

On top of the sangria inspiration, my local Trader Joe’s just happens to be popping with just about every type of stone fruit imaginable, and every time I go I just want to eat it all up. I decided a Virgin Stone Fruit Sangria would be the perfect way to satisfy both my wine and stone fruit cravings and, let me tell ya, I’m so pleased with the result!

A big pitcher of Virgin Stone Fruit Sangria is all you need for your next summer get-together.

I used fresh cherries, apricots and plums in my recipe, but you could really substitute any stone fruit that looks or sounds good to you. That’s half the fun!

And aside from the cherry juice I already mentioned, you’ll also want to have ginger beer and club soda on hand. The ginger beer adds a nice zest to the mix, while the club soda adds even more fizz and dilutes the mixture slightly so it’s not overly sweet.

Mix your stone fruit and your liquids together in a big pitcher, let chill for a bit (you definitely want that fruit to marinate!) and, finally, serve over ice in a big wine glass. Your Virgin Stone Fruit Sangria is served, wine headache not included.

This Virgin Stone Fruit Sangria is filled with the season's best fruit with a zesty kick from ginger beer.

A big pitcher of Virgin Stone Fruit Sangria is all you need for your next summer get-together.
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Virgin Stone Fruit Sangria
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

A fun, virgin take on classic sangria, this recipe utilizes fresh cherry juice, zesty ginger beer and summer's best stone fruits for a truly refreshing drink.

Course: Drinks
Servings: 6 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and cut in half
  • 3 small apricots, sliced
  • 2 plums, sliced
  • 2 cups cherry juice
  • 2 cups ginger beer
  • 2 cups sparkling water or club soda
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to a few hours.

  2. Serve in wine glasses filled with ice and enjoy!

Virgin Stone Fruit Sangria | CaliGirlCooking.com

Pear and Gruyere Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Cippolini Onions

Today’s post comes with allll the mixed emotions.

An overhead shot of delicious Pear and Gruyere Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Cippolini Onions.

There are happy memories, there are sad moments, all of which I will get more into in a moment but, for now, let’s just look at this Pear and Gruyere Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Cippolini Onions as a nostalgic meal best shared with those you love. Because life is all too fleeting, and you need to grasp those moments when you have them.


If you read my Travel Diaries: Tuscany post, you already know that this past April the hubs and I went with both of our parents and my aunt to visit our dear friends Sergio and Stefano at their beautiful Tuscan villa. My aunt and I had been there before, but our parents had yet to experience their over-the-top hospitality and beautiful grounds.

One of the biggest regrets I had on that first trip with my aunt was that we spent every day out and about exploring, and never had the chance to stay at the Villa for a day and take a cooking class, which Sergio and Stefano specialized in. I knew that when we went back to visit this was going to be a MUST. Who doesn’t want to learn what goes into true Italian cooking?

This Pear and Gruyere Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Cippolini Onions is the perfect centerpiece to a meal with good friends and loved ones.

So we spent one day on our last trip in the kitchen, learning all about how to make the fluffiest homemade gnocchi, the beefiest Bolognese and the richest tiramisu. I seriously don’t know how we did it all in the course of half of a day. But Sergio and Stefano had it down to a science, and boy did they make it all look so easy. They’d been teaching classes together for years, even traveling to the U.S. to do so, and it was oh-so-apparent in the way they took us through all of the recipes like a well-oiled machine.

We got some sad news a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, Sergio had lost a long struggle he had been fighting over some health issues the last couple of years. As would be expected, we were all deeply saddened by the news. At the same time, I feel so grateful that we were able to make the trip and spend so much time with him when we did. Sergio was such a gem: humble, kind, selfless and one of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. He and Stefano had taken our crew by the hand during our trip, being the most selfless hosts while also escorting us on all of our excursions, serving as our own personal tour guides. They truly made us feel like family.

The hubby and I with our gracious hosts, Sergio and Stefano, at Villa Fabbroni in April of 2017.

Sergio was a true master in the kitchen, shown here making the stuffed pork tenderloin that inspired this very recipe!

Juicy slices of Pear and Gruyere Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Cippolini Onions.

As I often do when struggling with difficult emotions, I decided the best way to both express my sympathy and honor Sergio’s memory would be through cooking. This Pear and Gruyere Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Cippolini Onions is my own personal take on one of the (many) recipes we learned to make during their cooking class and, I have to say, I think Sergio would be proud.

It’s actually a lot more simple than it looks (or sounds,) yet is an elegant dish to serve a dinner table full of guests you care about. The version we made at the villa was filled with apples and Parmigiano, but for this version I decided to sub in one of my favorite combos: fresh pears and gruyere.

The pork tenderloin is already beautifully decadent with the filling, but becomes even more so with the light jacket of prosciutto that’s wrapped around it just before cooking.

Slices of fresh prosciutto are wrapped around this Pear and Gruyere Stuffed Pork Tenderloin before cooking.

It’s cooked completely on the stove top, but with very little hands-on work. A quick flip of the tenderloin about halfway through cooking is all you’ll need. We leave the oven open for roasting the cippolini onions, which are the perfect contrast to the Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with their sweet yet tangy glaze.

Pear and Gruyere Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Cippolini Onions is the perfect main event for any family dinner.

So here’s to all those we’ve loved and lost too soon, and all of the recipes we have to share the memories. Cheers to you Sergio, che tu possa riposare in pace.

This Pear and Gruyere Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Cippolini Onions is the perfect centerpiece to a meal with good friends and loved ones.
Print
Pear and Gruyere Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Cippolini Onions
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

Pork tenderloin makes the perfect dinner centerpiece when stuffed with pears and Gruyere and wrapped in crispy prosciutto.

Course: Main Course
Servings: 5 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the pork tenderloin:
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork tenderloin (or sirloin,) sliced in half and opened like a book
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pear, peeled and sliced
  • 3 1/2 ounces shaved Gruyere
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 2 cups chicken broth
For the cippolini onions:
  • 14 ounces peeled cippolini onions
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Begin by pounding the pork tenderloin to a ½-inch thickness. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then layer on the pear and Gruyere.

  2. Lay out the slices of prosciutto on a piece of plastic wrap so that they mimic the shape that the tenderloin has taken. For mine, I made two columns of three slices of prosciutto each, right up next to each other. Place the pork on top of the prosciutto.

  3. Using the plastic wrap to hold everything together, first roll up one side of the tenderloin, then the other, having the two ends of the pork meet at the top, with the prosciutto extending over that seam just a bit. 

  4. Using a piece of butcher’s twine, make loops down the length of the tenderloin to hold everything together. I just kind of made up my method, but use whatever works best for you while losing as little of the filling as possible.

  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for the onions.

  6. Place a large, deep saute pan or Dutch oven on the stove over medium-high heat and melt the butter in it. Once the butter is melted and the pan is nice and hot, add the pork and brown it on all sides (about 2 minutes each side.)

  7. Once the pork is browned, pour in the sherry and let the alcohol evaporate off a bit, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth.

  8. Cover the pot or pan and cook for about 15 minutes. 

  9. While the meat is cooking, prep the onions. In an 8-by-8-inch baking dish, spread out the onions in a thin layer. Cut the butter into tablespoons and drop the tablespoons evenly over the onions, followed by the sugar, white vinegar, salt and pepper. Place in the preheated 350 degree oven and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until the onions are golden brown and can be pierced easily with a fork.

  10. After 15 minutes, remove the lid and pour off the liquid until only about ½ cup remains. Flip the pork over and replace the lid. Cook the pork for another 15 minutes, or until cooked through.

  11. Transfer the pork to a serving dish and surround it with the cooked cippolini onions. Garnish with whatever fresh herbs you may have on hand!

Pear and Gruyere Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Cippolini Onions | CaliGirlCooking.com

Patriotic Cheesecake Bites

This is a very rare day where we get to call a Monday a Friday. Let’s take full advantage of it with some Patriotic Cheesecake Bites!

The cupcake liners of these Patriotic Cheesecake Bites peel away to reveal three layers of brownie, cheesecake and blueberry compote.

Let’s be real, I’m pretty dang excited to tell you about these little bites of heaven. After all, how often do you get the taste of rich red velvet brownies, creamy cheesecake and refreshing blueberry compote all in the size of a cupcake? Not very often, I’m betting.


I’m not gonna lie, these Patriotic Cheesecake Bites were a labor of love. In fact, I didn’t even attempt to photograph them the first time around because I knew it would be a recipe that needed a lot of refining. Well, I’m happy to say that my hard work paid off, and now I have delicious layered cheesecake bites to tell you all about!

These Patriotic Cheesecake Bites feature three layers of red velvet brownie, cheesecake and blueberry compote. The perfect bite-size festive dessert for 4th of July!

But first, tell me what you all are doing to celebrate 4th of July?? Did you take today off so you could have a four day weekend? Or are you stuck at your desk today madly trying to get things done so you can cut out of work early and TGIF the heck out of Monday?

The hubs and I had a nice relaxing weekend at home, full of lots of time out in the sun enjoying some beach volleyball and, as we do every weekend, cooking up oh so many delicious things! I made cinnamon rolls on Saturday morning and Sunday morning I finished up the cheesecake bites. Last night the hubs smoked up a tri tip after we did a little new car research, since we’re hoping to upgrade before baby comes in October. Right now we’re looking at either a 2017 Subaru Forester (I currently drive a 2010) or Honda Pilot. Any thoughts/input are welcome!!

The cupcake wrappers on these Patriotic Cheesecake Bites peel away to reveal red, white and blue layers of deliciousness!

We also leave for our babymoon in a week and a half (Kauai, here we come!) so unfortunately neither of us was able to take today off of work, but we’re definitely planning on relaxing with some beach time, friends and more delicious food tomorrow. I can hardly wait. I think every week should only be a four-day work week.

Okay, but I digress, and I need to keep this fairly short because I’ve got things to do and relaxing to commence. Let’s talk about these Patriotic Cheesecake Bites.

A big cake stand full of Patriotic Cheesecake Bites. The perfect dessert to celebrate the 4th of July!

They’re a little more time-consuming than just-your-average cupcake, but not nearly as bad as whipping up an entire full-size cheesecake. There are three layers, so three main steps to the process, but none of them takes very long because we’re talking cupcake-size portions.

The first layer is a rich, chocolate-y red velvet brownie. I’m the first to admit that I’m a BIG chocolate-lover, so this layer came out more of a darker red than a bright, vibrant red, but trust me, the extra chocolate flavor is worth it.

The first layer of Patriotic Cheesecake Bites: red velvet brownie!

The second layer is a classic cheesecake, which I based off of my Classic New York-Style Cheesecake I made a while back. The great news is that for these Patriotic Cheesecake Bites we don’t need to worry about the hassle of a water bath, and they cook sooooo much quicker.

The second layer of Patriotic Cheesecake Bites: creamy New York-style cheesecake!

The third and final layer is a fresh blueberry compote. You guys, this is the proverbial “icing on the cake.” I based my recipe off of this one from Martha Stewart, and added in a little gelatin to make sure the compote set enough to eventually peel off the cupcake liners and reveal the festive red, white and blue layers.

The third layer of Patriotic Cheesecake Bites: blueberry compote!

That’s it! So easy. The first time I made these, I tried making them in my mini cheesecake pan, but even with a generous coating of cooking spray they stuck quite a bit and were hard to pop out. The next time around, I decided to go with a classic cupcake pan with liners (I used these fun Fourth of July ones from Amazon!) and that turned out to be soooo much easier. If you don’t want things to get too messy, you can serve the bites right in the wrappers, or if you want people to really see why you call these “Patriotic Cheesecake Bites,” peel off the papers to reveal the surprise.

These Patriotic Cheesecake Bites are the perfect fun, festive dessert for Fourth of July!

So what do you think? Have I motivated you yet to try these out tomorrow? Better yet, get them started and into the refrigerator tonight, and you won’t have to spend any time in the kitchen tomorrow. More time to enjoy sunshine and good friends!

This post contains affiliate links.

Patriotic Cheesecake Bites | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Patriotic Cheesecake Bites
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hrs
 

These individually-sized festive bites feature layers of red velvet brownie, classic cheesecake and blueberry compote to make the perfect treat for the Fourth of July!

Course: Dessert
Servings: 2 dozen
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the red velvet brownie layer:
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red food coloring
  • 1/4 teaspoon white vinegar
For the cheesecake layer:
  • 8 ounces regular cream cheese
  • 8 ounces light cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
For the blueberry compote layer:
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line 2 dozen cupcake tins with cupcake liners.

  2. First, make the brownie layer. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. 

  3. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Add this mixture to the butter mixture and beat until combined. 

  4. Beat in the food coloring and vinegar.

  5. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the brownie batter into each of the cupcake tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven to cool slightly, leaving oven heated to 350 degrees for baking the next layer.

  6. Next, make the cheesecake layer. In a clean stand mixer bowl, beat together the cream cheeses, sugar and eggs. 

  7. Add the flour, vanilla extract, sour cream, lemon zest and salt and beat until combined.

  8. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the cheesecake batter in the cupcake tins on top of the red velvet brownie layer. Return cupcake pans to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until cheesecake is set and not jiggly, Remove and let cool while you make the third layer.

  9. For the blueberry compote, combine all ingredients except the gelatin in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the blueberries break down and a gel-ish liquid forms, about 8-10 minutes. 

  10. Turn off the heat and stir in the gelatin. Let sit for 5 minutes, then scoop 1 tablespoon of the blueberry compote over each of the cheesecake bites.

  11. Refrigerate cheesecake bites at least 2 hours or overnight. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. You can serve them in their cupcake wrappers or remove the papers to reveal the patriotic layers. 

Patriotic Cheesecake Bites | CaliGirlCooking.com