Tag Archives: dessert

Recipe: Pumpkin Cheesecake

19 Oct

Man oh man. I am getting BEHIND in the blogging.

Ok, so, we left off with a whole bunch of pumpkin puree, it was about 2 cups. I decided to take that puree and turn it into delicious, soul-sustaining cheesecake. Yummy yum yum!

I was a little worried that I would have to eat the whole thing by myself, but my fears turned out to be unfounded. The cake was split equally between my internship class and my internship site-ie-a whole bunch of counselors LOVE ME right now. I don’t know why no one else has ever thought of this. Problems at work? Bring cheesecake, douchebag. (Not that I had problems. I’M LOVELY. Even without baked goods).

Ingredients (Recipe by Paula Deen).

Crust:

1 3/4 C graham cracker crumbs

3 TB sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 stick melted butter

Filling:

24 oz cream cheese (3 8oz packages)

1 15oz can of pureed pumpkin (this is where I used my homemade pumpkin puree, which I had about 2 cups of).

3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk

1/4 C sour cream

1.5 C sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground cloves (I didn’t use cloves because I didn’t have any).

2 TB flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350˚.

Crush up your graham crackers. I used my hands.

Add the sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Mix until combined and then press into the bottom of a springform pan.

Beat the cream cheese until smooth (it’s supposed to be room temperature, but I put in in the microwave for about 30 seconds). Then add the pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar, spices, flour and vanilla.

Beat until well combined.

Pour into the springform pan and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

My effing cheesecake cracked.

And it started out life as so perfect and smooth!

Right after exiting the oven.

I left it to sit for longer than 15 minutes, and I suspect this is what made it crack. It may have looked like The Land Before Time but it tasted like DELICIOUS. Cut up into slices you could hardly tell, too, so I consider this cheesecake experiment SUCCESS!

Eaaaaat meeeee!

Nommy. Remember to share!

❤ stef

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How To: Pumpkin Puree

4 Oct

Alright ladies and gents. It’s that time of year again, the time when most Americans begin to experience uncomfortably desperate pumpkin cravings. You know who you are. You’re the one in the corner mainlining pumpkin spice lattes. Don’t try to hide! YOU’VE BEEN SPOTTED.

Ahem.

Sugar pie pumpkins and all manner of squash are currently on sale at Whole Foods for 99 cents a pound, which is what made me want to buy one. That and “sugar pie” pumpkin is such a cute name. Don’t you want to go buy one now? Sure you do. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

I’ve never actually been a fan of pumpkin pie (one of the only pumpkin incarnations I am aware of, I’ll admit) and I’ve recently decided that this might be because my grandma uses canned pumpkin. I know, I know, apparently there are really awesome and good quality canned pumpkin products out there, but this is just my THEORY. I really want to like pumpkin pie. I feel like I might be missing out on something.  In any case, making your own puree is really easy, and if you get the pumpkin on sale it is SO CHEAP. My pumpkin cost me about $1.50. You’re welcome.

The first step is to grab your pumpkin. Hello pumpkin! He is a sugar pie pumpkin, one of the smaller, sweeter varieties best for dessert making, and he weighs approximately 1.5 pounds. Aww.

Now, wash him. Cut off his stem and then cut him into quarters. This is his better half.

Use a spoon to scoop out all of his insides-seeds and stringy pulpy bits. Put it all aside because you can use the seeds for roasting, or making pumpkin brittle.

Put the quarters on a baking sheet, cover with foil, and roast in a 400˚ oven for 35-40 minutes.

My pumpkin has battle scars.

When it’s done, the pumpkin should be soft enough for you to scrape the shell off with a spoon. I left mine for 35 minutes and it was perfect.

Allow the pumpkin to cool for 10-20 minutes, then take a spoon and scrape the shell off.

Using some sort of mixing or mashing device, puree your pumpkin! I used my very favorite immersion blender that I use for everything. You might prefer a cuisinart, or a fork. I just don’t know.

The puree will keep for a few days in the fridge. I am still trying to decide what to so with mine. Right now, I’m thinking either pumpkin cheesecake or pumpkin pavlovas. I’ll decide in the next few days and post the results next Monday. In the meantime, happy pumpkin making!

❤ stef

Recipe: Apple Brown Betty

11 Nov

This is the second recipe from my little Childhood Recipe Series. I got it from another American Girls Cookbook, this time from Samantha Parkington‘s . In the series, Samantha is a girl living in the turn of the century. She is an orphan living with her grandmother (whom she calls Grandmary) in an upper-class household. One of her friends is an Irish servant girl named Nellie, and eventually both Samantha and Nellie are adopted by Samantha’s Aunt. Her books talk a lot about class disparity, woman’s suffrage, and child labor.

I don’t think I mentioned in the last post, but Addy is an African-American slave who escapes from a plantation with her mother. They both live in Philadelphia, and later on in the series her father (who had been sold to a different plantation when Addy was young) joins them. Her storyline deals mostly with prejudice and the difficulties Addy and her family encounter, even being in the Free North.

Anyway. I love the American Girls. Can you tell??

I made this recipe for Apple Brown Betty for the first time about 12 years ago (yeah, I was 12. I CAN DO THE MATH!), and I hadn’t made it since until this weekend. I’m not sure why, because it is really easy and super-delicious. It’s basically butter, breadcrumbs, sugar and apples. Easier than any apple pie, but twice as good. I’m not going to even try to touch the whole Thanksgiving meal thing, but if you’re looking for a twist on the traditional apple pie this would be a delectable alternative (look at me, breaking out the $5 words!).

Personally, I adore pie, but I’ve never been able to master the art that is the pie crust so I end up buying the pre-made stuff. This is kind of like apple pie, but there is no crust involved. I compare it to making lasagna – you just layer, layer, layer.

Recipe

4 apples

1.5 C bread crumbs

1/2 C brown sugar

3 TB butter

Cinnamon

1/3 C milk

Hard Sauce:

1/3 C butter

1/3 C powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Grease the bottom and sides of an 8×8 in plan with BUTTER! Or you can use cooking spray.

Peel, core and chop the apples into 1/4″ slices.

I’m working with a severely reduced kitchen, so my carrot peeler is MIA and I don’t actually own an apple corer. To get around that I used a paring knife to peel, chopped the apples in half and kind of sliced the core out of either side.

Cored apples. Sorta.

Sprinkle 1/2 C of the bread crumbs onto the bottom of the pan.

Follow by half of the apples, 1/4 C of brown sugar and 1 TB of the butter (chop the butter into small pieces and lay them evenly over the apple slices). Sprinkle the cinnamon over everything.

Add a second layer of breadcrumbs and repeat. So to clarify, you will have two layers of apples, butter, cinnamon and sugar, before you move to the next step which is the top of the dessert.

Top with 1/2 C of breadcrumbs and 1 TB butter cut into small pieces. Pour 1/3 C milk over the entire thing.

Bake at 375˚ for 45 min – 1 hr. While it is in the oven, take the 1/3 C butter for the hard sauce, cut it into chunks and put it in a bowl to soften.

I would suggest keeping a close watch on this while it bakes. I think my oven might bake at a very high temperature, because I had it set at 350˚ and my Apple Brown Betty was done in only 30 minutes. Once the top is a medium brown, you’re good to go and you should take it out.

Browned and ready!

When you take it out of the oven, make the hard sauce. Grab your softened butter.

Cream together with the powdered sugar and the vanilla.

Dab the sauce all over the top of the apple brown betty while it is still warm. This will allow the sauce to melt into the dessert.

You can serve immediately, or wait until it cools. I like to eat it warm.

You’re going to need some milk for this.

❤ Stef

Recipe: Peach Cobbler

26 Oct

When I was a child, I was enamored of the kitchen. I always used to ask my mother if I could help her cook dinner, and I was always very annoyed when she told me I could make the salad.

The salad? I would think.

A salad is not cooking. I wanted to use the stove to make something real. I wanted to do something, anything other than make that very boring salad.

So suffice to say that I starting cooking (for real) at a very young age – I made my first pie (chocolate cream) when I was ten. Maybe younger. So the other day (ok fine, the other MONTH), when I was rifling through my things at my parent’s house, I was absolutely delighted to find my old childhood cookbooks. I have three – The Boxcar Children’s Cookbook, Addy’s Cookbook, and Samantha’s Cookbook (the latter two are both American Girls cookbooks. Shush you in the back! Did you make apple brown betty when you were twelve? I thought not).

As a quick side note-I am very pleased to learn that the American Girl franchise is still creating new stories and new girls. I absolutely adored American Girl when I was growing up, and I collected all of the books about all of the girls available at the time. I think it is a fantastic way to introduce American history to pre-teens, and even more amazing that all of the stories are told from the viewpoint of the girls themselves. These stories sparked so much more interest in me for the time line of American history than any class ever did, and I just can’t speak highly enough of them.

Back to the food! Upon my re-discovery of these cookbooks, I decided it would be fun to do a series on recipes made from them. Since I am really nothing more than a child at heart, and besides, I’ve never found a better recipe for many of the items in these books. Hell, I still make milkshakes the way the Boxcar Children taught me.

This recipe is from Addy’s Cookbook.

Recipe:

Filling:

4 C sliced peaches (you can use frozen if you like)

2 TB flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 C sugar

Crust:

1 C flour, plus some extra for rolling out the dough

1 TB sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3 TB butter

6 TB half and half

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp sugar

Slice the peaches.

Add the flour, cinnamon and sugar, mix together and spoon it into a greased baking pan or a skillet.

For the crust, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into small chunks and smush them into the flour mixture with a fork until you have pea-sized lumps. Add the half and half and stir until the ingredients are just moistened. Sprinkle some flour on a surface (like a cutting board), turn the dough out onto it, and knead the dough for about 30 seconds. To knead, push down on the dough and then fold it in half and repeat. Using a rolling pin, (or, if you don’t have one like me, any cylindrical object. I’m rather fond of wine bottles!) roll out the dough starting from the center and working your way out until it is 1/4″ thick.

Like this!

Like this!

Cut the dough into strips, or use a cookie cutter to make shapes. I went for strips because I don’t have cookie cutters. I know, you’re just thinking, “How does this woman survive in this world?! No rolling pin and NO COOKIE CUTTERS??” It’s hard. But I manage. During Christmas time I either make drop cookies or cookie strips. Better for dunking that way.

Lay the pieces over the fruit and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over it all.

Mmm, cinnamon-y.

Mmm, cinnamon-y.

Bake in a 425˚ oven for 30 – 35 minutes, or until the crust is golden.

It should look something like this.

It should look something like this.

Ta da!

Cut and serve. You can serve with whipped cream or ice cream if that suits your fancy. I eat mine plain, for dessert and for breakfast. Because I’m an adult now, and I can do that. Hahahaha!!!

❤ Stef

Recipe: Lemon Thyme Donuts

5 Jun

Today is National Doughnut Day, which is pretty awesome. Every year I find out about more semi-obscure holidays extolling the virtues of all kinds of foods. Examples: National Popcorn Day, National Pie Day, National Candied Orange Peel Day, and National Cherries Jubilee Day. You should go look around on that website. There is a celebration nearly everyday.

So in honor of today’s holiday, I decided to make some donuts. Makes sense, yes? Though I do wonder, how does one officially spell “donut”, anyway? I see it spelled “donut” and also “doughnut” and am very confused. Which is correct? Does it matter? Is one more popular than the other? It seems to simply vary from one shop to the next, without rhyme or reason. I’ve elected to use “donut” because there are fewer letters. Also, the Donut Wheel, the best donut shop ever, utilizes that spelling. I bow to them as the donut gurus.

Donuts with Lemon-Thyme Glaze

Donut recipe from Secret Donut Recipe; glaze modified from their vanilla glaze recipe.

Donuts:

1 C warm milk

1 pkg yeast

2 C flour

1/2 C warm mashed potato

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 C sugar

2 TB oil

Yes, this recipe uses potato. At first I thought that potato was a very strange ingredient, but I decided to give it a chance because I love potato bread so much. It was not a mistake. These donuts are amazing! Very easy to handle and results in a fluffy and moist donut. Give the potato a chance!

So first, what you will want to do is prepare the potato. Prick it all over with a fork, and put it in the microwave to cook. If your microwave has a baked potato setting, use that. Otherwise, microwave for a minute or two at a time and check it . The potato should be soft to the touch. Let the potato cool and warm the cup of milk. Add the yeast to the milk along with a pinch of sugar and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Cut the potato in half and scoop out the insides. Add the flour, sugar, and salt.

Mix together and add the milk and yeast, and 2 TB of oil. Mix with your hands (or using a stand mixer, but I don’t have one of those) until the dough forms a cohesive ball. The dough will be a little sticky.

Spread a surface with flour, turn the dough onto the surface and knead a few times.

Spread to 1/4 – 1/2″ thick. I did mine about 1/4″ using just my hands and a cylindrical rum bottle. I don’t have a rolling pin, either!

Cut donut shapes using either a donut cutter (which I also do not have) or circular household objects. I used a drinking glass for the large circle and a bud vase for the small circle. I’m resourceful!

Let the donuts rise for 10 minutes. While you wait, fill a cast iron pan 1/2″ with oil and heat. I heated mine at about medium heat for 10 minutes and the oil temperature was perfect. During this time, you should also make the glaze.

Lemon-Thyme Glaze

2 TB warm milk

1/2 tsp butter, just a little shave off of a stick

1 C powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon zest

1/2 tsp dried thyme

Warm the milk and the butter. Add to the powdered sugar and mix. Add the lemon zest, vanilla, and thyme. Mix together. Feel fee to leave out the lemon and thyme if you would prefer a simple vanilla glaze.

Cook the donuts until golden brown on each side. This only takes a few minutes, so be sure to watch carefully.

Let cool on a plate lined with paper towels. When the donuts have cooled, dip them into the glaze to cover and put them on a plate to allow the glaze to set.

Look at that deep fried glaze-y shine. Perfection! And yes, they absolutely do taste as delicious as they look!

Now excuse me, I have a half dozen donuts to eat.

❤ Stef

Recipe: Olive Oil Pound Cake with Lemon and Rosemary

22 May

A few weeks ago I started carrying a notebook on me, so I could write down ideas when they came to me. I don’t remember where I was when I thought of making a pound cake with olive oil, but the idea popped into my head fully-formed–“olive oil pound cake”! Brilliant, I thought.

I think the idea really came from a little place in Berkeley called Sketch Ice Cream. Sketch was the first ice cream place I ever saw to use unconventional toppings, such as olive oil and sea salt. I’ve only ever been there once, because I live in San Francisco without a car and Sketch is located in a part of Berkeley that is inaccessible by BART. If you are ever in the area, or if you live in the area, I highly recommend you stop by. So although Sketch didn’t directly inspire me to make the olive oil pound cake, it opened me to the idea that savory things can be sweet. Like salt on caramel.

When I decided to make olive oil pound cake, I googled it and saw that it is not an original idea. Sad! Instead of using an available recipe, I decided to go ahead and make a regular pound cake and substitute olive oil for the butter. I found this nifty article about baking with olive oil, and it told me that 3 TB of olive oil can be substituted for 1/4 C of butter. So, I used 3/4 C of olive oil in place of the 1 C of butter the recipe originally called for. I also added the zest of 1 lemon, and the rosemary.

Olive Oil Pound Cake, adapted from the joy of baking.com

1 3/4 C flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

3/4 C olive oil

1 C sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

zest of 1 lemon

2 TB fresh rosemary, 1 TB if using dried.

Set the over to 350˚. Grease a 9x5x3″ loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper (I used waxed paper, and it worked wonderfully) and grease it.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. I didn’t sift. I never sift. It’s the lazy in me. Maybe something fully amazing would happen to this cake if you sifted, but I didn’t, and it was still delicious.

Beat together the sugar and the olive oil.

I thought this looked cool.

I thought this looked cool.

Add the eggs to the mix one at a time, fully incorporating each egg before adding the next. Add the vanilla, lemon zest, and rosemary.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until just incorporoated. Pour into pan.

Bake for 50-60 minutes.

Let cool for approximately 10 minutes, then overturn and cut. It should come out of the pan without a fuss. Serve warm either alone, or with honey or jam. If you’re feeling adventurous, slather that pound cake with butter. It’s ok; it’s made with olive oil!

Or, if you made some, serve with maple cream.

It is also really good cut into thick slices and toasted in the morning for breakfast. Or you could use it as the base for french toast! I haven’t tried that one, yet.

❤ Stef

Recipe: Gingersnap Sandwich Cookies

1 May

My birthday was last weekend, and my one request to my boyfriend was that he procure a birthday cake-specifically carrot cake-by any means necessary. I bought my own birthday cake last year, and it was a little depressing! I told him that I didn’t care if he bought the cake or used a box to make it, as long as I didn’t have to get it myself.
He surpassed my wildest expectations when I discovered him in the kitchen, making me cupcakes from scratch.
This is photo documentation of the first baked good he has ever made! He’s measuring and everything.I don’t have pictures of the final product, but let me assure you that they were delicious. I mean seriously. I had to fight people off of my cupcakes. Well, okay, the cupcakes were for sharing. But I wanted more than one! (I ate three. Maybe more. It’s all a haze. . .)

The frosting was a maple-cream cheese frosting and while it was extremely tasty, there was an absurd amount of it left. I don’t know who wrote the recipe but they are insane if they think that 2 dozen cupcakes require 3 cups of frosting. We have tons of frosting left.

Exhibit A.
This tupperware contains nearly 2 cups of frosting. Which brings me to my brilliant leftover frosting cookie idea.

Gingersnap sandwiches! Yessssss.

Ginger Cookies
Recipe modified from Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book (1963 edition)
Ingredients:
3 TB butter
1/4 C sugar
1 egg
1/4 C molasses
1 TB milk
5/8 C (1/2 + 1/8) flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp coriander
1 tsp vanilla

Maple-cream cheese frosting
Recipe from smitten kitchen. I cut the entire recipe in half and increased the maple syrup. This should make a little less than 1.5 C of frosting.
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 C powdered sugar
1/4 C maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350˚.
Let the butter (for both the cookies and the frosting) come to room temperature. This is really important! I usually try to speed things up by putting it in the microwave, but that never works as well as you think it does. Melted butter actually is much different from softened butter. This is a lesson that has taken me years and dozens of flat, melty cookies to find out.
Cream together the butter and the sugar.
Add the egg, molasses and milk and stir well. Mix in all of the dry ingredients, and the vanilla. Mix until the batter is smooth.
Chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or until the dough is firm. Spoon the dough onto a cookie sheet using a small spoon, making sure they are spaced at least 2″ apart.
Bake for 15 minutes. While you wait for the cookies to bake, make the frosting.

Cream together the cream cheese and the butter. Slowly add in the powdered sugar. When all of the sugar has been thoroughly mixed in, add the maple syrup and stir again to combine.

When you remove the cookies from the oven, allow to rest for a few minutes before removing. My cookies became attached while baking. Touchy cookies.
Pick a few pairs of cookies that are approximately the same size and shape. I choose four, to make a cookie sandwich for me and one for boyface. I prefer to create sandwich cookies as I go, as opposed to making a bunch of them and having to store them in their delicate frosted state. I also assumed that I would eat less of them at once if I didn’t have a dozen on a plate staring at me.
Anyway, find matching-ish cookie pairs.
Turn them on their backs.
Fill a plastic bag with frosting and cut off the corner. Or, use a pastry tube. Squeeze frosting out onto one of the cookies.
Now cover with the other cookie. Mmmm.
Way better than any oreo.
The cookie recipe turned out to be completely perfect for this use because they bake flat and have crispy edges but soft chewey centers. Frosting will likely fall out of your sandwich while you eat. It’s worth it.

❤ Stef