Long forgotten, but still remembered

I must apologize for my lack of updates in the recent months. I’ve had a few recent bumps in the road in terms of my health that have kept me from updating as often as I would have liked (take a look here for more information on that side of my life – http://abvdinnyc.wordpress.com/) I’ve been baking a bit here and there still, but with summer upon us, I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things baking-wise!

Instead of backtracking to find all the recipes I’ve used in the past month, I thought I’d just share some pictures that I have taken of my creations. We’ve had a few birthdays in the apartment, Passover, and the usual baking adventures. I also hosted a baking birthday party for some 6 and 7 year olds along with my roommate. It was loads of fun and if anyone is interested in having a baking party, let me know!  With school over in just a few days, my time will be opened up once again to try some new things this summer!

Coconut brownies made during a ski vacation in Vermont. 

Chocolate cake with caramel butter cream, chocolate ganache, and salted praline for my grandfathers birthday. 

Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for my grandfathers birthday. 

Adventures in juice making with our lovely new juicer. 

Carrot, pineapple, and apple juice made at home. 

Lemon cheesecake cupcakes with glazed blueberry topping for a roomies birthday party. 

The birthday spread. 

The start of the most amazing meal I had while on spring break in France. 

The most perfect steak. 

Leading a six and seven year old baking birthday party. 
A sugar cookie baking adventure at a birthday party. 

Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes

It has been far too long since my last post – I apologize! I’ve just been really really busy with the end of school, finals, moving out, etc… But now I’m all done and ready to start baking all summer long! Once again, I’m living uptown at my uncle’s apartment while I work and volunteer in the city over the summer.  New York City in the summer is so much fun. There is always stuff going on – like free concerts and movies and amazing fairs and festivals. I plan on getting to the beach often as well to work on my tan and to start running again, which I’ve completely stopped doing. ahhhh!!!

Anyway, last week, for our final suite meal of the semester, I obviously decided to make a dessert. I settled upon oreo cheesecake cupcakes because a) they seemed delicious and b) they didn’t require many ingredients that I didn’t already have. Cheesecake has definitely become my new favorite thing because it’s just so easy to make. Basically, you dump all the stuff into the bowl of your mixmaster, turn on and wait for beautiful, airy, light, cheesecake to ensure. Obvisouly it takes a bit more work than that simple description but it’s close. It was a wonderful meal and a nice way to start the goodbye process to all my suite-mates. Three are headed back to California, one to Connecticut and my own roommate is staying in NYC with me!

I used my old valentines and halloween cupcake liners that I had laying around. After cleaning my dorm room for the move, I found all sorts of goodies – such as meringue powder, missing parts to my cake decorating set, and my long lost lemon zester that had fallen behind my bed. I think it’s safe to say that I had far too much baking stuff for my tiny little kitchen.

OREO CHEESECAKE CUPCAKES

(Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 42 cream-filled sandwich cookies, such as Oreos, 30 left whole, and 12 coarsely chopped
  • 2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup.

2) With an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar, and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.

3) Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies by hand.

4) Divide batter evenly among cookie-lined cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). Remove from tins just before serving.

Cheesecake

Today is two of my really good friends’ birthday. They are roommates, look alike, and have the same birthday – they seriously could quite possibly be twins. Last night we decided to throw them a party in our room. Our main course was sushi, which we made, because they are both part Japanese. Sushi is really quite simple to make, although I did burn 2 batches of rice before I figured out at what temperature it needed to be. In addition to the sushi, we also had THREE cakes! I kid you not. There were only 9 of us, but three cakes. We had two cakes from Amy’s Bread (which I must go to – I have a gift card) and then I made a cheesecake! It was quite a sugar rush, but I think everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.

I have never made a cheesecake before, so I was hesitant at first because I didn’t want to make a fool of myself at a birthday party. All my stress turned out to be unfounded. Not only was this cake easy to make, it turned out to be delicious. It was a much lighter and fluffier cheesecake than I was used to. I guess I usually imagine cheesecake as being dense, almost like sticking a fork into an actual block of cream cheese. This cake was much lighter, more like a mousse. It’s important to whip the cream cheese for a good 8-10 minutes if you want this fluffiness, and I guess the extra cup of sugar I accidently added doesn’t take away anything either 😉 I kind of ad-libbed the crust with choclate tedddy grahams that didn’t turn out so well, but I don’t think it was any loss to the cake itself. Next time I’ll try and make a more stable crust. This was really a super easy cake to make, although it does need to sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours if not overnight. I made it the evening before to ensure it chilled long enough. Using the blow dryer might seem ridiculous, but it really does work.


CHEESECAKE

(Adapted from Baking: From My Home To Yours)

INGREDIENTS:

crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

cheesecake:

  • 2 pounds (four 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream

DIRECTIONS:

crust:

1) Butter a 9-inch springform pan—choose one that has sides that are 2 3/4 inches high (if the sides are lower, you will have cheesecake batter leftover)—and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil; put the pan on a baking sheet.

2) Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. (I do this with my fingers.) Turn the ingredients into the buttered springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don’t worry if the sides are not perfectly even or if the crumbs reach above or below the midway mark on the sides—this doesn’t have to be a precision job. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven.

3) Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.

4) Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

cheesecake:
1) Put a kettle of water on to boil.

2) Working in a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft and lives up to the creamy part of its name, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition—you want a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream.

3) Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in the roaster pan.

4) Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, just to make sure that nothing has been left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, and scrape the batter into the springform pan. The batter will reach the brim of the pan. (If you have a pan with lower sides and have leftover batter, you can bake the batter in a buttered ramekin or small soufflé mold.) Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into the roaster to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

5) Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, at which point the top will be browned (and perhaps cracked) and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven’s heat and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.

6) After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster—be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil—remove the foil. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack.

7) When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and chill the cake for at least 4 hours, although overnight would be better.

Serving: Remove the sides of the springform pan and set the cake, still on the pan’s base, on a serving platter. The easiest way to cut cheesecake is to use a long, thin knife that has been run under hot water and lightly wiped. Keep warming the knife as you cut slices of the cake.


Raspberry Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO! Okay, so this post has no relation to the lovely holiday that is being celebrated today, but I just thought I’d mention it. An exciting that that did happen today – well exciting to some – is that there was a mother of all storms this afternoon. Tornado watches, lightning, thunder, and the most intense rain storm ever. I was at work, at it’s a warehouse, which makes everything sound so much louder, and I seriously thought the building was going to fall down it was raining so hard.

Anyway, I actually made these brownies the other night, but I’m just getting around to posting them now. I was really really wanting to make cheesecake brownies and then when I saw this recipe, I knew it was going to be amazing because I LOVE raspberry jam. I have it on toast practically every morning.


They were pretty easy to make. I’m not going to lie, they looked rather gross when they came right out of the oven. The pockets where the jam was looked like oozing scabs, but once they cooled and I cut them up, they started to look much more appetizing. That evening when I ate them, they were delicious. Unlike some cheesecake desserts, the cheese wasn’t overwhelming and the raspberry jam was subtle yet delicious. I had a few left over and put them in the fridge, but for future reference, I highly recommend just eating them ASAP and not refrigerating them, because they certainly did not taste as good a few days later.

adapted from bakingbites.com

  • Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  • 2 ounces chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup raspberry jam (I guess you could really use any kind of jam you want)
  1. Preheat over to 350 Degrees. Line 8×8 baking dish with aluminum foil and lightly grease. (I used 9×9 because that was all I had – they were just a little thinner, but not noticable.)
  2. In a small bowl, melt chocolate and butter together. Mix until smooth. (I just microwaved) Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Whisking steadily, pour chocolate mixture into sugar mixture. Stir until smooth.
  5. Sift flour, cocoa, and salt into the bowl and stir until just combined.
  6. Pour into prepared pan and set aside for the time being
  7. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar egg and vanilla until smooth. Drop big dallops into chocolate (already in pan). Follow by spoonfuls of the raspberry jam.
  8. With a knife, swirl cheese batter and raspberry around chocolate to give swirled look.
  9. Bake for 35-40 minutes until knife inserted into middle comes out clean.
  10. Cool completely before cutting.