Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mini Cherry/Strawberry Cheesecakes


I love making cheesecakes, they usually are pretty easy and almost always turn out perfectly. These mini cheesecakes are easy and you can use your favorite cheesecake recipe to make this or use the recipe below. These are a perfect serving size for an individual and just bake in a standard foil baking cups.


You just stick your vanilla wafer in the bottom of the cup, it softens up during the baking.
You mix up your cheesecake mix, bake it  for 20 minutes.



Cool and top with your favorite fruit filling. I used cherry . . .



and strawberry, my husband isn't a fan of cherry.

The recipe I used makes about 36 mini cheesecakes and they are oh so yummy. There are many different filings you can try, like blueberry, raspberry, apple (maybe) or peach. I tried to not use so much of the syrup and get as much fruit as possible, which is difficult to do with the strawberry filling. Just have fun with it.

Bon App├ętit.


Ingredients:

4 - 8oz pkgs softened cream cheese
1 + 1/2 - cups sugar
6 - eggs
2 T -  vanilla
Vanilla Wafers
Pie filling (cherry/strawberry)
foil baking cups

1. Mix cream cheese and sugar until well blended.
2. Add eggs one at a time
3. Mix in Vanilla
4. Place a vanilla wafer into the bottom of each baking cup
5. Pour cream cheese mix into baking cup 3/4 of the way full.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until done.
7. Cool on wire racks, top with filling.
8. Refrigerator overnight (8 hours) and keep stored in the fridge.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Baking with Kiddos


Cooking with kids is a fun and messy experience. I don't always have my little helper help me, but he loves to use the hand mixer. I have heard so many people say how hard it is to bake or cook with their kids, but it is only hard when one makes it hard. Kids LOVE to help in the kitchen, the love to crack open eggs, mix things, stir things, pour ingredients. You can give them simple tasks when they are little like being the "Super Awesome trash guy/girl" which just involves throwing away things like butter wrappers, cream cheese cases, etc. 


As they get older they are great with stirring, pouring, mixing. My guy is 5 and to make things simple we decided to make sugar cookie stars out of the packaged cookie dough. It was less frustrating for him and me. Of course things will be messy, so you need to set aside your "neat freak" mentality, kids like to give their own pizazz to what they make, which may not look pretty, but it makes them feel good. If you want perfect dinners, then yes it will be hard to cook with your young ones, but the kitchen experience should never be a stressful one it should always be fun!


Just watch out on cracking those eggs, especially in a stand mixer. I would suggest turning it off while the egg is being cracked and be sure to wash your hands well!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Apple Crumble



I am sorry I haven't been updating as frequently as the past, but it is summer. Summer time is busy so I haven't had a lot of time to bake. However, I have a wonderful apple crumble here today. It was easy, fun to make and wonderful to eat, especially warm with a cold glass of milk.

 

So I suppose the hardest part would be to peel core and cut up the apples into fairly thin slices. (Ug My pictures aren't the best today) I just sat down with too bowls in front of me the "trash" bowl and the "usable" bowl. I used about 5 granny smiths, next time I may use a smaller dish.


I love the smell of cinnamon too, it just takes me to a happy place, and this was coated pretty well with the sugars and cinnamon and it turned out oh so perfect. I did have trouble with the crumble topping, but I just doubled it since I had it in a larger dish and that worked out nicely. I hope you enjoy your crumble if you try this, I much prefer this over the mini apple pies from a few weeks ago. (Tune in for the next blog, Fun with Kids)




Ingredients:
4 -5 baking apples (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Usually a tart apple)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon, divided
1 stick cold butter


Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Peel, core and thinly slice your apples. Line up your apples in a baking pan (the above pictures are a 13 x9)

In a small bowl combine 1/2 tsp cinnamon, sugar, and brown sugar mix it well then sprinkle over the apples.

In a large bowl mix the remaining ingredients, It is best to mix with your hands when it is well mixed (it will be a coarse crumble) put it on the apples.

Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes.

Goes well with vanilla ice cream

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Basketball and Grilling Experiment

Ok, so as you know I am a beginner at all of this cake decorating stuff, I mean I can make a mean cheesecake, and I can kind of work with fondant, but butter cream and candy melts are still a new thing for me! So a few weeks ago, I thought I'd make a basketball cake for my dad. I already had a 3-D ball pan that I used for Pilgrims at Thanksgiving so why not?


So I made a yummy Chocolate sponge cake (recipe below) and poured it into both ball pans. It turned out I needed to make a 1 and 1/2 batch of the recipe because it didn't fill the pan enough and it turned out to look like a funny looking egg shape. So, instead of wasting a cake I made two halves, the one above I gave to my dad. I couldn't find the "Terracotta" color to make basketball orange and plain orange is just too bright so added some brown to the orange. I tried following the directions but I just couldn't make it look as pretty as the pros. I did use the Wilton 2010 tip to do the stars instead of the #16 it works pretty well!


This is the other half, I did that one first, and it kind of looks like a spider crawled on top. However, it did taste good! Both cakes were a chocolate sponge with fudge icing inside and butter cream to decorate (all recipes below).

Ok so if that wasn't enough I saw these little grills on Wilton.com and thought I'd make them. Ok first off I could not get the leg placement to make these stand up and second I would use poured fondant next time instead of candy melts, because the candy melts are just a pain!

The candy clay was pretty easy to work with after it dried, before it was super greasy and gross, but it did taste pretty good. Hopefully you can se that these are supposed to be hamburgers with cheese and hot dogs. The coloring is pretty basic except for the hot dogs. I used the red clay and brown clay mixed together to make that color and the grey is just a tiny bit of black.



I wish I would have taken pictures of the mini grills because they turned out so much better. I am grateful to my family for letting me experiment on them.



 Recipes:

I used the frosting recipe from an earlier post: Click Here
Chocoloate Sponge Cake (Remember use 1.5 instead of 1)
ButterCream Icing: Click Here

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mini Apple Pies


Mini Pies are pretty cute, this doesn't really look like a pie so much as a tiny pastry envelope, and it tastes pretty good too. I haven't made pastries too much so I was fairly pleased, the recipe needs some more tinkering but that's the fun of baking isn't it? The recipe I made doesn't make that much either only about 6 - 7 of these pies. Which is good for a small family of 2 or 3 and it is pretty easy to make. I actually got this recipe in the mail, and instantly changed it. I wish I knew who the original recipe was from but I couldn't find it.

On a separate note for my next few entries (after this one) I am going to try a little different format for this blog. I never intended it to be a step-by-step guide, I was hoping to share my mistakes (and there are plenty) and and successes or really, my baking journey. So let me know what you think!


Ingredients:
Crust:
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
2 Tbsp Milk

Filling and Topping:
1 apple (I used Granny Smith)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-2 Tbsp sugar


After you preheat your oven to 425 degrees you will want to put the flour in  a large bowl. Cut up your butter and place it into the bowl. With your pastry blender or fork, blend your butter and flour until nice and crumbly.


Add your milk and egg and stir until a dough forms (You may need to use more flour if the dough is too sticky.) Set Aside.


For your filing peel your apple then shred it into a small bowl. (If you have a multi sided grater use the largest grater position).

Mix in vanilla, nutmeg and ginger.


Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface into about a16 x 8 rectangle or so (you don't have to measure it). Cut the pastries into 4x4 squares. You can use a knife or a pastry cutter  (I actually did measure these. I have a ruler that I use just for baking.)

You will want to spoon about a tablespoon and a half onto each of the centers of the squares.
Brush the outside edges of the dough with a pastry brush using the beaten egg.


Fold the corners of two sides of the dough to the center and then the other two sides into that making a pocket.


Place all your squares on a baking sheet.
For the topping brush the remaining egg onto the top of each of the squares and then sprinkle with sugar.
Bake until golden brown (8-15 minutes) Serve warm.