Yesterday was the Annual Birthday Party/Winery Trip. Every year we make 1 trip to a local winery. We spend about 2 hours there eating cheese, crackers, veggies and drinking lots of wine. My friends are not typical wine drinkers; they prefer beer. Um, what’s not to love about beer? I prefer beer over wine because it doesn’t make me feel like I’ve been run over, twice, by a beer truck. Wine = bad hangover! In the end, we only stayed a couple of hours and then had the party bus take us a local bar where we could get some beer and mixed drinks. It was the right place for us. Although, they really didn’t like it when I walked in with a beer in my hand. I think there’s a law against bringing your own beer into a bar. Oops! Oh well, it was my birthday.
On Thursday, I started planning my birthday cake. The hubby wasn’t real happy to hear that I was baking me own cake. He thought it was just “wrong” for me to make my own cake. I thought it was wrong to think that someone like me wouldn’t make my own cake. Sheesh… that’s like telling Albert Pujols that he can come to the game, but he can’t play. I wasn’t going to let that happen.
I love cheesecake. It’s my all-time, favorite dessert. I knew that I would make myself a cheesecake, but I didn’t anticipate using the recipe that I ended up with. I had planned to make a chocolate, layered cheesecake that would be 2 chocolate cake layers with a cheesecake layer in between. The outside would be covered in chocolate icing and then mini chocolate chips would be stuck to the outside. Well, that didn’t happen, but I decided to use a recipe that I had been eying for years. It was a white chocolate, raspberry cheesecake. I don’t prefer raspberries, so I decided to use strawberry instead. It turned out perfect. The cheesecake was delicious. I am so happy that I made it because it was everything that I wanted. All of my friends loved it. I’m just sad that I forgot to put it away last night, so I had to throw the last 2 pieces away. Booooo! I guess I’ll have to make another one.
Thanks to my awesome friends who made it out to my party yesterday. It was one of the best birthdays I have ever had. Let’s not wait until next year to have fun like that again. Although, I may need a full year to let my liver recover. Love you all!
White Chocolate Cheesecake
Recipe adapted from: Allrecipes.com
1 cup graham cracker crumbs crumbs
3 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 (10 ounce) package frozen strawberries (packed in sugar)
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups white chocolate chips
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place frozen strawberries over strainer and let thaw reserving all liquid.
In a medium bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Using your fingers, press mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.
In a saucepan, combine thawed strawberries, strawberry liquid, 2 tablespoons sugar, and cornstarch. Bring to boil, and continue boiling 5 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove any solids.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt white chocolate chips with half-and-half, stirring occasionally until smooth. This can also be done in the microwave.
In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate. Pour half of batter over crust. Spoon 3 tablespoons strawberry sauce over batter. Pour remaining cheesecake batter into pan, and again spoon 3 tablespoons strawberry sauce over the top. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect.
Wrap pan with foil and place on a baking sheet in the oven. Pour 1-2 cups of water in the baking sheet to create a “water bath.” Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Turn off the oven and let cool in the oven for up to 2 hours to prevent cracking. Remove and store in the refrigerator.
09 Oct 2011 Leave a Comment
18 Sep 2011 4 Comments
This week I was disappointed because someone else volunteered to bring treats for our United Way breakfast. When I heard the news, I cheered out loud, but inside I was a little sad. I had no excuse to bake something.
But the person that was bringing the treats was making Biscotti. Yuck! I’m not a huge fan of Biscotti. It’s really dry, and I don’t prefer dry and crumbly sweets in most cases. I know that people like to dip it in their coffee, but I thought it had limited appeal for this breakfast. Since I’m on the United Way planning committee, I made the executive decision to go ahead and bring something anyway. I don’t think anyone cared either way…I mean…who’s going to turn down sweets?!
I went through my list of saved recipes on Allrecipes.com, and came up with this Pumpkin Roll. It looked easy, and I have made it once before, so I was ready to get baking.
There were a few things that I messed up with this recipe:
1. When it says to use a linen cloth or cheese cloth to roll up the cake, do it. Once again, I thought I was exempt from this part of the recipe. When I unrolled the dough, I learned why this was important. The outside of the roll was covered in little pieces of fuzz. Imagine a furry caterpillar…yep, now you get the point. Thankfully I was able to rectify that issue by wrapping it in foil over night and then unwrapping it. The fuzz all stuck to the foil. Whew!!!
2. Make sure you use the appropriate sized pan. This was somewhat of an issue for me, and I had to trim the edges once it baked to make it look nice.
3. Before rolling the dough up into the cloth, make sure it is all the way at the edge of the cloth. If you don’t, the roll will not cool evenly. You can see this in my pics below.
The pumpkin roll was mostly a success. Everyone enjoyed it, and it was gone in a couple of hours. Even though I think I over-mixed the dough, making it a little tough, no one really noticed. But, I think that’s partly because of the cream cheese filling. I’m pretty sure you could cover a dirty sock in that stuff, and everyone would eat it.
I hope you will try this. Just make sure you follow the recipe…unlike me. Step-by-step instructions are below followed by the full recipe.
Recipe copied from: Allrecipes.com
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs on high for 5 minutes. Gradually beat in white sugar until thick and lemon-colored. Add pumpkin and lemon juice.
In another bowl combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg; fold into the pumpkin mixture.
Grease a 15x10x1 inch baking pan; line with waxed paper. Grease and flour the paper. Spread batter into pan; sprinkle with walnuts.
Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
Immediately turn out onto a linen towel dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Peel off paper and roll cake up in the towel, starting with the short end. Cool.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, butter, and vanilla until fluffy.
Carefully unroll the cake. Spread filling over cake to within 1 inch of edges. Roll up again. Cover and chill until serving. Dust with additional confectioners’ sugar, if desired.
08 Sep 2011 1 Comment
Apparently I had a vendetta against myself this morning. I have to be at work at 7:30am, so I give myself exactly 20 minutes to wake up, take a shower, get dressed and make it out the door. It almost NEVER happens in 20 minutes, but I almost always make it to work on time. This morning I decided to take the time to look at myself in the mirror. Now, only giving myself 20 minutes to get ready doesn’t allow for time to look in the mirror. So looking in the mirror this morning automatically put me behind. Upon looking in the mirror, I see things that clearly I have been missing because of my lack of time to look in the mirror….my eyebrows! Ok, so they aren’t resembling Cindy Crawford in the 80s, myself in the 90s, or my friend “T” today (name hidden, but she knows who she is). But I do see some hairs that are breaking ranks. Time to pluck! Plucking eyebrows is not fun, and it makes my eyes water. I would rather get them waxed, but because I spend all of my free time in the kitchen or at sporting events with the kids, I am forced to pluck. This was not the way I wanted to start my morning….at this point I’m really late because not only did I stop to look in the mirror, I have spent 1 minute plucking eyebrows. What was I thinking?!
I rush down the steps and realize that I still have to put the green beans in the crockpot for dinner tonight. Ok, now I’m really in trouble because I haven’t chopped the onions that need to go in with the green beans. Do you like chopping onions? I don’t! So I made my eyes water with the plucking and now I was making them water again with the onions. I’m not sure why I torture myself in these ways, but I’m over it now.
Just like last week, I spent the evening in the kitchen preparing baked goods for our United Way fundraiser. It’s so much fun to do the research to find the perfect recipe, and I think I found 2 really good ones. The only problem is that one of them took a LOT more time then I had planned. What’s new? Right now i’m going to post the one that took far less time, and received rave reviews. These are not complicated to make, and it would be difficult to mess these up. My son even had an idea to modify this recipe and I plan to try that out soon.
So, if you are short on time like me, then make these for a breakfast, brunch or a work fundraiser and you will have more time to spend with your family….if that’s what you like to do. If not, you can spend the extra time stalking old boyfriends/girlfriends on Facebook.
Adapted from: Pass the Sushi
Makes 12 Danishes
3 tubes of Crescent Rolls
1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese – softened
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tbsp. butter (melted)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl of a stand mixer, combine cream cheese, white sugar and vanilla, and mix until smooth.
Unroll dough, and leave the croissants attached in groups of 2s. They should stay attached at the slanted edge so you have 2 croissants that form a rectangle. They should like like this: [\] Smooth out the perforated edge between the 2 croissants and brush the rectangle with melted butter. Sprinkle each rectangle with brown sugar and then roll up, starting with the longer edge (make sure to press the seam to seal it). Bend the roll to form a circle, but bring one of the ends inside the circle to form a tighter pastry.
Place the danishes on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and use your fingers to create a well in the middle of the pastry for the cream cheese mixture. Fill the middle of the pastry with a heaping tablespoon (or more) of the cream cheese mixture.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.
Prepare the glaze by placing the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk into a medium sized bowl and either mixing by hand or using a mixer to combine until smooth. Drizzle glaze over danishes once they have cooled completely.