Tuesday, December 23, 2014

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake

Here's a last minute idea for Christmas dessert. White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake. Oh Boy! Cheesecake is one of my all time favorite desserts. Any kind really. As long as its cheesecake and this one fits the bill for the holidays. A smooth mellow white chocolate batter, spiked with peppermint extract, sprinkled with crushed candy canes and sitting atop a chocolate Oreo crust. This will last a few days so making it now is a good option. It also freezes beautifully. I actually froze it, cut it into serving sizes, wrapped those tightly in plastic wrap, and popped them back in the freezer. Single servings of cheesecake anytime I want. It IS Christmas. 

I've adapted this recipe from my current blog crush "The Woodland Bakery Blog". Go check out Gretchen's tips for cheesecakes, they are invaluable. Although this recipe is step intensive it doesn't really have any fancy technique. It's pretty hard to mess it up. So in the interest of time, let's get to it. . .

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pie Crust

Hey there, miss me? No worries, I'm back. If you read my last post from a couple of weeks ago you already know that I needed a break. Just a couple of weeks to catch my breath. And whew, I did. It was nice. Sorry, I didn't post any "best of" collections, forgot to roll over my 401K and only partially got my house cleaned. Whateves. I did have a yard sale, feels sooooo good to purge and went on a date with the hubs, love that man. So. . .mission partially accomplished and that's good enough for me. I also had some time to cook without the added pressure of uploading to the blog. But I did take pictures so I've got some stuff to share. Here goes. . .

Since the holidays are just around the corner why not get ahead of the whole baking thing. Get some "stuff" in the freezer to streamline the process down the road. You can't quite get started on your finished desserts but you can get a couple of pie shells in the freezer ready to go. So get too it.

I tried a new pie dough recipe that I found on the Woodland Bakery Blog. I've searched a long time for a good "go to" pie shell. I really like Gesine's "Quick Puff" and will use that one again. But there's a lot of folding and rolling (I posted about it here.). It's good, and very flakey and I like the idea of using it for a lattice topped fruit pie. But, I wouldn't call it all purpose. However, this recipe came together quickly, used pantry ingredients and most of all, was buttery and flakey. All purpose. This is the perfect recipe to make, a couple of times over, form into shells and freeze for later. Check it out. . .

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Keeping Up and Keeping Recipes

Dear Blog Readers,
     I'm sorry. I've neglected the blog as of late. Life has just gotten crazy and I can't seem to keep up. Somethin's gotta give. So, after much though, I've decided to take a break from the blog. Not permanently, just a hiatus. Just to give myself a bit of breathing room. It seems that its been harder and harder to find time to cook, let alone, photograph and blog. Blogging was creating stress and I started this whole thing as a stress-releasing hobby. It was counteracting it's own purpose. Not good. So I'm gunna take the next 3 or 4 weeks off. . . get my house clean, I mean deep deep cleaned. . .roll over that old 401K. . .have a much needed yard sale. . .go on a date with the hubs and in general just slow down.
     In the mean time, I've posted below some of the ways that I develop and organize my recipes. I also plan to post a few "best of" collections. Best Dinners, Best Desserts, etc. For those of you who've been here from the beginning, you may rediscover a recipe, and for those who've just started tuning in, they'll be new to you. I plan to be back in November, reinvigorated and full of great fall and holiday recipes. So for now, adieu.

Keeping Recipes. . .
If you're at all like me, you have grand delusions of being a world famous cook. Well at least an accomplished home cook. You're addicted to hoarding, er, collecting recipes. You "pin" them to Pinterest or down load them from the internet. Tear them out of magazines. Snap pictures from friends' cookbooks and jot them down on post-its as you pause and rewind the DVR. There are any number of ways to get a "fix". And after all this hoard. . .er. . .collecting. . .of recipes. . .that you're going to make right away. . .you have a growing pile. A pile that grows and grows. A pile that is so big that you couldn't possible make all those recipes, even if you made a new one every day. So what do you do? Here are some of the ways I develop and keep recipes:

First of all, let's address that recipe hoard. This is my pile of "Recipes to Make". Stuff torn out of magazines, cut off of boxes, picked up a the market, printed off the internet, etc. They all go in this file. It's really not that big. But it was. Boy was it big, about a inch thick. I keep it small by constantly re-evaluating. Whenever I'm looking for inspiration for the blog, or just something new to fix, I flip through this file. And I really look at what's in there. And I ask: 
- Does it still look good? Surprisingly, something that last week/month/year sounded so good you wanted to run home and make it, sounds kinda bla now. Yeah? Toss it!
- Am I realistically going to make it? If it's fried, probably not, no matter how good it looks. So, toss it!
- Does it require some super expensive ingredient, difficult technique or crazy equipment. Toss it.
- Would you even ever have an occasion to make it? No? Toss it!
You get the idea. Be realistic. You'll find you parse the file pretty quickly, and keep it manageable. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

White Texas Sheet Cake

Seems like "Texas Sheet Cakes" are all the rage on the internet these days. Almost every cooking blog has one and they're all over Pinterest. There are about a million versions, I'm not kidding, a million. There's chocolate, white, pumpkin, peanut butter, red velvet, lemon, and even a "turtle" version. Seriously, if you can think up a flavor combination, there's a Texas Sheet Cake recipe out there for it. One thing all these cakes seem to have in common is that they are big and flat (baked in a jelly roll pan) and all have some sort of icing. They also all use a melted butter method which is foreign to me as I've always made cakes by creaming the butter first. Hmmmm? Well, I like cake. I like icing. And, my Moms is from Texas so I figured I'd find out what all the fuss is about.

Chocolate Sheet Cake with fudge icing seems to be the most popular recipe out there. And, I've heard raves about Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Sheet Cake, it has pecans! But, believe it or not, I wasn't really in the mood to make a chocolate cake. I know, cray cray, you say. But as much as I love chocolate I also love all things vanilla. So I decided to go with this White Texas Sheet Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting. Check it out. . .