Monthly Archives: June 2012

Vacation

I know haven’t been the most regular poster, but I will not be posting for a couple of days.  I am going on vacation to California.  I do have a post for the 4th of July though, and have found a way to post it for all of you!  It is amazing and I can’t wait to share it with you along with pictures of my trip.  I hope to visit several well-known and delicious bakeries and food stops!

See you all in a few days!

Jess

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Family Sharing – Little Cheesecakes with Strawberry Sauce

I come from a very food creative family and the other day I had a thought, what if my family shared on my blog some of their delectable delights?  Wonderful idea!  This will be the first family posting!  This delicious dessert was made by my sister, Emily, from this cookbook (pg.  198).  She made this cheesecake for our grandpa for father’s day.  This father’s day posting is a little late because grandma and grandpa were having a fun time camping.

Emily – Lil Sister

Servings: 6          Time: 2.5 Hours

Ingredients:

-Cheesecake

10 Chocolate Graham Crackers – Broken (Emily: But I had to use regular ones because Mom forgot to buy the right ones!)

1/4 C. Semisweet Chocolate Chips

3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter – Melted

1 Pound Cream Cheese – Softened

3/4 C. Sugar

2 Large Eggs – Room Temperature

2 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Tsp Grated Orange Zest (Optional)

-Sauce

1 C. Frozen Strawberries – Thawed

2 Tbsp Sugar

Directions:

-Cheesecake

1. Microwave cream cheese on HIGH for 15 seconds to bring to room temperature.  To bring the eggs to room temperature put the eggs in a bowl of warm water.

2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Process the graham crackers and chocolate in a food processor until finely ground.

3. Add the butter and pulse until mixture is sandy and moist.

4. Divide the mixture evenly amount 6 Jumbo muffin tins.  Press evenly over the bottom and up the sides about 2/3 of the way.

  • Emily: I didn’t have jumbo muffin tins, so I put the crumb mixture into a regular muffin tin and one shallow pie tin.  I did 6 muffin cups and one little pie.
  • Me: This is cool because you can create whichever size you want, especially if you don’t have the specific bakeware required.

5. Bake until the crusts are set.  About 8 minutes.

6. Clean the food processor and then pulse the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and orange zest until smooth.

  • Me: You need to clean the food processor because you don’t want graham crackers in your cream cheese!

7. Divide the filling between the muffin cups and bake until the rims are slightly puffed and the centers are set. About 30 minutes.

8. Cool the cheesecakes in the cups on a cooling rack, then refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 2 hours.

-Sauce

1. In a food processor (clean again) or a blender puree the strawberries with the sugar.

-Final Product

1. When you are ready to serve, gently run a knife along the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it from the mold.  Using the knife gently life the cheesecake from the mold.

2. Transfer cheesecakes to your serving dishes.  Spoon some sauce over each cake and Enjoy!

**Tip from the cookbook: To check for doneness, shake the pan a little.  Cheesecake is almost set when the center still shimmy’s just a little.  If they crack, take them out.  You can cover any cracks with the sauce.

Emily: Hi, I’m Emily, Jessica’s younger sister, and our family is very creative not just with food but also with other things and ideas. Jessica is more of our “baker” although I bake too, the only difference is that I am definitely not into it as much as she is (ugh, the cleaning haha). Like all sisters we have our (major) differences and yet we still come together to do things we love, like baking. This is especially true when we bake during Christmas time with our mom and make a ton of cookies. Jess always makes it fun and exciting. 🙂

Me: I hope you all enjoy the recipes that will be shared by my family and enjoy this super tasty cheesecake!

Cake Balls – Round 1

Until recently I had never heard of cake balls or cake pops.  Apparently they are the newest novelty in baking.  I figured I had better give them a try!  I made some cupcakes to be posted for a certain holiday coming up soon, and used the left over cake batter for cake balls.  I stumbled across Bakerella‘s food blog and saw she had several cake ball/pop recipes.  I used her basic Red Velvet Cake Ball recipe to assemble mine.

Ingredients:

1 Cake Mix of Your Choice

16 oz. Frosting of Your Choice

Melting Chocolate

Decoration Items: Sprinkles, Nuts, Powdered Sugar, etc…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

1. Make your cake mix according to the recipe or box directions.

2. Let the cake cool completely.  Crumble the cooled cake in a large bowl.

  • Crumble the cake into the smallest pieces you can.  I think mine would have looked better if the cake had been crumbled more.

3. Mix in whole 16 oz. of frosting, if using a full cake mix.

  • Use half the frosting if using half the cake mix.

4. Make small balls with the cake mixture.  Put the cake balls on a baking tray.

5. Put the cake balls in the fridge. Leave them in the fridge for at least 1 hour.  They can stay in the fridge longer if needed.

  • This step is to help stiffen the frosting so that the cake balls hold their shape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Melt the chocolate.

7. Coat the cake ball in the chocolate.  Tap off excess chocolate.  Set the chocolate covered cake ball on wax paper to dry.

  • If you want to make a cake pop, add the stick at this point.  Have the stick pointing up so that the stick won’t fall, or if you lay them sideways, have a block to hold the stick from falling.
  • If you want to add sprinkles or nuts add them after coating the cake ball.
  • If you want to add chocolate drizzle decorations wait until the chocolate cover cake ball has dried or is close to dried.

8. Serve and Enjoy!

How to Fill a Piping/ Decorating Bag

When decorating with piping bags there are several techniques to make it easier.  First the bag itself.  I prefer to use the disposable plastic bags.  It save time on clean-up and piping with different colors.  If I don’t have piping bags, plastic sandwich bags can work as well.  I do have a few professional piping bags by Wilton that I like.

First, when I am use decorating bags, I make sure to have my frosting or icing ready.  I found it easier to pipe when my frosting/icing is just under or at room temp.  However, the temperature of your frosting or icing really depends on the type and purpose.

Second, I collect all my supplies, couplers, tips, spatula/spoon, bags, scissors, etc..    Now I measure the coupler and the bottom of the decorating bag.  I make a cut in the bag just below where the top of the coupler was on the bag.  I stick the coupler into the back and try to fit it into the bottom.  The coupler should fit snuggly with the threads of the coupler are not in the bag. If you need to cut more of the bag, push the coupler up a little and make the cut.

Third, I attach my tip.  Then I fold the top of the bag 1-2 inches over. Fourth, I fill the bag with frosting or icing.  By having the fold it helps to make sure that all the frosting makes it into the bag and not on the outside. Fifth, I push the frosting down towards the tip.  By keeping the frosting closer to the tip it allows for better pressure when piping. Sixth, twist the top right at the top edge of the frosting.  This also will help the pressure while piping. Seventh, make sure to keep holding the twisted part of the bag.

Eighth, now you have filled your decorating bag!

Baked Ziti

I’m a sucker for Italian food, and right after ravioli comes baked Ziti in my book.  So the other night I decided that Ziti was on the menu!  YUM!  I have made this recipe before and love it!  The Ziti comes out creamy and delicious!

Ingredients:

4 C. Ziti Noodles

1 Jar Pasta Sauce

1-2 Roma Tomatoes (Diced)

6 oz. Cream Cheese

About 3/4 C. Sour Cream

1 Pkg. Shredded Mozzarella

1/3 – 3/4 C. Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cook the pasta as directed on the package.

  • Pasta is done when the center of the noodle no longer is hard or crunchy.

3. Drain water from pasta.  Set aside.

4. In the pot that you cooked the pasta in add the pasta sauce, tomatoes, and cream cheese.

  • To help the cream cheese melt faster, cut it into chunks or small pieces.

5. Stir the mixture, on medium heat, until the cheese is melted.  Return the pasta to the pot. Stir until all noodles are coated in the sauce mixture.

6. Pour noodle mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Slather on the sour cream and mix to incorporate.  Mix in the half, or an amount of your liking, the mozzarella cheese.

7. For the final delicious layer add the mozzarella and parmesan cheese to your liking.  Do not mix.

8. Put the baking dish in the oven and bake for 20 mins or until cheese is starting to turn golden on the top.

9. Let cool for 3-5 mins.  Serve and Enjoy!

**Photography by Josh S.