Category Archives: my first baking book

Mini Cheesecakes with Home-made Graham Cracker Crust and Fresh Strawberry Sauce

Standard
Mini Cheesecakes with Home-made Graham Cracker Crust and Fresh Strawberry Sauce

Whew, that title was a mouthful! In keeping with my apparent muffin pan theme lately…on to mini cheesecakes!  These were super simple to make.   Not having to mess with a springform pan was a treat! 🙂  The addition of lemon zest adds great fresh flavor, without being overwhelming.

I did double duty with this recipe and made Honey-Cinnamon Graham crackers to use as the base for the crust.  Another new one for me.  Who would have thought one could actually MAKE a graham cracker?!?

mini personal cheesecake with strawberry sauce

The Recipe (makes 12 mini cheesecakes):

Crust:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick butter)

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (8 whole graham crackers) If you want to try homemade, find the recipe here

Cooking spray

Filling:

1 lemon

1 pound (two 8 ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup heavy cream

Strawberry Sauce:

1 cup frozen strawberries

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup water

The Process:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Move an oven rack to the center of the oven.

2.  Spray the muffin tin with the cooking spray, or grease with butter.

3.  Make the crust.  Put 1/4 cup butter in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium heat until the butter is melted.  Remove from the heat and add the graham cracker crumbs.  Stir until they are completely moistened.

4.  Spoon the crumbs into the muffin cups, dividing equally.

5.  Press the crumbs into the bottom of each cup in an even layer.

6.  Make the filling.  Using a small grater or microplane, zest the lemon.  Make sure you don’t dig too deep and get that bitter white in there!

7.  Put the cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar in the mixer bowl.  Beat on medium speed until creamy and smooth.

8.  Break the eggs into the bowl and beat again until blended.  Pour in the cream, vanilla and add the lemon zest.  Beat again until well blended.

9.  Pour or spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin cups (I used my cookie scoop a little “overfilled” and it seemed to work perfectly).

10.  Bake until the centers are firm, about 18-20 minutes.  To test for doneness, gently shake the muffin tin, if the centers shake, bake for another 3-5 minutes.

11.  Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 20 minutes.  After they cool, sprinkle the tops with a little additional sugar to prevent the cheesecakes from sticking.

12.  While the cakes are cooling, make the Strawberry Sauce.  Place the frozen strawberries, sugar, and water in a saucepan.  Cook over medium high heat and allow to boil for about 10 minutes.  It should start to thicken slightly.  Remove from heat and using a mesh strainer, strain the mixture into a small bowl.  Allow to cool.

13. Place a large platter over the top of the muffin tin and gently turn both upside down allowing the cheesecakes to drop onto the platter.

14.  Turn the cheesecakes over so the crust is on the bottom, and allow them to chill in the fridge before serving.

15.  Top with Strawberry Sauce if you choose (but why wouldn’t you?!?) 🙂  Serve and impress all your friends with your master baking skills!

Advertisements

Honey Cinnamon Graham Crackers

Standard
Honey Cinnamon Graham Crackers

I grew up on tea with milk accompanied by graham crackers slathered with butter.  My husband thinks I’m weird.  But he puts maple syrup on perogies…so, yeah…who’s the weirdo now? 🙂

I never actually considered the idea of making a homemade graham cracker, Nabisco seems to have a clever market on that.  But I though, hey, why not?  And bonus, I had planned to make some interesting looking Mini Cheesecakes from the book, and I could use these graham crackers for the crust!

These definitely didn’t have the amazing crunch factor I was used to, but the flavor was really similar.  My kid inhaled them without a second thought, so that’s a good sign right?  Maybe if we had let them sit a little longer the crunch would have taken effect?  Hmmm…note to self…don’t let the kid eat all the graham crackers at once…

honey cinnamon graham crackers

The Recipe (makes 24 crackers):

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (plus 1/2 cup for rolling)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter at room temperature

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup heavy cream

The Process:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F and place an oven rack in the center of the oven.

2.  Mix 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a small mixing bowl and set aside.

3.  Put 1 1/2 cups flour, the baking powder, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl and stir together.

4.  Put the honey, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in the mixing bowl.  Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy.

5.  Add the flour mixture, half at a time to the mixing bowl and mix on low speed until blended after each addition.

6.  Pour in the cream and mix until dough is smooth.

7.  Sprinkle some of the flour on a clean work surface and turn the dough out of the bowl.  Sprinkle some additional flour on top and spread the dough with your hands.

8.  Roll the dough about a 1/4″ thick.

9.  Using a knife (or pasty cutter, or pizza wheel), cut the dough into 2 1/2″ squares.  Use a spatula to transfer the dough squares onto a cookie sheet.

10.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Allow to cool (unless you have a toddler nagging you, then the cooling step is optional) before inhaling. 🙂

Banana Coconut Scones

Standard

In my newbie travels as a blogger, I’ve come across some really amazing blogs (and some not so amazing, but I digress…).  Edibles & Travels is one of my new faves (I envy the peaks on her muffins 😉 ), and she recently posted a recipe for Banana Coconut Muffins.  Had a nice Caribbean-sounding vibe, brought be back to my honeymoon…you get my drift.  So I thought, hey, I have coconut.  I have a borderline overly ripe banana that’s looking lonely!  And thus, these Banana Coconut Scones were born.  If anyone needs me, I’ll be sipping a Rum Punch, my toes in the sand, enjoying a scone – well maybe not really, but a girl can dream, right?!? 🙂

Banana Coconut Scones

The Recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, cold

2 tablespoons honey

3/4 cup milk

1 egg

1/2 cup sweetened coconut (plus additional for garnish)

1 ripe banana, mashed

The Process:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 F.

2.  Place the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

3.  Cut the butter into pieces and add to the flour mixture.  Work the butter into the flour with your hands until the butter disappears into the flour and it yellows a bit.

4.  Add the honey, milk, and egg to the flour mixture and stir until mixed well.  Add the coconut and mashed banana and mix again until all incorporated.

5.  Scoop spoonfuls of dough onto a cookie sheet about an inch apart.  Sprinkle with a little additional coconut, if desired.

6.  Place in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the scones are slightly golden on top.

7.  Remove the scones and place them on a cooling rack.  They are best when served warm and drizzled with a little honey.  Yum, yum 🙂

Honey Lemon Bars

Standard
Honey Lemon Bars

I’m a huge fan of anything lemon when it comes to baking.  These are amazing, and super simple to put together.  The honey adds just the right amount of sweetness without being overpowering.  A perfectly light, warm-weather dessert 🙂

honey lemon bars

 

The Recipe:

Dough:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold

Filling:

2 large eggs

1/4 cup honey

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest (my addition, but a little more lemon flavor never hurts in my opinion!!)

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

The Process:

1.  Heat oven to 350 F (325 F if using glass or dark metal pans)

2.  To make the dough, place the flour and the sugar in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.

3.  Cut the cold butter into small chunks and add to the flour mixture.  Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture until all the butter disappears and the dough starts to hold together a bit.

4.  Place the dough in an 8″x8″ baking pan and press into the bottom in an even layer.

5.  Place in oven for approximately 10-12 minutes to bake.

6.  While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.  Break the eggs into a mixing bowl and add the honey and lemon juice.  Whisk together until completely blended.  Add the flour and baking powder and whisk again until smooth.

7.  Remove crust from the oven and pour the lemon filling into the pan.

8.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  The filling should not move when you slightly shake the pan.  If it does, place back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

9.  Transfer to a cooling rack and allow 10 minutes for cooling before cutting into squares.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy the lemony goodness!

Apple Almond Tea Cake

Standard
Apple Almond Tea Cake

I couldn’t wait to get cracking in the kitchen after receiving the new book (My First Baking Book).  So here’s the first round…Apple Almond Tea Cake.  Super good.  Nice dense cake with just a touch of sweetness.  Love the flavor (and slight crunch) from the sliced almonds in the cake, and the apples on top pair perfectly of course.  Top it all off with an apricot glaze, and you have the perfect brunch (or breakfast…or dessert…) snack!

apple almond tea cake

The Recipe:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature (plus extra for buttering the pan)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup sliced almonds

2 medium apples

1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Glaze:

3 tablespoons apricot jam

1 tablespoon water

The Process:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F (325 F if using a glass or dark pan).

2.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan.

3.  Put the flour, baking powder and nutmeg in a bowl and stir to combine.

4.  Place the 1/2 cup of butter and the granulated sugar in the mixing bowl and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy (around 4 minutes).

5.  Break the eggs into the bowl and beat again until blended.

6.  Add the flour mixture and mix at low speed until smooth.

7.  Pour in the milk and mix again.

8.  Stir the sliced almonds into the batter until combined.

9.  Pour the batter into the greased 9×13 baking pan and spread evenly.

10.  Peel and core the apples.  Cut in half and then cut the halves into thin, even slices.

11.  Here’s where I took a detour from the original recipe…I placed the apple slices in a bowl and tossed them with a squeeze of lemon, the brown sugar and cinnamon.  The original recipe has you place the apples on top of the batter and then sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture over.  I wanted a more “even” coating, but you can choose your method 🙂

12.  Place the apple slices in 3 long lines, overlapping, on top of the batter down the length of the pan (makes for easier cutting this way).

IMG_3025

13.  Place in oven and bake until the cake pulls away slightly from the sides of the pan and a cake tester comes out clean, approximately 50 minutes (Again, with my oven it was close to 35 minutes, so I would check yours frequently after 35).

14.  Remove from oven and while cake is cooling prepare the apricot glaze.

15.  Place the jam in a saucepan and add the water, stir over medium heat until the jam melts and begins to bubble.

16.  Using a pastry brush (or spoon), spread the glaze over the top of the cake.  Cut into squares and marvel in the apple-y goodness!

I’m so excited…

Standard

And I just can’t hide it…Ok, enough of that.  I am pretty excited today though – look what came in the mail!

My first baking book

I was doing some digging on the interwebs to see if the author of the My First Cookbook was still writing.  And although she’s not (or that I could find anyway), I did discover that she made a second book called My First Baking Book a few years later.  I skimmed through the recipes and they sound just as amazing (if not more!)  So now my quest carries on!  I don’t know if I can wait till the end of the year to finish the other one and then start on this one, so there might be a smattering of both all year 🙂  Can you sense my excitement?!?

Cheers everyone!