Thursday, February 23, 2012

French Silk Cheesecake 5/5 Spoons

Okay, so I love cheesecake and I love chocolate. So it is always only logical to throw the two things together and make something so decadent, delicious and INSANE that you will dream about it.

I am entering a cheesecake this summer into the Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival and have started to work on and think about what I could make so I can win! I mean as a first-time entrant, I doubt I will win, but it doesn't hurt to try! So one morning I was watching Cook's Country and they made French Silk Pie. Whoa. I haven't had a slice of French Silk Pie since going to Perkins in high school. I was sitting here and thought to myself, "What if I made a layered French Silk Cheesecake???" and thus a star was born. That one right below.

The French Silk Pie was no bake so I had to find a no-bake Cheesecake recipe that would mimic the smooth, mousse like texture of the chocolate and found this one. Although there were a few steps to making, waiting and assembling everything, overall every step was easy. You just need patience and when it comes to something as delicious as this, I had no problem waiting.

Here are my notes:

Cheesecake part -

-- Um, nothing. It's perfection, don't change it.

French Silk pie part -

-- I cut the recipe in half because I didn't want an extremely tall cheesecake and I think it worked out well. I cracked three eggs in measuring cup and only poured half into my bowl. Make scrambled eggs with the rest!
-- Make sure your bowl and beaters are very cold. Put them in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before beating your cream. Trust me, it helps a lot.
-- Use good chocolate. It will be worth it. I used a 4 ounce bar of Ghirardelli's 60% Bittersweet Chocolate. It's my (affordable) favorite. (Oh use baking chocolate instead of chips, chips have stabilizers and you don't want anything potentially ruining your silkiness.)
-- Wanna hear something dumb that totally ended up being absolutely okay? I forgot to add the butter. I could not even believe it. I took such time to get the butter at room temp and I forgot it! But to be honest with you, the French Silk mousse was AMAZING. So yeah, I recommend doing it my way because I just saved a lot of calories getting rid of those 4 T. of butter, ha.
-- So, I didn't bother to bring my egg mixture to 160 degrees. Yup, I was sick of hand mixing it over the stove and potentially electrocuting and setting myself on fire at the same time. I mixed it for about 7 minutes until it was light and fluffy and then mixed again for about 2-3 minutes off the heat. I am not worried about raw egg like perhaps I should be, but we only live once right?

The only negative I will say is that I think the chocolate overpowers the cheesecake part too much. They are delicious but I found myself eating the chocolate part and then the cheesecake part. That is not going to fly at the festival. So back to the drawing board. But if you want an insanely impressive dessert with not a ton of fuss but with a lot of fancy, I would recommend trying it my way.

PS - A springform pan is kind of the best thing in the world. And I found mine for $3 at a thrift store!

Up next, something healthy! I swear.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Etsy Shop!

Check out my Etsy shop! There is only one thing there now but there will be more to come soon. Pass it on!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here are my beautiful cupcakes!

I used Joy the Baker's Red Velvet Cupcakes recipe (really the Hummingbird Bakery's recipe) and my own Cream Cheese Frosting recipe (with beautiful Wilton's pink food gel!) Here is my frosting recipe:

1 8 ounce package of full fat cream cheese, room temperature
4 T. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 t. vanilla
2-3 T. milk
1 c. confectioner's sugar

Beat the cream cheese and butter until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla and milk and beat again. Slowly add sugar while you are beating the mixture, mix for about 1-2 minutes or until thick and creamy.

These were beautiful AND delicious. Happy belated Valentine's Day everyone!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Honey Buttermilk Cornbread 5/5 Spoons

(Check out that chili. Gahhhh, so good.)

So, I've made an obscene amount of cornbread in the last few years. Today I made Whole Foods Vegetarian Chili (which is by far my favorite chili ever) and made my own cornbread to go with it. I feel confident enough to make cornbread and pizza dough without a recipe anymore. I've made cornbread before but this one is better, trust me. And this recipe is like really not that bad for you which is a bonus. Here is my recipe:

1 c. all-purpose flour (I might try bread flour next time, we shall see)
1. coarse cornmeal
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. kosher salt
1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil (or any oil of your choosing)
1 egg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie/cake pan or line a 12 cup muffin pan.

Add all dry ingredients (through salt) into a large bowl and whisk until combined. In another bowl or measuring cup combine all wet ingredients and whisk. Add wet to dry and mix until combined but not beyond that. It will be thick like a cake batter. Add batter to the pan and place in top 1/3 of your oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean or when you press the top it is firm yet yielding. Let cool for a few minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack. This is great warm or cold. Wrap your leftovers in some aluminum foil/plastic wrap. It will only last 1 or 2 days before getting pretty dry.

(Yeah, I should have taken a picture of my cornbread, but this one from Hungry-Texan is pretty close to mine)

So, you could add tons of things to this. Green onions, cheddar cheese, cracked black pepper, soyrizo, corn kernels, jalapenos, etc. The world is yours! I'm going to try making this vegan so I will get back to you all on that soon. This is a incredibly tender but not wet cake that is wonderfully sweet and corn-y.

Enjoy! And I hope you are all looking forward to my Valentine's Day dinner/dessert post this week. It will be sickeningly cute, trust me. ; )

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Vegetarian Corn Chowder 4/5 Spoons

The other day I was cleaning my room (pre-Spring cleaning?) and found my swimsuit. I held it in my hands and stared at it. I miss summer. Only a few more months, I can make it. I am also excited for juicy berries and fresh sweet corn. This soup would be amazing in the summer with freshly shucked corn cut right off the cob. Ahhhh, I'm drooling.

Well, it is February not July so I made this soup with frozen corn. It was really good but this would be bumped up to 5 spoons with the substitution of fresh corn.

(Photo courtesy of Two Peas and Their Pod)

Here are my notes:

-- I skipped the butter, it seemed a tad unnecessary.
-- I didn't have a red pepper, so I doubled the carrots and celery.
-- I omitted the poblano pepper but threw in a few dashes of red pepper flakes.
-- And instead of all skim milk, I had like 1 c. of half & half in the fridge and used that. It made it deliciously creamy.
-- The thyme was not enough flavor for me so I added like 1/4 t. cumin, a lot of black pepper and a dash of paprika.

I served this with a spinach salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette and some whole wheat dinner rolls. It was really delicious and all 3 of my guests thought so as well! I saw the end of the pot within like 45 minutes. So I would say that is a successful meal. It had a nice sweet flavor with a hint of smokiness from the added cumin. This is something really easy to make and a real "toss everything you have in the fridge" kind of soup. My favorite kind of meal!

Up next, this will be epic. Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake!

.....the lovely Miranda!

Congratulations Miranda! I will be sending out your treats soon so that you will have them by Valentine's Day!

And the rest of you lovely contestants, don't be sore. There are always new contests coming up (like one in May for my 30th birthday)! Thanks for entering and reading my blog!