Friday, June 3, 2011

Reese's Minis Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake!

I don't know about you all, but, when Hershey's came out with their new Reese's Minis.  I instantly thought about how awesome they would be for baking!  I make A LOT of cheesecakes, so, naturally I had to try them that way first!  They go great together (as long as you have enough self-control to stop from eating the bag of easily-attainable, cute little Reese's cups)!  

Making cheesecake is easier than most people think.  I added a few tips throughout the recipe below.  

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs (I use a combo of oreos and nutterbutters).
1/2 stick of unsalted butter (4 tbsp). (melted)

24 ounces (3 8-ounce packages) of Cream Cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp corn starch (keeps the cheesecake from cracking, if you have no corn starch,  all –purpose flour works)
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 bag (8 ounce bag) of Reese’s Minis (save 12-16 for topping, to decorate each slice)
3 eggs

To make crust:
Prepare cheesecake pan (a springform pan works best) – spray with non-stick cooking spray or grease with butter.
Melt butter in microwave safe bowl or on stove top.  Mix in with cookie crumbs (if it’s too wet, you can add more cookie crumbs).  Pat down in the bottom (and up the sides if you like) of the cheesecake pan.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes.  Remove and let cool while making cheesecake batter.

To make cheesecake batter: 
Mix cream cheese on high speed in mixer, add sugar, salt, and corn starch and mix until smooth and shiny (2 minutes or so). 
Add heavy cream and vanilla and mix until incorporated. 
Add Reese’s minis and mix until incorporated.
Scrape down sides of bowl and beater(s).
Add eggs, one at a time, just until incorporated. 
Scrape down sides of bowl again and mix again for about 15 seconds (to make sure everything is incorporated.
Tap bowl on counter to remove any air bubbles (air bubbles can cause cracks).
Pour batter in prepared cheesecake pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Turn oven temperature down to 250 degrees and bake another 25-30 minutes (or until the center of the cheesecake is 150 degrees on a instant read thermometer – this step isn’t necessary, but if you have the probe thermometer, why not check it – that way you don’t’ overcook it).  When the cheesecake is done, it will have a ‘jiggle’ to the center, but the outer 2 inches of the cheesecake will be set.  Turn the oven off and let cheesecake sit inside for about 10 minutes.  Remove and cool on cooling rack for an hour.  Run a sharp knife around edges of cheesecake to make sure it’s not stuck to the sides of the pan (another way to stop possible cracking).
Then move to refrigerator for at least a few hours or overnight, if possible.  Remove cheesecake from pan and serve with the extra Reese’s Minis on top for garnish (if ya want)!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cardamom Rose Water Scones!

I know all two of you guys think I forgot about this blog, but I didn't!  I've been 10 kinds of busy!

Last week I had to bake a ton of things for a wedding.  The bride and groom had a wedding day brunch, so I had to come up with some interesting scone flavor for them.  They had a garden-themed wedding, so I wanted a hint of flower in the flavor.  Having tried a delicious combination of Rosewater and Cardamom at a Persian friend's house and LOVING it, I decided on that combination.

I used the biscuit ratio from Michael Ruhlman's book "Ratio", to come up with my recipe.  I highly suggest this book, as it teaches you to make your own recipes and not rely on others!  Amazing!  I'm learning SO much.  The biscuit ratio is 3/1/2.  3 parts flour, 1 part fat, 2 parts liquid.  Some will say a scone ratio is 3/1/1 (using less liquid).  I think this is up to you, depending on how you like your scones. If you want them more dry and crumbly, 3/1/1 will be great, but I like them a touch more moist, so I don't NEED to have them with tea unless I want to!

I decided to do this recipe by hand.  It's relaxing for some reason and sometimes it's fun to get your hands dirty!  But, you can use a food processor if you want to speed it up and not get your hands all doughy. ;)  The cardamom and rosewater amounts are a guideline, and you are certainly welcome to add more or take away, depending on your taste buds.  I like alot, so I might even add more next batch. ;)  Also, I use freshly ground cardamom, versus already ground cardamom from the grocery store (this may make a difference on the amount you need - fresher=stronger.

Ok, I won't make you wait any longer!  Here's the recipe!

Cardamom Rosewater Scones

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Dry ingredients:
12 ounces all purpose flour
2 tsp. Baking powder
6 tbsp. Sugar
1 tsp of ground cardamom
pinch of salt

1 stick of cold butter (cut in 1 inch pieces)

Mix together:
4 ounces of cold heavy cream
2 ounces of milk
1 to 1 1/2 tsp of Rosewater (depending on your taste)
1/2 tsp of vanilla
1 egg (beaten)

-Mix together dry ingredients in a bowl, or food processor, add cut butter to dry ingredients and pulse a few times until incorporated into pea-sized chunks.  If mixing by hand, use a pastry cutter to incorporate.  Then, add enough of the liquid mixture for it to come together (not too sticky, not too crumbly).

-Roll or pat out to about 1 inch thick and cut into scone shape of choice and add to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper about 1/2 to 1 inch apart.  Bake in oven for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, or until done and lightly browned.

Optional Glaze Topping: (I didn’t measure this, I just added the things below until the consistency & flavor was right).

Powdered sugar

-Mix together to taste and till the glaze is thick enough not to be too runny (so it will set).
If you don't like winging it on the glaze, this is a good recipe for basic powdered sugar glaze, play with the flavors!

Enjoy!  Let me know what you think!  I can't wait to play with other flavor combinations now!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fabio Viviani's Nutella Biscuits...

The other day, I was reading my twitter feed and Fabio Viviani posts a recipe for Nutella Biscuits on the Recipeasy section of his website.  I stopped in my "twacks" (twitter tracks, hehe) and knew I had to make these ASAP!  Any "Nutella Slave" in their right mind (or not) should make these!

So, make them, I did!  The recipe calls for some pretty normal biscuit ingredients with the exception of Nutella!  As I started to make them, I read the recipe and it asks for 3 teaspoons of butter.  It didn't seem like enough, so I questioned @fabioviviani on Twitter, assuming he meant to type 3 tablespoons.  He had to check and get back to me.  But the Nutella was just staring at me there on the counter along with the butter, salt, flour, and baking powder.  I couldn't wait.  I decided to go with my gut and try 3 tablespoons.  Mixing it up by hand was easy and quick!  I found my heart shaped biscuit cutter I purchased last year (found a use for it!!) and decided to make some of my biscuits heart shaped - since Fabio is a lover, not a fighter! Haha!

I put them in my new Breville Smart Oven and baked them right away!  Had a learning curve with the Smart Oven and I almost over-cooked the poor things!

At first, I thought I thought I wanted them sweeter, but what I discovered was, when you re-heat them and put butter on top, it really brings out the Nutella flavor much more.  I highly recommend eating them this way.

I also want to put things like Marshmallow Fluff, Peanut Butter, or Jelly on them and try them - but they really are delicious on their own!

As I sit here eating these delicious biscuits for lunch (Hey, don't judge!  I'm pretty sure Nutella is healthy!), I'm thinking you guys probably want to make them, too!
Here's the recipe!  Is it just me, or can you just hear Fabio giving the instructions as you read the recipe.  I can actually see his accent!  :) Enjoy!!!

Nutella Biscuits (from Fabio Viviani's Recipeasy)
(My edit is italicized in parentheses)

Pre-Heat oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit

2 cup of Flour
2 tsp of Baking Powder
1 tsp of Salt
3 tsp of Butter at room temperature (I used 3 tablespoons, but Fabio says 3 teaspoons is the right amount!)
4 tbsp of Nutella
3/4 cup of Milk
1. Starting by combined all the dry ingredients
2. Add Butter and Nutella
3. Blend, then add Milk
4. Mix and place the Dough on top of a floured board and knead few times
5. Pat to 1 inch thickness and cut with Biscuits cutter
6. Place them in a oven tray Bake at 450 for about 15 minutes

I promise I haven't forgotten about this blog!

I've been super busy with my day job as well as baking!  I'll post more original recipes soon!