Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cheese Cake Bars

 Okay you need to make these now!! Wait, read this first, because I am super witty, but then, go make these!  I made these out of desperation last minute and I can tell you right now, I have made them again already.  These were a last minute treat for my hot Friday night date.  Which is to say, I stayed home with Pork Chop and my friend and her baby came over.  You would have thought Santa was coming the way Pork Chop was acting.  He loves his little cousin so much.  He is always "she is so cute!" "She is my favorite baby ever!"  And when I asked him the night before who was coming he said "Hannah, the cutest baby ever!"  I love how much he loves her.
This is pretty much all you need, but I forgot to picture the vanilla bean paste and the cinnamon.  Just try to pretend it's there.
Anyway, my friend was coming over and we were going to order pizza and let the kids play.  And by play we mean, Pork Chop would totally just stare at Hannah.  He did get to hold her and she was all up in his face.  Literally, poking him in the eye, and pinching his cheeks and what not.  With her little chubby baby fingers you could not say no.  And Pork Chop was not going to stop her, he was in heaven!  Makes me feel bad for not having a brother or sister for him, but then I think about the 9 months I couldn't eat hardly anything and I totally get over it.

 So this was the fastest desert ever.  I looked on pintrest for something easy and quick.  And this is what I found.  It was called a cream cheese square, which is kind of gross.  So I renamed it a cheesecake bar, because that sounds classy.

Here is the link I found.  Basically you need just a few things and it was magic!   I was worried that it would be weird as there were no eggs, and I figured the cheese part would be runny and gross.  I was wrong, but don't tell anyone.
See when I opened the tube I was trying to keep the dough together, the cut lines kept falling apart. If I go to the states I am going to get a whole bunch of the sheets and freeze them and never share.
Cheese Cake Bars
found on Piarecipes

-2 tubes of 8 count crescent rolls
-2 blocks of cream cheese
-1 TBSP vanilla ( I used vanilla bean paste, because I am fancy like that)
-1 cup sugar
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 TBSP cinnamon
-1/2 cup butter (the recipe said margarine but we don't have that so I used butter.)
The filling was thick but easy to spread, sort of.
So this is great, you pre heat your oven to 350.  Spray a 9x13 cake pan with cooking spray.  Roll out and press a tube of rolls into the bottom of the pan, try to get the seams together.  I hear in the states they have the rolls in a tube but it's a sheet you cut yourself.  I need those.

Cream the two blocks of cream cheese, add the vanilla and the 1 cup of sugar.  It will be firm, but spreadable.  Spread the cream cheese mixture over the dough.  Be careful to make it even and not smoosh the dough.  Then roll out the other tube of rolls and lay on top.  Do not press it down or you will make a huge mess, just do your best.

Melt the butter and pour it over the top of the bars, then mix the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle that on.  I sort of globbed it on by mistake, but it was all good.
See how blobby my sugar mixture is?  Well it worked out.

 So then you bake it until the top has become crispy and the butter is no longer really there.  It takes my oven around 18-20 minutes.  Remove and cool.  I then place it in the fridge to help the cream cheese set up, it is very soft when you serve it at room temperature.
See how perfect the top was, even though I made a mess.  It smelled so good, Hubby came in the house and was all "what are you making!" as he ran to the kitchen.  You could see his heart drop when I said cheese cake, poor man, he was hoping for something he would eat.  But it did smell amazing.
So I cut it up and we ate it, and then I got a tummy ache.  So I sent half of it home with my friend.  Pork Chop wouldn't even look at it, but what else is new.  Hannah who isn't even a year old yet was trying to get at the plate, but her mom gave her nibbles of baby cookies.  Which is sort of cruel, but she is too young to know yet.
I really didn't think there was enough filling but it turned out to be the perfect amount.  So good! And so easy to cut, I thought it was going to smoosh.
I think this is the best treat I have made in a while, it was so good, and it lasted well in the fridge.  I can see making this again and again.
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Monday, January 28, 2013

Pumpkin Pound Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

 So there is nothing I love more than pumpkin.  Well almost nothing, but pumpkin makes me very happy, not sure if it is the thought of fall or the yummy smell of it when you are baking.  Whatever it is, I love it!  So I knew that when I saw these super cute bake and serve mini loaf pans I had to make it pumpkin something.
Can you see all those eggs, 15 and three cups of butter.  Man there was so much, that should have clued me in before I started mixing it all together.
 Now I found these super cute pans at the local Winners which is like a warehouse, but not really.  They have home stuff, clothing and such and it is all brand name, just last years style and such.  Anyway, I love that store.  I went after Christmas and was digging and found about 8 packs of these things.  They were for $1.80 on mark down, so for 8 tins for $1.80 you cannot go wrong. They are all different styles, but who cares right? It means I don't have to wash tins and they are cute.  Win win people!
So I was stupid and used my hand blender to beat those egg whites, took forever.  Next time I just clean out my kitchen aid bowl.  And I love how I say next time, like I would do something this stupid again.  Never mind, I probably will.
So to start I sort of wanted to do a bread, but a sweet one.  So pound cake is what I thought of. And so I went on line and looked for the perfect cake.  Basically it had to have pumpkin in it, so it was not too hard to find.  I found this.  The Streaming gourmet made it sound yummy, and easy.  And I also figured I needed to triple the batch.  Sometimes I am just stupid, this is one of those times.
The batter really lightened up with the egg whites, but it was so hard to mix by hand.  Stupid wimpy arms.

Pumpkin Pound Loaf
By the Streaming Gourmet( altered slightly)
This makes one loaf, I tripled this.

-1 cup butter
-2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
-1 TSP baking powder
-1/2 TSP salt
-2 TSP pumpkin pie spice
-1 cup sugar
-5 large eggs, separated
-1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
-2 TSP vanilla bean paste

Pre heat oven to 350 and prepare your pans, if using paper ones like I did no need to prepare them other than putting them on a cookie tray.

Sift all dry ingredients together and set aside. Cream the butter then slowly add the sugar and cream together. Blend in egg yolks one at a time, making sure to fully mix after each one. Add the pumpkin and vanilla and fully mix.

Add dry ingredients in three additions mixing by hand, I used the machine, there was a lot of batter.

In a different bowl beat egg whites until they form soft peaks.  Once done fold into the pumpkin batter to fully mix it.  At this point I was swearing up a storm, there was so much batter and I was getting tired.  But it turned out okay, maybe not as fluffy as was intended but it worked.

Place into your pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. It took about 20 minutes for my mini ones, she said over an hour for the large loaf pan. Allow to fully cool.

I just used a larger ice cream scoop, and filled them like I do my cupcakes.  I did use the back of a spoon to spread it out a bit as the batter was super thick.
  So I wanted to triple the batch so I could have enough to share with lots of people.  This meant I called Hubby in a panic needing more eggs, I needed 15 and only had like 13.  I may have also been in my sweat pants and tank top, after changing after work. I never thought I would need that many, so that is why a normal person would fully read the recipe before they start.  Also if I had only made one loaf the can of pumpkin I had would have been way too much so it made sense at the time.  I swear.
See how pretty?  I have a convection oven so they baked pretty evenly, but if I did it again I would turn the pans half way, the ones at the back were darker than the ones at the front.
I ended up with 32 of these little cuties.  I ate one right out of the oven because I was not convinced it was baked through.  It was but it was light and I was sad, I thought a pound cake should be dense.  And it was not.  Oh well I figured no one else had to know, I would just tell them it was pumpkin loaf, not pound cake.  But after they cooled over night they became perfect, so I was thrilled.
Oh gosh, don't you just want to eat that with a spoon. I wonder what it would be like to freeze cream cheese icing and make it sort of like an ice cream.  I now have a new mission, cream cheese ice cream.  I can feel my tummy hurting already!
 I wanted to frost them, but not too much. So I decided on a glaze.  A cream cheese glaze.  I could have eaten just that, but then I would have probably been sick for days. So I refrained, I have some control you know.

Cream Cheese Glaze
by me, just tossing stuff in a bowl

-1 block cream cheese
-1 TBSP vanilla bean paste
-milk and icing sugar as needed

So cream the cream cheese.  And yes I know that sounds redundant, but cream cheese really isn't creamy if you get me. Anyway, do that, then add your vanilla.  Once you have done that add a few TBSPs of milk and then add sugar.  Add sugar until it is thick as you like, I wanted it to have some body, not a watery glaze, so it was spoon able  but it was really thin.  Does that make any sense?  No?  Well just do what you like, I won't judge you; too much.
I kept getting glaze on my fingers putting these into the bags.  And then I got lazy and just started wiping them on my pants because I was going to bed right after so they would be in the laundry.  I was so tempted to just keep licking my fingers, but I figure that is gross, and well, gross.
So once that was done I put them in clear plastic bags that I pack my cookies in.  They are pleated so they flared enough so that the cake fit perfectly. Then I just tied them with ribbon and put them in the fridge to set up.
See how pretty?  You just pull up the white frill on the wrapper and it pulled apart, there was some glue so you had to work at it, but it was still not too bad.
I took a bunch to work, and they were eaten and loved.  Or so I am told, one guy said his co workers were mean and gave him the one with the least icing.  I felt badly, but not badly enough to share the one I had packed in my lunch.
See how cute it is? 
These are great to eat out of the wrapper, just pull it apart and eat.  I liked slicing it up like a big loaf cake and eating each slice like it was huge, and then I felt like I was pigging out, when really I wasn't  Well not as much anyway. I think these would make cute gifts for the holidays, which I am sure those wrappers were really made for. Either way, I loved them, but would not triple the batch again, because I thought I was going to die mixing it all.  And no cake is worth death, even if it is covered in cream cheese icing.
I couldn't eat a whole one at one sitting, it was too much, but I sure tried.
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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wedding Sweet Table-Black and White

So last September I did my first, and probably last, wedding table for a friend.  I say last because I just don't think I have that much time to do something like that again.  I loved it, but until I am rich, this will be it.

  Anyway, it was for a smaller wedding of about 50 people.  I took three days off work and baked my little heart out, with some help from my mom and sister.  I finally got the professional pictures so I get to share them here.  They were all taken by the wedding photographer Megan Ursini.  It was really nice to see some good pictures of my treats for a change.  But don't get used to it, this is not that kind of blog.  I do snap shots, and some times they are in focus, but usually not.  Anyway I thought  I would show you all the pictures then link the recipe posts to them in case you want to try making them.

I could eat these all day, I used simple black and white sprinkles.

Simple but great, chocolate covered pretzels.

I linked to these down below, but those are baby pies, the bride wanted a crunch so I rolled them in chocolate covered rice puffs.  Oh and the black candies are Sixlets, seriously those are so good.

This is an artistic shot.  And this is why I will never be good at pictures, I am just thrilled when they are in focus.

A close up of the vanilla ones, yummy!

Cute baby whoopie pies.

I made lots because it was just easier to make whole batches of items than it was to cut the recipe.  So there was lots to be had.

My mom said the ones with the regular swirl didn't look very professional.  I said as long as it was vanilla and not chocolate icing, it was all good. No poop icing here, at least this time.

This was a throw away cake stand, it was perfect to match 

The best from scratch cupcakes ever, Here!

More rod pictures.  And yes I know I am immature.  No need to point it out.

So these were the first attempt at gluten free for me, and they were killer.  I was so paranoid I didn't even put sprinkles on, because I don't know if those have gluten. Do they?  Please someone tell me, I don't want to google it.

These Gluten free cupcakes were the bomb!

These are my first attempt at these, and they turned out great, I have a post coming up about how to make them.  Sorry I'm way behind on that one.

This was the one and only time ever that my white chocolate melted and was perfect.  And then I was cocky and thought I could do it again that way every time.  Well never happened again, stupid chocolate!

I could eat these all, only three ingredients and I have a baby donut maker so super easy.

Super yummy, and super simple, Nutella donuts.

Again, I got cocky, I made these once before and they turned out so I was all, I can do this no problem.  They didn't turn out perfectly, but whatever, people still ate them.

And these little macarons that were a little over done, sorry.

Okay so I made two kinds of brownies, using the same brownie base.  I found that awesome chocolate frosting recipe on line, and now for the life of me cannot remember where. And that stinks because Hubby actually liked the frosting.  Sigh.

Here is the base for these great chocolate chip cookies.

And those brownies, oh those brownie are good!

Another nice picture.

I cut those brownies way too big, but whatever, if you cannot handle it, you need to leave it alone!
So apparently the biggest hit was the strawberries, weird.  Considering how I feel about fruit as desert.  But whatever, I filled the table up a few times and then headed home to my mom and Pork Chop.  I was happy to have been able to do something like this, made me feel sort of professional, but not really. Grab a Bloom Button
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