My Best Biscuits Yet

I always struggle so much with bread recipes, so anytime I find a recipe that works, I get so excited! I made this one twice within a week, and the second time was the night before we left for our Maryland trip. I figured they would be good the next day for breakfast, too. I have tried so many biscuit recipes with fancy steps and not had them work. I’ve also had luck with this recipe, but actually, today’s recipe might trump that one. That one is still good for the cheddar flavor. These technically have cheese in them, but it isn’t super noticeable. These biscuits are so fluffy inside while getting super tall and browning more evenly. They also don’t have a strong baking powder flavor like many recipes I’ve tried.

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Topic-Changing Thursdays: The Fudgelet is 3 Years Old!

Remember when I first shared this? And then he arrived less than 6 months later. Well, much has changed in these three years. I’d say much as even changed from his 2 years old post. He is even more “a person” than 6 months ago.

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Milk Chocolate Cheesecake

Ahh, cheesecake. One of those desserts I never cared for, and now I have made it multiple times with multiple recipes, and even turned it into ice cream. Did you enjoy cheesecake as a kid? The first time I ever liked it in the slightest was with another dessert I never liked much, carrot cake. At a wedding I attended, they had a combination carrot cake/cheesecake as their dessert and somehow the two together made me like each more. That was dipping my toe in, I suppose.

Today I bring a chocolate cheesecake. Supposedly, according to America’s Test Kitchen, you don’t want to use a dark chocolate with this recipe because milk chocolate helps you still taste the tangy cheesecake flavor. I haven’t tested it myself, but I will say that I enjoyed this cheesecake. Creamy and chocolatey but it left you thinking of “chocolate cheesecake” versus just chocolate or just cheesecake. So, maybe I agree?

Hop on board the cheesecake train with me?

Directions for Milk Chocolate Cheesecake

Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

  • 16 Oreo cookies, broken into thirds/quarters
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar, plus 1/2 cup
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 8 ounces chopped milk chocolate (divided)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Dutch processed, but it doesn’t really matter here)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1.5 pounds cream cheese, softened
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and have an oven rack in the middle position. Grease a 9-inch springform pan (I only greased the bottom since my sides are silicone).

In a food processor, grind together the cookies and Tablespoon of sugar until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until combined.

Press into the bottom of the springform pan to form an even layer. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Let it cool completely on a wire rack. (I did this all ahead, then did the cheesecake part a little later.)

Set the oven temperature to 250 degrees F. Take 6 ounces of the chopped chocolate and all of the heavy cream in a medium heat-proof bowl, and melt together in the microwave. Use 50% power in 30-45 second increments, stirring in-between, until melted and smooth. Let it cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in your stand mixer bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar.

Add the cream cheese to the stand mixer bowl, and, using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until creamy and smooth (3-4 minutes). Scrape down the bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to medium-low, add the melted chocolate, and again beat until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each until incorporated. Add the vanilla and stir it in by hand, making sure everything is combined.

Pour into the springform pan, and smooth the top with a spatula.

Tap the pan gently on the counter to release any air bubbles. Cover the top tightly with foil (don’t touch the top of the cheesecake), and place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, then remove the foil and bake for another 30-45 minutes. You want the edges set, and the center to be a little jiggly when shaken. If desired, check the temperature in the center and it should register 150 degrees F. Let it cool completely on a wire rack, then cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours (up to 4 days).

To serve, microwave the remaining 2 ounces of chocolate until melted, stirring occasionally. Let it cool for 5 minutes before drizzling on the top. You can put it into a ziplock bag and cut off the corner, use a pastry bag, or use a fork to drizzle.

Let the cheesecake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. (Or eat it from the freezer if you are like my husband.)

Directions for Milk Chocolate Cheesecake (without pictures)

Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

  • 16 Oreo cookies, broken into thirds/quarters
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar, plus 1/2 cup
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 8 ounces chopped milk chocolate (divided)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Dutch processed, but it doesn’t really matter here)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1.5 pounds cream cheese, softened
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and have an oven rack in the middle position. Grease a 9-inch springform pan (I only greased the bottom since my sides are silicone).

In a food processor, grind together the cookies and Tablespoon of sugar until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until combined. Press into the bottom of the springform pan to form an even layer. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Let it cool completely on a wire rack. (I did this all ahead, then did the cheesecake part a little later.)

Set the oven temperature to 250 degrees F. Take 6 ounces of the chopped chocolate and all of the heavy cream in a medium heat-proof bowl, and melt together in the microwave. Use 50% power in 30-45 second increments, stirring in-between, until melted and smooth. Let it cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in your stand mixer bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Add the cream cheese to the stand mixer bowl, and, using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until creamy and smooth (3-4 minutes). Scrape down the bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to medium-low, add the melted chocolate, and again beat until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each until incorporated. Add the vanilla and stir it in by hand, making sure everything is combined.

Pour into the springform pan, and smooth the top with a spatula. Tap the pan gently on the counter to release any air bubbles. Cover the top tightly with foil (don’t touch the top of the cheesecake), and place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, then remove the foil and bake for another 30-45 minutes. You want the edges set, and the center to be a little jiggly when shaken. If desired, check the temperature in the center and it should register 150 degrees F. Let it cool completely on a wire rack, then cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours (up to 4 days).

To serve, microwave the remaining 2 ounces of chocolate until melted, stirring occasionally. Let it cool for 5 minutes before drizzling on the top. You can put it into a ziplock bag and cut off the corner, use a pastry bag, or use a fork to drizzle. Let the cheesecake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. (Or eat it from the freezer if you are like my husband.)

Copycat Chick-Fil-A Nuggets

We love Chick-Fil-A nuggets, but ever since I realized they have MSG in their non-grilled ones, I have stopped getting them. This recipe was perfect to find because it is easy, fairly fast (outside of waiting for the marinade time, which I don’t count), and doesn’t require much fanciness. I had to buy pickles simply for the purpose of using their juice, but that was fine. These might not be a dead ringer for the famous nuggets, but I would say they were still good and maybe better because they don’t have any weird ingredients in them.

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Curry in a Hurry

What do you consider “a hurry”? I made the spice mixture for this ahead of time, and just left it in my mini food processor in case it needed to be re-processed. It meant that dinner came together in less than the time it took to cook the rice. I added spinach because I like what curry does for spinach, and I like having everything all together. Everyone ate this, and I cut out the serrano peppers to appease our sensitive tongues. You can certainly add them back in and up the spice. You could leave out the spinach, but you can also add more or less. It’s not a picky recipe, which also helps with a time crunch. For a large portion, you are just stirring occasionally while discussing cars with your toddler. Or whatever you do in your spare cooking time.

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Topic-Changing Thursdays: Summer Trip 2017

Before I let the summer get away from us, last month we went to Maryland for what will be our only visit this year, since this Christmas we will be home celebrating our first weeks as a family of 4. We had a few goals for this visit…

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Slow-Cooker Chicken Stock

I’ve made recipes in the slow cooker before that yield broth, like this one. But, I had not seen one where you could take already cooked chicken and turn it into an easy broth. For awhile, I was buying rotisserie chickens from the store and eating them throughout the week for lunch. It was easy and cheap. Well, now I was able to take those carcasses I saved (just in case) and use them for a stock. The original recipe says you need 3-4 chicken carcasses, but I found 2 was plenty. Maybe my chickens run large? Basically, once I filled one of my gallon-sized freezer bags with the bones, I was ready to go.

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