Mixed Berry Scones

I’ve made lots of scone recipes and decided to try a new one for my dad. I’m not sure how I feel about this one. I will try it again for sure, but I am not sure if it is a real keeper over my other berry scones. Berries always make scones a bit more challenging and a bit more rustic-looking. These were so hard to form into scones, but the end result was delicious. So, that is why I will try them again, because maybe I need to practice it further. I just had a challenge keeping the dough together.

Continue reading

Advertisements

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.)

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.

Continue reading

Emergency Chocolate Cake

This is not a new favorite cake. I have to be honest. It was good, but not great. And let’s look at the title. Doesn’t that kind of title make you think you can bake this cake quickly? The baking part goes fairly quickly but it requires such a long cool-down period. The ingredients list is also a bit fancier than the Amelia Bedelia cake the Fudgelet and I made before. If I was going to choose, I would make the Amelia Bedelia one again before this one because that one tasted better and was even easier to make.

Continue reading

Celebration Rainbow Cake

Rainbows mean happiness in my book. They are pretty, represent the sun coming out, and can even have emotional meanings (look up rainbow babies if interested, but I will note that this was not my motivation, in case you were curious). Mostly, I am just excited to see them because they are beautiful and exciting. You never know when the next one will happen.

So, I feel it is appropriate to share this cake today on a week when I have happy news to share (on Thursday). We are just finishing a Maryland trip where we had plans to see lots of family, friends, the ocean (the Fudgelet’s first visit to see it and my uncle), crabs, hot weather (we don’t get much of that here), and the like. I am writing this in advance but know I will feel both happy to be returning home and a bit sad to be leaving everyone behind for a long time. We’re hoping to have some visitors this fall/winter with plans already in the works.

Continue reading

Tips-y Tuesdays: Steak in a Cast Iron Skillet

After watching an America’s Test Kitchen episode of cooking with a cast iron skillet, I decided to give it another try for cooking steak. Now, I have done one method of starting on the stove and finishing in the oven, but this method is supposed to be really good for your steak and not involve the oven. (My main issue with finishing in the oven is it can sometimes get smoky).

Continue reading

Making and Decorating Sugar Cookies

It’s the time of year when everyone starts making cookies. Even people who bake nothing else the rest of the year will sometimes get in on this. What I don’t understand is buying the dough pre-made, though. The absolute worst part is rolling out the dough. Making it is fairly simple and easy with a mixer. Cutting out shapes and baking them is fun and straightforward. Decorating is obviously the best part. But rolling? Ugh. I would gladly have a tool that eliminated that step for me. Anyone else agree? I know there are spritz cookies but my mom and I would make them and have the darndest time trying to get the cookies to push out of the tube. So, yeah, not a helpful tool. Unless we just had bad luck or a bad tool?

dsc05846-001

Continue reading