Ounces and Grams

Red Velvet Cheesecake

Sexy picture, huh? I’d love to say that I have gotten better at this art of food photography but sadly, no, this picture was taken by Sam a couple of years ago but we never posted it. Sad face. I can’t figure out what this child did to take such brilliantly lit indoor photos; I never saw her take them or at least never saw her use more than our dingy kitchen light and the camera flash. I can’t seem to do such a good job though. Unless she did something in editing… which she was also very good at. I’ll figure it out. I’ll call my photography “dramatic”. Yeah, it’s meant to look that way. I like it. Ha.

Moving on. This is a beautiful cheesecake. I am sure I have mentioned it before but I don’t love flavored cheesecakes. Then I made the Banana Cheesecake and wowza, I wanted to weep, it was delicious. Granted, I already admitted this one pictured here was made a few years ago. In retrospect, I am not a fan of using food coloring. The result is gorgeous and though Wiltons is great, but it always colors your mouth and tongue.. um.. amongst others.. Oh shush, you’re not really grossed out. Wow, I am really off topic here. Bringing it back to cheesecake and whatnot; I like the taste of Red Velvet though I have struggled with cakes and cupcakes sinking so I don’t make it too often. I guess that means I should figure out what I am doing wrong there. So, yeah, this cheesecake does have the flavors we love in Red Velvet, it’s got an awesome Oreo cookie crust, and slab of cream cheese frosting on top.

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The Oreos work beautifully here even though I am not bonkers for them. I think they used them whole in original recipe but I must have removed the frosting; I remember presenting Sam with a bowl of Oreo frosting and her being ecstatic. The cheesecake was perfect and silky, just like a cheesecake should be. The frosting, you’d think would be too much but it ties in ever so spectacularly. It really is a cheesecake made to impress and still follows all the cheesecake baking rules, not making it any more difficult than a New York cheesecake so why not make this one instead?

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Nutty Marshmallow Brown Butter Whiskey Banana Blondies

Yeah, that’s a mouthful but these are so good you will just want that though; a mouthful of them. I mentioned here that I had these extra chewy, taffy like marshmallows, I knew I didn’t want to bake chocolate again and I had naners and remembered the beauty of blondies! Blondies are brownies more fun counterpart. I looked up a recipe which included banana and found one with bourbon but I had whiskey so I kept looking. I don’t reaaaally get the difference but then found another recipe which called for bourbon OR whiskey and was like, “cool beans!” and made that one and switched out the white chocolate chips for the marshmallows and threw in some leftover pecans I had. Yummers.

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Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies

Lately there has just been a peanut butter craze; it’s not as popular here so I guess I can see why it is a big deal. I mean, it’s great, don’t get me wrong. Then, of course, we have Nutella.. you could put Nutella on anything and it’ll be amazing. Sam and I actually wanted to do a blog called Nutella on Everything and yes, just put it on everything and write about the experience. We had put some on cheese, which was not bad at all.. and then on something else, maybe zucchini, I cannot remember but that did not work as well. Anyhoo, point is, peanut butter is good, Nutella is good.. Peanut butter and Nutella.. Better. And Better is good. Actually. Better is.. better? :-p

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Peanut Butter Streusel Bars with Chocolate Chips

I wanted to make marshmallows for my name day to take to work, dipped in chocolate and cookie crumbs however, and sadly enough, my candy thermometer had died and I hadn’t even noticed! It must have happened a while back when I dropped the poor thing I boiling caramel and was trying to fish it out forever. So, I tried to free-style but over boiled the sugar/syrup resulting in a taffy like substance.. which isn’t bad but not what I want and needed. I may try to use it in another recipe which calls for marshmallows, we’ll see.

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I then started looking for a recipe which makes enough for a crowd and for which I had all ingredients on hand. Searching and searching, I couldn’t find anything epic enough. Cookies? No. Cupcakes? Too much fuss. Fudge? Made it last year. Lately everyone seems to be losing it over peanut butter but at the same time, it’s not exactly cheap. I then came across this recipe which said something about “triple peanut butter” in the title and thought.. “okay, let’s see” and turns out it only really called for 1/4 cup of it! It did say peanut butter chips but we don’t even sell those and they can be substituted with chocolate chips so I did that instead. So, I had delightful little cookie like squares with a peanut butter filling and a streusel peanut and chocolate chip topping!

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Banoffee Pie for Mel

My friend and fellow baker/food-blogger, Lauren, recently lost the love of her life. He was her husband to be and I cannot even pretend to imagine what she is going through and this beautiful letter she wrote to him breaks my heart. He loved Banoffee pie and Lauren had one in the freezer for Mel but it got left there and tossed out by movers after Mel passed. I once read a story about saving things for "special occasions" but that every day is a special occasion; we don’t know if it will be our last. It’s hard to live by that though and it’s somewhat sad that we may only realise we should appreciate every moment after we have lost something or someone we were not ready to lose. She posted his favourite recipe for anyone to make a pie in loving memory of Mel and it was an honour to do so. I have never made one before; I actually haven’t even tried one. I have no idea who is going to eat the pie with me but I wasn’t going to wait for a special occasion anymore, it’s for Mel. It’s for Lauren. It’s for all of those special occasions missed. It’s for now. 

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I wont rewrite the recipe for this, instead please refer to Lauren’s original Banofee Pie post or even here if you would like to make Mel’s favourite. 

Dedicated to Lauren. 

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups with Brown Butter

Okay, if anyone even follows this blog, thanks for sticking around but I doubt it so maybe no one has noticed it has not been updated in 7 months. Shhhh… You still have not noticed…

Moving on. I sometimes struggle to decide on what to bake since I want to try new things but I don’t seem to do basics. I really don’t even think I have made chocolate chip cookies since I was a kid. I am a lazy bum when it comes to making cookies and I can’t stand if they need to be refrigerated or rolled. For some reason I also can’t roll round cookies but manage to roll cubes or more accurately, octahedrons. Weird, but true. Sam would always have to roll anything round like the cookies or meatballs. That is why these cookies appealed to me; no fridge time and no rolling, one saucepan, no mixer.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups with Brown Butter

Should make 10-12 cookies, I probably ate too much dough once again and ended up with 8.

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornflour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

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Bourbon Banana Pudding Cheesecake

I love recipes that are complex and unique. I had leftover bananas and decided to have a look through Foodgawker to see what it had to offer and found this gorgeous recipe by The Candid Appetite, whom I now love and find his photography fantastic. It kinda makes me sad that my photos are nothing compared to his however maybe I can excuse myself as I’m only a beginner. But only for so long! I will improve, both in photography and in baking. 

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My first impression of this cheesecake is that it tasted like banana bread or its batter; not a bad thing. But the slice I served myself was too much and couldn’t finish it. You should cut them a little thinner to appreciate the flavour without being overwhelmed. I craved (and ate) this cheesecake for the rest of the week; it really excites me now just thinking about it. I thought I wasn’t going to try another flavoured cheesecake after the Nutella Cheesecake Bars because I didn’t personally enjoy them, however I suppose it makes sense that banana and cream cheese work better than Nutella and cream cheese. Granted, everyone else quite enjoyed them. I will definitely be making this cheesecake again and be delving into the realm of flavoured cheesecakes. :D  

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Bourbon Banana Pudding Cheesecake

Makes 8-10 servings, depending on the size of the slices. 

For the Cheesecake:

  • 2 cups finely crushed graham cracker crackers or ginger snaps
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (I didn’t have any but used some oatmeal)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large ripe bananas
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon whiskey (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 900 g/32 ounces packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp bourbon whiskey (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)

For the Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon whiskey (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

For the garnish:

  • 1 banana, sliced/dried sliced bananas

Make sure you have a roasting pan bigger than your spring-form pan.

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Wut wut!! Sprinkles Bakes cook book has arrived!

Wut wut!! Sprinkles Bakes cook book has arrived!

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Apple Pie Layer Cake

I saw this gorgeous apple pie/cake thingy on Foodgawker and read that it was by Momofuku and I had heard about Momofuku with regards to the crack pie but generally, I had no idea what it all was all about. I just knew that this pie/cake thingy looked stunning and impressive. Having promised to bring dessert to a Sunday lunch, I knew I wanted something that was a bit of a challenge but wanted something more coffee cake like or a pie.. both “simple”. Then I remembered this friggin’ beauty and was like WHABAMMY! Must to bake! While trying to find this pie/cake again on Foodgawker, I did happen to get an idea of what Momofuku is and the Milk Bar and love the creativity. I have several cook books and obviously can find a lot of recipes online but I have been wanting to buy Sprinkle Bakes book since I adore her to pieces and was also impressed by the Milk Bar that I ordered both books. I will express my excitement once they arrive; especially for Sprinkle Bakes… *giddy giddy*
 
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For this cake assembly, you are going to require a 6 inch cake ring and acetate sheets. I found a nifty adjustable cake ring and plastic sheets from an office supply store which looked like this. I basically cut two long strips and fit them into the cake ring by using two of them and it worked perfectly. I realize the recipes reads forever, but it’s simple! Pinky promise.

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Apple Pie Layer Cake
Makes 1 (6 inch) layer cake, 5 to 6 inches tall; serves 6 to 8
For the Barely Brown Butter Cake:
  • 40g brown butter*
  • 55g butter
  • 250g sugar 
  • 1/4 cup tightly packed light brown sugar 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 110g/1/2 cup buttermilk 
  • 65g/1/3 cup vegetable oil 
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 185g/1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp salt 

For the Apple Cider Soak:

  • 1/4 cup apple cider (I used apple juice)
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • A pinch of ground cinnamon

For the Liquid Cheesecake:

  • 227g cream cheese 
  • 150g/3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 egg

For the Pie Crumb :

  • 240 g/1 1/2 cups flour 
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 115 g butter, melted 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp water

For the Apple Pie Filling:

  • 1 lemon 
  • 300g/2 medium Granny Smith apples
  • 14g/1tbsp butter 
  • 150g/2/3 cup packed light brown sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the Pie Crumb Frosting:

  • 1/2 recipe Pie Crumb
  • 110g/1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 40g/3tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 40g/1/4 cup powered sugar

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Black Bean Burgers

Flipping Frying Patties! February’s Daring Cooks Challenge gave me the opportunity to make Black Bean Burgers. Not that I couldn’t have made them otherwise, I just get a bit lazy sometimes when it comes to a new recipe. If no one else will eat it, it’s difficult that I will make it  but Sam was more than happy to join me for lunch and we both had seconds! 

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Black Bean Burgers

  • 2 x 400g/14 oz cans black beans
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup  plain breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

I can’t say I didn’t miss the meat. It was tasty though and I would probably do it again but not as a substitute for a hamburger. Maybe for something more Tex Mex!

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