Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

10 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
2 egg yolks                                                                                                        
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
Baked cookies
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder
sprinkles
24-25 candy cane Hershey Kisses, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with wax or parchment paper. Set aside.

Beat the butter and cream together with an electric mixer for 5 minutes on medium speed. Add in the yolks and vanilla. Beat until completely mixed in.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, while beating on low continually until the flour is fully combined. The dough should be thick. If it is sticky, chill in the fridge for 45 minutes.
Kissed cookies

Roll into tablespoon sized balls. Roll the balls in the sprinkles. Place on the prepared baking sheet - 12 balls on each sheet.

Bake 8-10 minutes. The cookies will look undercooked. That is what you want. Remove and let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Then press a candy cane kiss into the center of each cookie. Place the baking sheets in the fridge 5-10 minutes. This will keep the kisses from melting.

These cookies are cute, festive, and taste delicious.

Here is a link to the recipe I used: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/12/03/candy-cane-kiss-cookies/

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake

*Plan ahead... needs to freeze overnight. It's best to make the cheesecake the one day, and the cake the next day.

Cheesecake:
8 c. water
Cheesecake before baking
Cooking spray
16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 c. sugar
pinch of salt
2 eggs
1/3 c. sour cream
1/3 c. heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Red Velvet Cake:
Crisco
flour
2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
Cheesecake after baking
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. red food coloring
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. white vinegar

Cream Cheese Icing:
2 1/2 c. confectioners sugar
16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 c. butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp. vanilla   

To make the cheesecake: Preheat oven to 325 F. Place a roasting pan in the preheating oven, on a lower rack. Boil water.

Spray a 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray. Place a round of wax or parchment paper on the bottom of the prepared pan, over the cooking spray. Wrap a double (or triple) layer of foil around the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan. Make sure it is sealed well so no water gets in while baking.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Mix in sugar and salt, then beat for 2 minutes, making sure to scrape down the sides as needed. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix is sour cream, whipping cream, and vanilla, beating until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan. Set the pan into the roasting pan in the oven. Carefully pour the boiled water into the roasting pan. There should be about an inch of water coming up the side of the springform pan.

One cake layer

Bake the cheesecake 45-55 minutes. The cake should be set, not jiggly. When it's finished baking, remove from the roasting pan and let cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. When it has cooled, place the cheesecake in the freezer overnight.

To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare two 9-inch round cake pans by greasing with Crisco first, then flouring. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt. Add the rest of the ingredients, and beat for 1 minute on medium low speed with an electric mixer. Scrape down sides, then beat for 2 minutes on high.

Divide the batter equally between the two prepared cake pans. Bake 30-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Allow the cakes to cool completely before assembling.

First layer of icing to set
While your cakes are baking, now would be a good time to remove the cheesecake from the freezer to let it thaw a tiny bit before assembling.

To make the icing: In a large bowl, beat all of the ingredients together with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy.

To assemble the cake: Place one cake layer on a plate or platter.

Remove the sides of the springform pan. Slide a knife under the parchment paper and peel off. Layer the cheesecake on top of the bottom cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the cheesecake. Trim the cakes or cheesecake as needed so the layers are evenly matched around the edges.

To ice the cake: Using a long spatula, apply one thin and even coat of icing to the whole cake. Place into the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the icing to set.

Once the first layer is set, apply the rest of the icing to the cake by first adding a large scoop of the icing on top of the cake, then spreading evenly with a spatula across the top and around the sides. Make sure to clean the spatula every time you return it to the icing bowl so no crumbs are visible in the icing.
Ready to serve

Keep this cake refrigerated.

There's a lot of steps, but it's worth it.

Here's a link to the recipe I used: http://www.recipegirl.com/2011/11/28/red-velvet-cheesecake-cake/#_a5y_p=1037743

Monday, December 9, 2013

Salad with Candied Pecans

1 c. pecan halves
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
mixed greens
green apple or pear, chopped
strawberries, sliced
bleu cheese or feta, crumbled
raspberry dressing

Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Set aside.

Stir sugar, oil, and vinegar in a large skillet over medium heat until sugar melts and syrup bubbles, about 3 minutes. Mix in pecans and stir until nuts are toasted and syrup coats them evenly, 5-6 minutes.

Turn nuts out onto prepared baking sheet, and separate using 2 forks. Cool completely.

When the pecans have cooled completely,  mix all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Toss. Serve. We make this salad all the time.

You can make the candied pecans a day or two ahead before making the salad, just make sure to store them in an airtight container.