Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

Miniature Sweets

January 31, 2007

I purchased this pan made by Chicago Metallic at William Sonoma last year. I love it!

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I have used it over and over again. It made perfect desserts at my niece’s lunch and has been a hit every-time since. I baked these little cheesecakes today but mine are not cool enough to remove from the pans. If you want a closer look here is a picture from the box.

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I plan on deocrating mine and the plate for Valentine’s day—I’ll show you later!

The recipe on the back of the box it delish. I have adapted it slightly. Here is the recipe I use.

Mini Heart Chocolate Cheesecakes

You will need

Crust

½ Cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs

(1 pack of the 3 pack box yields 1 cup)

2 Tbs butter, melted

1 ½ Tbs sugar

1 pinch of salt

Filling

¾ Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

8 oz. Cream cheese (softened)

½ Cup sugar

2 eggs

½ Cup sour cream

½ tsp. Vanilla extract

Have all ingredients at room temperature. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly spray pan, especially the sides. You probably could make these in a mini-muffin pan—-but this pan has removable heart disc bottoms that make it a breeze to remove the cheesecakes.

To make the crusts, combine cookie crumbs, butter, sugar and salt and mix until well blended. Divide the mixture between the hearts. Press evenly into the bottom of each well. It is about a tablespoon of mixture in each well. Bake crusts for 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees.

Melt chocolate (I use the microwave). I process in my food processor or with a mixer the cream cheese and sugar until smooth—-stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sour cream and vanilla and blend. Add the eggs one at a time blending after each egg. Add the melted chocolate and beat until completely blended—again stopping to scrape down the sides. Pour batter into the crusts. I fill completely to the top.

Bake until the filling is set, 18-20 minutes. I place a pan of water in the oven while baking. I allow the cheesecakes to set in the turned off oven with the door open a bit for about 30 minutes after baking is complete. I then allow them to cool on the counter for another 30 or so minutes. I think the slower cooling helps prevent cracks. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before unmolding. These freeze beautifully!

I decorate the tops with a little chocolate ganache. Heat 1/3 cup heavy cream (don’t substitute any thing less!), 1 T butter, and 1 T sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour boiling cream mixture over 3 ounces (about 1/4 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips. Allow to stand for 3-4 minutes. Stir until smooth. Pour onto tops of cheesecakes and smooth evenly.

I only see the round miniature cheesecake pan at William Sonoma this year. I have found the heart one here and here.

Enjoy!

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Happy Kansas Day

January 29, 2007

Today we are celebrating the 146th Kansas Day. Kansas became a state on January 29, 1861. My son and I will spend the morning at the Kansas Historical Museum. If you would like to help Kansas celebrate and learn a little more about this fine state here is a sunflower coloring sheet, a Western Meadowlark, and a buffalo. Here is a sheet about our state symbols. You can even make your own Kansas flag.

I made this simple cake for my son’s class. The center is a chocolate cake made in a small cake pan or heat proof bowl. The petals are Twinkies–as many as you need for the kids. We added some chocolate chips to the frosted center, but you could also use chocolate sprinkles.

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Leave a comment to this post and my son and I will pick one person to recieve some Kansas goodies. We will notify the lucky person by e-mail.

Lollipop Lollipop

January 19, 2007

Last Wednesday we made homemade lollipops. While the kids can’t participate in every step, there is plenty to do. LorAnn’s makes the most ingenious Pencil Pops. This little piece of plastic molds in the lollipop in place of sucker sticks. When the lollipop is finished it then will fit onto a pencil. If you want to use lollipop molds like we did you must make sure to buy the molds that have a space made for the pencil pop. We used 3 sheets of molds, yielding 15 lollipops.

Old Fashioned Lollipops

2 cups sugar

2/3 cup light corn syrup

¾ cup water

1 tsp Flavoring (we used LorAnn)

¼ tsp Liquid Food Coloring

Candy Thermometer

Lightly spray molds with cooking spray and insert pencil pops into your molds.

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In large saucepan, mix together sugar, corn syrup and water. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to a boil without stirring. This syrup gets very hot. Children must watch the next steps from afar!

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When syrup temperature reaches 260°F, add the coloring. DO NOT STIR; boiling will incorporate the coloring into the syrup.

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Remove from heat at 300°. Watch closely from 260° to 300°, the temperature will rise quickly. Remove from heat. When boiling has stopped, stir in flavoring. I then CAREFULLY pour the mixture into a heat proof ceramic pitcher or glass batter bowl. This makes it easy to pour into the molds. It also allows you to be able to slightly reheat the mixture in the microwave if it cools too quickly. Immediately pour syrup into the molds.

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After lollipops have cooled they may be removed from the molds. Stick pencil in pencil pop.

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We wrapped with lollipop bags and ribbons.

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Enjoy! Have a great weekend!

Sick Day X 2

January 16, 2007

We were up early this morning (before 4). My action figure is sick—horrible headache, cough and fever. If my crafty guy needs some entertainment today we will give these cootie catchers (in honor of our excess cooties) a try. Here are instructions with a printable template. If he feels like it we will get a head-start on his Valentines. He wanted to make these long pyramid boxes. Here is a printable template( Sorry it is no longer available). Mirkwood Designs has templates for cards and boxes if you are looking for more ideas.

I’m glad my husband was wanting something sweet last night and made some cookie dough. Our little boy boys will need a warm treat today. It is 3 degrees!

We think these are the best chocolate chip cookies!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 Cup Brown Sugar

¾ Cup Sugar

1 Cup Butter (softened)

1 tsp. Vanilla

2 Eggs

3 Cups Flour

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Baking Soda

2 Cups Chocolate Chips

Cream the butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, salt and baking soda. Add in chocolate chips. Bake at 350° for about 11-13 minutes. We like our cookies soft and chewy in the center and very lightly golden around the edges.

My oldest son just entered the room and announced that he has a headache and…….

Sweet Megan

January 5, 2007

It is kinda dreary around here today so I thought I would share a more sunny day. These are the pictures from my niece’s bridesmaid’s luncheon.

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It was held ON her wedding day. We just wanted to add all the stress and fun that we could possibly add to the day. It turned out fabulous even though we had our share of perils. Our electricity happened to go out from 7:30 in the morning until 15 minutes before the girls arrived at 12:00. It was quite a crazy morning with my wonderful aunt(my lucky house guest) holding me together, my dear husband shuffling food to my dear friend’s house to be cooked, and him also transporting my cousin’s daughter (another lucky house guest) to get a shower. I served a salad (recipe follows), Grilled Vegetable Panini, Bellinis, Mini heart Cheesecakes, and Heart shaped Sugar Cookies with icing flavored with vanilla and creme bouquet instead of the almond. Okay we also had jello shots and when the girls drank every single Bellini a few…..

Slippery Nipples -1/2 shot Butterscotch Schnapps & 1/2 shot Irish Cream.

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I had the most fun decorating and setting the table.

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I made cones out of paper and filled with chocolates for the back of each chair.

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These flowers are made from white lunch sacks. Find out how to make them here.

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The salad is delicious and from my special friend Karin.

 

Tortellini Salad

4 oz tortellini (cooked)

4 oz grilled chicken

2 artichoke hearts (sliced and drained)

1 oz of fresh spinach or other greens

12 sun-dried tomatoes (softened in warm water 20 mins. then chopped)

2 oz. feta cheese

3 slices red onion

DRESSING

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp dried oregano

1 Tbl. tomato paste

6 Tbls. Balsamic vinegar

Puree ingredients in blender or food processor then while processor is going add 1/2 cup top quality olive oil.

Toss dressing with salad. This makes more than enough dressing for the ingredients.