Blog Crush – Brown Eyed Baker

I have a new blog crush and her name is Brown Eyed Baker. I came across BEB about a year ago when I first made her delicious and ridiculous St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes. Since then, order I have been following her religious, click salivating over her recipes and hoarding them. In the past month, help I have made three of her recipes. I think I can easily say that I am addicted.

First I made her Sesame Chicken.

Photo Credit: Brown Eyed Baker

This was a big milestone for me as a cook because it gave me the opportunity to deep fry for the first time. That’s right: I had never actually deep fried anything because I was absolutely terrified of vats of boiling oil, a valid fear in my opinion. With my trusty thermometer in hand and GC by my side I conquered this fear.

This dish was delicious and has led me to believe that I can make American-style Chinese food at home. The chicken was crispy but not greasy, moist and juicy and smothered in a tangy, sweet sauce that has a slight nuttiness from the sesame oil and seeds. One thing I do need to get better with is making rice. I know, I know. You are probably thinking, “Audrey, you have a food blog. How can you possibly not be able to make rice?” I get impatient and worry about it crusting to the bottom of my pans.

Then I made her Bourbon Slush.

Photo Credit: Brown Eyed Baker

I made this last week for a night in at our friends’ place. This was a citrus, sweet blend that added a nice frosty touch to your traditional cocktail. The bourbon flavor was subtle but present. On a cold winter day this was just the thing to keep us toasty and warm. If you are not a bourbon or hard liquor drinker, you will still enjoy this cocktail. If you have the time and the foresight to plan, you should give this recipe a try.

And lastly, I made her Black Forest Cheesecake.

Holy smokes. This cake is ridiculous, rich, and luscious and everything you could ever want in a cheesecake. I think a little part of me died it was so amazing. It is not a cheesecake for the faint of heart as it is decadent and may induce heart palpitations. This cake should probably only be enjoyed on special occasions and not random Thursday nights.

I loved all three of these recipes and they will definitely be making a regular appearance in my kitchen. I will admit that they are slightly time consuming and may result in your house smelling like the Food Pavilion of the Ex (an actual description of my kitchen by GC after making sesame chicken) but they are worth your time, effort, and calories.

Happy munching!

Birthday Cake

On Tuesday, GC celebrated his birthday. He asked for a classic New York Style Cheesecake and I took that idea and give it a bit of a spin.

I made him Individual Chocolate Swirl Cheesecakes.

1. I used Anna Olson’s recipe. The only thing I would change about this recipe is the crust. Instead of the whole wheat cocoa crust she used, next time I would use oreo crumbs. The whole wheat and cocoa didn’t come together well enough and was slightly dry.

2. This cheesecake actually isn’t baked. You whip the eggs in a double boil and they cook that way, before you mix them with the other ingredients. You avoid having to cook the cheesecake altogether which means you don’t have to turn on your oven in the middle of summer. Perfect.

3. This cheesecake used mascarpone cheese instead of regular cream cheese. Some would suggest this makes it taste better, and makes the cake more upscale but I prefer my fatty, low class cheese. The mascarpone is too light and isn’t substantial enough to be called a cheesecake.

4. This recipe claimed that it made 8 individual cheesecakes but it only made 5. This was annoying because I chose this recipe to make and share with a group of people but it worked out because most people don’t like how alcohol and desserts mix.

5. It was easy to fill these cheesecake half-and-half and then do the swirl. It looked much more impressive and difficult than it actually was, which is always something to look for in a dessert.

This is a nice, light cheesecake which is perfect for summer and it was perfect for GC. GC loved it and had a great birthday.

Happy birthday, GC! I love you!

Cheesecake

Anna Olson has a new show and it is all sorts of magical. It is called, Bake with Anna Olson. Each episode is dedicated to a common dessert/bakery item, for example, cheesecake, meringue or ganache. She begins with the basic recipe and builds on those to make more complicated dishes. She will start with New York Style Cheesecake and work up to make layered Key Lime Cheesecake. This show is straight forward, informative, eye catching and most importantly, will cause you to salivate.

I first caught this show after my mom had bought me my Kitchen Aid Mixer but it was not yet in my possession and I was trying to determine what to make using it for the first time. I wanted to make something that couldn’t be made by hand or using a hand mixer and would require the power and force of the mixer. After I saw the cheesecake episode of this show, I was sold.

I made Anna Olson’s New York Style Cheesecake.

1. As a rule of thumb, my mom doesn’t make cheesecake using more than 3 packages of cheesecake. This is probably a good rule of thumb but this cheesecake looked so sinfully delicious and creamy that I had to go for it. It used 4 packages of cream cheese.

2. The Kitchen Aid Mixer is literally the best thing in the world. I love it. It is whisper quiet and so powerful and just whipped the cream cheese into submission.

3. The sour cream adds a nice creaminess and rounds out the flavour of the rich cream cheese. The addition of lemon zest to the cake also does this.

4. This is only the second cheesecake I’ve ever made (I made a pumpkin cheesecake a few years ago for Thanksgiving) and it successfully did not crack AND I did so without using a bathwater. Anna’s baking instructions are: bake at a higher temperature for 10 minutes, lower it for 25 minutes, turn off for 30 minutes but leave the cheesecake in the oven, crack the door for 30 minutes (I am simplifying it obviously, but follow the directions). The total baking time is 1 hour and 35 minutes. This seems excessive but I think it might need another five minutes at some point because the middle could have been a little more solid.

5. The cake is topped with a mixture of sour cream, lemon juice and sugar. Light but with a little bit of a bite, this is the perfect way to top this cheesecake. Also, it will hide any unsightly cracks that may have formed.

This is going to be my go to cheesecake recipe so be warned if you have a slice because it is rich, fattening and oh so delicious.

Mini Twix Cheesecake

On Thursday at work I was doing a lot of thinking about cheesecake and of course, this resulted in cravings for cheesecake. Now, I have my own theories and feelings about cheesecake. Yes, I love cheesecake. But no, I don’t think homemade is always better. Cheesecake is expensive and time consumming to make and most people cannot tell the difference from store-bought versus homemade. And, if you are just getting your run-of-the-mill New York-style cheesecake, I would suggest going to the grocery store and spending $6 on a cheesecake that will delightfully satisfy anywhere between 1-6 people!

On Friday at work we had mini-mini pumpkin cheesecakes which were good but did not satisfy my craving. They were made in the mini muffin tins that give you 24 per tray so needless to say this left me wanting more. I showed restraint at work and only had 1 because I knew I would satisfy my craving later…

Mini Twix Cheesecakes!

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