Category Archives: cheesecake

Timeless

When I was a kid my parents had a set of glass-topped coffee tables with brass accents. Oh, they were fancy and cutting-edge chic. So modern. They sat nestled there in our formal living room next to vanilla ice cream colored couches, speckled with peach, pink and sea foam green. On the wall hung a large painting of fish, abstract and watery. My favorite addition to the room was an oversized green vase dripping with glass that looked like shiny, purple candle wax and stuffed with fake plastic reeds.

That room was early 90s decorating at it’s best. Magazine perfect. Now? A time warp.

In the mid-90s, I insisted on wearing huge pants. I bought jeans that I had to cinch at my waist with a belt on the last notch to hold in place. They bagged around my (non-existent) hips and bunched at my ankles. Five seconds after I cut off the tags, I was using the same scissors to cut a slit up the side of the leg so they would drag on the ground under my chunky Doc Martin shoes. On top, assorted plaids. Maybe a vest. Or spaghetti strap tanks over baby doll tees. Hair long, loose and flat, parted down the middle, wispy bangs curled under.

EVERYONE dressed like that. Now? People would take one look at that getup and wonder if you were headed to a costume party dressed as Angela Chase. Maybe Jordan Catalano will be there. *90s swoon*

And then there are things that never go out style. Like red nail polish. No woman in history, from victory gardens and rivets to cosmos and clubs, has has ever stepped out into the world with a swash of crimson across her fingertips without feeling knock-your-socks-off beautiful. It’s confidence in a tiny glass bottle. Confidence is totally timeless.

You know what else is timeless? Oreos. Oreos look and taste the same as they did when my parents had a pastel living room. Not that I was allowed to EAT Oreos in there. Or anything for that matter. They taste just the same as they did when a handful of friends sat around in too-big pants listening to grunge rock and scraping the middles out of them. There’s something comforting about that. In a world where as quickly as it’s in, it’s out, it is kind of nice to know that humble little cookie is still getting dunked in milk and tumbling crumbs down the front of shirts everywhere and probably always will.

I tend to forget about Oreos. They are not a usual addition to my grocery list and I rarely even take my shopping cart down the cookie aisle. But as I was wandering the grocery store last week picking up a few things for the weekend guests we were to be hosting, I tossed a bag into my cart on a whim. Eric loves Oreos though he rarely gets them. And since it was his friends that were coming to stay, I figured they probably loved them too. I’d find some way to jazz them up.

I decided to turn my bag of Oreos into these Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes for two reasons. 1). I’ve made them before and they are insanely easy to throw together. Ten minutes tops. 2). They are quite the tasty little treat! The whole Oreo as a crust at the bottom of the cupcake really makes that classic cookie taste shine through. The smooth, sweet creamy filling studded with chocolatey chunks of chopped Oreos takes a timeless classic and kicks it up a notch.

I’ll be making these when I need a quick dessert for years to come. Even as pastel living rooms and super baggy pants come and go again. 🙂 Oreos are forever.

COOKIES AND CREAM CHEESECAKES (Recipe Source: Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 42 chocolate/cream cookies, such as Oreos – 30 left whole and 12 coarsely chopped
  • 2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature and slightly beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners and place one whole cookie into the bottom of each cup.
  2. Beat cream cheese until smooth with an electric mixer, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar and beat until fully combined. Add vanilla and beat to combine.
  3. Drizzle in the eggs, a little at a time, beating until incorporated and scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt. Gently fold into chopped cookies by hand.
  4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each one nearly to the top. Bake, rotating the tins halfway through, until the filling is set, about 22 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate in the tins at least 4 hours before serving. Makes 30 cheesecakes.

*Note:* I halved the recipe with no problems. Got exactly 15 cheesecakes! 🙂

ENJOY!

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In defense of November

Um, hey, Christmas? Yeah, I know your busy and all but…November called. He kinda wants his month back. You know, if it’s not too much trouble. K? Thanks.

Does anyone else feel a little sad for our old friend November? I mean, he’s kinda had his identity stolen. Somewhere along the long and winding road of recent history, November got all swallowed up by December and it’s big noise-maker Christmas.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the holiday season. The shopping, giving, tree-trimming, baking, wrapping, and caroling is all and well and good. But I like those things…in DECEMBER! I don’t know who decided it was okay for Christmas to steal the thunder from November but I really think he deserves a second chance to stand on his own two feet.

Anybody remember Thanksgiving? Yeah, you know that holiday that’s supposed to come BEFORE Christmas. That’s only been happening in November since, well…forever and we’ve all but forgot about it in favor of Christmas. Think about all the great things Thanksgiving has to offer. Family. Food!! A time for remembrance, reflection and gratefulness. Your first full day off work since Labor Day and there’s TWO of them?! Hello. Awesome.

Here’s a recipe that’s pure November. Forget about December’s candy canes, sugar cookies and eggnog for a second and remember our good pal Pumpkin. Sure, sure pumpkin pie is the star of the Thanksgiving dessert table but this here’s a recipe for another November day. Like say the Saturday after Thanksgiving. You’ve probably already inhaled the last of the pie at 5:00 a.m. the morning before on your way out to hit up the Black Friday sales. These Pumpkin Cheesecake Crumble Squares are the perfect accompaniment to an after Thanksgiving gathering of friends or a family game night. They’re a snap to make and even easier to eat. With they’re creamy, dreamy, spicy pumpkin filling, tangy sour cream topping and crunchy oat crumble, you’ll be begging November to stick around.

As noted in the reviews of the original recipe, the crust/crumble portion of the recipe seems a bit off proportion-wise for a 9×9 inch pan. I made all of it and did end up with some leftover even after topping my squares. If you are a super math whiz, you may want to reduce the crust recipe by a fourth or so. I’m mentally incapable of doing that sort of thing (true story) so I’ll just go ahead and leave that up to you. 😉 Full recipe appears below.

PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE CRUMBLE SQUARES (Recipe adapted from: Bon Appetit, October 2006 via Epicurious.com)

For the crust:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 cup pecan halves (about 4 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
For the filling:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
For the topping:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
DIRECTIONS:
Prepare the crust:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x9x2-inch metal baking pan with cooking spray. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.
  2. Pulse first 4 ingredients in processor until coarse meal forms. Add pecans; pulse until nuts are chopped. Add oats; pulse until mixture is moistened but not clumping. Press about 3/4 of crumb mixture onto bottom of prepared square pan (do not clean processor). Transfer remaining crumbs to lined baking sheet. Bake crumbs on sheet until golden, stirring once, about 10 minutes. Cool crumbs. Bake crust until golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven while preparing filling. Maintain oven temperature.
Prepare the filling:
  1. Blend all the filling ingredients in same processor until smooth. Spread filling over warm crust; bake until set, dry in center, and beginning to rise at edges, about 20 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.
Prepare topping:
  1. Mix all ingredients in small bowl. Spread evenly over hot filling. Bake until topping sets and bubbles at edges, about 5 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack. Sprinkle reserved crumbs over topping; gently press into topping. Cover; chill until cold and set, about 2 hours. Can be made up to 2 days before serving. Keep chilled. Cut into squares. Makes 16 servings.
ENJOY!
One Year Ago: Pumpkin-Apple Streusel Cake. Uh, want. In my face. Now.
Two Years Ago: I got nothin’. NaNo was consuming me.

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Filed under cheesecake, desserts, pumpkin