Pumpkin Cheesecake

20 12 2011

I found this recipe on Pinterest, which is by far my favorite website of the moment. Pinterest gives me such great ideas for crafting, organization, and especially food! (If you’re reading this and want an invite to Pinterest, let me know and I’ll send you one!)

Now, I am not a fan of regular cheesecake, and not even the biggest fan of pumpkin (unless they’re my pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies).  But I had a great pumpkin cheesecake from Whole Foods on my birthday, and found the recipe on Pinterest shortly after, so I figured I would give it a try.  I’ve ended up making this recipe three times now – once as a test batch for Thanksgiving dessert (which I shared with former co-workers at P.F. Chang’s), the second time as the dessert for my family’s Thanksgiving, and a third time just for fun!

The brown sugar in the cheesecake gives it a great deep flavor, and I used a store-bought graham cracker crust instead of making my own crust like the recipe calls for.  The recipe filled two regular sized pie crusts.  The ingredients are simple and the cheesecake comes together pretty easily. The only time consuming thing about cheesecake is baking it, then cooling it in the oven, then cooling it at room temperature, and then finally setting it in the refrigerator.   But this is well worth the wait, I promise!

I learned so much about cheesecake by making this recipe so many times.  Since I don’t like regular cheesecake, I had no idea how sensitive it all is to temperature and how much time it takes.

Here are some pictures.  Everyone who had this cheesecake (and I’ve shared it with probably over 35 people at this point, from co-workers to friends at a party to my family at Thanksgiving) gave it GREAT reviews!

Two pumpkin pies with homemade whipped cream on the table during Thanksgiving.

Happy eating!


Oreo Chocolate Chunk Cookies

24 09 2011

These were September’s Munchies of the Month!  They are really great, easy to make, and I want to start making as many alterations to this recipe as possible to see what other recipes I can come up with.  The recipe came from one of my favorite blogs, Crepes of Wrath.

The recipe itself is pretty simple, and it made a little less than 4 dozen cookies, which is awesome for a recipe.  Plus, when I made this batch, I got to play with my fancy new camera!  Food just looks so much better when the picture is so high quality.

Here’s the recipe, and here are the cookies:

Happy eating!

Graham Cracker Snickerdoodles

18 05 2011

Ah.  Life has been so busy and I apologize for the lack of updates lately!  Between the Broad Street Run, final exams and projects, one week of “stay-cation” and now starting full-time work on top of preparing to move, I feel like I haven’t had a chance to breathe!  But I’ve made so many of these cookies that I needed to share with you all.

Surprise, surprise, this recipe came from my favorite food blog, Crepes of Wrath.  These were also the munchies of April and were very well received all around.  I probably made 20 dozen of these over a week-period, if not more. I made them for munchies, then a few dozen for my class, and a few for my SAT students, and lots and lots for my housemates and me to munch on.

I first tried another recipe I found online, but then tried this recipe and it totally won.  I think it was the crushed graham crackers that go into the cookie that make it a little lighter, as opposed to a cookie with more flour in it.  The recipe made about 2 dozen regular cookies, and when I made the mini cookies, it made about 3 and a half dozen.

I literally made piles of cookies.  It was fantastic.

And there you have it.  Happy eating!

Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes

25 02 2011

Mmm!  Another month gone and another round of munchies!

I made these cupcakes upon insistence of my friend Yossef.  I planned on originally making red velvet shortbread cookies and dipping them in white chocolate, but some people seemed hesitant about the white chocolate.  The problem with frosting and shipping, though, is that unless the frosting is hard, then it’s just a big mess.  Once I found this recipe I knew that I could pull off filled cupcakes and use them for my munchies in February.

Oh what a project this was!  First I had to bake 100 cupcakes.  The first batch ended up not being so good (I greased the pan, and didn’t like how sticky the cupcakes seemed to be) so I bought cupcake liners and tried again, and these were better.  Yes, I used red velvet cake mix (Duncan Hines).  But the time I spent into personalizing these cupcakes is much more time than I would spend making the batter from scratch.  Then I proceeded as such:

Step 1: Let the cupcakes cool.

Step 2:  With a paring knife, cut cones into each mini cupcake, then sliced off the bottom of each cone, leaving a small top for each cupcake.

Step 3: Made homemade frosting and using ziploc-pastry-bag, filled each cupcake.

Step 4: Topped each cupcake with the top, and voila!  100 mini cupcakes!

(This picture came out really red since I used flash.  But you can really see the frosting peeking out from each cupcake top!)

Overall the time involved was SO not worth it for how small the cupcakes are.  But they’re cute and the munchies were all well received.  And with the frosting they tasted pretty good. It was an experience to be had, for sure.  Happy eating!!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

26 01 2011

The title says it all.  These cookies are as good as the ice cream, if not better!  These were my munchies of the month for January.  (Recipe here.)

I actually wasn’t always a huge fan of mint – my family used to love mint chocolate chip ice cream and I had coffee instead, and it wasn’t until recently where I recently started to enjoy mint (maybe it was because of the mojitos… hm).  My parents got me two cookie cookbooks for Christmas and a recipe for mint chocolate chip cookies was one of the first featured, so I knew I had to try it.  However, after scouring Wegmann’s, two ShopRites, Stop and Shop, and Target, the only mint chocolate chips that the recipe called for that I could locate were Andes Creme de Menthe Baking Chips.

They weren’t exactly what I wanted (I was thinking mint chocolate chip morsels), but I decided to give it a try.  I made one batch in late December according to the recipe, but the cookies came out pretty crunchy and not a consistency that I liked.  But, on the back of the package was a recipe for some mint chocolate chunk cookies using the baking chips.  I gave that a try, and they were perfect!

The cookies are just a tiny crunchy on the outside, but chewy inside.  Because the recipe has you mix in the baking chips before adding the flour, I think that makes the chips much more incorporated into the cookie dough.  The baking chips are so small that every cookie has such a great minty flavor without being too overpowering.  I can’t even count how many of these cookies I’ve eaten myself, and my housemates gave these cookies the ultimate seal of approval.  Here they are!

See the little specks of green?  🙂

Happy eating!

Pate Chaud

4 01 2011

Paté chaud is a Vietnamese dish.  Vietnamese pastries very often have meat in them, so it’s like mixing your dessert with your other meals.  My mom has always made this dish, and it used to be my favorite thing to eat in the morning for breakfast .. she would have to take it away or I would eat the whole plate!  You can often find these pastries in Vietnamese delis.

The recipe is pretty simple – it’s ground pork, with some yellow onions, white pepper, pinch of salt, and pinch of sugar.  All placed inside a puff pastry and baked for about 15-20 minutes.  The pastries are brushed with some egg on top for that nice golden color.

My mom showed me how to make it over Thanksgiving break when I was home and then I went home and tried it myself and it turned out great!  My housemates tried it as well, and they were pleasantly surprised and actually liked it!  They’re always so willing to try my concoctions and crazy Vietnamese food that I’m trying out.

We used a frozen puff pastry because it’s the easiest to use.  For those interested in making this, I used one package of frozen puff pastry, thawed slightly, (but not completely so it’s easier to use manage), 1/2 lb of ground pork, half a medium yellow onion (finely chopped, slightly sauteed in 1 tbsp butter with a little white pepper), mixed with a little salt, sugar, and some more white pepper.  I cut the puff pastry into large squares, and put spoonfuls of the pork into the first layer of pastry and covered it with the second.  I used the back of a fork (dipped in some water to make sure it didn’t stick) and made sure all the sides of the pastries were sealed.  I brushed each pastry with a beaten egg.  Baked in the oven (350 degrees, maybe?) for about 15-20 minutes until they were golden around the edges.

And here they are!  Mine were pretty big, but I could make them smaller and bake them for less time if I wanted.

Cooling on the baking sheet:


The inside so you can see the pork.  Then my housemates devoured this one!

Happy eating!

Grandma’s Dusty Millers

27 12 2010

These were the munchies for the month of December.  I made about 8 dozen cookies and shipped them out (and gave them out) … and then a week later, made a 7 dozen more cookies over a period of two days to give to my managers/chefs at PF Chang’s, as well as gave some as holiday gifts to former colleagues at Johnson & Johnson and colleagues at the rock gym.

The ingredients are pretty simple – sugar, shortening, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, flour, and a some extra sugar for rolling the cookies.  I flatten them a little before baking as well.  Using a cookie scoop helped to get each cookies almost exactly the same size.

These may have become my favorite cookies to bake – the ginger flavor isn’t too overpowering, they’re really simple to make, and everyone seems to love them.  Using vegetable shortening means that the cookie is a little less chewy and a little more crispy, which I really like.  I really like the texture of the cookie and rolling it in sugar before baking really gives it that extra sweetness that it needs.

On another note – I recently made my pumpkin oatmeal chocolate cookies upon a special order from an old friend Marissa (check out her etsy here – she makes great jewelry and I bought a bunch as Christmas presents).  I sent her a dozen and a half freshly baked cookies and can do the same for you or for others – feel free to contact me for further information!

Here are the cookies, yum!!

Cooling off the cookies on wax paper before packaging them for shipping.

I had about ten stacks of cookies this high!

Happy eating!