Monday, April 30, 2012

layered mini cheesecakes

Have you ever bit into a cheesecake that has a delicious thin bottom crust and secretly hoped that you can have more of that crunchy texture mixed with the cheesecake in every bite? No? Well, I know I did and I have been tinkling with the idea of having multi-layered crust cheesecake for awhile. When I saw that the theme for Aspiring Bakers April 2012 is Layers of Love, I decided to make some.

Layered Mini Cheesecakes

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (I used digestive biscuits)
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp butter or margarine (I used butter)

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp orange juice
1/2 tsp grated orange zest
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
fruity preserve or jam of choice (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 165 degree C. Line muffin pan.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the cracker crumbs, sugar and margarine with a fork until combined. Measure a rounded teaspoon of the mixture into the bottom or the muffin cup, pressing firmly. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 5 minuted, then remove to cool. Keep the oven on.
3. Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, juice, zest and vanilla until fluffy. Mix in the egg.
4. Pour the cream cheese mixture into 6 of the muffin cups, filling about 1/2 full. Transfer the crusts from the other 6 unfilled cups into the filled ones. Top up with the remaining cream cheese mixture. Bake at 165 degree C for 25 mins. Cool completely in pan before removing. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
5. Top with preserve or jam of choice before serving.

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.

One great thing about these mini cheesecakes is the controllable portion. Seriously, how many of us, urban cubicle dwellers with hardly any weekly exercise, will ever whoop down a giant piece of cheesecake without feeling a single ounce of guilt?

Another great thing, they are absolutely tasty and so easy to make. I am the sort of baker that will be happy to try any interesting recipe as long as it does not take up too much of my free time. My baking philosophy is always - simple, tasty and sustainable (to let me have to energy to keep on baking), period :).

Oh, these cheesecakes actually have a small indent on them after being baked, which will hold the preserve/jam topping nicely as well.

One complain I have of them is that the crust crumbles ever so easily... I tried to google whether there is any solution to it, some people suggested chilling the base. Well, maybe next time I will try it.

I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #18 Layers of Love (April 2012) hosted by Sam of Sweet Samsations.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

cupcake in a cone

These cute little sweet treats are not something that I would dream of making but when I saw those cupcake cones on House of Hepworths, I just thought I have to try it.

Why? Bcoz they are just so adorable, bcoz they may come in handy if I need to bring some goodies to some kids functions, bcoz I am curious how the cone will taste.. and most importantly, there is this little kid in me that was just begging to eat one.

So, I got to work, and did a toned down version using cupcake recipe from awfully easy chocolate cake (minus the cocoa powder) that I posted last year, topped with icing from sugar cookies frosting from allrecipes. I happened to have some leftover pineapple paste, so I put some into the cone as filling, and some into the frosting for variation.

The cone itself became soft after the baking process and really feels like part of the cupcake. The feeling of eating one is like eating a cupcake together with the container/wrapper.

While I don't really fancy the taste, it leaves me with a childlike euphoric each time I ate one. So I reckon, with some additional touches, e.g. some choco chips or M&M or colourful sprinkers and some colourful frosting, the recipe has potential to be a hit in any family or children occasion. So, I really think the concept is a brilliant one. Good point is, you can use any recipe you are most comfortable for the cupcake. You can even steer the cones to a 'gourmet' direction. Dark chocolate cupcake in a cone with white chocolate ganache anyone??

Sunday, April 1, 2012

absolutely hearty breakfast quick bread

This is one easy to put together, time efficient, delicious, flexible and absolutely hearty quick bread recipe. I have repeatedly tried a few variations (depending on ingredients I have at that point of time), baked them in loft tin or muffin pan (with some time adjustment), and each time, it turned out well.

So nowadays, whenever I feel like incorporating more fibre into my breakfast, this is one recipe I can always fall back on :).

Absolutely Hearty Breakfast Quick Bread

1 and 1/2 cup of all purpose flour (I tried with cake flour, fine too)
3/4 cup of flax seed
3/4 oat bran (I usually use quick cooking oat)
1/2 cup brown sugar (original recipe called for 1 cup)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup low fat milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp vegetable oil (I usually use olive oil)
2 cups shredded carrots
2 cups apples, peeled, shredded
1/2 cup raisin
1 cup chopped mixed nuts

1. Preheat oven to 175 degree C. Line muffin pan with paper or grease loft tin.
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, flax seed, oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add the milk, eggs, vanilla and oil; mix until just blended. Stir in the carrots, apples, raisins and nuts. Pour batter into pan or tin.
3. Bake for 15 to 20 mins, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

This recipe is adapted from allrecipes app titled Bran Flax Muffins submitted by Jane Massey.

I have tried substituting 1/2 cup honey in place of the brown sugar and wholemeal flour in place of flax seed but I still prefer the original recipe.

The last flour ingredients are the really flexible ones. I have tried omitting, replacing, doubling 1 of the items and even adding others and every time I was rewarded with yummy treats. It is definitely a recipe that allows the baker to be creative. And best of all, the recipe is low fat -mere 2 tbsp of oil and you get really moist, flavourful result, amazing!

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