Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Butterfinger Cookies

I hope everyone had an enjoyable labor day weekend!

I mentioned making Butterfinger cookies to the guys in my life a little while ago and so when I pulled out a cookbook to look for a treat to make this past weekend I was greeted by a confused look and the sentence, "Why aren't you making Butterfinger cookies, I like butterfingers".  So, it is a little simple for what I wanted to do my last weekend of freedom before school consumes my life but alas, I caved and a delicious batch of cookies was made.  The timing also worked out perfectly because my cousin is leaves for Marine Boot Camp next week and I promised to bring a treat to share at a little get together we were having for him.

The recipe is pretty simple and the ingredients needed are:
1 1/4cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1 c. butterfinger bars, chopped (roughly 3 regular sized bars)
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350*F.

Next, in a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. (*Note-My cookies turned out a little salty because of the salt that is also in the candy bars so you could probably cut back on the salt to just a little pinch to nothing at all)

Mix the butter and sugar in another bowl.  When they are combined add the egg and vanilla and mix well.

Slowly, stir in the dry ingredients.  When that is finished, crush the candy into small pieces and begin stirring in the candy pieces.  (You can chill the dough for a half hour or so if you want, I didn't and the cookies turned out fine.)

Form teaspoon sized dough balls and put out on cookie sheets.  (The recipe I used says to put them on greased cookie sheets, I forgot to grease mine and the cookies still came off in one piece. )

Put the cookies in the oven for 8 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.  And VOILA-candy cookies!

They taste very similar to peanut butter/chocolate chip cookies-however they are made with candy, so that makes it a little more fun.  They got good review from my cousins and I really enjoyed them.

I had to leave a note at my house to make sure that they were not all eaten up while I was away-miraculously the note worked, there are still 2 whole cookies left a little over 24 hours later! It was a happy surprise to come home from the first day of school and be able to eat a little treat that I had been looking forward to the entire day.  They also provided a slight delight last night as I was doing homework that a teacher had assigned to be turned in the first day of school and feeling like a bitter little bird while doing it.  The pleasure of food is an amazing comfort.

Side note:
Now that it is back to reality and eat/sleep/breathing speech, language, hearing sciences-I will be updating probably every 1 1/2 to 2 weeks as fits my schedule.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Vanilla Cheesecake

After I made the truffles last week I started to think about what would be fun to make this week.  I narrowed it down to pie or cheesecake.  I took a family vote and cheesecake won.  Even my little feline made his feelings about wanting cheesecake known.
Staring at a picture of cheesecake, hoping for a little taste.

So, cheesecake it was.  I have never tackled anything soufflĂ© like before so was a  little nervous that the cheesecake would not make it to the table. (I have a tendency to want to throw out desserts if they are not perfect)  Luckily my mom and the boy were close by to make sure nothing happened to it.  

I used the vanilla cheesecake recipe from my William-Sonoma Desserts book. I am absolutely in love with this book, everything I have made from it has been fairly simple with amazing and delicious results.

Ingredients for the Crust:
1 1/2 Cups graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 Tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 Cup unsalted, melted butter

Ingredients for the Filling:
4 Packages cream cheese at room temp.
2 Tbsp plain flour
1/4 Tsp salt
1 1/4 Cups sugar
1/2 Cup sour cream
1Tbsp vanilla extract
3 Large eggs

Start by making the crust.  Preheat the oven to 400*F and lightly grease a 9in spring-form pan.  Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter.  Stir so that all the crumbs get evenly moist.  Pour into the spring-form pan and press evenly onto the bottom and up the sides.  Bake the crust until lightly golden - about 10min - then set aside to cool slightly while you make the filling

I was using a 10in pan so the crust didn't go all the way up the sides, but it held together wonderfully.
To make the filling, lower the oven temp to 300*F.  Combine the cream cheese, flour, and salt using a mixer on med-high speed.  Beat until it is very smooth, this may require you to stop frequently to scrap down the sides.  Next, add the sugar, sour cream, and vanilla and again beat until well blended.  Finally, add the eggs one at a time being sure to beat well after every addition.
The filling is very light.
Pour the filling into the crust.  Bake the cake for about 60-70min.  You want the filling to be set but have the center still jiggle slightly as well as the edges slightly puffed.  When finished baking, turn off the oven and leave the door open if you can so that the cake cools slowly to prevent a collapse.  After 10 minutes or so remove the cake from the oven and let sit until it reaches room temperature.  Once it reaches room temp, cover and refrigerate until well chilled-overnight it best.

The center didn't collapse!

The crust held up fairly well too.

Making this cheesecake provided me with many laughs.  First, while making this cake I was singing along to the Broadway show "Wicked" and dancing in the kitchen while taking pictures of food.  I used to poke fun at my mother for taking pictures of food, I had thought it was rather odd, and here I was taking pictures.  I also remember her and her sister singing and dancing while cooking a dinner sometime last year.  It then dawned on me that I am turning into my mother.  I knew it would happen eventually but it is still slightly scary.

After that, my dad came home and was devastated that he would have to wait an entire 24 hours until he could eat the cake.  Then, just to add insult to injury, the boy (who dubbed himself "The Duke of Deliciousness") and myself made a second cake that day for his brother's birthday on Tuesday.  My dad could not believe there were two good looking cakes in the house that he was not allowed to eat.  

Finally, Tuesday night at 9pm rolled around and the cake was ready to be served.

 After one taste of the cake there were no hard feelings for having to wait to taste the cheesecake.  It was very creamy and got eaten promptly.  It has been a nice treat and my own little "reward" for making it through the first couple days of a new job. 

Finally, I would like to give a huge "Thank You!" to Kristy@My Little Space for giving me this wonderful award.

I am very appreciative that she was thoughtful enough to think of me and my new blog.  Because I am so new I am going to hold onto this award and pass it on later!