Sunday, September 30, 2012

Individual Cheesecakes-To Be or Not To Be (sinful?)

To celebrate Bryan's visit, I decided to bake--what else--cheesecake! I love individual cheesecakes because the presentation looks adorable and it bakes so much faster. I decided to really let everything sit at room temperature to see whether it would make it creamier/smoother.

I deliberated whether to sub half the cream cheese with Greek yogurt (on top of sour cream being subbed already), but decided sinful it is! The yogurt was pretty tangy and I didn't want to mess up when baking for someone else (my one attempt prior with cottage cheese had been an epic fail). Recipe from Joy of Baking, with my modifications. 

Sorry, Bryan, you're gonna have to work harder for your 6 pack! :) 
1 cup graham wafer crumbs
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted


2  8 oz packages of light cream cheese, room temp
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 lemon grated zest
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

Topping: berries...berries...berries...

Cheesecakes: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. 

For Crust: Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press onto the bottoms of the 12 muffin cups. Cover and refrigerate while you make the filling.

For Filling: In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the cream cheese on low speed until creamy and smooth. Add the sugar and salt and beat until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract, lemon zest, and sour cream and beat until incorporated. Remove the crusts from the refrigerator and evenly divide the filling among the 12 muffin cups. 

Bake for about 18 - 22 minutes or until firm but the centers of the cheesecakes still wobble a little. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Let cool and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate/freeze.

Makes 12 individual cheesecakes. 
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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Carrot Apple Pecan Muffins

Mom was super excited to bake a new berry muffin recipe, but it only filled up 6 muffins. We knew dad would be displeased at the sparse amount, so she asked if I wanted to bake anything else. I had been craving carrot muffins so I found this recipe from Epicurious and tweaked it. These are pretty healthy and not too sweet.

When my younger brother Hans came back with dad, he looked at mom's and my muffins, and commented, "UghI was hoping for death by chocolate muffins...not death by fiber

Ok, I wouldn't have minded adding some cream cheese icing too if I had the time!

Carrot Apple Pecan Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cups sugar
2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut (optional)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup corn oil + grated 1 apple (as applesauce)
2 teaspoons vanilla
nutmeg, pumpkin spice, cloves
1 apple sliced

Preheat oven to 350°F. and oil eighteen 1/2-cup muffin cups.

Into a large bowl sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and whisk in sugar. Coarsely shred enough carrots to measure 2 cups and chop pecans. Add shredded carrots and pecans to flour mixture with raisins and coconut and toss well. 

In a bowl whisk together eggs, oil, and vanilla. Peel and core apple and coarsely shred. Stir shredded apple into egg mixture and add to flour mixture, stirring until batter is just combined well. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling them three fourths full, and bake in middle of oven until puffed and a tester comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.
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