Friday, June 26, 2009

Grampa Makes The Best Cakes...

Hmm... Mad made this declaration tonight about Steve's Black Forest Cherry Cheesecake, that I made with the kids' "help."

It is a tasty recipe, and I used both light sour cream and cream cheese in it with no ill effects, so it's lighter, and still delicious! And, I must admit, I also didn't have enough maraschinos, so I used about 10 oz. of Montmorency cherries (in the jar) from Trader Joes that I had in the fridge - they were great.
Black Forest Cherry Cheesecake (or "Grampa's Cheesecake" according to M, no matter who makes it!)

CRUST (mix in a 9-inch springform pan with hand, and press into bottom - bake 3-4 minutes and cool while mixing up filling) :
1 1/4 c. chocolate cookie crumbs (about 20 Famous Chocolate Wafer cookies)

3 T. melted butter

FILLING (beat first 5 ingredients in Kitchenaid mixer, then add the eggs one at a time - scrape down sides and bottom of bowl often):

4 boxes cream cheese, softened (I used 3 light, and 1 regular)

1 1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbs. cherry brandy
6 eggs

Then remove 1/3 of the batter to another bowl and add:

3/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted, to 1/3 of the batter, and

One 10-oz. jar maraschino cherries, drained (reserve juice) and quartered
to the other 2/3 of the batter.

Pour half the cherry batter onto crust, then the chocolate batter, then the remaining cherry batter, and marble with a knife. It's ready to bake!

Bake at 350-degrees F for 80 minutes (the last 5 minutes, remove from oven and add the topping, then return to oven to finish baking). Cool completely before chilling overnight in fridge before serving.

2 c. light sour cream 4 Tbs. sugar 4 Tbs. cherry juice (reserved from draining maraschinos)

Share this dessert with people you love.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Buh-NON-Uh Goodness... Mmm...

I've found the ultimate in banana nut muffins... healthy, delicious, yummy, good-for-you... really! The recipe is from O magazine this month (the only issue I ever buy of O - the summer reading special one...) anyway, there was a recipe from The Tassajara Bread Book for Spiced Banana Walnut muffins that inspired me to make my own version (even healthier). They are utterly divine!
Spiced Banana Pecan Muffins

1/2 stick softened, unsalted butter (1/4 c.)
1/2 c. dark brown sugar
1 c. (3 medium) smashed, ripe bananas
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
zest from 1 medium orange

1 c. white whole wheat (or whole wheat pastry) flour
4 Tbs. ground flax
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cardamom (finely ground)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 c. toasted, chopped pecans

+plus, a handful more nuts to sprinkle on the tops of the muffins before baking

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Cream butter and sugar, then mix in the rest of the "wet" ingredients.

Mix the dry stuff in a medium bowl, then gradually add it to the wet in your mixer. Scoop into 8-10 standard-sized muffin tins, lined with paper muffin cups (8 generous muffins, or 10 smaller ones).

Nutrition per muffin (8/batch): calories-200, fat-10g, protein-4g, carbs-24g, fiber-4g.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

You Are My Sunshine...

Aura turns 4 this weekend, and she wanted a "sun cake" — very fitting since she's a Summer Solstice baby! So, here it is: triple chocolate fudge cake with double vanilla buttercream, Skittles and M&M's rainbow and marshmallow cupcake clouds for fun! Happy 4th, sweet A — we love you!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner... (inspired by Rachael Ray's BLD features)Today also included a Fuze Empower (low sugar) juice beverage, a lot of water, one small vanilla cone from McD's, and an evening cup of decaf with skim milk and a serving of Famous Chocolate Wafers (super thin, chocolately cookies usually used in recipes...)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Better Than Store-Bought

I really dislike the store-bought tortillas. Sort of puffy, chewy, doughy, with a weird taste (is it from the plastic bag, or preservatives?)... they're my last resort. The Mexican restaurant near us makes divine tortillas (but very spendy to buy), so I've been wanting to try homemade. And you know what? Quick, easy, delicious! And, Madeline LOVED helping. She helped measure, mix, knead, divide, and roll. Did two all by herself, then I did the other 14 because she needed to go outside to play in the sprinkler.
We didn't have lard, so I used butter, and they came out just dandy. I'll also try dividing the dough into 9 balls next time (instead of 8) to see if I can get them even thinner.

Homemade Flour Tortillas

2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 c. butter, firm (or lard, as the recipe calls for)
3/4 c. water water

Mix the flour, salt and b.p., then add the butter and cut into the flour with a pastry blender (like you would for pie crust or biscuits). Cut in until you have a course-meal texture, then stir in the water to make a soft dough. Knead on a floured board until smooth and elastic, about a couple minutes. Divide into 9 balls (or 8), then let rest for about 15-20 under a damp paper towel. Roll the dough flat and cook on a hot cast-iron griddle (over medium or medium-low heat, but pre-heated). Don't cook them too long or they'll get tough.


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