Saturday, April 30, 2011

Just Because

I love the Cheesecake Factory! It is one of my favorite places to get.. you guessed it, DESSERT! Their Cheesecake is AMAZING! Well, one day I really wanted to bake. Devin suggested Cheesecake. Not just any cheesecake, but one of the best cheesecake's EVER!!! I found this copy cat recipe online. I sadly did not take any pictures of the cheesecake, but I will post one of what it looked like :). Thanks for putting this online, it is amazing!


  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
  • crumbled Oreo cookies (filling removed)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted


Optional Garnish


Prep Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 1 1/2 hrs
  1. 1 Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  2. 2 Create a water bath by placing a large pan filled with about 1/2-inch of water into the oven while it preheats.
  3. 3 Combine the raspberry preserves with 1/4 cup water in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 1 1/2 minutes on high in your microwave. Stir until smooth. Strain to remove the raspberry seeds, then let the strained preserves sit to the side to cool.
  4. 4 Measure 1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs into a medium bowl. Mix in 1/3 cup melted margarine. Press the crumb into a 9-inch spring form pan that has been lined on the bottom and side with parchment paper. Use the bottom of a drinking glass to press the crumb mixture flat into the bottom of the pan and about 2/3 the way up the side.
  5. 5 Wrap a large piece of foil around the bottom of the pan to keep the cheesecake in the water bath. Put the crust in your freezer until the filling is done.
  6. 6 Use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese with the sugar, sour cream, and vanilla. Mix for a couple minutes or until the ingredients are smooth and creamy. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl and then add them to the cream cheese mixture. Blend the mixture just enough to incorporate the eggs.
  7. 7 Remove the crust from the freezer and sprinkle 4 ounces of white chocolate chunks onto the bottom of the crust.
  8. 8 Pour half of the cream cheese filling into the crust. Drizzle the raspberry preserves over the entire surface of the filling. Use a butter knife to swirl the raspberry into the cream cheese. Pour the other half of the filling into the crust.
  9. 9 Carefully place the cheesecake into the water bath in the oven. Bake for 12 minutes at 475 degrees, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the top of the cheesecake turns a light brown or tan color.
  10. 10 Remove the cheesecake from the oven to cool. When the cheesecake is cool, use the foil from the bottom to cover the cheesecake and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
  11. 11 Before serving, sprinkle the entire top surface of cheesecake with 2 ounces of shaved white chocolate.

Read more:

Now, this recipe took me at least an hour of prep work, but it was my first time making it. After all was said and done, it was definitely worth the time spent. It is a very delicious cheesecake that is perfect for a fancy occasion, or just because. I would recommend you make it when you have PLENTY of time. 

I also did not have any whipped cream, and it still tasted wonderful! :) This is kind of what our cheesecake turned out looking like! 

St. Patrick's Day

Every year growing up, we always had Corned Beef and Cabbage. Well I was really wanting it this year, since I haven't gotten it in the last 2 years. So I made it. The recipe is super easy. Buy the corned beef at the store. It comes with a little packet of spices that you throw in with it. Easy, right?? All you do is put the beef in the crock-pot with the spice packet and cover with water. I also added a whole head of cabbage diced into quarters about 30 minutes before eating.  On the package, it will tell you how long to cook it!

To go with our Main Event, we would have a side of Irish Soda Bread! Yum!

Irish Brown Soda Bread

4 c. whole-wheat flour
1 c. bread flour
1/3 C. rolled oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 C. buttermilk 

Preheat oven to 425. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets. In a large bowl, stir together both flours, oats, soda and salt. Gently mix in the buttermilk until soft dough is formed. Knead very lightly. Divide dough into 4 rounded flat loaves with an X in the middle of each loaf. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 45 minutes. 

**Here are my adjustments: 
I did not have bread flour, or whole wheat flour, so I used regular all purpose flour. (It turned out just fine) I also made just two big loaves on one jelly-roll pan. This dough is a very wet dough, but it always turns out really yummy when it is finished. 

Also, I would look for a corned beef that is less fatty. (This tends to be a very fatty meat) It is so good when it isn't covered with fat. 

Some Christmas Traditions

I know this is quite a few months late, now that is April, but I want to put some of my favorite recipes that I made over Christmas time. Some of my favorites include Caramels, Sugar Cookies, Oyster Stew, and Scones.

I love that three out of the four are more treats, than a main dish. Even though these are some of my favorite things to make at Christmas time, they can be easily made any other time of the year. It was my first time making caramels and they turned out perfect, thanks to the help of Devin's parents, they knew exactly when it was time to take them off of the heat. We were able to enjoy lots of them and even give some away to friends and family.

Sorry it is flipped, but this is what it looks like before you cut them up! 

Caramels Recipe

1 1/4 C. canned milk (Evaporated)
1 lb butter (4 Cubes)
4 C. white sugar
3 1/2 C. light Karo syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Chopped nuts if desired
Ice cold water

Mix canned milk, butter, sugar and Karo syrup in heavy pan. Bring to a boil. After boiling, turn down heat to medium low and continue cooking while stirring constantly. Cook to medium-hard ball stage. Test by dropping a spoonful into cold water. Caramels are done when the ball is chewy, but not crackly. The ball will have trails of caramel which form. Pour into a well buttered 9 by 13 in. pan. Let cool. Cut caramels into 1 in squares. Wrap individually in wax paper. 

**Some adjustments that I made: Instead of using a 9x13 in pan, I used a jelly-roll pan or 12x17 in. pan. I also added the vanilla after the med.-hard ball stage.  

What I feel makes my mom's recipe of Sugar cookies so wonderful is the almond extract in the cookie and the coconut flavoring in the frosting! This recipe makes lots and lots of cookies. You can freeze the dough very easily as well as freeze the cookies once they are baked. :)

Oyster Stew is an aquirred taste for most people, but growing up we had it every Christmas Eve at our annual Christmas Eve party! It is always served in a styrofoam cup with oyster crackers. I was brave and asked Devin's parents if I could make it as part of our dinner on Christmas eve, and they gladly excepted. I did not make a very large batch of it, but most everyone enjoyed it... even Devin (who hasn't enjoyed it in the past).

New England Oyster Stew

4 C. milk
1 C. heavy cream
1 stick butter (1/2 C.)
3 pt. fresh oysters with 4 c. liquid OR 4 cans oysters
2 tsp. salt
Fresh ground pepper
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Oyster Crackers

Combine milk and cream. Heat to scalding. In another pan, melt butter and add oysters with liquid. Cook gently, just until oyster edges curl. Add to scalded milk-cream mixture and season with salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Serve immediately with oyster crackers. 

** I cut this recipe in half when serving my family this year. 

The very last thing on my list today is Scones. Growing up we had these Christmas Morning at my house. They were served with yummy jams and jellies or honey. This was the first time I made this recipe and it turned out great. It is so nice to have a little fryer to do it in. These are not the traditional baked scones that you might get in Europe, but they are fried!!!

Christmas Morning Scones

2 C. hot water
2 T. sugar
1 T. yeast
1/4 C. oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 C. flour
Oil for frying

Add sugar to water. Stir well. Sprinkle yeast on top; let set for approximately 5 minutes. Add oil, salt and flour. Mix well and knead. Let rise until double. Break dough off into golf ball size. Pull out really thing and deep fry until golden brown, turning once. Serve with honey, apple butter or your favorite jams and jellies. 

**For about 20 people or so, I doubled the recipe. I loved having extra to snack on after breakfast. Just a warning making that many scones may effect your eyes because of the oil... But so worth it! 

I feel pretty impressed with myself that three out of the four recipes I had never made until Christmas break. I will make them all again.  Though it may be worth every bite of chewy sweetness, I have decided that candy making may take a little too much time for my own enjoyment, so I will limit the times that I make caramels.

 I am sorry that I only have pictures for my caramels.. I guess I got too involved with the cooking, before taking pictures of them.  So for your enjoyment, here are just some of the pictures that I took of things we ate over Christmas Break. :)

Rolls (Left), Peanut Butter Chocolate Kiss Cookies (Center), Cod Fish with toast (Right)