Archive | December, 2012
28 Dec

This Christmas I tried a recipe for a dessert I’d never even heard of before, much less tried to make. My mother in law saw it in a magazine and mentioned it to me: red velvet cheesecake. I’m normally not a red velvet lover. Honestly, the thing I like best about red velvet cake is the cream cheese icing. The actual cake….I could take it or leave it. But I thought a red velvet cheesecake sounded very interesting….and there would be lots of cream cheese in a cheesecake so I thought it was worth a try. 🙂 Even though I’m not a red velvet person, I really liked this cheesecake. My brother in law does love red velvet cake, and cheesecake too. He said that this recipe was “truly the best of both worlds.” My mother in law said that although this was the first time I’d try this recipe, I’d have to start making one each Christmas. 🙂 So go ahead and try it. Don’t wait until next Christmas though. It has a nice, deep red tint to it. Bake someone special one for Valentine’s Day. 🙂
http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/red-velvet-cheesecake-10000001023804/
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It starts with making a chocolate graham cracker crust. YUM. Pretty good way to start something, I’d say.
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Then beat together some cream cheese and sugar. Still on the right track so far.
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Then it needs eggs, cocoa, butter milk (*for baking I ALWA”YS use the milk/vinegar cheat method), sour cream, vanilla, and red food coloring. This will complete the cheesecake batter.
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Mine had a huge crack in the center after baking, like all of my cheesecakes have. But this recipe has a spread to go on the very top, which conveinantly covers it all up…genuis! It’s made of cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla.
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Here’s an example of what the final product will look like, when taken in extremely poor lighting. 😉 I was in a hurry because I finished the cheesecake Christmas morning, so I didn’t spend much time trying to get a better shot.

A little time consuming, because after baking it must chill for 8 hours before adding the top layer. But I’d say it’s worth it, especially if it makes your family smile on Christmas. 😀

Christmas Cookies!

23 Dec

This year I put together some cookie baskets for the first time! In the past I’ve always put Christmas treats in some type of festive bag or box, but I had lots of fun putting these baskets together. At first I was worried about arranging them, because I didn’t want it to look like I just dumped the cookie pan in the basket and stuck a bow on the front. 🙂 I was actually surprised at how easy it was to make a nice looking display.
Here is the smallest sized basket I put together:

I started with a pretty basket, hoping that the recipiants will use it again for some future Christmas festivities:

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I put tissue paper in the very bottom and then added a layer of cellophane so that the tissue papr didn’t get greasy from the cookies.
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Then I just stacked the cookies in a few layers, trying to get them all facing the front of the basket.
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Wrapping it all up and tying it was VERY easy, thanks to some cellophane bags I found at Michael’s. No need to try to measure/guess how much cellophane you’ll need and then cut it the right size. Just slip the basket all the way down into the bag and tie it up. To make this even easier, just an old bread tie to tie up the bag while you’re getting the pretty ribbon put on. Then just take the bread tie off. 😉

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For these smaller sized baskets, I didn’t need any kind of filling. The cookies took up all of the room. 🙂 But it annoys me sometimes when gift baskets are filled all the way with paper/fluffy junk and then only the very top layer is the gift. For these baskets, I used some calendar’s from my husband’s office for the filler, because they were for his clients. Much better than fluffy paper that will just be thrown away. But I thought for future basekets….if I need something to fill the bottom I’ll use cute Christmas plates and napkins….something they can put their cookies on. 🙂
I was surpised at how easy it was to make them look nice, and I’ll definitely be making them again next year!

Are you ready for Christmas?!? I’m not! We still have a little shopping left to do, and I NEVER have shopping left on the 23rd! 🙂 We planned to finish it yesterday, but no one in our house was feeling well. 😦 Are you ready for the big day? What is still left on your to do list? Comment and let me know! 🙂

Pretty Christmas things :)

10 Dec

This post isn’t about a new recipe. Just a new presentation. 🙂

I’m re-copying the recipe at the bottom in case you need it. I wanted to make some to share with a co-worker but I wanted to do something new with them. I opened my cabinet (full of baking stuff, of course) and there it was! Perfect! A glass teacup “tasting set” that I received as a Christmas gift last year. They would be just the right thing. I crumbled up some of the gingerbread cupcake, and layered it with cream cheese frosting. A dusting of cinnamon on top and you have…..

this beauty. Photographed in some of my favorite Christmas paper from this year!
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My friend told me about this photographing technique. I taped wrapping paper to the wall and then let it fall down the wall and onto the floor to look like a Christmas background. Of course, when she was telling me about it she was talking about taking pictures of kids. Not cupcakes. 😉 But here’s to a mixture of some of my favorite things in a pretty little package: Christmas flavors, cream cheese frosting, and wrapping paper. Go ahead. Try them and then enjoy one. Or three.

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 stick butter, room temp.
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
pinch salt
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
Mix flour and baking soda. In a separate bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Beat in molasses, and then eggs one at a time. Beat in the flour mixture. Mix in sour cream until well-blended. Pour into lined cupcake pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out almost clean.

Icing:

Beat together 1 stick of softened butter and 1 eight oz. package of cream cheese. Mix in 1 tsp. of vanilla. Then add 1 lb. of powdered sugar and mix until creamy.