Tag Archives: cream cheese

Mary, Rhoda, the Girls & Oscar

Who can turn the world on with her smile?

Thank you for being a friend.

These words were slated to ring out repeatedly in my apartment this weekend during a Mary Tyler Moore/Golden Girls pre-Oscar marathon. We ended up taking a rain check, but had planned to order Italian food (Sicilian food?), eat cheesecake and drink rosé (seems like something the Girls would have liked as well as a wine Mary and Rhoda must have enjoyed?).

My oenophile friend who works at a wine store in Alphabet City (which isn’t really called that anymore, is it?) recommended the 2007 Forchir Pinot Grigio Rosadis. What’s more, she said there are plenty rose-tinted bad boys under $20. So! We won’t have to resort to a box after all when the time comes…

But when I started thinking about cheesecake, I realized I have plenty of cheesecake recipes — cappuccino cheesecake; lemon cheesecake; pumpkin cheesecake; peppermint cheesecake…even raspberry cheesecake brownies — but I don’t think I have one for a good ol’ classic New York-style cheesecake. A quick search on Epicurious turns up a recipe from Lindy’s that looks pretty good: New York cheesecake. 5 packages of cream cheese is a little intimidating though. And I’m afraid it will be too tall for any of my springform pans. The square pan seems like *maybe* it’s a little bigger? But, still…I wonder if Lindy’s has larger-than-life pans for *its* cakes?

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Adventures in Marbling

I have a friend in Detroit who couldn’t make it to Pie Day, so I told her I would bake her whatever she wanted when she was in NY — for one night only! — to celebrate her birthday.

Her response? “I’ve always been a sucker for pecan pie! And turtle pie. And peanut butter pie. Heath bar pie. Vanilla pie. OK, I think I may just be making up pies now…”

So…since she didn’t have one extra special favorite and seemed to like pecans, I decided to go with turtle cheesecake.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until the day OF the big birthday bash that I read the directions in full and realized the cake is supposed to refrigerate overnight. Which I totally should have known! Cheesecake needs some time to chill and settle. But, alas, I had no choice but to make do.

I also tried to marble the cake…for what could possibly be the first time ever. And yet it was really hard to tell that there was any chocolate in there at all. It wasn’t a beautiful marble. It was more like, “Oh, hey, maybe there’s something in there?” I guess perhaps more chocolate would have been useful. But a girl only has so many blocks of semisweet chocolate on hand.

As per usual, ol’ L-Squared put WAY too much filling in the pan and it exploded up and cracked. When it cooled it settled down a bit, but there was still a big X in the middle.

I left it in the fridge for a bit — to give it as much cooling time as possible! — and then decided it would be easier to just pour the dulce de luche on top rather than try to drizzle it and make a pretty pattern. (My pastry bags could have come in handy here, but I had just used them to write on brownies, so I felt like I got adequate Pastry Bag Time last week.) So…I poured caramel all over it and tossed some pecans around and was basically ready to boogie.

Even though it was perhaps a little too warm or gooey, it got a really good reception! I guess it’s hard to go wrong when you use four blocks of cream cheese, chocolate, dulce de leche and nuts. And apparently I didn’t. So. One last time: Happy Birthday, Jaclyn!

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Little Cream Cheese Blobs, Airy Cherry Filling, Brownie-on-Brownie Action & Amateur Photography

After a brief post-Pie Day baking hiatus, I got back into it with a vengeance last week.

I have a friend who does PR for a prominent provider of baked-good mixes and she needed help with photos, so I whipped up some Valentine’s Day-themed recipes and tried my hand at amateur photography.

This, of course, meant stocking up on cake mix…and when I was at the store, I was holding the basket down by my side and a little girl — who was maybe 3 or 4? — walked by and saw all the cake stuff at about eye level and said, “WOW!”

I didn’t get to the baking until Friday morning though…leaving it right up to the deadline. (Funny how that always seems to happen, right?)

First on the list was red velvet cupcakes. And I have say they were tasty, indeed…but it was a little disconcerting because the mix looked like any other chocolate mix until I added water and then — BOOM! — RED! (The first time I heard of red velvet cake was in Steel Magnolias with the armadillo groom’s cake…and even though the quality is bad here, I love this scene with Shirley MacLaine and and Tom Skerritt.)

It also required making a cream cheese mixture that I initially thought I’d have to swirl into each individual cupcake…but when I read the directions again, it said to just dollop it on top. I wasn’t quite sure what would happen (and I only have two muffin tins and didn’t have time to bake batch after batch after batch, so I made the 16 cupcakes that I had pretty darn huge to use up all the batter in one go…and then thought I had really screwed things up by dolloping cream cheese on top and that they’d overflow and set fire in my oven. Or something.). But…I was happy to discover that the little cream cheese blobs instead sunk down into the middle of the cupcakes…and even though they were a tad big (a friend came over on Saturday en route to a birthday party and I offered her one and she looked at it and said, “I can’t eat THAT! It’s HUGE!”), I think they were pretty. (It was *really* hard to photograph though because my apartment is dark — funny that I didn’t think of that when I volunteered to bake them…and my friend suggested a white background, so I had to fashion a little mini studio on top of my kitchen cart and then monkey around with a lamp and different camera settings).

Next up were some brownie clouds that required an airy cherry filling. I’m not a big fan of maraschino cherries, so suggestions are welcome on how to use up the rest of the jar as I really only needed three (and some juice). (Bonus points if you can pull in Jim Beam because I still have a bottle of that, too.) I also had to add food coloring to a tub of vanilla frosting…and now have a tub of pink *and* a tub of chocolate frosting (which sorta makes me think of Goldie Hawn in Death Becomes Her. [I also have a cat. Sigh.]).

I also wasn’t sure whether to make the brownies cakey or chewy…in the end, I went for cakey because it seemed like having more to work with would be better than less…but, in the end I’m sure if it made much difference.

I admit these cherry clouds were pretty (once I got the tops to stop sliding around because I used too much filling), but this recipe yields one intense baked good. It’s brownie-on-brownie. *With* creamy goop *and* frosting. I readily admit I am a pig. And yet I think this one would be too much for even me.

The last Valentine’s Day treat was similar — heart-shaped brownies cut from a pan — but this time it was a single layer *and* I got to showcase my cake decorating skills. I stuck to the phrases offered in the press release — Love, XOXO, I Love You and Hugs — and because I am stupid and weird I got all embarrassed on the train when folks peeked over and read them (I covered a Pyrex dish with clingwrap, so there they were, wide out in the open…because I think I lost my precious Pyrex lid on Pie Day!) as well as at the Super Bowl party where they spent their final hours. I felt kind of silly bringing them…but sure as heck didn’t know what else to do with them…and, like I’ve said before, I live alone and I’m freelancing, so I have no coworkers/roommate/boy wonder to eat them all.

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