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A great thing I love about living in Washington State is having the beach, the city, and country life all within a thirty minute drive. I have family in all of these areas, and I myself live in the city, only a hop-skip from the beach. My grandparents, however, live a little more in the country. They have horses and small stables, and their property has a creek dividing their home from their orchard. They have apple trees, plum trees, grapes, walnuts, blueberries and more. Most recently they had an overwhelming amount of ripe pie cherries.

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My daughter and I were happy to oblige. Those baskets are deeper than they look.

The crop was starting to turn and a lot will still be left to the birds, but I’ve pitted and frozen around two one-gallon ziploc bags. My payment will be made in pies. I couldn’t wait though! I wanted to test my skills again and make a little treat for my husband to take to work tomorrow. Here we have:

Mini Cherry Pies!

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They’re so cute!

AND they’re easy.

You’ll need:

Cupcake tin, greased
One pie crust
Sugar (approx 3/4 cup)
Bowl of cherries
1 tbsp melted butter (optional)

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To start, preheat your oven to 350.

I have a favorite pie crust recipe from a cook book I absolutely recommend having in your library!

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I used the pie crust recipe from the holiday cookbook from The Pioneer Woman, but feel free to use your favorite pie crust recipe or a premade one.

If making your own crust, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface.

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Next, find two cups in your house, one regular drinking cup sized:

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And one slightly larger, like my awesome monster Starbucks mug:

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My home made pie crust made 6 of each with a little left over.

Tuck the larger circles into your greased muffin tin. Bake for 3-5 minutes until the crust barely starts to firm and set.

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Seed cherries by halving them and prying out the pit.

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Coat cherries in half of the sugar, toss, then mix in the rest of the sugar to coat again.

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Reduce the oven heat to 325.

Spoon cherries into crusts. Press down to fit the maximum amount of fruit.

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My cherries are specifically pie cherries, so they’re a little more tart. To compensate, I sprinkled the leftover sugar over each pie, but this is optional.

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Next I put a small amount of butter over each of the smaller crusts, but again, optional.

Fit each smaller crust over the mini pies by pinching or pressing down into the tin.

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Note in the above picture I also took a butter knife and made three small slits at the top of each pie.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the sides begin to golden. Let cool for a few minutes before removing from the tin. To remove them, I took a butter knife around the edges of the pie, slightly lifted from the side, then used a spoon to carefully scoop them out.

Voila! Enjoy!

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I’m running into more and more pins, that are pins of pins of pins on Pinterest. So many are just impulse repins that I will look at later or sometimes never even open. And most of those I don’t bother to change the verbiage and realize much later that it has “I” or “we” or some personal endorsement I didn’t sign up for.

So I’ve decided to scour through my hundreds of pins and test the validity of their claims. I’m going to start trying what I pin, giving a play-by-play, and rating it on a scale of one to ten based on the ease, the accuracy, and the overall worth of the pin. There will be a lot of recipes, but also some domestic and project type things.

For my first test I decided to go easy on myself, so may you all witness:

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

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This photo is taken directly from the website, here are the links:

To the pin
Directly to the recipe

This is another pin of a pin that eventually made it to me through my best friend. The first impression I get of this is that it is quite possibly the easiest dessert I could make, combining both premade ingredients and actual mixing and baking. Kind of a strange title too, a chocolate chip cheesecake would be a cheesecake with chocolate chips, not a chocolate chip cookie cheesecake… Whatever.

In case you didn’t read the recipe, essentially it is some cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and eggs, whipped together and laid out on premade cookie dough with cookie dough on top. Sounds simple and delicious, right?

Right?

You would think combining two of my favorite things would not only be a breeze to make but also a party in my mouth….

First step, cutting the premade dough into 1/4 inch pieces and pressing them together so there are no seams at the bottom of the pan.

Whenever I make cookies from premade dough, I usually get some crumble. But then I just form the cookie back in the shape I wanted and the bake just fine. This roll of dough, however, did nothing but crumble. Since it was the crust and it would all get pressed together anyway, I just assumed it was a crummy roll of Pilsbury and went along my way.

Then mix all the ingredients that are not cookie dough together in a bowl.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have an electric mixer (my KitchenAid s in storage), so I almost always have chunky cheesecake batter. It all melts together while cooking and tastes the same anyway, but the batter always looks a little… Weird.

Pour the cheesecake mixture over the cookie dough crust.

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Then the recipe says to cut the second roll of dough in the same 1/4 inch pieces and lay them close together on top of the cheesecake mixture…

Maybe it’s Pilsbury? Maybe I got the two worst rolls at the store? Or maybe they even expected me to cut the dough on a cutting board, mold them perfectly into cookie shapes and then lay them on the cheesecake?

Either way, it didn’t work. Nothing but crumble once again. So even though I didn’t get a uniform look, I just embraced the crumble and made it look on purpose.

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The recipe says to bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes. I never trust a recipe, and in this case I am very happy I didn’t. At least in my oven, it took 10-15 minutes less than required.

I put it in for 30 minutes and checked on it, and it was completely done. I left it in for another 5 minutes to get a more golden crisp to the cookies. At the rate the cake baked, it would have started to burn if I left it in that long.

But here it is clearly being eaten by my family:

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So you know it turned out at least halfway decent. Still, regardless of the consumption, they really weren’t THAT good. I’ve definitely had better. You would think two amazing components of the dessert world combined into one easy recipe would be an amazing creation…

I’ve made and eaten store bought cookie cheesecakes before and all of them were better than this. The cookie part was delicious, but the cheesecake was a little bland and it kind of distracted from the flavor of the cookie even. Still clearly edible, and a fast, cheap and easy dessert for you to bring to a party.

My family still enjoyed it, it was still eaten. It is still a sugary and slightly chocolatey dessert. However, if you’re looking for a dessert to make to impress, for you to enjoy personally, or have time to try something new with a little more effort, it would be worth it for you to explore other options. If you have a work potluck, a baby shower to go to, or 5 Christmases to contribute to and need something fast and easy, this recipe really is just fine.

So my rating of this pin is… *drumroll….*

7 out of 10

It’s still mostly premade with little effort, and it still has some tastiness to it. However, my own troubles with ingredients, the fact that the recipe timing could have completely screwed me, and then the lack of flavor in the cheesecake brought it down a few pegs.

Thank goodness the pin didn’t have some crazy “best dessert ever!!!!!” million exclamation point endorsement on it.

As a side note, it actually ended up tasting better after it had been in the fridge a few days. I have no idea why, but if they would have tasted like this the first time around, I’m sure it would’ve been a higher score!

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Follow me on Pinterest to know when I test more pins and for some other awesome stuff!


Ok, I promise this isn’t a food blog. I just create with food far more often than anything else. I have lunches, dinners, and the occasional dessert to make which just adds up.

THIS is one of those desserts! So delicious – inspired by this amazing blog which I pretty much used in its entirety except I used a brownie baking mix instead of from scratch. Call me lazy, but I was in a hurry!

Here they are!

Ingredients:

Brownie Mix (Including ingredients required on package) ~ applesauce (per amount of oil required on package) ~ 2 – 8 ounce packages reduced fat cream cheese (softened) ~ 2/3 cup sugar ~ 2 large egg yolks ~ 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

First we’ll start with the brownies. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 pan with tin foil. For easier removal later, I also greased mine – that is completely optional though.

The brownie package I worked with called for 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and 2 eggs.

Whenever a baking recipe calls for oil, I substitute it with all natural applesauce. Not only does it make it healthier for you, it makes what you’re baking fluffier, more moist, and it stays fresher longer. Use an equal ratio of oil to applesauce. In my case, I used 1/2 cup per the recipe.

Follow the brownie mix recipe, substituting where desired, until batter is formed. Pour batter into the lined baking dish.

On to the cheesecake layer! Begin by separating your eggs. Have your large mixing bowl ready for the yolks, and a small one ready for the whites. Pass the yolk back and forth over the smaller bowl, using the egg shells to hold the yolk as the egg whites fall.

Combine all other cheesecake ingredients to the mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth.

Spread the cheesecake mixture over the brownie layer. Use a knife or a spatula to swirl the batters together.

Bake in the center rack of your oven for about 45 minutes. The edges will begin to puff and a knife in the center should come out clean.

Voila!

The below picture isn’t the best, but you’ll see how delicious they are for yourself. For better cooling, remove brownies by the tin foil and place on a cooling rack. Square them, and enjoy!