Archive for April, 2008

Daring Bakers: Cheesecake pops

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

It’s time for another Daring Bakers challenge! The idea of the Daring Bakers is that every month one baking recipe is presented that all members have to follow exactly without any modifications except where specifically allowed. During the month we share our experiences and learn to be better bakers. The recipe, our photos and experiences are then officially posted on a specified day.

This month’s challenge was to bake Cheesecake pops from “Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey” by Jill O’Connor, and the recipe was picked by Elle from Feeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah from Taste and Tell. I love cheesecake but I didn’t find this specific cheesecake recipe to be the perfect one, but it was good. The recipe is straith forward and I didn’t encounter any problems. I did a half batch and ended up with 14 cheesecake pops. I added a bit lemon to the batter and I omited shortening in the chocolate. For coating I used different sanding sugars, chopped hazelnuts, chopped Toblerone and chopped Daim. The pops would be perfect for a party as they are so pretty and as they are so sweet (depending on chosen coating) one is enough to eat. A tip would be to make a few pops next time you have some left over cheesecake.

Cheesecake Pops
Makes 30 – 40 Pops

5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream

Boiling water as needed

Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks
1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionary coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
(Note: White chocolate is harder to use this way, but not impossible)

Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) – Optional

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.

Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.

Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.

Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.

Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

Fighting spam and technical issues.

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

Image from www.potterybarn.com

The last week has been a really bad blog week starting with all sorts of technical problems due to my web hotel and ending with a hacked blog with spam in every post. I’ve just finished upgrading WordPress to the latest update and I’m going through every single post to remove all spam. If you encounter any issues on the blog, then please send an email or write a comment.

The above picture is from Pottery Barn, with a drink dispenser that I really would love to have for future dinners and parties in the garden. Unfortunately they don’t ship to Sweden and I havn’t been able to find anything like it here. If you’ve seen a similar dispenser in an online store that ships to Europe, please let me know. Now I’m off to a store, to try convince them to order in a shallow Le Creuset casserole in teal especially for me so that I can use it for risotto :-) According to the sales support of Le Creuset that should be possible, but I need to check price and details first.

Image from www.lecreuset.com

Lime roses with lime icing

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

I find sponge cakes a bit boring, unlike F that really likes them. He especially likes tiger cake which he gets very seldom as I don’t bother to do them very often. Actually there’s nothing wrong with sponge cakes, but they are so plain… To solve this I try to use funny molds, in shape of bears or Moomins, which makes the baking more amusing. I made up this recipe as I wanted just a few cakes and as I wanted to use my new italian silicon rose molds, and the result was very good. We had a lot of limes left from the homestyling of the apartment (!) so I decided to use some of them in the cakes. They came out very moist and delicious with a fresh flavour, perfect now during spring. The tangy lemon frosting was literally “the icing on the cake”.

Lime roses with lime icing
(results in 5-8 cakes, depending on molds. My molds fit around 100 ml each and I got 5 cakes.)

100 gram vanilla infused caster sugar
50 gram butter
1 egg
50 ml milk
200 ml flour
1 tsp baking powder
zest and juice from one lime

juice from one lime
200 ml icing sugar

lime zest

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C.
Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until white and fluffy. Add egg. Fold in flour and baking powder. Add milk, lemon juice, lemon zest and combine.

Spoon batter up to 2/3 of the molds. Bake for 15-17 minutes depending on size, until a tooth pick or potato stick comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the molds for at least 10 minutes, but don’t leave them in the molds too long or they will get soggy.

Combine icing sugar and lime juice until smooth. Spoon over the cakes and decorate with grated lime zest.

Ice cream or cream actually…

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Long time no see… I can’t believe it’s been two months since I last posted, and those months have been really hectic with a trip to Italy, Easter celebration, my birthday, work…. But let’s start with the house. The house with a capital H, a lovely house that we never thought we would buy. We just went there to look at it, because you have to start somewhere when planning to buy a house. It was too expensive but gorgeous in every way and we fell in love. We put in a bid and a few days later, when in Rome with my mother, F called me and told me the happy news: “We’re house owners!” After coming home from Rome, which was a gift from us to my mother for her 60th birthday, we immediately started preparing our apartment so we could sell it. No renovations were needed, only homestyling and packing half of the apartment in boxes, that are now at a storage center, so it would look as airy and lovely as it actually is. Now our super central apartment is sold and in one month we’re moving to a place with beautiful nature and where we have a five minute walk to the beach. I’m really enthusiastic about it as I’ve never lived in a house; I’m a true city girl. But I’ve already planted tomato and watermelon (!) seeds and every evening before going to sleep I look at the pictures of the house and the garden.

But for now let’s focus on food. These photos were taken in Rome when me and my mother were at Giolitti , one of my favourite ice cream bars in Rome. However we were a bit unlucky and seemed to have ordered more cream than ice cream this time…. But since we ate ice cream 3 times a day during our stay, it wasn’t really any catastrophy!

After digging through the whipped cream we finally found the ice cream!
Without the whipped cream the whole construction wasn’t very stable and the waiter shouted from the opposite side of the room when my chocolate wafer started to tip over so I would catch it..
It was impossible to eat all whipped cream, so it was put beside...