Glazed, spiced orange cheesecake.

Remember about a month ago I went through a preserving obsession?  Well it’s time to use those preserved items.  Don’t worry though, it wont be one right after another;  I’ll keep it random.  I’ve been contemplating what to do with each preserved citrus fruit, and I’m positive everyone could enjoy a spiced orange cheese cake.
A little slice of heaven can go a long way in cheering any person up.  When I mean a little slice of heaven, I really mean some form of dessert that tastes so gosh darn delicious you melt.  Which is what this cheesecake is, something so delicious I melted after consuming the first bite.

This is going to be an extra long read, because of all the different recipes and steps you have to go through.  So I’m sorry if it seems like an eternity.

**The post was delayed because my cheesecake was not cold enough to cut till after midnight!  So I thought the best thing to do was to wait till Monday.  This way I could take some photos for everyone to enjoy.

Equipment:
Stand mixer with paddle attachment (Or a bowl, whisk and rubber spatula).
Measuring cups and spoons.
Wooden spoon/rubber spatula.
A spring form pan OR whatever you can bake a cake in.
Baking pan for water bath.
Small/Medium pot.
Whisk.
Spoons for tasting.
Knife.
Cutting board.
Something for straining, such as a small colander.
2 small bowls.
Food processor/blender.
Aluminum foil, and parchment paper.

Ingredients: (Filling)
2 bricks of cream cheese (about 16oz).
2 tbsp sour cream.
1/2 cup of white sugar.
4 eggs.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
1/2 cup pickled, spiced oranges (JUST THE FLESH/no peel, finely chopped or pureed; Keep the liquid)
Zest of 2 oranges.
1 tsp cinnamon.

Ingredients: (Crust)
1/4 cup granola (Plain or honey).
1 3/4 cups Graham crackers (Plain or honey, I used honey).
1/4 cup unsalted butter (More if needed).

Ingredients: (Spiced, orange caramel glaze)
1/2- 3/4 cup juice from spiced oranges.
1/2 cup water.
1 cup white sugar.
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter.

Method:
1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.
2.Open your pickled, spiced oranges, strain making sure to save the juice (Set juice aside for later).
3. Peel the oranges flesh from the peels and finely chop or puree. You won’t need the peels so you may toss them in the compost.
4. Soften cream cheese by mixing in stand mixer with paddle attachment.
5. Combine sour cream and sugar.  Continue to mix on a lower speed.
6. Mix in eggs, vanilla, chopped spiced oranges, orange zest and cinnamon.  Quickly combine together being careful not to over mix.
7. Place mixture in fridge till ready to use.
8. In a food processor or blender chop granola till roughly fine. If your graham crackers are also whole do the same thing. ( I just bought graham cracker crumbs.) Combine the two ingredients.
9. Soften or melt the butter and mix with the crust mixture.
10. Butter your spring form or cake pan, place a piece of parchment on the bottom that nicely fits it.
11. Evenly spread crust mixture on the bottom of the pan, making sure to pack it tightly.  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until it looks golden.  Once done, let cool.
12. If using a spring form pan wrap the bottom and up around the sides with aluminum foil.  This will keep batter from either leaking out and/or, stop the water from entering;  If you choose to directly put the pan in a water bath.
13. Pour cheesecake batter into pan.  Lightly tap the pan on the counter to release any air trapped inside.  Place a water bath in the oven to keep the cheese cake from cracking.  This method can be done by placing the two on different racks OR, by placing the cake pan directly into a water bath; Where the water is no higher than 1/2 of the cake pan.  Bake in oven at 350 degree for 20-30 minutes, or when knife/toothpick comes out clean.  Once done let cool at room temperature.
14. Combine juice from spiced oranges, water and sugar in a pot.  Bring up to a boil then turn down to a simmer.
15. Stirring occasionally letting it reduce till it becomes thicker (About 20 minutes).  Whisk in butter.  Let cool till slightly warm.  (Keep an eye on it, it will bubble over!!)
16. Cut cheesecake and pour glaze over each piece and serve, OR over entire cake before cutting.  Add whipped cream if desired! ENJOY!!

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Cinnamon rolls with a sweet dough.

Last night I really felt like eating a cinnamon roll, but I really did not want to get dressed and go to the mall just to buy one.  So instead I stayed in my comfortable sweat pants….and just thought about them.   This morning however was a different story. I  even went to the grocery store and bought some unsalted butter for a better roll and got to work.
As I was baking I was also doing laundry, something I really did not want to do.  I guess the baking part made up for it.  On my way down to the laundry room I noticed two police officers standing by an apartment, waiting.  Now before I go on let me tell you, over the last couple of years this apartment building has become really sketchy.  So to see some police officers I was not surprised, actually I was kind of relieved.  As they were chatting with me, being friendly and telling me how hot it was on my end of the hallway.  I told them it was probably my fault because I’ve had my oven on for a long time.  I mentioned I was baking cinnamon rolls, and told them if they are allowed to accept random baked good from strange ladies I’ll bring them some.  They were amused.
Once they were done, I bought out some rolls like I said I would.  One officer was gone, which is unfortunate for him.  He really enjoyed it and told me it was delicious.  So I guess you can say that by law they’re the best. ;P

**Warning, these are not calorie friendly.

Equipment:
Stand mixer with paddle and hook attachment. (or a bowl, spoon and whisk)
Medium bowl.
Small bowl.
Rubber spatula.
Small pot.
Measuring cups and spoons.
Cake pan or high sided baking sheet.
Knife.
Rolling pin.
Pastry brush.

Ingredients: (Sweet dough)
1 cup milk.
1/2 cup unsalted butter. (extra set aside for brushing and your pan)
1/2 white sugar.
1 tbsp vanilla.
1 tsp salt.
5 cups flour.
1 package instant yeast – about 2.25 tbsp
4 eggs.
Oil for rising dough.
Ingredients: (filling)
3/4 cup butter – room temperature.
3/4 brown sugar.
2 tbsp cinnamon. (more if you like extra)
grated nutmeg (optional)
Ingredients: (very quick and easy “glaze”)
some butter.
1/2-1 tbsp brown sugar.
splash of vanilla.

Method:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine milk, butter, white sugar, and salt in a small pot.  Place on stove and lightly heat it up.  Do not simmer, this is simply to warm up enough to melt the butter. (If the liquid is to hot it will kill your yeast once added.)
3. While milk mixture is being warmed up, combine half the flour and all the yeast in the stand mixer.
4. Combine warm liquid slowly to flour and yeast.  Mixing on a slow to medium speed.  Once incorporated scrap down sides and paddle.  Place on a medium speed and add one egg at a time, scrapping down sides as needed.
5. Once mixture is smooth, Replace the paddle attachment with the hook and add the rest of the flour.  Knead on medium to high speed till the dough forms a smooth ball and no longer sticky to touch.  Scrap down sides as needed.  About 3-5 minutes depending.
6. Lightly oil your medium bowl and place dough inside, cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish cloth.  Place in a warm area and let rise to double its size.  This will take about 1 hour. (I always place my dough to rise on the back of the oven, where it is warmest but not to hot.)
7. In the mean time you can make your filling.  Mix together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Set aside.
8. Once dough is double in size, punch it down and lightly knead once or twice. Flour your work surface and the dough.
9. Roll your dough into a rectangular shape.  It should be roughly about 1/4 inch thick. (Don’t worry it doesn’t need to be perfect!)
10. Spread your filling over the dough, leaving about an inch all the way across length wise to help seal it.  Now roll roll roll, making sure it’s nice and tight.
11. Cut the log into about 1 inch pieces and place on a buttered baking pan. Coat the rolls with melted butter to help keep them moist while baking.  This will also help them become a more golden colour.  Let your rolls rise for about 10 minutes before baking!
12. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
13. While rolls are baking you can make your “glaze”.  Combine butter, brown sugar and vanilla in a pot or bowl and melt together.  Once rolls are out of the oven brush them down with your “glaze”.
14. Enjoy!!  …Oh and be nice to your local cops, offer them one too.  You never know when you’ll need their help.

Strawberry cupcakes with Disaronno butter cream.

Well because I was super busy with the holidays I decided to post two recipes this week.  I hope you enjoy today’s as much as you enjoyed yesterdays!

Lately I’ve been going through a strawberry frenzy, it’s like I can’t get enough.  It always happens, at least once a year.  Always in the winter too, even though strawberries are normally enjoyed in warmer weather.
A couple weeks a go I had made that beautiful strawberry and thyme jam; While I was making that jam I was also baking cupcakes.  Cupcakes that in my opinion turned out so light and so fluffy it was as if I was eating a cloud.  At first I thought it might of been the cocktails I had enjoyed with my friends earlier that night, however the next morning they were still light and fluffy.  I added a delicious Disaronno, French butter cream to top it off.
Now before you ask me why I keep baking cupcakes, it is because my friends never want a whole cake.  They can also be a lot prettier.

Ingredients: (Cupcakes)
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
8oz butter
2 1/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups frozen strawberries (chopped)
(add a few drops red food coloring if super red cake is desired)

Ingredients: (Butter cream)
1 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup white sugar
3 tbsp water
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup Disaronno
1 tbsp cream of tartar
pinch of salt (about 1/4 tsp)

Equipment:
I used a stand mixer but you could use-
a medium bowl, whisk, rubber spatula.
2 small bowls.
Measuring spoons and cups.
cupcake liners.
cupcake tins.
ladle.
knife.
cutting board.
scale.
Piping bag and tip.
Pot.
Candy thermometer.

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream together butter and sugar till smooth.
3. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
4. Combine milk, eggs and vanilla. (I just used a large measuring cup to reduce mess)  Slowly add this mixture to your creamed butter and sugar.
5. In thirds add your dry mixture to your wet mixture.
6. Once well mixed, add your chopped berries.
7. Line your cupcake tins with liner and fill each once half way to three quarters full.  Bake in oven for 10 minutes, rotate then bake for another 10 minutes OR until done.
**Test “doneness” by lightly pressing the top of the cake, if springy it’s done.  If you do not feel comfortable this way you can poke a tooth pick or small knife inside, if it comes out clean it’s done.**

Method: (butter cream)
1. Combine sugar and water in a heavy bottomed sauce pan or pot. Bring to a light simmer. Place candy thermometer in pot to keep an eye on sugar temperature.
2. Separate egg yolks from their whites, place yolks in the mixer with a pinch of salt and beat with whisk attachment till light and fluffy. Add cream of tartar.  Never stop mixing, you can slow it down but don’t stop.
3. Cut butter into small chunks and set aside.
4. Once sugar is boiling and reaches the “soft ball” stage take off heat and very slowly start to pour into the mixing bowl on a medium speed (be careful not to get sugar on the whisk part, it’ll splash.  Hot sugar really hurts).  Every so often stop pouring and turn mixer on high for a couple of seconds.
5. Once all the sugar is incorporated put mixer on a high speed and leave till the bottom of the bowl is warm…almost cool.  This takes about 10 minutes.
6. Slowly add one chunk of butter at a time, making sure it is WELL combined (or else it will split…badly).
7. Whisk in Disaronno. Taste

Fluffy strawberry cupcakes with a French, Disaronno butter cream.

Fluffy strawberry cupcakes with a French, Disaronno butter cream.

Grand Marnier and vanilla…In a cupcake.

I must say ever since I was young I was obsessed with anything orange.  Anything from the color to scent and everything in between.  The color orange reminds me of a warm summer days sunset, the smell calms me down even from the most stressful of moments and carries me into a tropical land.  The taste, well the taste can top it all.  The memory of eating oranges at my grandparents house in the country side, building forts and running through the endless acres of forest.
So whenever I get the chance or at the appropriate time I always choose orange.  It always has my back.  That’s why I know you’ll just love these cupcakes, it has all of thy above: Color, taste, scent.

With all of that being said I once made a similar cupcake; For a friends birthday party. It was an orange cupcake with Grand Marnier frosting and chocolate chips.  It was delicious, however everyone had a little to much to drink by the time I got there to attempt to devour them.  When I left I gave them to homeless people I saw and my cab driver (who scared me beyond belief).DSCF1687

Ingredients: (cupcakes)
2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup Grand Marnier
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 oranges zestedDSCF1671

Ingredients: ( French, vanilla butter cream)
1 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup white sugar
3 tbsp water
5 large egg yolks
1 tbsp vanilla (or more if you like)
pinch of salt (about 1/4 tsp)

Equipment:  ** I used a stand mixer for these recipes (paddle and whisk attachment), however you could use…**
2 medium sized bowls
Whisk
Rubber spatula
Measuring spoons and cups
Knife
Cupcake tin and liners
Piping bag and tip ( or whatever you like)
Heavy bottomed sauce pan/pot
Fry pan
Candy thermometer
Cooling rackDSCF1682

Method: (for cupcakes)  **Preheat oven to 350 degrees**
1. In stand mixer cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy.
2. Beat in egg till well combined, continue to slowly add milk, Grand Marnier, vanilla and orange zest.
3. Combine the rest of your dry ingredients in a separate bowl (flour, baking soda, salt).
4. Combine 1 third of the dry mixture at a time in with the wet mixture currently being mixed in the stand mixer.
5. Once well incorporated taste mixer, if you feel it need more orange flavor add more zest.
6. Line muffin tins with liners (for less of a stick you can lightly spray the liners with a vegetable oil, be careful not to use to much though).  Fill the liners about half way with batter.
7. Place cupcakes in oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, rotate your cakes and bake for another 10 minutes or until done (to check doneness lightly press the top of your cake if it springs back it’s done. OR stick a tooth pick or small knife inside your cake, if it comes out clean it’s done).
8. Take your cupcakes out of the muffin tin and let cool completely at room temperature on a cooling rack!!!!
9. Clean your mess up, you have more to do. 🙂

Method: (French vanilla butter cream)
1. Combine sugar and water in a heavy bottomed sauce pan or pot. Bring to a light simmer. Place candy thermometer in pot to keep an eye on sugar temperature.
2. Separate egg yolks from their whites, place yolks in the mixer with a pinch of salt and beat with whisk attachment till light and fluffy.  Never stop mixing, you can slow it down but don’t stop.
3. Cut butter into small chunks and set aside.
4. Once sugar is boiling and reaches the “soft ball” stage take off heat and very slowly start to pour into the mixing bowl on a medium speed (be careful not to get sugar on the whisk part, it’ll splash.  Hot sugar really hurts).  Every so often stop pouring and turn mixer on high for a couple of seconds.
5. Once all the sugar is incorporated put mixer on a high speed and leave till the bottom of the bowl is warm…almost cool.  This takes about 10 minutes.
6. Add vanilla.
7. Slowly add one chunk of butter at a time, making sure it is WELL combined (or else it will split…badly).

Method: (Caramelized Oranges)
1. Heat pan over medium heat.
2. Peel orange and coat in sugar
3. Place oranges in pan and cook until each side is a golden caramel color.
4. Cool. Then use.

DSCF1691

White chocolate, candy cane truffles for charity.

Every year at Christmas time I always find myself baking for people.  Last year and the year before I baked pies as gifts.  One Christmas morning I even surprised my mother and her fiance with waffles and champagne in bed.
This year I started a little early, with work raising money for Feed Nova Scotia.  I’ve always liked volunteering my time to help, so when the managers suggested a “back of house” bake off I was all in.  All of the cooks and dishwashers were asked to bake if they wanted to; for a chance to win a gift card and raise money for charity.  Anyone in our staff was able to buy these goods for a set price.
I found myself in the Christmas mood, nothing said Christmas more than CANDY CANES! Now what was going to be different than everyone’s baking? “they’ll probably all bake cupcakes” I thought to myself.  I know, truffles! That’s when I did a little research and came up with this delicious combination.

Ingredients you’ll need:
4oz cream cheese (softened)
1.5 cups icing sugar
2.5 cups white chocolate (melted)
2 tps mint extract
candy canes (crushed)
Equipment needed:
Medium sized pot
Medium bowl
Two small bowl (One fits nicely on top of pot)
Wooden spoon
Rubber spatula
A sheet pan or two
Parchment paper
Some forks
Ice cream scoop

**If you have a stand mixer you can use this instead mixing it by hand with a spoon and bowl (low to medium speed**

Method:
1. Place a pot with a small amount of water on the stove and bring to a simmer.
2. Combine the softened cream cheese, icing sugar, and mint extract.  Mix until smooth and well incorporated.
3. Put the white chocolate in a smaller bowl (one that first the best on top of the pot).  Place the bowl with chocolate on top of the simmering pot of water to gently melt the chocolate.  Occasionally stir the chocolate making sure it does not burn.  Before it is completely melted take the bowl off the heat and stir till it is finished.  The finished product should look smooth and silky.
4. Mix together the cream cheese mixture and melted white chocolate.  ( you can incorporate crushed candy canes in this mixture if you like, I regret not doing this)
5. Place plastic wrap directly on top of mixture while still in the bowl and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
6. Take mixture out of fridge and check if it is hard and not sticky.  If it’s not mix in more icing sugar and let sit in fridge longer.   If it is, it’s time to scoop and roll into balls.  Using a ice cream scoop (or a table spoon if you don’t have one) scoop balls onto a pan with parchment paper. Place into freezer for 5 minutes to chill quickly.
7. In your hands rolls scooped balls in your hands to create a smoother rounder ball.  Place back in freezer to chill again.
8. At this point you can either coat the balls in white chocolate OR roll them in crushed candy canes.  It’s up to you!  To coat in chocolate follow step 3 to melt it.  Place one ball at a time in the chocolate rolling it around to fully coat.  Use a fork to neatly take it out of the bowl, try to get as much chocolate off by using the force of gravity.  Gently roll the ball off the fork onto the sheet pan, you may use a butter knife to help assist you.  Place in fridge to completely cool and harden the chocolate.

WC/CC truffles