Monday, February 10, 2014

Eli's Chicago-Style Cheesecake (copycat)


I'm a Midwest girl and one of my favorite Chicago eats is Eli's Cheesecake. I grew up on this cheesecake so it set my standard pretty high in terms of cheesecake expectations.

How do I describe Eli's Chicago-style cheesecake? It the simplest form, it's denser and richer than most types of cheesecakes. The taste is quite unique and I can't think of another type of cheesecake that can compare. Another thing that makes Eli's cheesecakes so unique is the shortbread crust! Cheesecake + shortbread = winning!

In the past couple of years, I have really grown an infatuation for cheesecake but nothing really hits the spot like Eli's. So, I set out on a pursuit for a homemade Eli's cheesecake recipe...and I did! I knew it had to be close to the real thing because one time, I looked on a box of Eli's cheesecake recipe and wrote down the ingredients. I was surprised to find sour cream to be in the recipe. When I came across this recipe from The Zen Kitchen, I saw sour cream listed as an ingredient. I actually found this recipe years ago but as odd as it seems, I was a little terrified that I would just be disappointed. That, and the fact that I had never made a cheesecake before. I decided to face my fears and try, and good thing that I did!

This recipe hit so close to home, no pun intended. While it was a lot of work, it was a complete success and most definitely worth the time. I made my own homemade sea salt caramel (recipe not included) and it was the perfect icing on the (cheese) cake!

Give this a try and you'll never want to eat any other cheesecake! You've been warned! To The Zen Kitchen, thank you for being brilliant!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Apple Cheesecake Cookie Bars


I am a big fan of making classics with a twist. I can't define what classic this recipe resembles because I feel it is a culmination of multiple desserts: oatmeal cookie, apple pie, and cheesecake. Regardless, the dessert is delicious so if you're looking to try something new or with a twist, look no further! This dessert as classified as a bar but requires more than your typical bar dessert. This recipe is essentially an oatmeal cookie with a sweetened cream cheese layer, an apple filling, topped with more oatmeal cookie. Irresistible sounding, I know!

You can choose to make your own oatmeal cookie batter and apple pie filling or to buy packaged or canned version. While I like a shortcut every once in awhile, I like to make as much as I can from scratch. I compromised in this recipe and only used canned apple pie filling, which I was skeptical to use - not as bad as I thought but would prefer to make my own. However, to make a dessert on a zip, I know I can count on this recipe!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Secretly Healthy Chocolate Muffins


Happy 2014! It's time to get back into the blogging swing of things. What better way to start the year than with a recipe that promotes healthy and mindful eating. The greatest thing about this recipe is that while it has the taste of a regular chocolate muffin, it is actually packed with nutrition to make this sweet treat into a nutrition powerhouse. These muffins are also low fat and make for an easy grab-and-go breakfast.

The only hint you get that these muffins are healthy is the texture. It is not as smooth as your typically muffin but that is because this recipe uses wheat bran, which has a rustic but soft texture. This is not a bad thing! In fact, it gives the muffin a textural contrast.

The batter is slightly sweet but can be easily modified by altering the amount of chocolate chips. For me, 1/2 cup of chocolate chips of dark chocolate chips was just enough to give me bursts of sweetness as a I devoured my muffin!

Happy baking!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Flaxseed Cookies


I've decided to end my hiatus from blogging! I apologize to my followers for being MIA but sometimes life just gets atcha and you gotta roll with the punches! However, I am back and I ready to share some great recipes with you! Accept the above plate of cookies as my apology? The title may sound ridiculous and not appealing for a cookie but trust me, titles can be deceiving!

As most of you know, I'm all about a healthy recipe and this recipe is no different. On this Sunday afternoon, I decided I want to make something healthy but still satisfies the sweet tooth. A few weeks back, I went to this cute antique shop that baked fresh oatmeal cookies in the back. I heard good things about these cookies and bought one to try for myself. Needless to say, the cookie was delicious! Everything about the cookie screamed home! The smell reminded me of so many times I would walk around my house and smell fresh baked cookies in the oven. The cookie was soft and just enough sweetness to be considered an indulgence. Every since then, I've been inspired to make my own version of this delicious oatmeal cookie...with a healthy twist. This is the first time I've baked a cookie with whole wheat flour. Typically, I'll mix whole wheat and all-purpose flour because whole wheat flour tends to dry out baked goods but not this recipe. Also, I incorporated flax seed and some nuts to boost the nutritious value in this guilty of a pleasure called a cookie. Hey, at least this is better than a cookie that goes straight to your thighs!

The end product? Delicious and amazing cookies! didn't tell my brother the ingredients of the cookie because he refuses to eat any of my healthy baked goods. He ate the whole cookie...I think he's better off not knowing!


Saturday, January 19, 2013

How To Make Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies


Greetings! It's been awhile since I wrote my last post but let's just say life has been busy. Fortunately, it's not that I haven't been baking since my last post, I just haven't posted my baked goods. It's been long enough so here is a new one for y'all. It feels good to be back!

Everyone has strategies for what makes the perfect chewy chocolate chip cookies. I've been exploring all of these strategies for years and finally found one that is workable. I would like to make tweaks to this recipe but for what it was, it definitely creates chewy chocolate chip cookies! It doesn't require refrigerating the dough, adding ridiculous amounts of butter, etc. All it requires is two teaspoons of cornstarch. Yep, just cornstarch. Don't believe me? Try it for yourself!

I like this recipe but I am going to alter some flavors to my liking. Until I figure it out, this is perfectly fine!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Marshmallow Brownies


I've been on a chocolate rampage lately, meaning I been eating more than my fair share of chocolate. I am particularly obsessed with chocolate cake and love my Microwave Chocolate Cake recipe. It's been my go-to dessert for weeks! This recipe is so easy and quick to make in addition to being quite conducive to my semi-crazy schedule.

Fortunately, I had time to make something chocolately this weekend, the conventional way. I know I've made brownies from scratch before; however, boxed brownies are so good that I often don't think making brownies from scratch is worth my time. While brownies are fairly a simple dessert, making great brownies can be time consuming. I went on a pursuit to find a simply yet delicious brownie and  found an excellent one on Joy of Baking.


While the recipe itself is great, I believe there are a few keys into making gourmet tasting brownies. First key, use quality chocolate. You wouldn't believe what a different it makes but the higher quality chocolate you use, the higher quality and depth of flavor your brownies will taste. This goes for cocoa as well. Try to use high quality, non-alkaline cocoa. It makes a significant difference. I've researched the art of brownie making and chocolate quality is something I've consistently heard. I always disregarded this tip but when I wasn't getting the taste I was searching for, I had to change something in my practice. Secondly, the addition of coffee adds a depth of flavor to the brownie and accentuates the chocolate flavor. While coffee is an optional ingredient in many recipes, I believe coffee makes a good brownie into a great/gourmet tasting brownie. Lastly, add  chocolate chips! I know brownies are already chocolately but the chips gives texture and reiterates the chocolate goodness that brownies are known for. There's something divine about biting into melted chocolate that can really give brownies a heavenly status.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Ricotta Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

I will never get tired of the chocolate chip cookie. There are many variations and it is crazy how I never get bored of trying a new chocolate chip cookie recipe. How was this recipe inspired? Well, ricotta cheese. First of all, I do not like ricotta cheese. However, I bought some to make stuffed shells for a work potluck because I know people would like it. I don't usually eat what I bring to a potluck...for some reason, it just makes me feel weird, so it wasn't a big to not eat the stuffed shells. However, I had to give it a little taste to make sure I wasn't serving something terrible. Always test your product! To my surprise, the stuffed shells weren't too shabby. I'm not trying to toot my own horn but I learned it's not that I don't like ricotta but it's the amount I often feel there is an excessive amount in what I eat. 

Anyways, the store only sold a huge container of ricotta cheese so I had a LOT of ricotta cheese leftover so I had to do something with it. The first thing that came to my mind was a ricotta pound cake but I didn't want something so heavy and was going to weigh me down...literally. I started searching online to see if there were cookie recipes that ricotta cheese and voila,I found this recipe.

While the cookies do not have a distinct ricotta flavor, the cheese adds a nice texture to the cookies. The cookies turned out to be fluffy, soft, and moist. If you're a fan of the cake-like cookies, this is perfect. The cookies were tasty, not too greasy, and is a great variation of the chocolate chip cookies. Even if you overbake the cookies, the cookies remain moist and soft. No need to worry about the cookies turning hard the next day...if they last until then!



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