Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My first Award!

First of all I need to give a big thank you to Lauren from mixing bowls and spatulas for giving me my first ever blog award! I am definitely very excited and greatly appreciate this award. Here is the quote that came with this award:

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

I am excited to pass along the award to:

Katie: good things catered
Susan: sticky gooey creamy chewy
Natalie: Hot Garlic

Lynn: Cookie Baker Lynn
Prudy: Prudence Pennywise
Clumbsy cookie
Jacque: Daisy Lane Cakes
Haley: The Muffin Top

There were many more blogs that I could have chosen, it would have been easier for me to choose 20 more instead of eight. I appreciate all of your blogs and appreciate all of you who visit my blog. Love you all!

Monday, April 27, 2009

April Daring Bakers Challenge a Skor!!

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

I have to say I was ecstatic when I found out this months challenge was cheesecake. I was even more ecstatic when we had pretty much free reign on what flavor we wanted it to be. I have never made cheesecake before so I knew this would be fun. Cheesecake isn't my favorite dessert in the world, but a while back my dad made a cheesecake from a Bon Appetit magazine that was to die for! One of my favorite desserts I have ever had. I knew I had to make this cheesecake like the Bon Appetit one. So, I decided to make a cheesecake with skor bits, nut and graham crust with a sour cream topping. May sound a little weird the sour cream topping part but it is actually one of my favorite aspects of this cheesecake. I did a pretty good job making this cake taste like the Bon Appetit one. I will give you both recipes, the Daring Bakers Challenge recipe with my changes and also the Bon Appetit recipe which I tried to duplicate. I don't think anything beats the Bon Apetit recipe, I did a pretty good job trying to duplicate it but the Bon Appetit one is better. I really hope you have a change to make this one you will definitely not be disappointed!

You can see all the yummy layers this cheesecake has. Before you bake it,
you put half the filling on the crust, then put 8 oz chopped toffee bits
(I used Skor bars) on top, then the rest of the filling.
During baking the toffee bits melt and make the filling
unbelievable! Gives it such a yummy toffee flavor.

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:

2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs (I did 1 1/2 c. graham crumbs, 1/2 c. toasted almonds, 1/2 c. toffee bits (skor or health) all of which I put in food processor
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar (I used brown sugar)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice (didn't use)
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake (I used 1 tsp almond extract)

For Topping I used Sour Cream Topping From Bon Appetit recipe (Scroll down to see recipe)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. (I poured half in, then sprinkled with 8 oz chopped toffee bits, then put other half on). Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. When almost done put sour cream filling on then bake 5 more minutes. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery store. They're 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.

Prep notes: While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served. Please plan accordingly!

Some variations from the recipe creator ("Infamous" Abbey):

** Lavender-scented cheesecake w/ blueberries - heat the cup of heavy cream in the microwave or a saucepan until hot but not boiling. Add 2 tbsp of lavender flowers and stir. Let lavender steep in the cream for about 10-15 minutes, then strain the flowers out. Add strained cream to cheesecake batter as normal. Top with fresh blueberries, or make a quick stovetop blueberry sauce (splash of orange juice, blueberries, a little bit of sugar, and a dash of cinnamon - cook until berries burst, then cool)

** Cafe au lait cheesecake with caramel - take 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and heat it in the microwave for a short amount of time until very hot. Add 1-2 tbsp. instant espresso or instant coffee; stir to dissolve. Add this to the remainder of cream and use as normal. Top cheesecake with homemade caramel sauce (I usually find one on the food network website - just make sure it has heavy cream in it. You can use store-bought in a pinch, but the flavor is just not the same since its usually just sugar and corn syrup with no dairy).

** Tropical – add about a half cup of chopped macadamias to the crust, then top the cake with a mango-raspberry-mandarin orange puree.

** Mexican Turtle - add a bar of melted dark chocolate (between 3 and 5 oz., to taste) to the batter, along with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper (about 1/8 tsp.). Top it with pecan halves and a homemade caramel sauce.

** Honey-cinnamon with port-pomegranate poached pears – replace 1/2 cup of the sugar with 1/2 cup of honey, add about a teaspoon or more (to taste) of cinnamon. Take 2 pears (any variety you like or whatever is in season), peeled and cored, and poach them in a boiling poaching liquid of port wine, pomegranate juice/seeds, a couple of "coins" of fresh ginger, a cinnamon stick, and about a 1/4 cup of sugar. Poach them until tender, then let cool. Strain the poaching liquid and simmer until reduced to a syrupy-glaze consistency, then cool. Thinly slice the cooled pears and fan them out atop the cooled cheesecake. Pour the cooled poaching syrup over the pears, then sprinkle the top with chopped walnuts and fresh pomegranate seeds.

Some variations from Jenny (from JennyBakes):

**Key lime - add zest from one lime to sugar before mixing with cream cheese. Substitute lemon juice, alcohol, and vanilla with key lime juice.

**Cheesecakelets - put in muffin tins, ramekins, or custard cups. Try baking 20-35 minutes, or until still a little jiggly, and cool as before.

Bon Appetit Christmas Cheesecake with English Toffee filling
(This is the best EVER cheesecake! It will make non cheesecake lovers crazy about it!)
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 5 ounces graham crackers)
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup English toffee bits (such as Skor)
  • 2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 8 ounces chocolate-covered English toffee (such as Skor or Heath bars), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 16-ounce container sour cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Add butter; stir until moist clumps form. Press mixture over bottom and 1 inch up sides of 10-inch-diameter springform pan. Bake crust until just set, about 5 minutes. Set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

For filling:
Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, blending well after each addition. Beat in both extracts. Pour half of mixture into prepared crust; sprinkle with toffee pieces. Pour remaining mixture over. Bake until edges are puffed but center is barely set, about 55 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare topping:
Mix sour cream, sugar and vanilla in medium bowl until smooth. Pour topping over hot cheesecake. Bake cake until topping is just set, about 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool 10 minutes. Run knife between cake and pan sides. Chill cake uncovered overnight.

Remove pan sides and place cake on platter. Garnish top with candies.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

An Over the Top Outing!....

Ok-so I feel like I have been doing alot more eating than baking or cooking, so I apologize for not posting any new recipes but I promise I will get there! However, I have a feeling that whatever the next recipe is that I post, it could never "Top" my lattest and greatest find. My mom and I often like to go to Material Girls in South Jordan. Right next door a cookie shop opened called "Over the Top Cookies". Of course I had to check it out. First of all, as soon as I walked in I was blown away by the many delicious cookies on display. How could I choose just one?! Or even two!? Yep, that's right! I got three! Here are the three I tried:

Toffee Works: Milk Chocolate Chips, pecans, Toffee Bits, and toasted coconut sprinkled over the Top!

Snickered Out: Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies With chunks of Snickers® bar melted over the Top!

Twix Mix Up: Milk Chocolate Chip cookies with chunks of twix® candy bar melted over the Top!

I think my favorite was the Toffee works, but they were all delicious. And I have to say, I would choose one of these cookies any day over any cupcake I have ever had! I know I know I can't even believe I am saying it but it's true. I talked to the owner Rachel for a minute and I could definitely sense she had a love for what she was doing, and boy does she know what she's doing! Make sure you check thier site out here, or visit their store at 1665 W. Towne Center Drive, Suite B3 South Jordan UT. Her cookies are fabulous and I am counting down the days until I can go and get another one, or two, or three...

My food outing didn't end there. My mom and I went and picked up my cousin, her daughter and my grandma and we went to lunch at Trio's in Salt Lake. I have been there a few times now and I never get sick of it. My favorites are their rosemary flat bread served with goats cheese and the three cheese ravioli with the butternut squash. So good! But of course we had to top the day off with dessert (even though we started with it)

We went over to Mrs. Backer's Pastry Shop located at 434 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City, and got my favorite chocolate and coconut covered marshmallows. Each marshmallow is like a little piece of heaven! So good! I can't wait to try to duplicate these, but I know I will never be able to do them justice.

Me holding the mallows, I think the last time I had them
was when I was getting fitted for my wedding dress in the
store right next door, so almost 3 years! It felt so
good to be holding them again!

Me (still clinging to my mallows) and my grandma. Isn't her red hair gorgeous? She
has never had a grey in her life!

My mom with my second cousin Mia

Me and my darling cousin Montell, I still haven't managed to
let go of the mallows!
Mia holding her cupcake. I love the cupcake
next to her tye dye shirt. This picture reminds me of my childhood
because I had quite a few tye dye shirts back in my day.
Hope you have a chance to visit these fun shops! I will get cooking so I can post some fun recipes soon!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

8 years is way too long....

I know I haven't posted in quit a few days but I have been pretty busy. My life long friend from Milwaukee came to visit last Saturday. It had been eight years since we had seen each other! We first became friends when we were three years old. We were the type of friends that as soon as we woke up we were together and were together till the moment we had to go to bed. I moved away from Milwaukee when I was 11, so it's been hard to see each other often but we still keep in touch. It was such a blast to have Lindsey visit. Every time we see each other we seem to pick up right where we left off. Of course during her visit I had to introduce her to the yummy things in Utah.

Two of my favorite people together! My best friend Lindsey and my
husband Micah.

At Sete Bello in Salt Lake City, the best Italian pizza around!
My favorite pizza of theirs is the marinara, it has no cheese but just
crushed tomatoes, oregano, and lots of crushed garlic all over it! My
husband complains that I smell like garlic for a week after eating that pizza
but it's totally worth it!

We had a fun night up at Sundance with some
Dippidee cupcakes! The frosting is thick and piled high-delicious!
It was so fun to see Lindsey and I know we wont wait another 8 years before we see eachother again!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

When life gives you lemons...

My mother in law got a lovely package from a friend a few days ago and inside were gorgeous California lemons! She gave her about 20 so she offered me about ten. Of course I didn't resist and I knew the perfect thing to do with them, because when life gives you such beautiful lemons you have to make Ina Garten's fabulous yogurt lemon cake with lemon curd. Both of these are a family favorite and when you put the two together and top it off with straberries, VIOLA! It makes an irresistable combination. In the summer my family and I always make Ina's lemon curd and serve it with straberries or rasberries. It is so light and summery. The lemon curd is also gluten free so I like making it for dessert because my sister in law who has celiac can have it. Since the cake get's most of it's moisture from yogurt you don't have to feel too guilty eating it. So I hope life gives you some lemons (or you go buy some in the store!) so you can try out these lovely recipes.

Look how juicy and delicious!

This cake is so incredibly moist. The lemon sugar syrup
you make to put on the top seems like alot and you might
be tempted to only put half of it on, but don't be scared and just
go for it!

Lemon Yogurt Cake


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

Lemon Curd


  • 3 lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.

Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Girls Day Out

A couple days ago my mom and little sister and I decided to have a fun girls night. We first stopped at the Blue Lemon to have some fish tacos then headed over to Dear Lizzie for a treat. Blue Lemon has many yummy cupcakes and treats but we wanted to shop around a bit so Dear Lizzie it was. I have never posted about their cupcakes and I think it is about time. First of all, they are super cute and girly. The best part about them is the frosting. Very thick frosting piled high. The cake itself is pretty average but the frosting makes the whole thing work. It was fun to grab a cupcake with my mom and sis and feel girly.

All of our goodies: My mom had the cookie, my sis had the cupcake
with chocolate frosting (she is a chocolate kinda girl) and I had the
cupcake with vanilla frosting (I am a vanilla girl)

The turkey pesto sandwich is definitely worth getting

Mom very excited to eat her cookie :)

Now take a look at that frosting, just the way I like it, thick, piled high
and delicious!