Friday, February 12, 2010

Mini Cheesecakes

I made these mini cheesecakes for my sister's bridal shower last weekend.  They tasted fantastic and went over really well.  They were the perfect size and nice and creamy.  I was skeptical about making cheesecakes in muffin tins, because I always have anxiety over regular cheesecake (is it done, is it overdone, is it too wiggly still?)  These, however, were really easy and they did not take very long to bake at all.  The two hour baking time is another drawback of regular cheesecake.

I found the recipe in a wedding magazine from Martha Stewart, however it is also on her website here.  The hearts were such a cute addition and so easy.  All that was done, was drop some raspberry puree onto the top prior to baking and drag a toothpick through the middle.  The most difficult part was straining all of the seeds out of the raspberry puree!

These cheesecakes did not bake these in a water bath and I did not run into any difficulties, however, I did fill some of the tins too full of batter and it puffed up and cracked.  It is best to keep the tins only about 2/3 full.  Also, this leads to the best ratio of crust to cheesecake.  Another thing to note, as with all cheesecake, cream cheese does not melt so it is imperative to have the cream cheese at room temperature to be able to successfully beat all of the lumps out of it.

For practice the week before, I decided to try Taretlette's goat cheese cheesecakes.  These too were phenomenal.  The earthy flavor of the goat cheese was just the right compliment to the sweetness of the cheesecake.  I had been looking for a goat cheese cheesecake recipe ever since I tried it at The Turf Room, a restaurant my husband and I ate at for our anniversary a year ago.  This one really hit the spot.  Blood oranges are not available in my area, so we just ate them naked.  I ran into a bit of trouble with the muffin papers sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Tartelette specifically mentions spraying the pan before putting the muffin papers in, however, I failed to follow these directions.  The mistake was corrected when I made the above cheesecakes and had no problems pulling them out of the pan.

Overall, mini cheesecakes always seem to be a hit and are defiantly going to be made again.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Grandma Goodell's Whole Wheat Bread

 I think that it is interesting how people are able to live on through recipes and through our taste memories.  This recipe for this bread was that of my husband's grandmother.  He tells me that this is the only bread that he can remember her making.  Sadly, she is no longer with us and I never really knew her, but through her bread he can remember her and I can get to know her.  It is a wholesome bread that tastes amazing.  It is healthy without being being boring.  Perfect for anyone at any age.  The recipe actually comes from my husband's uncle, but since it was his grandma who made if for him, it shall forever be Grandma Goodell's Whole Wheat Bread.

I had never made a 100 percent whole wheat bread recipe before.  It always intimidated me too much.  I was pleasantly surprised with the results.  The seeds and whole wheat flour provide a wonderful texture in the mouth, while the honey gives a sweetness and moisture.

Grandma Goodell's Whole Wheat Bread
6 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/3 cups dry milk
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (I used 3/4)
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 Tablespoons wheat germ
6 tablespoons honey (I used 1/2 cup; technically 6 tablespoons is about 3/8 cup)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 cups hot water ( I ended up using 2 1/2 cups water)
1 1/2 Tablespoons active dry yeast ( used 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast)
1/4 cup oil or melted butter

If using active dry yeast, proof in 1/4 cup warm water for 10-15 minutes.

Mix together flour, seeds, and milk.

Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the remaining hot water.  Add the honey, oil, and yeast.

Mix together until you can not stir anymore.

Knead 10 minutes by hand (shorter if using a mixer)

Allow to rise for 1 1/2-2 hours (do not skimp on this time, because of the weight of the whole wheat flour it takes quite awhile for the bread to rise)

Knead briefly and then divide into two loaves (I made 5 mini loaves) and allow to rise until the bread dough peeks over the top of the bread pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes (I baked mine for 25 minutes because they were mini)

I do not feel that I got a very glutenous bread.  I am not sure if it is because I did not knead the bread long enough (it did not pass the windowpane test, however I am unsure if whole wheat flour will pass the windowpane test) or if it is because of the weight of the whole wheat flour.

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