Mom It Down: Chai Lollipops (For Sale!)

I love chai. My love for chai is actually why I took up candy-making again a while back. I wanted to make a chai lollipop for myself. Unfortunately, I realized right away that I wouldn’t gain instant gratification; I’d have to make an extract first. So, I revisited my homemade whole wheat chai muffin recipe and came up with a water-based extract. While that was doing its thing is when I began to explore other flavors and play with recipes. So, perhaps it’s good that I had to wait this time.

Well, I’m happy to report that they’re finally here! My extract was put to use this weekend. I made me some Chai Pops!

I’m pretty pleased with how this recipe turned out. They’re for sale over on Etsy. If you’re into chai or the spices in chai, you might really dig these pops. (So far, they’re are my favorite.)

Are you totally sick of this yet? Yeah. I know. I’m getting sick of myself too. It’s probably pretty annoying hearing me write about lollipops all the time, but I’m inspired and I’m having a great time coming up with new flavors. I honestly haven’t been this inspired in years. I will shut up soon, if only because I’ll be busy trying to eat all these lollipops!

No, really. I have a lot of lollipops on my hands.

And I hope to have the real Mom It Down up later today. Peanut Butter Cookies! Yum!

Lollipops By Mihow (What I've Been Doing.)

It may seem like I haven’t been baking much lately. But that’s not the case at all, my friends! I’ve actually been in the kitchen more so than ever. You see, I’ve been making lollipops. The whole adventure came on suddenly but has proven to be rather amazing. And, get this! I’m going to be selling them any day now!

Here’s the skinny: A couple of weeks ago, I revisited hard candy. It had been years since I made candy, and I don’t remember that being all that rewarding so I thought I’d give it another go. This time, I didn’t give up. Yes, I hit a few roadblocks and yes those roadblocks were frustrating, but within a week, I had this down. I had a lollipop created without corn syrup (something I insisted on) that tasted rather good! That’s when I began to play with different flavor combinations—combinations found in cuisines all over the globe. (It helps to have a husband that can cook!)

So I made a bunch of flavors. Some were great, some not so much. But I kept going and going until I ended up with some pretty remarkable flavor combinations. And they’re really beautiful to look at as well. Excited, I put them up for sale on Etsy and sold hundreds of bucks worth of lollipops within the first couple of hours. I was shocked and totally geeked about it. But we decided I moved a little too fast. And since Toby Joe and I like to do things the right way, we refunded all of the money we made, sent out a few freebie packages, and immediately started the process of getting all our paperwork in order; we should be up and running within the week.

In the meantime, go to my Etsy shop and mark it a favorite.

All of my lollipops are made without corn syrup. They are all vegan. They are all really quite beautiful to look at. And they are all made with a great deal of love. I combine flavors such as pink peppercorn and watermelon; oranges, sesame oil and hot peppers; bananas and peanut butter; mango, Tabasco and lime. There’s even one for the youngsters called The Box Office that combines butter with actual popcorn. Kids go nuts for this one, NUTS!

But that’s not all! We have over 10 flavors at the time this was written and more on the way. I do hope you’ll stop by. I can’t wait to offer tongue workouts to all. ;]

I will be back with Mom It Down next week—like the real deal. I have a peanut butter cookie that simply must get some recognition.

Mom It Down: Whole Wheat Flax Seed Bread

I literally googled “Flax Seed Bread” and took the first recipe that popped up changing only one thing. This is super easy. Labor is next to nothing. The most time involved is waiting for the sucker to rise.

What you will need

  • Bread pan
  • Mixer

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 3/4 cups of warm water
  • 2 tablespoons honey (original recipe called for 1/8 cup sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flaxseed meal
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Mom It Down!

Dissolve yeast in (1 3/4 cups) warm water in the mixer. Let that sit until bubbly. (Five minutes.)

Add honey (or sugar), salt, flaxseed meal, and 1 cup of whole wheat flour. Stir that up with a spoon until it looks like this:

Attach the bread hook to the mixer.

Add the rest of the flour and let the mixer do its thing for 10 or more minutes.

Form the dough into a ball.

Coat a bowl with oil and let the dough sit for 2 hours or until it’s nearly doubled in size.

Once it’s doubled, punch it down and roll it into a loaf. Place in a 9 X 5 oiled bread pan. Let that rise for an hour, (less if you’d like, more if you have time).

Preheat oven to 350, bake for 40 – 45 minutes.

Let it cool. Slice and eat with some butter! Yum!

Overcoming Obstacles

I have to admit, I often do not let my dough rise as much as it should. I know. WORST BREAD BAKER EVER. But, yeah. I tend to cut corners here and there. My bread is often denser than it probably should be. (Well, with exception of this bread recipe I posted over a year ago.)

Variations

I substituted the sugar for honey. I reckon you could substitute agave as well. I haven’t thought to change much with this yet, but probably will in time as I bake it more often. But if you have suggestions, do share!

Also: vegan friendly! (Unless you don’t do honey, then hit the sugar or agave.)

As usual, comments, suggestions or critiques are welcome.

Mom It Down: Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Frosting.

In anticipation of the “Storm of the Century”, I was in a baking mood this weekend. Well, the storm never came, but the baking sure did. I baked a few things. And I was very pleased with both outcomes. This week, I’ll feature the cake.

I am a little surprised with how well this turned out because I combined three recipes into one. And, if you skip the whole melted white chocolate part, it’s super easy.

The recipe below features melted white chocolate. Had my husband not been home, I probably would have omitted this step because it requires watching the stove more than my son.

What you will need:

  • 9 x 9 cake pan
  • mixer

Cake

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (8 tablespoons)
  • 2 eggs (best at room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 – 3 oz. melted white chocolate (optional)

Mom it Down!

The Cake

Preheat your oven to 350.

Grease a 9 x 9 cake pan.

Put half stick butter in the mixer and let that sit until it’s nice and melty. Add your sugar. Cream those two together.

Add eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla extract.

If you have a double boiler, melt the white chocolate. I do not. So I used a Pyrex measuring cup and a pot of boiling water.

It did the trick quite nicely.

Add flour and baking powder intermittently with the milk and melted white chocolate.

Give that a good mix to make sure it’s all creamed together.

Pour that into a cake pan. You’re done!

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes. (I checked mine at 30 and gave it just a few more minutes until it was nice and golden.

The Icing

I have a confession. Yesterday, whenever I set out to make this cake, I wasn’t going to make my own icing. I know! Terrible. You see, I haven’t had much luck with icing. Aside from the vegan icing I made for the cupcakes last year, I haven’t been too pleased with the outcome. I’ve made some ganache and it just didn’t appeal to me enough to do it again. Plus, I always end up with too much and then having to throw it out. I thought I’d just have Toby Joe pick me up some trashy store-bought icing. He did.

The biggest mistake one can make in this instance is to read the ingredients as well as the nutritional information. Needless to say, I immediately looked to the Internet in search of yet another chocolate icing recipe; one I could make with what I had available. I found one on All Recipes and modified it ever so slightly. It’s nothing short of awesome. No lie. It’s great stuff.

What you will need

  • Mixer

Frosting

  • 2 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons milk (add more if you need to)

In a bowl, combine sugar with cocoa powder.

In mixer, beat your butter until it’s creamy. (You’ll want this to be as close to room temperature as possible.)

Add flour and cocoa powder mixture intermittently with the milk. If you need to, you can add more or less milk to reach the desired consistency.

Add that to cooled cake. You’re done!

Give the child the spoon to lick.

This cake rules. I have one fan for life.

Overcoming Obstacles

Again, if you don’t have the time or desire to melt chocolate, I recommend skipping that step altogether. I can’t imagine it would matter too much. I only added it to mine to give it a little more vanilla flavor.

I haven’t personally tried with this recipe, but I bet you can freeze the batter and bake it at a later date. I have done this with cupcakes in the past and have had success with it. That way, you can split the two steps especially if you don’t have someone around to amuse the little one. You’ll just want to make sure it’s thawed entirely before baking. (Do not quote me on this as I haven’t tried yet!)

Variations

I imagine that this recipe would go great with a vanilla frosting. Also, feel free to make cupcakes. But I reckon you’ll want to lower the baking time down to 20 – 25 minutes.

Doubling this recipe is an option as well if you wish to make a layered cake.

Also, vegans! I cracked open a bloody egg on Saturday night while making pancakes for Em and damn near vomited into the bowl I was using. I know what eggs are. I know where they come from and what they become if we don’t snatch ’em up right away, but I try and block all of that out most of the time. (This is something I can’t do with most meats.) Anyway, staring at bloody egg was not something I dealt with all that well. I am seriously considering giving up eggs and dairy, so I may try a vegan version of this next. I can’t imagine it’d be that hard. But who knows?

Mom It Down: Vanilla Meringues

I had a bunch of egg whites that needed to be used, so I googled “things to do with leftover egg whites” or some such nonsense and found a bunch of meringue cookie recipes. So I combined some of the things I read and gave it a go. Twice.

I’m quite pleased with the flavor and the consistency; they taste like marshmallows! And for those of us who try and avoid the consumption of gelatin, this is really quite awesome. But after two batches (three attempts at baking) and a few adjustments, I’m having a little trouble with them sinking as they cool.

I made two batches: the first batch I may not have beat the eggs as much as I should have, so I had a go at it again this morning. (Had the egg whites, figured, why not?) The second batch turned out much better, but still sunk a wee bit. Anyway, you can probably tell the difference between the two batches in the picture above. If not, let me know.

I still think this is a recipe worth sharing as they taste wonderful. And this is by far one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever done. I even used a pastry bag and a special piping attachment to make the dollops—it’s still easy.

What you will need

  • KitchenAid mixer (wire whip attachment)
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper (or a Silpat)
  • Pastry bag with piping attachment (optional)

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mom It Down!

Preheat oven to 275.

Place some parchment paper on a cookie sheet (or a Silpat). Set aside.

In mixer bowl, add eggs, salt and cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. (Of course, I didn’t get a shot of this stage.)

Slowly add sugar. Beat more until stiff peaks form.

You’re done!

Fill a pastry bag (or you can use a spoon or a freezer bag with the corner snipped). Add dollops onto your cookie sheet.

Bake for 35 minutes.

When you’re done, turn the oven off and crack the door of the oven. Let them cool while in the oven. This will lessen the sinking.

Overcoming obstacles

Like I said, in order to keep these from falling as they’re cooling, it’s best to keep the humidity as low as possible, so keeping them in the oven to cool is your best bet. My second batch still sunk a bit, but not nearly as much as the first.

Make sure your eggs are beat enough. I believe my first batch may have fallen more because I did not. The second batch held its form much better than the first because I beat the egg whites a bit longer.

I’ve also read, this morning, that you can bake at a much lower temperature (200) with the oven door cracked. I haven’t tried this, but figured it’s something I should mention.

Variations

I added vanilla to this instead of what the original recipe called for, which was lemon extract. So, feel free to substitute the vanilla with lime, lemon or orange zest—or all three! I might try this with almond as well. And I hear they make a great holiday treat by grinding up some peppermint.

Egg white experts! What are some other ways to avoid sinking? I am all ears. Learn me something, Internet.

Mom It Down: Vegan Chocolate Walnut Banana Muffins

Toby was vegan for a long, long time. And I love to bake. So, after we started dating, I learned how to make a few vegan treats. That’s how I discovered this recipe. And boy does it ever bring back fond memories.

I started making these in 2002, right after Toby Joe and I moved from New York down to Washington, DC. I made them weekly (sometimes more often). This was our breakfast staple, and our after dinner treat. There are a great deal of recipes from that time, but this one was our constant. Over the weekend, I made it again. Twice.

The first batch is on the left, the second on the right.

This is how they look on the inside:

The first batch was way off. I was confused. What had gone wrong? Well, I changed two things: I used a different egg replacer and a different vegan butter.

This is what I used for the first batch:

I was floored by how different the muffins turned out. They were flat and dense and way too moist no matter how long I baked them for. They weren’t at all what Toby Joe and I had remembered.

Given that I had made this recipe probably a hundred times before, I couldn’t believe how messed up they were. So I made another batch yesterday morning and have decided that when it comes to vegan baking, it’s best to stick with ingredients you know. The butter I used (shown below) still wasn’t my first choice. I would highly recommend, if you’re going to try this, that you pick up some Canoleo. While the second batch was MUCH better, they weren’t exactly what they used to be, and we still prefer the taste and texture of the ones I used to make with Canoleo.

So, I’m going to give you the recipe with the products I think you should use.

What you will need

  • Mixer
  • Muffin tins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Canoleo margarine
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 egg equivalent Ener-G egg replacer
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (or to taste)
  • Walnuts (however many you’d like)

Mom It Down!

Preheat oven to 350.

Add butter and brown sugar to the mixer. Mix that up until very creamy. Add egg replacer.

Mix that up. Add flour, baking powder, and soy milk. Stir it up.

Add bananas. Give that a stir. Add chocolate chips and nuts.

Fill muffin tins 2/3 (or more).

Bake for 35 – 45 minutes or until golden brown and inserted knife comes out clean.

You’re done!

Overcoming Obstacles

There really aren’t many to report here. They are just so super easy.

Variations

I think I remember substituting one cup of white flour for whole wheat. It’s been a while!

Feel free to omit the nuts or the chips or both.

Also, these can easily be turned into a loaf. Bake that for an hour. (But I would keep in eye on them starting at around 45 minutes.)

Next time, I’m using Canoleo and I will likely use regular Silk as opposed to the light variety.

Vegans or those who are allergic to eggs: Have you found certain egg replacers better than others? Do share! Also, any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Mom It Down: Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookies.

These chocolate chip cookies are the antithesis of a chocolate chip cookie. I know. That probably doesn’t make much sense. But let me explain. You know how, generally speaking, chocolate chip cookies are usually really truly awesome and full of flavor when they are right out of the oven? Well, these? These are the opposite of that. That’s not to say they aren’t great out of the oven; what chocolate chip cookie isn’t great straight out of the oven? But these? These are magic! They actually get better as they cool. I’m not even kidding. They’re full of flavor days after they leave the oven. I have no idea why. It’s not like they’re all that different from the rest. But for some reason these are fantastic. I will never make another chocolate chip recipe ever again. Maybe.

You should make these cookies.

Original recipe taken from All Recipes and modified ever so slightly.

What you will need:

  • Mixer
  • Cookie sheet

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips/chunks

Mom it down!

Preheat oven to 350.

Add butter and sugars to the mixer. Mix that up until it’s creamy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each one. Add vanilla.

Add baking soda to 2 teaspoons of hot water. (I used tap.) Stir that up until it’s dissolved and then add it to the mixer.

Add salt. Add the flour. Mix that up well. Add the chocolate chips.

Drop them on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. (Temperatures and tastes vary. Mine needed 12 minutes because our oven lies. Just keep checking on them. You do NOT want to overcook these. Trust me.)

You’re done! And it’s gonna be awesome.

Overcoming obstacles

I can’t think of any honestly. They are relatively easy as is. I reckon if you wanted you could skip the whole step with the baking soda and hot water and just add the baking soda to the flour itself. Otherwise, it’s pretty simple.

Variations

Add some nuts or milk chocolate chips instead of dark. (We prefer dark here, but I do love milk chocolate as well.)

I think my mother makes a chocolate chip cookie that uses ONLY brown sugar. I reckon you could substitute the white out for brown, but I am not sure. If that’s my mother’s trick, however, it might be well worth a shot. Because her cookies are the only chocolate chip cookies better than these.

Also: I almost forgot, I did sprinkle some salt to the tops of a few of these and sugar to others.

As usual, hit me with ideas and or suggestions!

(I had this ready last night and in my sick state, I apparently didn’t hit “publish”. Ugh.)

Mom It Down: Mini Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.

If all things go according to plan, I’m going to start selling a few of my baked goods at a local business here in Brooklyn. It’s not going to be much, but I’m excited. I love baking but I need people to eat all of this stuff! So, this works out really well for me and hopefully makes people smile as well. All that said, I’m currently putting together a list of baked goods that travel well, sit pretty and taste great.

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Today I made lemon poppy seed muffins. I hope to make these regularly for this new adventure. It’s simple and I don’t think I’ve ever met a person that doesn’t like lemon poppy seed muffins.

I should mention that the original recipe was taken from The Food Network. All I did was tweak the process.

What you will need

  • Muffin tins (regular sized or miniature)
  • Mixer (not necessary but easier!)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature if possible)
  • 4 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup milk

Mom It Down!

Preheat oven to 375.

Place the unsalted butter into your mixer. Let that sit for a bit so it’s easy to spread.

Grease your muffin tins.

In a separate bowl, add flour, salt and baking powder. Give that a quick mix. Set aside.

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Add sugar and zest to the butter in your mixer. Beat that up until it’s creamy.

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Add eggs, one at a time, beating between each one. Remove bowl from mixer. Add the poppy seeds.

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Measure out 1/2 cup milk. Add flour in three stages adding the milk in between. Stir it up, but be careful not to over mix.

Fill muffin tins at least 2/3 full.

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Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

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Overcoming Obstacles

I used a canola spray on my muffin tins. It was much quicker than having to butter each one. They popped right out—simple and without a mess.

Also, my eggs were not at room temperature and they turned out just fine. But, next time I will plan ahead and let them sit out. But just an FYI: they will work cold if you’re in a hurry. ;]

Variations

Vegans! These can easily be made vegan. Just use an egg substitute and substitute soy milk for cow’s milk.

I’d also like to try a version using orange zest. In time. In time.

As always, please let me know if you have any suggestions and/or comments.

Mom It Down: Mini Cheesecakes

Cheesecake is tricky. But when it’s good, it’s worth the frustration. Cheesecake can crack, cave in, or just taste bad. And even when you think you’ve got it figured out, someone tells you they prefer New York style over the Italian variety or vice versa. Maybe they don’t like it baked, and someone else hates when it is. The point is: there are a LOT of different ways to make a cheesecake. I personally prefer the creamy, sweet variety. That’s where this recipe falls. But it can be temperamental.

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Today’s recipe is not the easiest when one was has a child to tend to. It’s not that it’s difficult, it’s just time consuming. I wouldn’t turn this into a weekly thing. But it’s really quite nice for special occasions. I’m planning on baking some for a party we will be attending next week.

What you will need

  • Mini muffin pans and liners
  • Food processor
  • Mixer

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter

Cake

  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs

Mom It Down

Line mini muffin tins with papers. Set aside.

For the crust…

Using your food processor, grind up graham crackers until you have a cup. Transfer to another bowl and set aside. Grind up your walnuts. (A handful of walnuts turned into a little more than 1/4 cup.) Add your graham cracker crumbs and give that a quick stir. Add all the rest of the dry ingredients. Give it a stir. Add the melted butter. Put some into each mini muffin paper and delicately push it down. Set aside. (You do NOT need to pre-bake the crust in this case since the size of each cake is so small.)

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You’re done.

For the cake…

Preheat oven to 350.

Add sugar and cream cheese to the mixer. Beat it until creamy. Add sour cream, vanilla, flour and heavy cream. Beat that. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating between each one.

You’re done.

You can distribute the batter any way you’d like. I used a pastry bag because it mess-free. (TIP! If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can cut the tip off one corner of a large freezer bag and use that.)

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The batter will settle. If it doesn’t, you can either smooth it down using a knife or lightly tap the bottom of the muffin tin onto the counter.

Bake for 20 minutes. DO NOT open the door if you can help it. Turn the light on and keep an eye on them. If it looks like the outsides are browning too much and too quickly, lower the temperature a bit. I ended up lowering mine to about 340 the first time because I got worried.

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When the time is up, turn off the oven and open the door a little bit. You can either let them cool in the oven with the door ajar, or if you’re worried about someone getting burned by the oven (like the cat), you can remove them and let them cool on the counter. That’s what I did. After they were perfectly cooled, I put them in the refrigerator to cool for several hours.

Since every single last cheesecake I made yesterday sunk at least a little bit (some even cracked, I’ll get into that a bit later under “Overcoming Obstacles”) I used that opportunity to add a dab of fresh strawberry jam.

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Overcoming Obstacles

I took the original recipe from All Recipes. It was for one large cheesecake. I knew I wanted to make mini muffin-sized cakes, so I thought I’d give it a go. There was a great deal of the criticism that the cakes cracked and/or fell in on themselves. This did happen to me especially with the larger sizes. I read that you have to lower the temperature and I did that for batch two. I lowered it from 350 to 320 and it still fell and cracked—worse even. The good news is, not one of my mini muffin-sized cheesecakes cracked. They did fall in on themselves a bit, but not too much. Plus, I knew I’d be adorning them, so this actually worked out quite well.

I made two larger ones (shown below) and they both cracked and sunk in a great deal. But here’s the skinny: they tasted freaking fantastic. And you guys know how I feel about how things look, right? I’m not planning on winning awards for these. They look OK and they taste awesome. So who cares? Here are pictures of that cake. (Keep in mind, I pre-baked the crusts below for 10 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.)

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Not the best looking cake, right?

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But OMG so good. One bit in and I totally didn’t care what it looked like anymore.

I’m still very much learning all things cheesecake. In fact, last week I tried a non-bake variety and HATED it. It’s not often I throw out desserts, but that entire cake went into the trash. It was terrible, in my opinion. I will not be attempting the non-bake cheesecake ever again. Not my thing.

Otherwise? I love the stuff, but man can it be temperamental. I am researching ways to overcome the whole cracking situation and judging by what I’ve read so far this is a common problem that people are constantly trying to work out through trial and error. I do plan on doing this again and very soon so I will keep you posted on what I find. In the meantime, feel free to school me on this, cheesecake veterans; I’m all ears.

Also, these did freeze fine overnight. I thawed them to room temperature and baked a batch the following day—it worked out perfectly. So, you can always cut your day in half if you’d like.

Variations

Haven’t gone there yet! I want to try and perfect the technique first. (So, it’s likely I’ll never try a variation. heh.) Again, learn me something, Internet.

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs

Mom It Down: Homemade Xmas Ornaments

Last week, Emory and I had fun with flour. We made christmas tree ornaments! I hadn’t done this since I was a kid, so my skills were rusty at best. But, boy was it ever fun!

I know this recipe isn’t edible, but if you’re anything like me, you’re looking for ways to amuse a toddler during the cold winter months. So I thought that given the season, I’d share this as today’s Mom It Down.

What you will need

  • Cookie sheet
  • Cookie cutters
  • Cabin fever
  • A little bit of patience

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

Mom It Down!

Sift the flour and salt together. Add the water. Mix it up.

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When the dough begins to form, you can start using your hands. If it’s too sticky, add some more flour.

Please note: You’ll want to knead the dough for as long as possible. (At least 10 minutes.) You don’t want the dough to rise while it’s baking.

Roll out some dough for yourself and give some to your little people too. My son made a huge mess. He loved it.

Also, this will happen:

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And they will likely make this face:

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And they’ll probably go in for seconds. And then you may have to take the dough away from them before they get a bellyache.

But I digress…

Roll the dough out as thin as possible. (The handprint on the far right in the picture below is far too thick and inconsistent; that one rose way too much. I lost the handprint almost entirely.)

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We did a few hand prints as well—you know, for the grandparents. (The one below was still a bit on the thick side. I ended up redoing this one and rolling it out even thinner.) Don’t forget to add the ribbon holes!

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Preheat oven to 250.

If time permits, let them sit out on the counter for an hour or so to dry out.

Bake for at least an hour. (I let mine bake for a bit longer. I wanted them good and hard.)

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We haven’t been able to find any food shellac. (I have no idea if that’s what it’s called.) We used poster paint because that’s what we had.

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This week, we’ll buy some ribbon and finalize them. I’ll post pictures of them when we’re finally done!

Overcoming Obstacles

The longer you let them sit out before baking, the lighter in color the dough will be at the end. And the thinner you roll out each ornament, the less of a chance each one will rise and/or crack.

I have to admit, we had several mishaps before we got to anything decent. With the first batch, I hadn’t rolled mine out thin enough so the moisture from the inside began to crack the outsides. It was definitely a learning experience! The good news is, he couldn’t have cared less about all my technical difficulties. He just wanted to play and paint. That said, we’ll probably give it another go this week. I think I have a better understanding as to how this is done and goodness knows we could use the indoor activity!

Variations

I read somewhere that someone added a little spice to the dough so they would smell great while baking. I haven’t tried this. I figure if I want to smell that, I’ll make me some homemade applesauce since it’s so freaking easy!

More than ever, I’d love any suggestions and/or pointers on this. Don’t hold back! Learn me something new, people.