Simple cheesecake

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I thought I'd post a cheesecake recipe today since I posted tips on successful cheesecakes yesterday. I realized I have MOST my price list right here on my cookbook (duh Kathy...I know). Be sure to use the tips I gave yesterday to ensure this cheesecake is creamy.

What you'll need:

1 1/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 Tbl. butter
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1/2 c. milk
2 eggs, separated
1/2 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. lemon extract

Mix together graham cracker crumbs and butter and press into a 9" pan (you can use a springform pan or a pie plate); set aside. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Beat the egg yolks and set them aside; allow the egg whites to come to room temperature while mixing the remaining ingredients. Beat the cream cheese well. Add the milk, beaten egg yolks, sugar, salt and extracts; mixing well after each addition. Beat the egg white until stiff and gently fold into cheese mixture. Pour into pan and bake 45 minutes. Makes 1 cheesecake.

Cost:
graham crackers - $1.09
butter - $1.79/lb
sugar - $1.99/4 lb bag
milk - $3.99/gallon
cream cheese - $2.06
eggs - $1.09/dozen
vanilla extract - $2.25
lemon extract - $2.25
Total - $4.13

Tips for successful cheesecakes

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Life is too short to not eat cheesecake. Here's how to produce perfect results every time.

Preparation

Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. This makes them mix easier and the finished cake has a smoother texture.

Combine cream cheese or ricotta cheese with the eggs thoroughly BEFORE adding any liquid extracts, heavy cream or sour cream. You cannot remove lumps after the liquids have thinned the batter.

A paddle attachment on a stand mixer is ideal. Regular beaters add too much air and that can lead to cracks in the finished cheesecake. It also makes your cheesecake less creamy. If you have to use beaters, mix on low speed so a minimum amount of air is added.

Fold in whipped cream or beaten egg whites with a whisk or rubber spatula gently and slowly to not deflate whipped ingredients.

Always use regular cream cheese for cheesecakes unless the recipe specifically calls for a different variety.

Almost any cookie (including cream filled sandwich cookies) make a good base. To crush, grind them in a food processor with a metal blade or place them in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin.

Always have cracks in your cheesecake?

Steam and extreme temperatures cause cracks in cheesecakes. To minimize them bake at low temperatures and don't open the oven while baking. Cool them away from cold or drafty places. If possible, cool in a turned off oven using a wooden spoon to keep the door slightly ajar.

Deep cracks mean that the egg white structure collapsed and your cheesecake will be more like pudding. This can be avoided by mixing your ingredients slowly and gently.

Shallow cracks occur often and should be accepted. You can frost the top of your cheesecake or cover it with fruit if the appearance bothers you.

Step by step guide for making perfect cheesecake

1. Grease the bottom and sides of a 10" springform pan. Press the crust evenly into the bottom and up the sides. In warm weather, refrigerate the prepared pan until you're ready to use it.

2. Using a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until it is smooth before adding any other ingredients.

3. From beginning to end, stop the mixer several times and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle to ensure there are no lumps.

4. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and set it on a baking sheet. Bake as directed in the recipe you are following. You can cover it loosely with foil partway through if the top is browning too quickly.

5. Your finished cheesecake should have a dull, not shiny, finish. The center should be soft but not wobble when you shake it.

6. When the cheesecake is COMPLETELY cooled, run a knife around the sides to loosen it.

7. Release the spring and remove the sides of the pan. Leave the cheesecake on the pan bottom to serve.

8. Top with fresh fruit, sour cream, chocolate or leave it plain.

A serving of creamy cheesecake is one of life's little pleasures ♥

A loss & a tip

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hey guys! I hope everyone is doing well. While I've been away I had a small disaster...my hard drive crashed on my computer which means my price list as well as tons of recipes were lost. Fortunately I have the recipes handwritten and will still be able to share them with you...after I rebuild my price list. Ugh. Sorry about that. So for the next few days I'm going to share some tips with you. Remember my motto in the meantime: have fun in the kitchen! In other words....Happy Cooking!

Just a tip

Some recipes call for a can of such and such while others call for a half a cup of such and such so to help you out here are the approximate can sizes:

6 ounce can = 3/4 cup
8 ounce can = 1 cup
12 ounce can = 1 1/2 cups

Simple strawberry shortcake

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What you’ll need:

1 ½ c flour
2 Tbl granulated sugar
1 Tbl baking powder
½ tsp grated orange zest
3 Tbl unsalted butter or margarine, cut into pieces
¾ c skim milk

For filling:

2 pints fresh strawberries, sliced
1 Tbl orange juice
1 Tbl granulated sugar

For garnish:

Vanilla yogurt or whipped cream
Mint leaves

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar and baking powder. Stir in orange zest. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut butter into flour mixture until coarse crumbs form. Quickly stir in milk until a soft dough forms. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to ½” thickness. Using a 2 ½” biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits, gathering and re-rolling until all the dough is used. Place on prepared pan and bake until golden, usually 12 - 15 minutes. Place on a wire rack and cool slightly. Combine strawberries, orange juice and sugar and mix well. Split warm biscuits in half. Top each bottom with filling. Place top on and place a spoonful of filling over that. Garnish with a dollop of yogurt or whipped cream and a sprig of mint. Serves 8.

Cost:
flour - $2.12/5 pound bag
sugar - $1.99/4 lb bag
baking powder - $2.38
oranges - $2.25/bag
butter - $1.75/pound
milk - $3.99/gallon
strawberries - $3.50
whipped topping - $0.99
Total - $7.16

Just a tip

Friday, August 7, 2009

It is very important that you use fresh ingredients in your recipes. To test the freshness of baking powder, mix 1 tsp. baking powder with 1/3 cup of hot water. If it doesn't foam, it's stale and should not be used.

Crispy sweet potato wedges

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

You can make these potato wedges with or without the skin. It’s all a matter of personal taste. I like them with the skin.

What you’ll need:

4 medium sweet potatoes, cut into large, thick wedges*
1 Tbl vegetable oil
¼ tsp pepper
1/8 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp paprika

Place wedges in a large bowl. Cover with cold water and let stand 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Drain potato wedges and spread on a double layer of paper towels. Press another double layer of paper towels on the top to dry them. Place them in a dry bowl and toss with oil, salt & pepper. Arrange in a single layer on prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes. Using a spatula, turn potato wedges over and sprinkle with garlic and paprika. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes, turning the pan once about halfway through baking. Serve immediately. Feeds 4.

*To make with russet potatoes, omit paprika.

Cost:
sweet potatoes - $1.99/lb
vegetable oil - $2.89
garlic cloves - $1.12
Total - $5.39

Tomato-oyster bisque

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What you’ll need:

4 Tbl butter, divided into 3 Tbl & 1 Tbl
3 Tbl flour
3 c milk, scalded (brought to a boil then removed from heat)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 pint oysters with liquid
¼ tsp celery salt
1 egg, separated
¾ c condensed tomato soup, undiluted and heated

Melt the 3 Tbl butter in a deep pot. Whisk in the flour and blend well. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. Stir until smooth. Add the salt & pepper and set aside. In a separate pan, melt remaining butter with the oysters, oyster juice and celery salt. When the edges of the oysters start to curl, remove from heat and beat in the egg yolk with a wire whisk. Add the oyster mixture to the milk mixture stirring well. Reduce heat to low. Stir in tomato soup and heat through. In a mixing bowl, beat egg white until stiff. Place the beaten egg white in a soup tureen or large serving bowl. Pour the oyster mixture over the top of the beaten egg white and gently fold the two together. Serve with oyster crackers. Feeds 4 - 5.

Cost:
butter - $1.75/pound
flour - $2.12/5 pound bag
milk - $3.99/gallon
oysters - $3.00
eggs - $1.09/ dozen
condensed tomato soup - $0.89
Total - $5.36

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