Oreo Cheesecake mini's

Oreos + Cheesecake + mini= Yes Ma'am!!! Since my first time paging through the Martha Cupcake book I have been so excited about these mini oreo cheesecakes. Cheesecake is definitely one of my favorite genre's of dessert and I am a firm believer that most things in a miniature form are just better, it's science. Although Ponies are mean, so they are not better, I guess they are their own breed though, not technically a miniature horse.....I digress.
These were definitely tasty little cheesecakes and extremely easy! The cutest part is that you just use a whole Oreo cookie at the bottom of each cupcake liner as the crust. I figure I can re-create just about any type of cheesecake in this form and perhaps just switch up the cookie crust with Nilla wafers or any other sort of delicious cookie......that's the beauty of cookies, they're round and fit perfectly into a cupcake liner, what a happy marriage of deliciousness! I keep forgetting to take photos of my work, so you will have to use your imagination. My creations are just so yummy they are getting gobbled up before the photoshoot can happen.

42 Oreos, 30 left whole, and 12 coarsely chopped (I of course used reduced fat, so it's practically health food)

2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

1 cup sour cream

Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup.
2. With an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar, and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.
3. Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies by hand.
4. Divide batter evenly among cookie-lined cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). Remove from tins just before serving.

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Birthday Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Happy Birthday to Bridget (8/2) & Bethaney(8/10)! A couple of weekends ago Maria and I drove up to Camp Kawaga in Minocqua, WI to help the girls celebrate their birthday's......for those of you that don't know, they are camp nurses there for the summer, not campers. I was pretty excited to give Martha's Snickerdoodle cupcakes a try. I'm glad that I got over my funk since the chocolate chip cupcakes didn't turn out, because these are absolutely delicious! These have the perfect amount of sweetness and the frosting is so light and airy it's hard to stop at just one. The cupcake batter is quite easy to whip together, but the frosting is a little more delicate. I'm convinced that the only reason the frosting turned out is because I bought back-up ingredients for an easier vanilla frosting in case the Seven-Minute Frosting didn't turn out. Also, don't be fooled by the name of this frosting. The only thing that takes 7 minutes is beating the frosting until it is cool to the touch. I made a half batch (which was more than enough) so I can only imagine that it would take even more time had it been the full batch. I have yet to buy a candy thermometer so I took a chance and once the broken meat thermometer got to 210° I waited about 5 minutes and then started to combine the sugar mixture with the egg whites and it worked perfectly.

The only mistake of the weekend was packing for summer....I think we reached a high of 65° all weekend. There were a few other highlights of the weekend, including lots of cheese curds, learning to play 'Yee Haw' a newfangled drinking game that I may even remember how to play, kayaking, and of course the general experience of seeing what an all boys camp is all about.

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Movie Review: Julie & Julia- Two Eyes Open

What better way to spend a rainy Friday afternoon than at a matinee with a kid's pack. In case you're not familiar with a kid's pack, it is the greatest thing that AMC has to offer, a kid's size popcorn, soda, and fruit snacks all for $5.75! For over a year when I mention that my brother is going through Martha Stewart's baking book page by page I sometimes get asked if either of us has read Julie & Julia, so you can imagine my excitement when I saw the previews for the movie.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Julia Child's life throughout the film and found myself smiling during all of the 'Julia' portions of the movie. I think some people could find the breakdowns of Julie to be a little annoying (I mostly thought they were funny), but at the time she was taking on baking her way through 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' she had no idea the success it was going to bring her, and I think many people can understand some breakdowns about something they have put so much into as trivial as it may be to the outside world. Overall, it was a very fun flick. I give it 'Two Eyes Open'! I fall asleep during most movies, whether I'm sitting in a theatre or on my own sofa, so 'Two Eyes Open' is very hard to achieve from me.


Sweet & Salty Cookie Bars

I have begun a fantastic ritual of taking some time every Sunday evening to peruse my favorite blogs and organize the recipes I find that I would like to make and also stock pile design ideas that one day I may be able to afford to bring to fruition. Organizing is right up there with baking as a favorite activity of mine, so you can imagine the perma-smile on my face for a couple of hours every Sunday. I was able to make these chocolate chip cookie pretzel bars fairly quickly after reading the post. About once a month some girls and I get together for a girls dinner at each other's places. Maria hosted last month and I offered to bring a dessert. I needed something quick, since work has been extremely busy lately. I had all the ingredients for these laying around and I figured the sweet & salty combo would be a hit. Like everything else I have tried to date from Two Peas and Their Pod, these were delicious. I personally was hoping the pretzels would retain a little more crunch (they weren't soggy, but had absorbed some moisture), but overall they were a wonderful treat. I think the next time I make these I may even add in some caramel for another punch of flavor, YUM!

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Frushi- Take II

I have been blogging mere months, not even 4, but I'm already repeating some mistakes recipes. Carrie braved the summer construction/chicago traffic to come visit for the weekend, so the least I could do was try the fruit sushi again when she requested it. I really thought just being more patient and waiting for the chocolate dough and rice to cool more thoroughly would do the trick. This time around I'm thinking perhaps I need to be more careful when melting the chocolate in the first place. It's such a small amount, too tricky! Next time I will melt double (at least) what's needed and measure out the 1.5 oz after it's melted. It still tasted delightful, so there will be a next time. So, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for '3rd times a charm' so not only will it be tasty but good looking and easy to handle.

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Martha's Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

I have been putting this entry off long enough and it's time to face the facts that I screwed these cupcakes up. I was so excited about them, so even though they tasted okay I have not wanted to think about them since. I will definitely try to make these again, because I have confidence in Martha that these can be fantastic. I think there were a few problems with my approach:

1. I need bigger bowls (see photo)
2. I made them too far in advance (lesson learned: pick a quicker recipe when having a busy week prior to leaving for a long weekend)
3. Don't double a batch that calls for gently folding in egg whites.....I'm pretty sure this is the reason they turned out way too dense.

Most people still seemed to enjoy these, but considering I brought these to a flip cup tournament and 'Super Simons' Sunday' (a yearly party with my family in Door County), where there may be just a bit of alcohol involved, I'm not convinced these were that good.

I did get to make use of my new handy dandy cupcake carriers, which worked liked a charm, super glad I made the investment. Something tells me my co-workers and out of town friends will enjoy the investment as well.
Check out the following links for the recipes:
I also had some issues with the frosting and needed to add quite a bit more confectioner's sugar. I think I may have let the butter get a little too soft and perhaps I should have selected a thicker frosting since I was concerned about it staying in tact for my travels.

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Good Luck Fudgy Brownies

Bridget and Bethaney were home a couple of weekends ago for a final exam so I had to put my birthday 'Bakers Edge' to use to make some brownies, a study treat and good luck gesture for their upcoming exam. I decided to try a recipe from http://www.visionsofsugarplum.com/ since her oreo cream cheese brownies were so amazing. This time I went with the chewy fudge brownies. While they were absolutely delicious, I think I decided I really like a chewy 'cakey' brownie vs. fudgy. These were extremely dense, as a fudge should be, and I think I was craving a little more crumble. Anyway, the baker's edge worked like a charm, as did the sentiment of my making these, because the girls did great on their exam. If you are looking for a rich dense fudgy brownie, this is the recipe for you!

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