Posts Tagged ‘Vanilla’

Recently, I got a gig baking mini cheesecakes for a local restaurant’s Sunday brunch buffet.  It’s pretty awesome!

I was given the freedom to make whatever flavor combinations I want with the cheesecakes.  I’ve done pear/caramel, blackberry (which you may remember from an earlier post), triple chocolate, strawberry, pineapple and chocolate mint so far.

This week I decided to go with a personal favorite – chocolate and peanut butter.  Holy yum, Batman!!  These smelled amazing!  I sure hope the restaurant patrons loved them!

For the crust:
1 1/2C. Oreo cookies
4T. Melted butter

For the filling:
2lbs. Cream cheese – at room temp.
1 1/2C. Sugar
4 Eggs – at room temp.
1/3C. Creamy peanut butter
Pinch of salt
1t. Vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325.  Line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners.

In your food processor pulse Oreos until finely ground.  Add melted butter and stir together with a fork until well blended.  Press 1T. of the mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner and press lightly with the bottom of a small glass.  Bake until just set, 5 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack.

To make the cheesecake, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy.  Blend in the sugar until smooth.  Mix in the salt and vanilla.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Lastly, add the warmed peanut butter.

To assemble, spoon 3 tablespoons of the cheesecake batter over the crust in each cupcake liner.

Bake until the filling is set, rotating the pans halfway through baking, about 22 minutes.  (They will look quite puffed initially but will return to normal quickly.)  Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let cool to room temperature.

Drizzle with more warmed peanut butter and 1oz. bittersweet chocolate.

Transfer to the refrigerator and let chill for at least 4 hours before serving.


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Toy Story Cake

This is a special cake for a special little boy.  My nephew, PJ, turned 2 years old this week!

The theme of the little guy’s birthday party was Toy Story.  PJ is a big fan of Buzz Lightyear and I hope this cake really helped to make his birthday party perfect!

Now, Wilton has a cake pan with Buzz on it.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had a whole lot of luck with those figure pans looking the way they should.  So, I figured that to ensure that this would look good, I should make a layer cake and put the little figures around it.

In order to make the most people happy, I went with a vanilla cake with plain vanilla buttercream (you can find both recipes here).  Simple, but so good!  On top is a single chocolate chip cupcake – just for the birthday boy – complete with Buzz and candles.

Special thanks to my awesome hubby for helping with the army men decorations (I promise not to tell the birthday boy that you kept a few).  LOL!

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Back in August I stumbled upon Beantown Baker’s post about making homemade vanilla extract and decided that I just HAD to give these as Christmas gifts to all of the special ladies in my life this year.

So, I ordered the bottles, secured the beans, bought the vodka and got right to work.

The extract is so simple and pretty much does all the work itself!

Vanilla beans – 2 per jar

Wash and dry bottles well.

Add one or two beans to each jar and fill with vodka.

Close tightly and store in a box somewhere cool and dark (I used a corner of our basement).

Every week or so, take the bottles out and give them a good shake.

Your extract will be ready in about 2 months, but the longer you let it sit the better!

Husband Rating – 5 out of 5 – “Brilliant idea!  I had fun shaking these – LoL!”

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