Photography by Oldtrucksndirtyboots Photography
Happy 4th of July! I did not photograph the process of making the Fourth of July Cheesecake. Our family and the Photographer's family celebrated the day together so there was little time to bake and photograph the entire process. The Photographer smoked brisket and pork shoulder which was absolutely delicious. The cheesecake was incredible too. The blueberries, frosting, cheesecake and red velvet cake were the perfect combination. I added 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder to give the cake a more chocolate flavor which made the cake considerably darker in appearance. Since I was in a hurry, I just haphazardly frosted the cheesecake and tossed the blueberries on quickly.
There wasn't time to let the cheesecake chill before serving. Even though the cheesecake turned out amazingly well, it would have been even better if it were chilled.
The Photographer's son "Cowboy" made mud pies with a side of fry sauce for everyone at the party. He told the Photographer to take a picture of his mud pie and post it on the blog. So here it is Cowboy!
Photography by Oldtrucksndirtyboots Photography
This ice cream sandwich is light, airy, delicious and simple to make. The combination of pecan and dark brown sugar give it a deep, molasses, nutty flavor. One suggestion I received was to serve the ice cream on the side.
Using a combination of pecans and walnuts worked well. I didn't have quite enough pecans so I added walnuts that I had in the pantry. In order to produce a more uniform cookie, I coarsely chopped all of the nuts. I was concerned about being able to evenly spread the batter onto the parchment paper if I didn't chop the whole pecans.
This dark brown sugar, Wholesome Sweeteners, has a deep molasses aroma and taste - perfect for these cookies.
After beating the batter in the stand mixer for 5 minutes, the batter was glossy and a beautiful mocha color.
Adding the pecans and walnuts into the meringue.
Folding the pecans and walnuts into the meringue.
Cookies ready to bake.
The cookies were a bit sticky when lifting them off of the parchment paper with a pancake turner.
As suggested I tried coffee and vanilla ice cream in the sandwich cookies. My daughter's boyfriend brought his own pralines and cream ice cream to make his sandwich cookie.
A 2 inch ice cream scoop holds about 1/8 of a cup. It was recommended using 1/4 cup of ice cream but I found that it was a little too much and the cookies crumbled when trying to eat the ice cream sandwich.
Omitting the chocolate glaze made it so the cookie sandwiches could be easily picked up and eaten. I would definitely make these again.
Photography by: Oldtrucksndirtyboots Photography
Red Velvet cake is a family favorite of ours. I make this cake for birthdays and at Christmas time. I frost my Red Velvet cake with a white frosting. Milk and flour are heated in a sauce pan while stirring constantly. After cooling, this mixture is whipped with butter, almond flavoring and ultra-fine sugar. It is a light and delicate frosting. For this Red Velvet cake, I didn't make the raspberry glaze, I simply served it with raspberry gelato.
It was interesting seeing the cakes that had been made with beet juice. Definitely a far healthier choice than red food coloring. The raspberry glaze was a great addition to these cakes.
Mixing the liquid ingredients. Halloween!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mixing the dry ingredients.
Ready to add the flour mixture and buttermilk.
Making the batter.
Ready to bake.
This cake was fairly easy to make. Next time, I am going to try replacing the red food coloring with beet juice. Also, I will add the 1/4 cup of cocoa that Rose suggested for a more chocolate flavor.
First of all, I guess I should mention all of the mistakes I made. You might be wondering why you can't see the cheesecake for all of the pear slices. Well, there is a good explanation. I over baked the cheesecake. The internal temperature was 175 degrees when I checked it. The temperature should have been 160 degrees. So consequently, the cheesecake cracked on the top. Also, I beat the batter too long which made the batter thin. The cheesecake dipped just a little bit because of the thin batter. Finally, I think the silicone muffin pans I bought were too large. My cheesecake turned out thick and the batter only filled one pan. My cheesecake does not resemble the photo in The Baking Bible. Everyone who tasted the cheesecake liked it but only wanted a small slice.
I couldn't find Stilton blue cheese so I used a Danish blue cheese that was pretty mild. Also, I decided that Stilton blue cheese would be a bit too exciting for this geriatric group. Whoops! The photographer just pointed out that I am the only geriatric member of the group!!
Toasting the walnuts.
Finely chopped walnuts.
Sugar, corn starch, salt and cream cheese.
Sour cream mashed into the blue cheese.
Silicone muffin pans ready to fill.
Chopped walnuts for the base of the cheesecake.
Preparing the disposable pastry bag.
Filling the muffin pan almost to the top.
I need to try this recipe again. The presentation of the final cheesecake was not what it should have been. The cheesecake turned out well even though I made many mistakes. I don't know if anyone here would describe them as fabulously delicious but they were definitely creamy and would be a great appetizer accompanied by a salad.
Photos by: Oldtrucksndirtyboots Photography
The toasted walnuts and chilled butter cubes.
A beautiful mountain of sifted, unsweetened cocoa powder.
Leveling off the cocoa powder.
Ingredients ready to mix in the food processor.
Finely ground walnuts mixed with sugars and cocoa.
Adding the chilled butter cubes.
Adding the flour.
Dough pressed and ready to be divided and chilled.
Coating the dough with sugar and ready to press with a flat-bottom tumbler.
Dough rolled, sugared and flattened.
Double chocolate Oriolos are simply the most chocolaty, delicious cookies. They are at home on a plate with a glass of milk or in an adorable paper lined box to give as a gift.
Rose mentioned that BlueRhu Pie was an Amish pie recipe that she had heard about from a listener on a radio show. I was excited to learn about BlueRhu Pie. For many years, I have enjoyed many different aspects of the Amish culture. I pieced the Amish quilt shown above. My Amish friend, Sarah King, quilted it for me. Sarah has quilted many quilts for me by the light of a kerosene lantern. When Sarah returns the quilts to me, they always have a hint of kerosene permeating them. The hat belonged to a young, Amish scholar in Churchtown, Pennsylvania.
This is a photo of a few of my recipe books that contain Amish recipes. For years I subscribed to the Amish newspapers, The Budget and Die Botschaft, and collected many recipes from the newspapers. One thing I love about Amish cooking is that it is simple. I was visiting Amish parochial schools in Indiana and an Amish woman who was taking me to the different schools brought along a tupperware container of sugar cookies. Looking at them, they appeared pretty ordinary. Tasting them was a whole different story. The cookies were incredibly delicious. She explained to me that it was probably due to being baked in her wood-burning stove. In Pennsylvania I was visiting some Amish friends. Their daughter was making pies for church that would be held at her house the following day. She had 32 pie shells filled with snitz pie filling ready to go into the oven. She had made all of the pies that morning.
Butter and flour mixture ready to go into the freezer.
Flour and cream cheese processed to resemble coarse meal.
Frozen butter cubes added to the coarse meal.
Pie dough ready to chill in the refrigerator. After I put the pie dough in the refrigerator to chill, we took a little break. The photographer performed some minor surgery to remove a piece of glass from the bottom of my foot so we could continue making the pie. Photographers are truly handy people to have around. Everyone should have one!
The recipe called for l-l/4 cups blueberries and 2-l/4 cups of rhubarb. I added 2 extra cups of blueberries to the filling.
The rhubarb, blueberry and lemon zest macerating in the sugar syrup.
Mixture coming to a boil and simmering for one minute.
Pie filling cooling.
Some of you might be wondering if the photographer rolled out the pie dough. If you are thinking the photographer did, you are right, and it is perfect.
According to the photographer, this is the chilled pie crust, not the photo easing the dough onto the pie plate.
The CHILLED pie crust with the chilled pie filling.
Lattice strips ready to weave.
This is the first lattice top pie crust I have attempted.
Scalloping the edge.
Putting on the ring to protect the edges from burning.
The BlueRhu pie warm out of the oven. After the pie cooled a bit, I covered it with plastic and put it in the fridge to chill. It was about midnight so I decided to let it chill until morning. I would then slice it, and photograph a piece of pie on a pie dish. Well..........
In the morning this was all that was left of my BlueRhu Pie. I never did get to taste it but obviously somebody thought it was dang good! I guess, I will never know until I make another one.
The cookies were super simple to make. I think the jam I used was way too sweet. The Lemon Neoclassic Buttercream was perfect-definitely the best choice to fill the center.
I didn't end up using the non-stick baking spray as shown here. After the sugar syrup came to a rolling boil, I poured it directly into the egg yolks while beating them. As I was making the buttercream, I was wondering if the egg yolks remained raw or if the sugar syrup, since it was so hot, eliminated the possibility of the eggs remaining raw.
Sugar measured and ready to add.
Finely chopped lemon zest.
Lemon zest, egg and vanilla added to the creamed butter and sugar.
Flour and salt whisked together.
Cookie dough pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
Dough divided into thirds.
Ready to chill.
Love the deep scallop on these biscuit cutters! They worked perfectly for cutting out the cookies. I used the 2 1/4 inch cutter. I used the traditional Linzer Cookie Cutters for the center.
Now you have probably noticed that there is a step or two missing between the cookie cutters and this photo of the cut out cookies on the baking sheet. I became so frustrated trying to roll out this dough that I tossed the rolling pin over to the photographer and said, "This is totally impossible!" So consequently, since the photographer rolled out the cookie dough, there are no photos! I did manage to cut out the centers of the cookies so I do have photos of this step!
Love the specks of lemon in the baked cookie!
Beaten egg yolks for the buttercream.
Heating the sugar and corn syrup.
Mixing the sugar syrup into the eggs.
To fill the cookies I used: apricot jam, blueberry jam, raspberry seedless jam, keylime curd, which was way too sour, and Lemon Neoclassic Buttercream.
By day I am an educator. Two of my sixth grade girls made this adorable baker to share with all of you!!
These cookies were Simply Delicious! I will definitly make these again. - If the photographer will roll out the dough for me!
As I started making the pastry buttercream, I realized I probably should have made it first because of the amount of time it takes the pastry cream to cool. If I make this again, I will definitly begin with the pastry buttercream. The process of making the cake was long, but the end result was well worth it. Everyone who has tasted this cake has loved it!
Gathering the ingredients.
The glossy egg white and sugar mixture is simply beautiful.
Adding the eggs one at a time.
The springform pan ready to go.
I was concerned about the amount of batter, but the cake seemed to turn out well.
Baked to 193 degrees. The recipe said it wouldn't pull away from the pan but mine did.
The sales clerk researched the vodka for me. The Ultimat Polish Vodka is made from a blend of rye, wheat and potato- the wheat for smoothness, rye for complexity, and potato for richness. I had to settle for Polish Belvedere Vodka which is a rye/water blend. To be honest, I wouldn't have added the vodka if making this for my family. I added it because Rose has said to follow a recipe exactly the way it is written the first time made.
Syrup ready for the cake.
Brushing the syrup on the cake.
Whisking the egg yolks.
I love using vanilla bean. The fragrance and the depth of the flavor is incredible.
Prepairing the ice bath to cool the pastry cream to 70 degrees.
Pastry cream beginning to cool.
Light and creamy butter.
Pastry cream mixed with the butter.
Toasting the walnut halves.
Coarsley chopped bittersweet chocolate and finely sliced walnuts.
Soaking the raisins.
Cocoa and walnut pastry buttercream.
Chocolate and raisin pastry buttercream.
Layering the cake.
Ready to chill.
It didn't slice picture perfect but I was more than happy with the result.
Whoa! This post is late. Usually I bake on the weekend from 9:00 p.m. until about 2:00 a.m. Since I baked on Monday, it's a good thing this recipe was so simple. I started about 9:30 p.m. and finished about midnight. The first batch of cookies I piped on the cookie sheet according to the directions. The baked cookies did not resemble the photo in the Baking Bible at all. The second batch I piped on the cookie sheet a bit higher - about an inch and a half. The result was a lot closer to the photo. I really loved the warm cookies. The center was thick with a warm, sweet date flavor. The best words to describe it were decadent and elegant. After the cookies cooled, they still were deliciously sweet, but the texture had changed to a chewy center. The warm cookie definitely had my vote.
In the food processor I was looking for the perfect consistency between finely chopped almonds and allowing the almonds to turn to paste. These almonds are finely ground to perfection.
I didn't use expensive dates. After reading other posts I started to realize the quality of date can make a significant difference in the final outcome of the cookie. If I make the cookies again, I will shop for a good quality date. I need to be better educated about dates before I bake these again. I firmly believe that a person should use the best quality ingredients available if possible.
Mixing the chopped dates and finely ground almonds.
This resulted in a beautiful mixture.
Beating the egg whites until soft peaks form.
After beating in the sugar, the meringue turned very glossy.
I added the vanilla to the meringue and incorporated the date and nut mixture.
Preparing to pipe the mixture on the parchment paper. I have insulated cookie sheets. I was talking to someone at our local baking supply store about insulated cookie sheets and if I should use them for this recipe. The sales person told me that insulated cookie sheets would not brown the meringue on the bottom. As it turned out, the cookies were a light, even golden-brown on the bottom. In her book Rose talks about cookie sheets and comments that insulated cookie sheets keep the bottom of the cookie from overbrowning. I'm still wondering about the pros and cons of using an insulated cookie sheet for this recipe. Rose did not suggest using one.
Meringue mixture piped on the cookie sheet. The unbaked cookie is the closest I came to the cookie looking like the one in the book.
Warm out of the oven.
Well....the reviews are mixed on the Strawberry Shortcake Genoise. I would really like to say Simply Delicious! but to me it didn't quite hit that mark. Mine turned out light, delicate and a bit dry. The syrup definitely added a moist, sweet, strawberry texture and taste. A few who taste tested for me absolutely loved them!! There was absolutely no waiting to chill the shortcake for a few hours before serving. They all disappeared with in minutes.
Straining off the sugary syrup from the frozen strawberries. I did make the Strawberry Grand Marnier Syrup but chose not to macerate the frozen strawberries and use them. I decided to use fresh strawberries for the puree instead.
I love lemon! 1 tsp in the Strawberry syrup was perfect!
Clarifying and browning the butter.
Cheesecloth lined strainer.
Pouring the brown milk solids through the strainer.
Eggs and sugar after heating to a lukewarm
Sifting the bleached cake flour and cornstrarch.
Folding in a cup of egg foam with the butter
Beaten eggs and sugar ready for the flour and butter/foam mixture
I tested filling the individual pans at different levels to see which worked best.
Filling them a little more than 3/4 full seemed to give the best result. Even though I used a baking spray with flour I had to simulate a minor earthquake to get these out of the pan. Fortunately they all came out intact.
Preparing to syrup the cakes
The Grand Marnier Syrup after heating.
Strawberries ready to slice over the puree. Strawberries from the garden are always the best idea. Amazingly these store bought strawberries were very sweet.
I need to try this recipe again. I am a bit sad the "little basket". does not have enough definition and also needs to be browned just a touch more. Hopefully next time!
Strawberry Jam Whipped Cream topping which was "Simply Delicious!"
I so admire all of the Alpha Bakers!! All of you are truly incredible bakers! I am learning so much from you.