Monday, January 20, 2014

Super Bowl Linky Party!

The stage has been set! It's the Seahawks and the Broncos for Super Bowl XLVII on February 2!! I think that Super Bowl Sunday can be considered one of the bigger party days of the year, so let's get ready!! Here at The Freshman Cook, we are having an Eats and Treats Linky Party so we can see what everyone is making, baking, decorating, and munching down on! I know I always love to see how everyone else parties!! So get your party hats on, because we are having a party to celebrate the big party!!

Every entry will be pinned, tweeted, and posted on google+!! 
Everyone should see your Super Bowl Eats and Treats!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Bites

It is reveal day for the Improv Cooking Challenge! This month the ingredients are crackers and cheese so I made these Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Bites! This is not my "go to" cheesecake recipe that I usually bake, although I still adore it. I wanted to get outside my comfort zone and try a totally new cheesecake recipe, and I am so glad I did. It has a deep vanilla bean flavor that I know you are going to love.
Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Bites
(adapted from King Arthur Flour)
Ingredients
Crust
8-10 Chocolate Graham Crackers 
5 tablespoons Butter
4 tablespoons Confectioners Sugar
pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
5 tablespoons Butter

Batter
2-8 ounce packs Cream Cheese (at room temperature)
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
3 large Eggs
3 teaspoons Vanilla Bean Extract

Topping
1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 tablespoon Confectioners Sugar
1 cup Milk Chocolate Morsels
2 tablespoons Heavy Whipping Cream 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Take your Chocolate Graham Crackers and put them 
in the food processor and pulse until crumbly.
 You can crush your crackers by placing them in a 
plastic bag and rolling over them with a rolling pin.
Both methods work great!
Melt your butter in the microwave.
Add the sugar, salt,and cinnamon to the food processor
and pulse until well combined. If you are not using this method,
 you can combine the ingredients with a fork or spoon.
Place the crust into an 8X8 pan. 
Come up the sides approx. 1/2". 
Flatten on the bottom.
Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool.
Lower oven temp to 325 degrees.
Mix the cream cheese and the sugar together until smooth.
Add the cream, eggs, and vanilla.
Spoon the batter into the crust.
Bake for 30-40 minutes.
The batter should be set on the edges, but the center
can be a little soft.
Take the cheesecake out of the oven and let it cool for 30 minutes.
While the cheesecake is cooling, make your ganache.
Place your chocolate morsels in a double boiler on 
low heat. Melt chocolate, stirring every couple minutes.
When chocolate is completely melted, add your
whipping cream and stir thoroughly to combine.
Let it sit on very low heat while we make the whipping cream.
Place your heavy whipping cream in the mixer.
Let cream whip until peaks begin to form.
Add confectioners sugar and allow stiff peaks to form.
Remove whipped cream from bowl and place in
a pastry bag with a star tip of your choice.
Remove your cheesecake from the pan and cut into 
bite sized pieces. Ok, these are LARGE bites! ha!
Drizzle your ganache all over the bites.
Top your bites with whipped cream dollops.

Enjoy!
Thanks for joining me today, and when you make these
cheesecake bites, you might want to make two batches.
They practically flew out of the kitchen!!

There is a lot more where this came from!
See what everyone else made with cheese and crackers:






Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Snowball Cookies!


Here are some fun winter cookies I think you will like! I call them snowball cookies because they are dipped in white chocolate, and then dipped in edible crystal flakes that look like glistening snow. They also have a surprise ingredient in the center~a chocolate kiss! So you can throw them at someone you love!

SNOW BALL COOKIES
1 cup Butter
1 cup Confectioners Sugar
1 cup Granulated Sugar
2 large Eggs
1 teaspoon Vegetable Oil
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
5 1/4 cup Flour
1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar 
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
White Chocolate or White Candy Melts
or White Chocolate Chips
Sparkly Clear Sprinkles


Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Beat your butter on medium until it is fluffy.
Add both sugars, and mix well.
Add your eggs, oil, vanilla and lemon juice.
Beat until blended.
In a separate bowl, mix together your flour, cream of tartar,
baking soda and salt.
Add the flour mix to your egg mix and beat until blended.
Using a small scoop, Scoop out the cookie mix.
Place it on your parchment paper.
Unwrap your chocolate kisses and......
place the chocolate kiss upside down into your dough.
Mold the dough around your chocolate 
and form into a ball.
Place on baking sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes.
Don't worry about browning the cookies.
They will get a little brown on the bottom only.
Let your cookies cool completely.
(They taste really good right now with the melty kiss inside!)
While your cookies are cooling, chop your white chocolate,
and melt it in a double boiler or microwave if you prefer.
Once the chocolate is melted, place the top of 
the cookie in the chocolate to coat the top.
Then dip the top of the chocolate covered cookie 
into the sparkly sprinkles.
Set them back on your cooling rack to dry. 
They look so pretty, .....
and here is your surprise inside!

I hope you enjoy these snowball cookies. This recipe is originally from
an adaption of the thumbprint cookies that I love to make from
a Southern Living recipe. I love when recipes are so good they
can be used as several different items, don't you?!

Thanks for stopping by!


 




Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hot Chocolate w/ Marshmallows Sugar Cookies

Today I am participating in the Lady Behind The Curtain Dessert Challenge, and I made Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows Sugar Cookies. The ingredients for this month are cocoa or chocolate pudding and marshmallows. This is always such a fun challenge, and I am so glad to finally be participating again. I made these sugar cookies because I am always trying to improve my decorating skills, and because they were fun!

Hot Chocolate w/ Marshmallows Sugar Cookies

I used my "go to" sugar cookie recipe to make the cookies, and then I used 
my favorite frosting recipe for the top.
When I made the chocolate in the mug, I used some of the frosting and added 
a tablespoon of cocoa powder to the frosting. It came out really tasty!
I drew on a little mug with a food marker, and then
outlined the mug with the frosting.
I filled in the mug and .....
added hot chocolate and a handle.
Pop the marshmallows on top, and that's it!

One of my resolutions for the new year is to become
a better cookie decorator, so this is the beginning
of the journey. We will see.

Thanks for joining me today!

Check out what everyone else made below: