Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie (on Sunday night?) or you had me at chocolate/coffee/cheesecake

My whole reason for starting this blog is I wanted to be a part of "Tuesdays with Dorie", a group that bakes a different recipe a week from the book "Baking" by Dorie Greenspan. I had this book before I ever knew about the group and each week I would check the blog to see what they baked. Not having a blog kept me from joining the group...until now.

I haven't officially been accepted, but, I have gone ahead and baked the recipe for this Tuesday - Espresso Cheesecake Brownies. I am hoping that the fact that I baked on Sunday instead of Tuesday won't disqualify me. :) I will be cleaning houses on Tuesday (to pay the bills) and had the free time today to bake, so I did.

The recipe was pretty easy to pull together. I already had everything I needed on hand. I did use bittersweet chips rather than chopped bars for the melted chocolate part, but I don't think it affected the outcome. I whipped up the brownies in a 4 cup glass measuring cup. The batter seemed a bit thicker than I think it should have been, because when it came time to swirl it with the cheesecake batter it didn't swirl so much as just move around in the batter. The cheesecake batter itself smelled wonderful with the addition of the espresso and was a lovely "coffee with cream" color. I baked mine for the minimum time of 30 minutes.

They turned out fabulous! Delicious! I was already sold by the fact that the recipe called for espresso and chocolate, two of my favorite flavors. Not to mention cheesecake. I mean, how can you go wrong.  But I wasn't prepared for just how good the final result would be.

The tangy sour cream topping is the first thing you taste, it's tanginess cut by the addition of the confectioners sugar. Then, the espresso flavor floods your mouth, blending with the sour cream, and finally the chocolate of the brownies melds with the other flavors and it all comes together like a well orchestrated dance. My hubby said "it was a party in his mouth". They were smooth, creamy, rich, and considering how easy overall they were to pull together, I can see these being made quite often in my house. I wonder what the other bakers thought...

Blueberry Cream Cheese Pound Cake

I love blueberries...blueberry pie, blueberry yogurt, blueberry muffins, anything with blueberries in it is yummy. Add lemon and you have a sure winner. I once baked for a small coffee shop and one of the most requested items I baked were blueberry lemon scones. I almost couldn't bake them fast enough.

I had some blueberries in my freezer and they were burning a hole in my pocket so to speak. So, I went searching through my endless supply of recipes and came across a recipe for a blueberry cream cheese pound cake. Now, I bake a sour cream pound cake that is a real favorite of mine. In fact, I won a ribbon at the county fair with it several years ago. So,when I found this recipe I knew I had to try it.

It was simple to put together. All the ingredients were on hand. The aroma of it baking in the oven was mouth-watering. My husband came into the house while it was baking, and though he is not ususally a pound cake fan, even he commented on how delicious it smelled. When I took it out of the oven, the top was crusty and golden brown. I flipped it onto a cooling rack and stalked it until it was cool enough to cut into. I decided before cutting it that it needed a little something on top, so I stirred up some confectioners sugar, lemon juice and milk and drizzled it over the cake.

It was the perfect compliment to the subtle lemon flavor in the cake itself. It also added just the right touch to an otherwise plain looking cake. Well, plain looking from the outside. Inside the texture was wonderful, firm but moist, and the dotting of blueberries inside was perfect. I have made three of these in the last week. One for myself, one I sold to customer who had already ordered a baby shower cake from me and the last one I took with me when I visited Susan  yesterday. You can't visit someone for the first time and not bring some kind of gift or goodie. I think this may be my new "go to" cake when I need a quick but delicious dessert.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Pound Cake

8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
3 sticks of butter at room temperature
3 cups white sugar
6 large eggs at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups frozen blueberries

In a large mixing bowl cream together the cream cheese, butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Add the flour, one cup at a time, mixing well after each cup. Stir in the lemon and vanilla extract. Gently fold in the blueberries. Spoon into a greased bundt pan. Smooth the top with a spatula.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees and bake for another hour, or until it tests done. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Who would have guessed I'd have a blog

Special thanks to Susan of She's becoming Doughmesstic for helping to set me up with my very own blog! Just finished spending most of the day with her and her lovely family and before I left she was kind enough to set this up for me. Thanks Susan!!

Later I will join Tuesdays with Dorie so that I can start baking with the group each week.That was one of the big reasons I wanted the blog. I have been wanting to join that group, but one of the requirements was having a blog and the whole idea of blogging scared me to death! Me, the woman who flew to Ireland by herself and spent 10 days traveling around the country with a bunch of strangers. Me, the woman who has run many marathons, half marathons, and is right now training for her first triathlon. Me, who 4 years ago skydived for my 50th birthday. I was intimidated by the whole blogging experience. I know, crazy huh! Well, not anymore! Stay tuned for more! :)