Mini Raspberry Swirl Cheesecakes with Shortbread Crusts

miniraspbcheesewtrmk

I have special raspberries.  They come from two plants that I received from the u-pick farm in Hayesville, NC, Qualla Berry Farm, that my family used to visit every summer.  The farmer who sold them to me, one for $5 and the other thrown in out of kindness, told me that he was given his first plants by a North Georgia man who pulled them out of the woods near his own farm.  I call them domesticated wild raspberries for this reason.  Boy, are they good!  And prolific!  So much so that we’ve never gone back to that little raspberry farm.  Wince…

I felt just awful about that until I went to the farm’s website a moment ago to link their name in this post.  Now I’m really upset.  Apparently, the year we last picked and brought home raspberry plants was the farm’s last operable year for u-pick.  An invasive fruit fly species wiped out all of their raspberry rows.  I guess that means mine are next since I garden organically, as well.  They sell greenhouse grown turmeric and turmeric tubers now, but I don’t know if I want to go back and see that lovely little farm without it’s hearty rows of trellised raspberry plants.

raspberrieswtrmk

My special raspberries, even more special now that I know they are on borrowed time, have to be beaten back every year, not pruned but beaten, so that we are able to get close enough to pick all of them when they fruit in June and October.  I didn’t beat them last year but transplanted two rows of shoots and sold about a half dozen more.  I planted them at the absolute wrong time of year, at the hottest part of the day, so am not sure if I will have my two rows pop back up this spring.  I doubt it, but know from experience that there will be plenty of offspring to move to my intended raspberry patch this summer.  As long as those dadgum Drosophila Suzuki flies don’t find our hidden cove and settle in.  But first I need to get my club and beat the old row back into submission before the weather warms and it starts sending shoots back into the sky.

I made these mini cheesecakes last year with some of my fresh raspberries.  Because I was on a shortbread kick, absolutely addicted even more than I usually am, I chose to use crumbled cookies for my crust, rather than graham crackers.  They were the perfect buttery choice.

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 T butter

1/2 c. shortbread crumbs

Raspberry Coulis:

1/4 c. fresh raspberries

1/2 c. sugar

Cheesecake Filling:

1/2 c. sugar

1 8oz. package of softened cream cheese

2 large eggs

1 T lemon juice

1/4 c. cream

Method:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

For the raspberry sauce, combine the sugar and raspberries.

couissugraspwtrmk

Allow the berries to masticate in the sugar while you whip up the cheesecake filling and make the mini crusts.  Stir occasionally to help the strawberries break down.

To make the crust, melt the butter.

meltbutterwtrmk

Combine the butter and the crumbs.

Press it into the bottom of 6 muffin paper liners.

crustwtrmk

Bake for 5 minutes.

Cool.

The batter can be made with a mixer or by hand with a whisk.

Cream the cheese.

cremchwtermk

Beat in the remaining ingredients until thoroughly combined.

mixwtrmk

Strain and press the raspberry and sugar mixture through a sieve to make the coulis.

strainraspbwtrmk

Divide the cream cheese filling among all the muffin cups with the baked and cooled crusts.

pourwtrmk

Spoon a little raspberry coulis into the batter of each.  Gently swirl with a knife.

swirlwtrmk

Bake for 30 minutes.

Cool completely and serve.

Yield: 1/2 dozen

 

 

SUPER Bowl Sundae

SUPER Bowl Sundae | February 3, 2014 | By

SBSglasswtrmk

I don’t watch football.  In fact, I’ve watched one game and that was only because I was in a football stadium while two teams were competing.  Admission was complimentary for the culinary arts students who had helped serve at a University of Hawaii alumni barbecue.  What else was I going to do?  Where else was I going to look?  It was a lot of fun. I was grateful for the pass and a hoot of a time with some college friends and the goofy professor who kept pulling a flask out of his coat pocket, but I don’t really care if I ever sit through another one.

Since I don’t enjoy it, my husband and sons gather in the living room every Super Bowl Sunday and send me to the bedroom where I usually watch Netflix movies.  Before I disappear, I cook up a storm, fix a plate for myself, and dump everything on the coffee table for the fellas to devour.

Today we followed our usual routine, but dessert this year was my husband’s idea.  Before I did my game day shopping, I asked what he thought they would all like.  His suggestion?

How about a SUPER BOWL sundae?  Like a big ice cream sundae!

He held his hands out to simulate holding a large, round dish of ice cream, and I immediately thought of our wedding day.  That may sound funny to anyone who wasn’t there, but the day we married we did not have cake.  We had an Extravaganza, the enormous ice cream sundae that was served at Ronnie’s deli in downtown Orlando.  During the decades that the famous restaurant was still in business, parties of people would gather around and scoop their own portion from a huge sundae glass of gooey ingredients.  I realize now that a good part of that gigantic sundae was spumoni and cake.  I also remember lots of nuts and fruit, and of course the mile-high mountain of whipped cream that teetered on the top below the maraschino cherries.

What a great idea!!!  I jumped on it and bought vanilla ice cream, bakery pound cake, candies, bananas, and that cool squirt-from-the-can whipped cream that I haven’t had for years and years.  You know the kind you just have to spray into your mouth as soon as you pop the top?

Just before the game ended, I began to assemble the layers.

I started by scooping ice cream into the bottom of a trifle bowl, and added slices of the cake.

cakewtrmk

Then I crushed Little Debbie Nutty Bars, pretzel and mint M&Ms, and chocolate chip cookies.  I sprinkled them between more layers of ice cream along with slices of bananas.

addtoppingswtrmk

I remembered that I had a few containers of strawberry freezer jam, so melted a little to drizzle over the top.  Then it was time to got to town with the spray whipped cream.

lookdownwtrmk

My intention was to deliver it to the “Super Bowl table” and run, but the finished product called to me…  I’m SO glad I answered by breaking my self-imposed no-sugar  rule and having a dish.  A real SUPER Bowl Sundae extravaganza!!

closeupwtrmk

And now I have a problem.  I made it SO big that we hardly dented it.  Will someone please tell me what to do with a big bowl of ice cream, cookies, cake, and candy that is quickly melting.  Freezer or fridge?

 

Classic Moist Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

sliceccakewtrmk

My friend used her mother’s carrot cake recipe to make a cake for her daughter’s birthday and posted the picture on her Facebook page with a link to the recipe on her blog, A Journey of Joy.  And so the craving began.

I happened to be off of sugar and white flour at the time, even though we were smack dab in the middle of the holidays.  I’m always attempting to eliminate them from my diet, but I like food too much.  All food.   Especially foods of the baked and iced variety.  I’d say it’s hopeless, that I’ll never be able to kick them, but here I am back off and doing just fine.

My fitness partner and I were struggling to stay focused on our healthy eating habits through December, so finally just called the whole thing off to go easier on ourselves.  We picked back up with our butt kicker routines and healthy eating after the first of the year.  But during the reprieve we did something very, very naughty. Just sinful.  I made that carrot cake I had been craving and she came over for tea so we could eat some of  it together.  It was wonderful!

I was very glad we got it out of our systems, since carrot cake happens to be one of her favorite things too.  This was a good one to indulge in.  The best splurge I’ve had in a long time.  And so worth the extra boot camp DVD sessions to compensate.  Joy’s mom is a Southern woman.  And you know Southern women are amazing bakers.  This was the most moist carrot cake I’ve ever had.  And because the frosting has only a little confectioner’s sugar in it, it’s creamy and smooth. I love it and will never use another recipe, though I tweaked it just a little bit.  You can find the original on Joy’s website.

And, uh oh.  Maybe I’m not doing so well. I feel another craving coming on…

Ingredients:

Cake batter:

1 c. butter

1 1/2 c. turbinado sugar

1/2 c. packed brown sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

4 eggs

3 c. grated carrots

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. pink Himalayan salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. cloves

1/8 tsp. allspice

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Butter and flour for preparing pans

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 c. butter, softened

2 tsp. vanilla

2 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar

Method:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour two 9″ cake pans.

Using a mixer, cream the butter.

butterwtrmk

Add the sugars and cream them together until they are fluffy.

brownsugarwtrmk

Beat in the eggs.

beatineggs

Whip in the vanilla extract.

Sift together the dry ingredients.

dryingredwtrmk

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and thoroughly fold them together.

adddry

Fold in the grated carrots.

addcarrots

Pour into the prepared pans.

twopanswtrmk

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes.  Insert a knife into the space between the cake and pan. Run it around the edge to loosen.

loosenedgewtrmk

Invert the cakes onto racks.  Cool completely.

coolwirerackswtrmk

Make the frosting by beating together the cream cheese and butter.

creamwtrmk

Whip in the vanilla and confectioner’s sugar.

addsugarwtrmk

frostingcarrcakewtrmk

Frost the first layer of the cake and stack the second over it.

frostfirstwtrmk

frostedbottomlayerwtrmk

Spread the rest of the frosting over the top and sides.  I used a decorative cake comb to give mine a little interest.

wholecarcakewtrmk

portioncarrotcakewtrmk

cutcarrcakewtrmk

closeforcarrcakewtrmk

Have a piece with a friend over a pot of tea, then exercise REAL hard.

Note:  Pecans and raisins can be added.  I almost used pecans in the frosting but decided against it at the last minute.  Try my handy free printable for making 1/6 cake portion cuts.