Cheesecake Pops

This months Daring Baker challenge was Cheesecake Pops chosen by Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah of Taste and Tell.

I have to admit that when I first found out this months challenge, I was intrigued.  Then i saw the pictures and i was super excited.  Immediately i started thinking of all the decorating possibilities, which seemed to be endless.  Plus i love cheesecake!  I couldn’t wait!
I halved the recipe, I felt that this was very necessary since i live alone, am trying to start a diet and love cheesecake :).  I baked my cheesecake an 8×3 cakepan for about 50 minutes and had no problems with it setting up.  I formed the ball the next day, inserted the sticks and put the tray in the freezer.  I just have to say that 2oz seemed like alot.  The pops seemed quite huge compared to the sticks.  I had a few spoonfuls of cheesecake left over so i had to eat.  Wow, this is one of the richest, creamiest cheesecakes i have ever eaten.
The next day i started dipping.  I used colored candy melts along with regular chocolate to coat the pops.  Then i dipped them.  The pic you see show the following
  • coconut
  • graham cracker
  • yellow sprinkles
  • halloween sprinkles
  • valentine sprinkles
  • green sanding sugar
  • cinnamon
  • crushed peppermint
  • candied ginger
I had some problems with the sticks coming loose but it mostly went ok.  Since the cheesecake was coming straight from the freezer, when i used the candy melts they would become solid before i could finish dipping them, so i had to work really quick with those.  I wish i could have gotten them more round/smoother but I still think they look great.
My only regret is that I wish i would have made the entire recipe, this way i could have tried more flavor and decoration combinations.

Perfect Party Cake

I love baking cakes and adding new cake recipes to my files and our challenge this months Daring Baker challenge was Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake chosen by Morven of Food Art and Random Thoughts.

I was pretty excited when this months challenge turned out to be a layered lemon cake for two reasons (1) it would give me a chance to decorate (2) I had been wanting to test some lemon cake recipes.

I wound up making this cake for Easter dessert. My initial reaction was wow what a moist cake. The buttercream was so delicious and light. I always have raspberry preserves on hand but I wasn’t up to straining the seeds out so I bought a different brand which ultimately I was not happy with. But I did love the raspberry/lemon combo. I skipped the coconut since I am not a fan and some family members have allergies.

The next day the cake seemed to be dry to me, not sure why. I didn’t get to decorate it but no one expected it to be decorated so I wasn’t really bummed out. I may try this cake again, i’m not 100% sure, but I am definitely keeping the buttercream recipe.

For a printable version of the recipe click here.

Be sure to check out the Daring Bakers Blogroll to see more cakes!

Julia Child’s French Bread

I am officially a Daring Baker!!! :) :) :). For the past few months I have seen Daring Baker entries and thought, wow that group sounds cool, I should join. But I always found some reason not to. Well one of my New Years resolutions is to cook more, so last month I finally sent the email to join. I eagerly awaited instructions for my first challenge, checking my email several times a day. And then finally I got it. Yes!!!
This month’s challenge was French Bread by Julia Child chosen by Breadchick Mary (The Sour Dough) and Sara (I Like to Cook). I have never made bread before so this was definitely a challenge in more ways than one. Thn I printed the recipe & instructions, and my nitial thought was WHOA! The recipe was really simple (only four ingredients) but the amount of the instructions was overwhelming (I think that is why I waited until the Wednesday to make my bread).
Once I started the process I realized that it is really not complicated, just time consuming. It took me about 10.5-11 hours to make this bread (including cooling time). I tried to follow the directions 100% but I really think I kneaded the dough too much as my loaves didnt really rise during the 3rd proof and were a little flat. I had some trouble with the cuts on the top of the bread, the razor was not slicing thru, so I tried my chef’s knife. It worked a little better but I still didn’t get the effect I wanted. Once the timer went off and I went to remove the bread I thought it was a little pale, but once I removed it from the oven the color started to set it (phew!)
Even though you are not supposed to, I just couldn’t resist eating a couple of slices right out of the oven. I love warm bread with butter and this was really good. My intentions were to keep one loaf, give one to my mom and the other to my aunt, but i wound up eating two loaves (yes they are finished) and giving the other to my mom.

All in all I am happy that I joined as this was a great experience, a great recipe which produced some wonderful bread – but I don’t think that I would make this again due to the amount of time it takes.
Be sure to check out the Daring Bakers Blogroll to see more bread!