Cherry Cheesecake Cookies

DSC_0373Christmas is quickly approaching and you know what that means… Cookie season!!! Holiday dessert tables always have cookies and are adorned year after year with the traditional family favorites. These favorites typically include sugar cookies, gingerbread men, and anything peppermint infused. I love all of these but sometimes you just want something fresh and new to try. That is why each year alongside the traditional cookies, I always make sure that I add one new cookie to the platter that everyone can try to enjoy alongside the usual favorites.

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It is from that tradition that I created my annual dedication to diverse holiday cookie options in the month of December. For the next few weeks you will be seeing many posts on cookies that I find can be a great addition to any holiday dessert table. I started this year with Cherry Cheesecake cookies. These cookies have been sweeping the social media airwaves as of late but I actually came across this cookie back in 2010 and fell in love. Cherry cheesecake was always a favorite of mine as a kid and melding those flavors into the portable ease of a cookie is heavenly.

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I like to make the cookie dough ahead of time not only to save precious time for baking other things but also because these cookies do not have a very long lifespan after they have been baked. It is best to make them the day they are going to be devoured because the cream cheese filling causes them to spoil at an accelerated rate. Also the extended chilling time will make it much easier to shape and roll the dough balls in the graham cracker crumbs.

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The formula I use makes about 2 dozen cookies and is enough for my family at the holidays, but if you have a larger family you can certainly double the recipe. Once the cookies have been baked be sure to store them in an airtight container for no more than 2 days.

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Cherry Cheesecake Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1¾ cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 (8 oz.) Pkg. Cream Cheese; softened
  • 10 tbsp. (1 ¼ sticks) Unsalted Butter; softened
  • ¾ cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1 (20 oz.) can Cherry Pie Filling

Formula:

  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, and sugar together on medium-high speed until the texture becomes smooth and creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture. Mix the dough together until it is incorporated. Do not overmix. Refrigerate the dough overnight.
  2. Heat the oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the graham cracker crumbs in a small bowl. Place the cherry pie filling in a shallow dish. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and then roll in the graham cracker crumbs. Place the dough balls 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Use the back of a tablespoon to make an indentation in the center of each dough ball.
  3. Use a small spoon to place 3 cherries in the indented center of each cookie. Be sure to strain off as much of the filling/juice to ensure the cherries do not end up swimming in a cherry bath and creating a soggy-centered cookie. Bake the cookies until golden around the edges, about 12 to 15 minutes. Be sure to rotate the pans halfway through the baking time to ensure even cooking.
  4. Cool cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM STEPHANIE MATTHEWS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013

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French Silk Chocolate Pie

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Another day. Another lost recipe. Today’s find=French Silk Chocolate Pie. Sure you can find some in your local grocers freezer section so it technically isn’t that lost of a recipe, but the reason I included it is because most home bakers refuse to tackle such a pie on because the original formula used raw eggs and as we know these days is completely unsafe. Second of all it is a pretty involved recipe and in our daily lives it is hard to fit in time to make any type of pie let alone this type, and if you want this type it is very tempting to just grab one from the freezer section, de-thaw it, and voila it is ready to serve with ease. In fact the way I stumbled upon this pie was from the freezer section of my local supermarket when there was a sale on pies. This caused me to look up its history.

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Despite the name including the word “French” this pie is an all-American concoction. It’s first appearance was at the Pillsbury Bake-Off competition of 1951 where its creator, Betty Cooper of Maryland, won the $1,000 prize. The pie is classic icebox style with an exotic name that reflects the international curiosity of postwar America. Originally Betty Cooper used a pie crust. I decided to switch it up for a more simple graham cracker crust. To whisk the chocolate portion of the filling into a light, silky texture without the use of Cooper’s raw eggs formula, a double boiler is necessary. Now I don’t buy those pricey contraptions. To be honest they are gimmicks to the baking enthusiast but completely unnecessary. Just take a large saucepan and a slightly smaller heatproof bowl that will rest securely on top of the saucepan. Place enough water in the saucepan to bring to a simmer but not boil. Place the bowl on top of the pan making sure the simmering water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. And there you have it… a homemade double boiler. Heck if you don’t have a heatproof bowl you can always use a slightly smaller saucepan in place of the bowl.

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Now the reason the double boiler is necessary is to cook the eggs. Pillsbury offers a simpler option for the original bake-off recipe by using egg substitutes as a way to be safe but these give off an artificial flavor that is no different then going back to the frozen section and buying the pre-made ones. By beating the eggs with sugar over the double boiler you incorporate air which gives the filling the light texture that is so desirable about this pie. When the egg mixture reaches the safe temperature it gets very thick and foamy. This is when you remove it from the heat and let it cool down. Once it is cool you can add the chocolate and butter which gives the pie the signature rich flavor and silky smooth texture.

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While researching this project I realized the drastic changes made to the Pillsbury Bake-Off competition. What used to be a competition that was pretty much open to any creative and delicious baked good now became a competition that forces contestants to use Pillsbury products like cookie dough or crescent rolls as their staple ingredient and therefore market the brand more than baking innovation itself. This competition is just a reminder of how our society has changed over the years. Contestants in the 50’s were treated like celebrities. Contestants wore corsages on fine outfits, worked in facilities set up at the posh Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, and were served dishes like Guinea Hen Breast and Nectarines Flambe at a complimentary dinner… fare reserved nowadays for only the finest of restaurants.

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The Bake-Off certainly has a rich history, dating all the way back to 1949 when it debuted as the “Grand National Recipe and Baking Contest”. General Mills probably had no idea that it would launch the most recognized of all modern American recipe contests and have such an affect on America’s culinary heritage. The original grand prize winner for No-Knead Water Rising Twists won $50,000, an award so prestige at the time it was presented by Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1954, Open Sesame Pie became so popular it launched a nationwide use of sesame seeds. In the years to come, the kids bake sale favorite, Peanut Blossom Cookies would rake in millions for the Hershey Company and the Tunnel of Fudge Cake would launch the popularity of the Bundt pan, causing factories to work round the clock to keep production up to consumer demand. Although French Silk Pie didn’t retain the initial popularity it gained in 1951, it is definitely a pie worth revisiting, with just a few modern tweaks.

Note: You may use homemade whipped cream for the topping or a tub of Cool Whip for convenience. A garnish of miniature chocolate chips around the outer edge of the pie is optional but a great finishing touch. Pie serves 8 to 10 people. Store in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

French Silk Chocolate Pie

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 3 tbsp. Sugar
  • 5 1/3 tbsp. Unsalted Butter

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Heavy Cream; chilled
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • ¾ cup Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Water
  • 8 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate; melted & cooled
  • 1 tbsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter;  softened & cut into pieces
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream or 1 tub of Cool Whip
  • Miniature Chocolate Chips (optional)

Formula:

  1. Prepare the crust: Melt butter in a small dish. Mix graham cracker crumbs and sugar together. Add the melted butter and stir until no dry crumbs remain. Line a spring-form pan with food grade acetate. Press graham cracker mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.
  2. With mixer on medium-high speed, whip cream until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate.
  3. Combine eggs, sugar, and water in a large heatproof bowl set over a medium saucepan filled halfway with simmering water. Be sure you don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. With a hand mixer set to medium speed, beat egg mixture until it has thickened and registers 160°, about 7 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to beat until the mixture has cooled to room temperature and the texture is fluffy, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add the melted chocolate and vanilla to the cooled egg mixture, beating until incorporated. Beat in the butter, one piece at a time, until well combined. Using a spatula, fold in the whipped cream until no streaks of white remain. Scrape filling over the graham cracker crust and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours. Once set, whip heavy cream to medium peaks or for convenience use a tub of Cool Whip and spread evenly over the set chocolate filling. If desired, sprinkle miniature chocolate chips around the outer edge of the pie and serve.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM DIANE UNGER

PILLSBURY BAKE-OFF® CONTEST

KRAFT FOODS: COOL WHIP

GENERAL MILLS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013

Swedish Apple Pie

It has been awhile since my last post so I thought I better catch up and what better way than to do so with an old American favorite… Homemade Apple Pie. The  twist here is though that I did not prepare this particular homemade apple pie the conventional American way. I cheated on America and made it the Swedish way. I have to give credit where it is due to the Swedes…this is a mighty fine tasting Apple Pie and the ease of it makes it that much more delicious. What would you say if I told you that this pie could be made on a work day or school night without you pulling all of your hair out doing so. Crazy right…well wrong because this pie is capable of just that. It is simple and delicious and a pleasant twist to the original we all know and love that it can even be served at a dinner party and you will be sure never to go wrong. A drizzle of Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise or if you want a more traditional paring like what my grandfather preferred… a big heaping scoop of Vanilla Ice cream.

This pie is sensational. It is a cross between a spiced apple cake and a dense pie with a crisp sugar coated apple topping and a crisp and buttery thin crust. A few notes before I send you off to baking this delicious creation. Be sure to use two different varieties of apples here, one that is tart and one that is more sweet. I chose to use the ratio of 3 Granny Smith’s to 2 Braeburn, however you can use Golden Delicious or Gala apples in the place of Braeburn but be sure to use Granny Smith’s for tartness no matter which type of sweet apple you choose.

Swedish Apple Pie

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, plus 8 tbsp. (1 stick) melted
  • ¾ cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 3 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, & sliced thin
  • 2 Braeburn Apples, peeled, cored, & sliced thin
  • 1 ¼ cups Sugar
  • 1 cup plus 1 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. Apple Pie Spice
  • ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tbsp. Sour Cream

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 325°. Grease bottom and sides of 9-in. spring-form pan with 1 tbsp. butter. Melt remaining softened butter in large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add graham crackers and toast until golden brown. Transfer crumbs to bowl and let cool.
  2. Toss sliced apples, 2 tbsp. sugar, and 1 tbsp. flour in a bowl. Coat bottom and sides of spring-form pan with toasted graham cracker crumbs. Arrange apples in pan.
  3. Combine 1 cup sugar, remaining flour, apple pie spice, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk in eggs, sour cream, and melted butter until smooth. Pour batter evenly over apples. Sprinkle remaining sugar (mixed with a bit of cinnamon for cinnamon sugar – if desired) evenly over batter and bake until deep golden brown and crisp, about 70 to 80 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool at least 1 hour or completely. Remove ring from pan, slice, and serve (preferably with ice cream).

Special Thanks To:


Diane Unger &

Peter Mendoros – Photography


All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2012