January 21, 2014

Champagne + Pears

These blushing beauties are the perfect accompaniment to any meal. 
If you would like to make a batch for your next brunch or dessert, check out my recipe for Champagne Poached Pears at Mother Earth Living.
Bon Appetit!

January 17, 2014

Sneak Peek: Almond Scones

I'm in the thick of recipe testing....moving into phase three now with my Almond Scones...they are nutty, buttery and super flaky, delicious slathered with strawberry jelly, apple butter or fig jam.  So here is just a sneak peek into my cookbook.  Just in case you haven't guessed, there will be a bit of baking going on!

January 10, 2014

What To Do With Leftover Cookies....Besides The Obvious Choice

Once upon a time, I was a Pastry Chef...therefore you can guess that we don't keep many prepackaged cookies or sweets in our cupboards.  However, since the holidays we have somehow collected several boxes of gluten-free chocolate cookies.  So, I've decided to crush a batch of cookies to create a crunchy crust for these delectable mini cheesecakes.

In this recipe most cookies will suffice, you may need to adjust the sugar to your liking.  I've chosen a gluten-free version of Oreos.  If your cookies have frosting in the center then scrape it out prior to crushing into crumbs.  These little cuties should be made a day ahead of serving.

Victoria's Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
Makes 12

For the Crust:
1/3 cup GF chocolate cookies, crushed into crumbs
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted

For the Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 vanilla bean, scraped and seeded
1/3 cup creme fraiche, room temperature
1 egg
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

For Garnish:
3/4 cup favorite jam

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
In a small bowl mix together the cookie crumbs, 2 teaspoons of sugar and melted butter.
Press the mixture into the bottom of each cup.
Bake until set, about 6-8 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.
Reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees F.
Using an electric mixer beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth.  Add the 3 1/2 tablespoons of sugar and the vanilla and beat until mixed together, about 1 minute.
With the mixer on low, add the egg and beat until mixed, scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the creme fraiche and salt and mix just until the mixture comes together and is smooth.
Pour the cheesecake mixture into the prepared muffin cups, filling about 1/4-inch from the top.
Bake until the sides are set and the centers are still a bit wobbly, approximately 20 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature, then wrap with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
Before serving, spoon about 1 tablespoon of your favorite jam over each cake and during the summer top with fresh berries.