Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes {MSC}

This is my first month baking with the Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes Club, and I was excited to start with this recipe for Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes chosen by Nina. I bought Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes a few months ago with a 50% off coupon at JoAnn’s, but until now I hadn’t baked anything from it. Suffice it to say, I’ll be baking more from this book, and not just once a month with the Club.

My daughter actually saw this recipe before she knew I had joined the Cupcakes Club and asked me if we could make them. Oreos and cheesecake baked in a cupcake, who could resist?

We cut the recipe in half, in part because I don’t have 30 muffin cups, but mostly so we wouldn’t eat that many cupcakes between the four of us.

This was a very easy recipe to make. In the time it took my daughter to line the muffin pans and put an Oreo in each cup, I had mixed the batter, which consisted of cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, eggs, sour cream, salt, and crushed Oreos. I was afraid the cheesecakes would be too rich and sweet, but there wasn’t much sugar in the recipe, and the sour cream cut the richness. All in all, I would call this a perfectly balanced recipe.

After we baked them, I put them on a cooling rack on the table to cool. The recipe said to cool them in the pans, then put the pans in the refrigerator for at least four hours before eating. I wasn’t sure I could wait that long. As it turns out, neither could Bailey, our three-year-old beagle. I heard something in the dining room, and went to check only to find him standing on the table, enjoying his third cheesecake, paper and all. This wasn’t his first foray into the culinary arts. I only wished I had thought to take a picture of him before I shooed him off the table.

I decided the cheesecakes were cool enough, so I put one pan in the refrigerator and the other, smaller pan in the freezer. After about 45 minutes, we sampled the ones from the freezer. They were delicious. Sweet and crunchy, with a nice tang from the cream cheese and sour cream.

We will definitely make these again. And I’m sticking with the Club, my waistline be damned.

Irish Soda Bread Muffins {ModBak}

One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about the Quick Breads section of The Modern Baker is that the breads really are quick. For example, in the 15 minutes it took to bake the ginger scones, I mixed up the butterscotch scones and had them ready to go into the oven as soon as the ginger scones came out.

So even though I usually save my baking for the weekends, the other night after work I decided to throw together Irish soda bread muffins. I got back from walking the dog at 7:30 was relaxing in my chair by 7:50, having mixed up the muffins and cleaned the kitchen. Yes, kids, when Nick Malgieri says “quick”, he means it!

This simple recipe consists of flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, caraway seeds, unsalted butter, sugar, egg, buttermilk (I substituted buttermilk powder and half-and-half), and currants. After assembling the ingredients, I lined the muffin tin with paper liners and preheated the oven to 350° F.

Next, I mixed the dry ingredients (other than the sugar) in a bowl, then whisked the butter and sugar in a separate bowl. I mixed in the egg, then half the cream, half the flour mxture, then the rest of the cream. I tossed the currants with a little flour, added them to the batter, then folded in the rest of the flour.

I found that an ice cream scoop was the perfect size to fill the muffin tins. I baked the muffins for 30 minutes, then cooled them in the pan.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this was another wonderful recipe. The muffins were delicious — slightly sweet and very flavorful. I especially enjoyed them with a little butter and fig preserves.