Monthly Archives: September 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake

 Pumpkin Cheesecake1 Pumpkin Cheesecake2
My friends are still raving about this Pumpkin Cheesecake.  The taste is amazing – part cheesecake, part pumpkin pie.  Love 'em both.

Graham Crackers
Process Graham Crackers into Crumbs

Mix with Salted Butter, Brown Sugar, and Cinnamon and Press In Pan

Beat the Softened Cream Cheese


Mix Remaining Ingredients and Pour Into Crust

This is a Paula Deen recipe, however, she or the Food Newtwork decided to be lazy and not give any tips on how to make this recipe successful – just the basics.  Therefore mine came out with a huge crack down the middle.

Exhibit #1:  Cavernous Crack

I have used a water bath before to bake a pumpkin pie, but since this recipe didn't call for one, I wanted to go by the directions.


We Need to Use a Water Bath Folks

How to Bake in a Water Bath
Before you pour your batter in the springform pan, take a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover the bottom of the pan (plus 3-4 inches extra) and place the pan on it.  Bring the extra foil up the sides so that you are protecting the seam from getting water in the pan.  Place the springform pan in a larger roasting pan or similar, and fill with hot water to about halfway up the springform pan.

Why a Water Bath?
Cheesecake is a custard at heart. It's delicate, so you want to bake it slowly and evenly without browning the top.

The most effective way to do this is to bake it in a water bath. Since water evaporates at the boiling point, the water bath will never get hotter than 212 degrees F (100 degrees C), no matter what the oven temperature. This means that the outer edge of your cheesecake won't bake faster than the center, which can cause it to soufflé, sink, and crack.

It's common to overbake cheesecakes because, while they might look underdone, they are actually done when the center is still wobbly. At this stage, residual heat will "carry over" and the center will continue to cook.

Remove cheesecake from the oven to cool on a rack, or simply leave the door of the oven closed, turn off the heat and let the cheesecake cool for at least an hour. This helps prevent the cheesecake from sinking in the center. 

After chilling, the once-wiggly center should firm up just fine.

Eating cheesecake is a very sensual experience: texture is everything. Some recipes contain a small amount of starch, such as flour or cornstarch. These cheesecakes have a more cake-like texture. Cheesecake recipes that do not contain flour are intended to be luxuriously smooth and dense.
                                                                                                        Tips from

Other Tips
A crack is caused by two things: 1) a sudden, extreme change in temperature and 2) too much air being whipped into the batter.  Fix that with the water bath and keeping the cheesecake in the oven as the oven cools and by beating the batter only enough to combine ingredients.  Especially the eggs, which hold the most air in them.

Based on suggestions for how to bake a successful cheesecake with no cracks, next time I will bake it in a water bath at 325o for 1 hour 20 minutes, turn the oven off and let it sit in the warm oven for another 30 minutes, take it out and let it cool, run a butter knife around the inside of the pan to ease the release of the cake, unlock the spring on the pan and let it cool a little more.  Regrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours.  Before putting in the fridge, cut some parchment paper to surround the edge of the cake, put the pan back over it and lock in place. This way you can store it in the pan without it sticking to the edge of the pan.  You can also cover the pan with plastic wrap or foil without it touching the cake.  If the next day you have some condensation, lightly lay a paper towel on top to absorb the moisture.

To Serve
The graham cracker crust has a whole stick of butter in it, but the good thing is that it makes a very firm crust that does not crumble easily.  Therefore when ready to serve your cake after refrigeration, use a long, wide spatula to slide under the crust and lift carefully to a cake plate.  To clean up the scruffy edge of the cake, use a wet, hot knife to smooth the sides.


Pumpkin Cheesecake
Compliments of JennaDish


Bring cream cheese, eggs, sour cream to room temperature first.  Have all ingredients measured and ready before starting. Heat water for water bath so it's ready when needed. 

Adapted from – a Paula Deen recipe

1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick melted salted butter

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Wrap bottom of springform pan with foil that reaches all the way up the outer sides of pan. 

For crust: In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter and mix until evenly combined. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

For filling: Beat cream cheese until smooth.  Turn off mixer.  Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat on low speed until just combined.

Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place springform pan in roasting pan or jelly roll pan.  Pour very hot water in pan, about halfway up springform pan or a little lower.  Bake for 1 hour.  Turn oven off and leave cake in oven 20 minutes.  Middle will be very jiggly.  Remove cheesecake from waterbath and place on wire rack to cool to room temperature about 30 minutes. Place in refrigerator to cool further, about 30 minutes, before covering with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate overnight or a minimum of 4 hours.

To remove from pan, run butter knife around edge of cheesecake, release spring and carefully lift pan sides.  Serve on pan bottom or run spatula under crust and transfer to cake plate.

Blueberry Swirl Buttermilk Muffins with Streusel Topping

Blueberry Muffin Streusel ToppingBlueberry Buttermilk Streusel Muffin
Best Blueberry Muffins I've Ever Made or Eaten

Blueberry SmashCooked Blueberries
Make Bueberry Compote

Make the Batter and Fold Whole Blueberries In


 Swirl the Compote in the Middle

 Streusel Topping
Make Streusel and Pile on the Top

Blueberry Swirl Muffins 

Bake and …


When I used the convection setting, it did not brown the muffins.  They were done, but just not browned.  Use the regular oven setting.  

You can make the night before and leave out or refrigerate.  Make sure to cool completely before covering and refrigerating.

Filling muffin cups:  2/3 full will allow you to release the muffins easier but you will have more batter than 12.  If you double the recipe and only fill 2/3 cup, you will have enough batter for about 6-8 more muffins.  If you fill 3/4 full, you will have bigger muffin tops, but you will have to be very careful to cool completely and loosen gently so the muffin will tear apart.  You can use muffin papers to help that out.

Photo above and below are after overnight refrigeration.

Blueberry Muffins


Blueberry Swirl Buttermilk Muffins with Streusel Topping
Compliments of JennaDish

slightly adapted from Cook's Illustrated Magazine June 2009


2 cups (about 10 ounces) fresh blueberries
1 1/8 cups (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups (12½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour (or 2 cups white;1/2 cup whole wheat)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly 
¼ cup vegetable oil (I used Canola)
1 cup buttermilk (see note)
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Note: Substitute the buttermilk with 3/4 cup plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk or for every 1 cup milk, add 1 Tbsp white vinegar and allow to sit 5 minutes.

Place oven rack to upper-middle of oven and preheat to 425o. (Note to self: Do not use convection, use regular oven or muffins will not brown as well.) Spray standard muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with potato masher or similar, stirring frequently, until berries have cooked down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1/3 cup, about 7 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and set aside. 

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick, about 1 minutes or less. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined; whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. Batter will be very lumpy – do not overmix.

Use ice cream scoop or large spoon to fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter and swirl. Make streusel topping, recipe below, and pile evenly onto muffins.

Bake until muffin tops are golden, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin 180o halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 10 minutes (they come out easier if cooled completely in the pan), then transfer to wire rack and cool 10 minutes before serving. 

Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, pinch of salt, and ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour in small bowl. Drizzle with 5 tablespoons warm, melted unsalted butter and mix with fork until mixture forms small and large pieces throughout. Sprinkle streusel topping over muffins before baking. 


Peanut Butter and Jelly French Toast Sandwich

Peanut Butter and Jelly French Toast

When I was about 17, I decided to marry my two favorite things: Peanut Butter & Jelly and French Toast

I made it the other day for the first time in many, many years.  So I will now share my recipe with you…


Peanut Butter & Jelly French Toast Sandwich

by JennaDish

Make French Toast
Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich out of it
Pour syrup over it, and maybe even powdered sugar
Eat it

Easy Oat Soda Bread

Oat Soda Bread
Irish Oat Soda Bread

Go from this…

and this …

Irish Oat Soda Bread

to this …

Irish Oat Soda Bread
and this 😉

Oat Soda Bread
Compliments of JennaDish

This recipe calls for sifting the flour, however my oat flour would not sift, yet made a very nice loaf.  To make your own buttermilk, for every 1 cup milk, place 1 Tbsp white vinegar, let sit 5 minutes in it's own container. 

adapted from the blog 101 Cookbooks


butter for greasing pan
2 cups oat flour (make your own by processing old-fashioned oats)
1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
2 1/4 cups (10 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting/kneading
1 3/4 cups buttermilk plus more if needed and 2 Tbsp for brushing dough
2 Tbsp seeds (white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, caraway seeds, poppy seeds, etc)

Preheat oven to 400oF with one rack in the middle of the oven and the other in the upper one third.  Butter then line a 9"x5"x3" loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.  Or bake free form in a round shape.

You can sift or not sift the flours, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  Make a well in the flour and pour in the buttermilk.  Stir just until combined to form a dough. If dough is dry, add buttermilk a few sprinkles at a time. Turn out onto a well-floured board and knead (fold edges into the middle several times) for 30 seconds to form a loaf.   Place loaf in pan.

Brush loaf liberally with buttermilk on all exposed surfaces.  Sprinkle evenly with seeds, slice a few slashes across the top of the dough.  Bake about 30 minutes, then quickly move the bread to the upper rack to better toast the top.  Bake another 20 minutes, or until a hard crust forms.  Lift the bread out of the pan by the parchment paper and place on cooling rack.  Let cool before slicing or the bread will be doughy and difficult to slice.  Can keep loosely covered on counter for a couple days, or refrigerate it. 

Magical Coconut Cookie Bars

Magical Coconut Cookie Bars
Oh Gosh.  I screwed up.  I didn't get pictures of these after they were baked.  OK then I will have to describe them and you're going to have to do your part.  Imagine the coconut is baked lightly golden brown, and the rest is, well, you know – BAKED.  Drier, firmer, melded, yummy. 

These are mostly vegan.  They would be fully vegan if vegan chocolate chips and butterscotch chips were easier to come by.  I wasn't too worried about this aspect since the last dessert I made was Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies.

These are amazingly wonderful, in my opinion.  The recipe header called them very rich little bars, but they are actually not like those rich, overly sweet layered bars made with sweetened condensed milk.

IMG_0391 Ground Graham Cracker Crumbs

Magical Coconut Cookie Bars
Compliments of JennaDish

from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

MAKES about 24 Cookie Bars (a 9 x 13 pan)

14 oz can coconut milk (regular or light)
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted nonhydrogenated margarine (I used Earth Balance)
2 Tblsps sugar
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used combo dark, bittersweet, milk choc and butterscotch chips)
2 cups flaked, sweetened coconut
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

1. In a large saucepan, whisk together the coconut milk and brown sugar over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.  The mixture may form a thin skin on the surface; just stir it back into the liquid.  Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool while preparing the crust.

2. Preheat oven to 350oF.  Line a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, margarine, and sugar; mix well to moisten the crumbs completely.  Firmly press the mixture into the prepared pan, pressing evenly from the center to the sides of the pan.

3. Pour the warm coconut milk mixture evenly over crumb base.  Top with an even layer of chocolate chips, coconut, and nuts, in that order  Firmly pat everything down until the coconut milk mixture soaks upward into the toppings.

4. Bake for 28-30 minutes or until coconut is deeply golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Transfer the pan to the refrigerator to completely cool and firm up for at least 4 hours, or even better, overnight or until very firm.  Run a sharp, heavy knife along the edges of the pan and slide the cake on its parchment paper out of the pan and onto a cutting board.  Then, slice it into 24 squares.  Store in refrigerator. Freeze well tightly wrapped.

Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies

Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies




Peanut Butter and Bacon
Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies
Compliments of JennaDish

from Joy the Baker and the Gourmet Cookbook


1 cup all-natural chunky or smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
6-7 slices cooked bacon, cooled and chopped

Fry or bake bacon until crispy.  Cool on paper towels.
(I baked at 400oFon wire rack over shallow baking sheet, about 10-15 until crispy.)

Preheat oven to 350oF. 

Grease baking sheet or line with parchment paper.  In a mixer, combine peanut butter and sugars until well combined, about 1-2 minutes.  Add egg and baking soda and mix for another 2 minutes.  Fold in cooked bacon.  Roll into 14-15 equally sized balls, or to be exact, one ounce balls.  Roll in sugar if desired.  Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.  Press down with fork or bottom of glass.  Bake 10 minutes until lightly browned.  Cool on baking sheet until cooled and firmed up.

Labor Day 2011: Birthday, Wedding, Food, Family

Happy Birthday to You Happy Birthday to You Happy Birthday Dear Jillian Happy Birthday to You!

Hey, Jill, what are you trying to say while 40 people sing happy birthday to you?  You look uncomfortable.  You know that look when you are trying to be kind but have a predicament but no one is listening to you.

Oh. You have a cold and you don't want to blow your germs all over the cake.  Ahhh!  Luckily Aunt Jenny picked up on that and waved her hands over the candles to help you out.

Your cousin Josh got married to Aubrey over the weekend.  The wedding, the bride, the weather – everything was beautiful. 

Josh and Aubrey Josh and Aubrey

Charleston Bus Shed The wedding was held in the downtown Charleston, South Carolina bus shed.  Weather was very warm but not too hot.  Great idea, actually.  Tons of light – you feel outside but yet you are under shelter from the weather. 

Alyssa and Gracie Isle of Palms 9_2011 Took Gracie to the beach.  She loved it of course. 
Gracie did experience a beach fashion disaster when her new bright pink collar bled onto her furr.
Hate it when that happens.


Went to Uncle Randy's and Aunt Carolyn's House for a Barbecue on Labor Day…

Beer Can Chicken or Chicken on a Beer Can or Chicken with Beer Can Up the Arse –

can't really remember the proper name


Not sure why but this pose reminds me of Cher … you go Liz!
Miles doing something with laundry, or maybe stealing his mom's comforter – not sure


Why are those people standing so far away?  Is this an exploding cake?

I think Spencer's parents glued his hands to this pole.

and I think alcohol might be involved in this conversation


I actually have this rooster too.  But I spray painted him black for some reason.  I like his rough barnyard attitude – he's like a mafia rooster.  "You talkin' da me?"