Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Time!!

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Christmas time usually means non-stop eating which means non-stop cooking/baking. On my dream list?

Candy Cane Marshmallows from Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart Living, December 2004

Makes sixteen 2-inch squares

Add to Shopping List: Ingredients

Vegetable-oil cooking spray
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
4 packages (1/4 ounce each) unflavored gelatin
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons red food coloring


Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray; line bottom with parchment paper. Coat the parchment with cooking spray, and set pan aside. Put sugar, corn syrup, and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring; let mixture come to a boil. Raise heat to medium-high; cook until mixture registers 260 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over 3/4 cup water in a heatproof bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Set the bowl with the gelatin mixture over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in extract; set aside.

Beat egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Whisk gelatin mixture into sugar mixture; with mixer running, gradually add to egg whites. Mix on high speed until very thick, 12 to 15 minutes.

Pour mixture into lined pan. Working quickly, drop dots of red food coloring across surface of marshmallow. Using a toothpick, swirl food coloring into marshmallow to create a marbleized effect. Let marshmallow stand, uncovered, at room temperature until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight. Cut into squares.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Truth About Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

So it has been awhile guys. I have missed you. The truth is simply that I can't be CandyAnna unless I am hungry, and sometimes I am just not hungry. Or I am hungry but for news, or history class, or fashion. CandyAnna was stuck in a treat rut.

Is that a tear? Because there is no crying in baking.

I was jacked out of that rut swiftly and surely by the foodaganza national holiday of Thanksgiving. Or TGive 2011 as we titled this years food fest. TGive was to commence at my sister's house in Denver where the kitchen is large and shiny and the stakes are high. My sister always challenges me to bake outside the box and I was certainly achin' for some bakin'.

The challenge: Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake.

I had never made a cheesecake before and found a fantastic recipe on one of my favorite blogs I was particularly attracted because if Thanksgiving doesn't included bourbon than it doesn't count...everyone knows that. Here it is in all its glory with a few little tweeks.

Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake
Adapted from Gourmet, November 2003

Serves 12 to 14

For crust
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from five 4 3/4- by 2 1/4-inch crackers)
1/2 cup pecans (1 3/4 ounce), finely chopped
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For filling
1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
3 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

For topping
2 cups sour cream (20 ounces)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)

Garnish: toasted pecan halves with brown sugar and sea salt

Make crust: Invert bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (to create flat bottom, which will make it easier to remove cake from pan), then lock on side and butter pan.

Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan, then chill crust, 1 hour.

Make filling and bake cheesecake: Put oven rack in middle position and Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl until combined.

Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl.

Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks). Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)

Make topping: Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 additional minutes.

Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.

Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and bring to room temperature before serving.

Do ahead: Baked cheesecake can be chilled, covered, up to 2 days.

A few notes:

1. I decided to toast my pecan halves.

-Spread them flat on a baking sheet and sprinkle liberally with brown sugar. Add a dash of chunky sea salt. Toast until your house smells like the holidays (about 15 mins).

2. I would not let the cheesecake come to QUITE room temperature. So sit out for an hour or so...

This recipe was beautiful as well as tasty!!

Enjoy Friends!!!!