Pumpkin Cheesecake, Part II…the leftovers

As I mentioned, I had quite the large amount of leftover filling from the pumpkin pie cheesecake. Not wanting it to go to waste (I hate waste) I thought the perfect solution would be mini galettes, with cheesecake filling and sliced apples. Since Martha’s crust was amazing (see recipe below) I put together another batch, and split it into 6 portions. Each portion was then rolled out, dolloped with filling and topped with apples which I had mixed with a little sugar, flour, lemon juice and cinnamon (think apple pie filling)

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contrary to what you may think, that is not a bite taken out of the bottom left tart.

I greased a cookie sheet and baked them for about 35 minutes on 400. Success. Opposed to the cheesecake where there was not enough crust IMO, in these galettes the crust was the superstar. Especially the bits where it was folded over creating a nice cookie-like texture. 

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Since I still had enough filling to fill a small swimming pool (swimming in cheesecake batter would be a little gross) I needed something else. Brownies perhaps? But no, since my crazy family does not like overly dense, chocolatey, sickly sweet things (I know, right?) A google search for cookies turned up cheesecake thumbprint cookies which I used as my inspiration. 

Pumpkin Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies, modified from Bake or Break

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • scant 1/2 c sugar (between 1/3 and 1/2)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 C flour
  • 2 T coco powder
  • 1 t cinnamon 

Method

  • preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
  • add the salt, vanilla, and egg yolk and mix well to combine
  • add the flour, coco and cinnamon and mix to incorporate. the dough should come together. don’t mix too much.
  • roll into a ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
  • roll the dough into tablespoon sized balls and use your finger (or another object) to poke indentations in each cookie ball

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  • bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, re-poke cookies and bake again for 8-10 minutes until just barely golden on the edges. 
  • remove from oven and let them cool (mostly completely cool)
  • use a teaspoon to fill the cookies with cheesecake filling and return to the oven for 10-12 minutes until the filling doesn’t jiggle and looks…done. sprinkle with cinnamon, if you so desire. 
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see the one thats gone missing? its in my belly.

After all of this baking, I still have more cheesecake filling. help?!

No Longer a Student. And Spiced Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookies.

One day and one week ago I walked across the stage at Memorial Stadium in the clusterf*ck that was General Commencement. 6 days ago I walked across the stage at Zellerbach Hall in the well organized Sociology Commencement.

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I don’t think it ever quite “hit” me that I go to the best public school in the country, and then, whoa its graduation?! I am no longer a student; that piece of my identity has, for the time being ended. Of course this does not mean I stop learning and reading. In fact, I feel that most of my learning at Berkeley has taken place outside of the academic classroom, be it through friends or extracurricular activities. And, since I will keep reading about things I like, I can continue to build up my knowledge base until I go back to school in a couple of years from now. This is a strange, liminal, in between stage of my life at the moment. I have summer work, and then…ummm….uhhh…what do I do? That is the next adventure which awaits I suppose.

A while ago, when I was feeling nervous and uncertain and a little bit “empty”, someone asked me: “if there was a hole in the ground, and you had to fill it, what would you use?”. Well, dirt obviously. “Dirt, why dirt?” ummmmm…”Dirt because you have to fill the hole with the same stuff that it is made of” And so, over the past few years I have been filling up my empty with the same stuff that I am made of. And I am no where near complete, and I will continue to figure out what substance my dirt is made of.

I can list a few things. I am made up of sugar and flour and chocolate and butter because I like to bake. I filled with fresh fruit and vegetables because I am vegetarian and I value sustainable and ethical eating choices. I am made up of my bike because I like to go exploring the city on my bike. I am made up of adventures and excursions because I like seeing new things and new places. I am made up of words and sentences because I like to read and write (I suppose). I am made up of values and morals, because I think about the lives of others whether immediately in my life, or somewhere far off making the things I use. I am made of lots of questions and some answers and compassion. I am made up of laziness and tiredness because sometimes I like to take the easy way out. I am made up of some insecurities that sometimes make me jealous of other people. I am made up of all the people I have met these past two years, and years before that, because the self is shaped by others.

It is scary having this gaping hole of “time” now that I am done with school, and this hole will be sometimes empty and sometimes full. I don’t like the empty because it feels insecure, unsteady, unsettling. I don’t really know what I would like to do, which is the biggest gaping part of said hole. And, it is my choices that will determine what, exactly, gets to fill it.

And now, cookies.

My parental unit arrived on a Friday night, and like a good daughter, I wanted to serve them tea and cookies. And so, cookie making on a late friday night it was. (Bonus, they were still warm when my parents got here).

I settled on chocolate chip molasses cookies that I adapted from Averie Cooks. I made these over winter, they turned out delicious in my opinion, yet too chocolatey and too sweet in my parents opinion. So the following version omits some sugar and some chocolate. Admittedly, the following version allows the spices and molasses flavors to shine through, instead of being smothered by chocolate, which was very nice. I also used “heaping teaspoons” for the spices because, well, I love those warm, cinnamon-y spices. I also apologize for the poor quality photos; crappy kitchen lighting+crappy camera=crappy quality.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter. melted.
  • 1 egg. (preferably from the farmers market 😉
  • 1 cup sugar (fair trade, organic)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 T oil (I used applesauce instead because I had a bit sitting around)
  • 1/5 t vanilla
  • 1 t cocoa powder
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1.5 t ground ginger
  • 1 t cloves
  • .5 t salt
  • 2 1/4- 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1/5 t baking soda
  • 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • Coating: 1/4 c sugar, 1/4 tsp each of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves

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Method (for about 18 cookies)

  • After you melt the butter, allow it to cool slightly before adding in the egg. Otherwise, you will get scrambled egg cookies. So, add the egg, sugar, molasses, oil, vanilla, cocoa, cinnamon ginger, cloves, and salt. whisk ’til smooth.
  • add the flour and baking soda. stir to incorporate. Start off with 2 14 c flour and add a little more if needed (depends on the type of flour and on weather). I used half white and half white whole wheat flour, so I stayed at around 2 1/4. The batter will, and should, be thick, but pliable.
  • add the chocolate chips, and stir to just incorporate. roll the dough into a ball, wrap it with wax paper, or just cover the bowl with a towel and refrigerate for 2 hours. Or, up to 5 days. (If you plan to store it for more than a few hours, I would recommend storing in an airtight container)
  • when you are ready to bake: preheat the oven to 350. grease your cookie sheets!
  • make your coating in a small bowl by stirring the sugar and the spices. get the batter out of the fridge.
  • use your hands (or a scooper) to make walnut sized balls and roll them around in the sugar coating.
  • place them on the tray about 2 inches apart and flatten them slightly (not all the way though. they should bake slightly domed up)
  • bake for 8-9 minutes. It is important to NOT over bake because you want that nice, chewy texture. I usually just do 8 minutes since the cookies continue to bake a little once out of the oven, and they will harden as they cool
  • Once you pull them out of the oven, use the back of a spoon to tap the cookies flat. This will also crinkle the top of them, which looks pretty.

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Liking the bowl was delicious. And, my parents approved. Success.

Chocolate Chip Cookies and last day of school

Today from 5-8 I have my last class of my undergraduate education. Whoa. It is a potluck. So naturally, like any other student (ok, maybe not like any other student) I decided to bake something. I was a little uninspired and wanted to go for something rather straightforward, especially because I did not have all that much time. Additionally, I was baking in the AM and they are going to be consumed in the PM, so they have to last aaaalllll day. So, whats something simple and sweet that everybody loves? Chocolate Chip Cookies of course!

I did not follow a fancy recipe. I picked up a bag of Ghirardelli semi sweet chocolate chips (because they are vegan/dairy free. Definitely not my chocolate chip of choice) and followed the recipe on the back. Why buy vegan chocolate chips if I am about to engulf them in butter and eggs? Because I have no idea what kind of diary they use, whereas I used Clover Organic Butter and Vital Farms Eggs, which all score highly on the Cornucopia Institute’s Scorecards. (note the scorecards tab in the upper right)

The 2 things that I did adjust from the recipe were: 1) instead of walnuts I used a combination of crushed salted peanuts and almonds and 2) I had no brown sugar so I added 1/2 a tablespoon of molasses. I also halved the recipe. I suppose the salt in the nuts means that these are now “Salted Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookies”.

Ingredients (for 2 dozen cookies) (adapted from Ghirardelli)

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  • 1 and 1/8 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup) softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 Tbs molases (a little more or less will probably be OK)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 nuts, chopped

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Method

  • preheat oven to 375
  • sift the flour with the salt and baking soda into a bowl
  • in a separate bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until its…creamy. add the molasses and mix it in
  • add the vanilla and egg and continue to mix until its all incorporated
  • add the dry ingredients (I did it in 3 batches) and keep on mixing until its all incorporated
  • fold in the chocolate chips and the nuts
  • taste the batter, of course. exercise self control and try not to eat the whole thing
  • drop tablespoon onto an un greased cookie sheet. I greased my cookie sheet. I also did not drop tablespoons of batter, rather I rolled tablespoon sized balls and slightly flattened them with my hand
  • bake for 9-11 minutes until golden brown. Always go for less time (9mins) if you are unsure because they will harden as they cool.
raw dough

raw dough

baked dough

baked dough

I have not yet tasted them (waiting for the potluck tonight) but they smelled amazing when they were baking. The cookie dough tasted good enough, and whats not to like about cookies? I’m hoping the salted nuts will act in my favor.