Thursday, August 11, 2011

blueberry swirl birthday cheesecakes

My friend Jenn at work had a birthday earlier this week. So I brought in a few blueberry swirl cheesecakes for her to share. This was the first time I tried this recipe, and it worked out relatively well. At least the office food vultures seemed to devour them quickly enough!

The cupcake liners get a crust made out of the typical cheesecake crust ingredients: graham crackers (ONLY HoneyMaid - generic graham crackers are garbage), butter, and sugar.

While the crusts set in the oven, make a blueberry sauce. Fresh blueberries of course. (These ones were from our CSA last week.)

Puree in the food processor and then press the juice through a fine mesh sieve. Add sugar and whisk.

While the crusts cool, make the cheesecake filling.

You swirl the cheesecake by using a toothpick in the drops of the fruit sauce. I forgot to take photos after they came out of the oven, but they looked pretty much the same. And tasted great!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

grandma's peanut butter swirl bars

I promised Mark when he got a Darth Vader cookie jar for his birthday from Amber and Anthony that I'd make him some cookies to "go in it." Even though the cookies didn't make it into the jar and made it to the freezer instead, these were meant to serve the empire. They're Mark's favorite cookie, and one of my grandma's signature cookie recipes. She made these for my sister and me all the time in our cookie care packages in college.

Side note. Chocolate has become a problematic ingredient for me as of late. Most conventional chocolate providers in this country are not fair trade, and child slavery is rampant in the cocoa industry. More than 1/3 of the chocolate we consume in this country comes from the Ivory Coast, where human trafficking is a huge problem. There are groups that work to get children out of this life ( I've tried to stop purchasing chocolate that hasn't been verified from a third party to have not come from the work of child slaves, and so I picked up these SunSpire chocolate chips. More expensive than a bag of Nestle chips, yes, but I know it's coming from farmers who do not enslave children and who are compensated fairly for their goods. Something to think about, certainly. Luckily there are several brands of chocolate that are recommended that are confirmed to not participate in child slavery which are fantastic. SunSpire is just one, but Green & Black's is a great gourmet chocolate that also makes bars for baking.

But on to the baking! Beginning with peanut butter, my all time favorite.

Once the chips are in the pan, you put it in the oven for just a few minutes, until they look like this.

Then swirl!

Bake them up, and you get one giant cookie, ready to be cut into slabs and devoured. I am pretty sure we didn't even let this cool.