Cheatcakes! Cheesecake Cupcakes with Homemade Vanilla Wafers

SAM 1974 Edited Cheatcakes! Cheesecake Cupcakes with Homemade Vanilla Wafers

Happy National Cheesecake Day! Cheesecake is one of those desserts that makes people swoon, though personally, I am not overwhelmed by it. I usually think of cheesecake as a triangular slice of  springy, white, baked cheesy-ness resting on a graham cracker crust and topped with cherries or blueberries, though my Auntie Kathy is famous for her turtle cheesecake. I have not had one of her infamous cheesecakes in many years, but I can still picture the mountains mini chocolate chips and rivers of caramel sauce sitting atop her rich cheesecakes.

I initially thought I would bake up some cheesecake batter in mini filo shells to celebrate National Cheesecake Day. But as I was reading “I Love Cheesecake Cheatcakes! Cheesecake Cupcakes with Homemade Vanilla Wafers” by Mary Crownover, I found a recipe for individual cheesecakes, i.e) cheesecake cupcakes.

I like to refer to these cheesecake cupcakes as cheatcakes since the process of baking an entire cheesecake is not involved.  The recipe called for a vanilla wafer for each individual cake’s crust, so I figured this would also be a great opportunity to make homemade vanilla wafers.

SAM 1948 Edited Cheatcakes! Cheesecake Cupcakes with Homemade Vanilla Wafers

SAM 1956 Edited Cheatcakes! Cheesecake Cupcakes with Homemade Vanilla Wafers

Nearly every flavor of cheesecake, from Almond Coffee Swirl to White Chocolate Orange, is covered in “I Love Cheesecake.” Nearly every flavor uses a base recipe of cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch, and egg for the filling. From there, a baker can have fun with the flavor.  I opted to use the Honey Vanilla Almond recipe for my cheesecake cupcakes.

I was really impressed with how the almond flavor permeated the cake, and it was quite light and flavorful.  Today’s Taste Tester also confirmed my findings that the filling was “lighter than I expected” and noted the crust (the vanilla wafer) was “more cakey than crusty.”

I wasn’t all that sure how to best top the cheesecakes, and I found I liked spreading the whipped cream over the tops of the cupcakes as much as I liked using a decorating bag to pipe the whipped cream on the tops.  If desired, toasted whole or sliced almonds can be used as a garnish.  Enjoy!

SAM 1971 Edited Cheatcakes! Cheesecake Cupcakes with Homemade Vanilla Wafers

SAM 1968 Edited Cheatcakes! Cheesecake Cupcakes with Homemade Vanilla Wafers

SAM 1979 Edited Cheatcakes! Cheesecake Cupcakes with Homemade Vanilla Wafers

 

Honey Vanilla Almond Cheesecake Cupcakes with Vanilla Wafers Crust
 
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 11
Ingredients
  • Vanilla Wafers Crust
  • 1⅓ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Cheesecake
  • 8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2¼ teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • Topping
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Instructions
  1. Vanilla Wafers
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugars together in a large bowl.
  4. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well incorporated.
  5. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until well combined.
  6. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto a greased baking sheet.
  7. Bake at 325 degrees for 8-10 minutes until light golden brown.
  8. Line a cupcake pan with paper cupcake liners. Place one vanilla wafer in each liner. Set aside.
  9. Cheescake
  10. Beat cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch, heavy cream, and honey until smooth.
  11. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extracts and beat until well incorporated.
  12. When well mixed, pour approximately ¼ cup of filling over the vanilla wafer in each paper liner.
  13. Bake at 200 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. When done, the center of the cupcakes will spring back when touched.
  14. Topping
  15. Beat the heavy cream, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar together at high speed until the cream thickens to stiff speaks.
  16. Spread or pipe over the cupcakes when they have cooled.
Notes
Vanilla Wafers recipe adapted from Baking Bites Cheesecake recipe adapted from I Love Cheesecake, by Mary Crownover

 

Eggscellent: Egg Yolk Cookies

SAM 1892 Edited Eggscellent: Egg Yolk Cookies

It is so hot outside you could fry an egg on the sidewalk.  Well, maybe not, but I ate fried deviled eggs from the Roaming Fork food truck for lunch.  After the egg bagels, I was still in the mood for egg…something.  French toast?  No.  Quiche?  No.  Custard?  Most definitely not.

Egg cookies?  Now we are are talking.  I adapted my recipe from an egg yolk cookie recipe on Food.com.  I also found some interesting recipes using hard boiled eggs at Baking Bites and Cookie Madness.

The first recipe I tried resulted in cookies with sunken middles.  “Too much baking soda,” I thought.  I tried again, increasing the flour by a mere 1/4 cup, and the result was lovely, puffy cookies.

SAM 1920 Edited 300x224 Eggscellent: Egg Yolk Cookies

The sunken cookies tasted just as good, but since they were ugly, I camouflaged their flaws with cream cheese icing.  I used vanilla extract to flavor my icing, though lemon extract would be a perfect substitution for the lemony tasting cookies.  Enjoy!

SAM 1927 Edited Eggscellent: Egg Yolk Cookies

SAM 1934 Edited Eggscellent: Egg Yolk Cookies

Egg Yolk Cookies
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Cookies
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • ¾ cup sugar, plus additional for rolling
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • Cream Cheese Icing
  • 4 oz. (1/2 package) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the flour and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest and juice until well incorporated.
  5. Form a tablespoon of dough into a ball, roll in sugar and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. If the dough begins to soften, refrigerate until firm enough to form into a ball. Repeat with remaining dough.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes.
  7. When cool, top with cream cheese icing if desired.
  8. Beat cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar together until smooth.
  9. Add the vanilla or flavor extract of choice.

 

Bagelfest! Egg Bagels

SAM 1910 Edited Bagelfest! Egg Bagels

Today is Bagelfest Day…I think.  One of the calendars I use indicates July 26 is dedicated to bagels, yet Bagelfest itself took place over the weekend.  Regardless of the true date,  I had been eyeing Bagelfest with trepidation for some time.

I had never baked bagels, and I could not seem to shake the idea that baking bread is intimidating.  Most of my resistance could be attributed to the multiple steps – kneading and waiting and punching and then doing it all again – inherent in any bread creation.  And with bagels, I had to poach the dough.  How was that going to work?  “I don’t have to bake bagels just because it’s Bagelfest time,” I reasoned, “the calendar is just a guide.”

But on Saturday I stumbled upon the Brown Eyed Baker blog, and the most recent post at the time I visited the site was…bagels.  “Darn it!”  I exclaimed.  I am not a subscriber to the notion “all things happen for a reason”, but I am a believer in the world using coincidence to get, or maybe guide, attention.  And there was no way I could ignore that coincidence.

So, bagels it was.  I decided to make egg bagels because those slightly sweet bagels are my favorite at Bruegger’s.  I modified my recipe from those seen in Parragon’s The Big Book of Baking and Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess Bagelfest! Egg Bagels.  As I read the recipes, that required kneading (twice!) and poaching, I began to think it was just too much.  But towards the end of the process, I was thinking, kneading (only twice!) and poaching, how fun!

SAM 1864 Edited Bagelfest! Egg Bagels

To this point, the only thing I had ever poached was an egg.  I mentioned my grandfather’s influence on my blue cheese consumption in Sunday’s post, and he must be influencing me from afar this week because poaching (in terms of cooking, not hunting) again brings him to mind.  I don’t remember our conversation all those years ago, but I remember being in his and grandma’s house on Jameson Street and watching him poach an egg.  I ripped up the bread and placed it in our bowls.  He gently laid the eggs on a pat of butter on top of the bread so the butter would melt.  Delicious.

Given my own experience poaching eggs, I imagined strings of dough falling from the bagel into the water, but that did not happen. The bagels held their shape in the water, but I did learn the importance of securing the ends of the bagels together.  I was a bit shy on the pinching at first, and as a result, I ended up with a few u-shaped bagels.

During the baking, I noticed the bottoms of the bagels browned more rapidly than the tops, which stands to reason given the high temperature.  I double-stacked my baking sheets after the first batch, and that solved the problem.

I was disappointed the dough was not richly colored, given the use of the yolks and my expectation for egg bagels to be yellow.   In fact, the dough looked rather boring.  I decided to improvise with what I had on hand and baked cheddar and jalapeños onto a few.

These bagels tasted great with cream cheese, and I used them to make sandwiches.  Like any bread, once you bake bagels you will realize the value in enjoying a freshly baked good.   Freshly baked bagels are just so much more flavorful.    Bagel making?  It’s in the bag.

SAM 1846 Edited Bagelfest! Egg Bagels

Egg Bagels
 
Author:
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 10-12
Ingredients
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 package (¼ ounce) rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 egg whites, divided
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Whisk the flour, salt, and yeast together in a mixing bowl, then form a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
  2. Place 2 tablespoons of the sugar and one of the egg whites into the cup of warm water and pour into the well. Stir until just combined.
  3. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, stirring well after each addition to ensure sure each yolk is incorporated into the dough.
  4. Use a dough hook on low speed to knead for 10 minutes. The dough will eventually form itself into a ball.
  5. Once kneaded, place the dough ball into a bowl greased with vegetable oil. Turn the dough ball to coat the dough in oil.
  6. Cover the dough in the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp dish towel and let sit until the dough doubles in size, approximately 60 minutes.
  7. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface.
  8. Punch the dough down two or three times and then knead by hand approximately two to three minutes.
  9. Separate the dough into five fist-sized balls and roll each ball out into a rope.
  10. Cut the ropes into two pieces and form each into a circle. Slightly overlap the ends of the ropes and pinch to seal the ends.
  11. Place the formed bagels on greased baking sheets and cover until puffy, approximately 20 minutes.
  12. While the dough is resting, bring a large pot of water and the remaining two tablespoons of sugar to a boil.
  13. Poach the bagels in batches of two or three at a time, turning once, for one minute total.
  14. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bagels from the water and allow to drain on a clean, dry towel.
  15. Place the drained bagels on a greased baking sheet.
  16. Beat the remaining egg white with two tablespoons of water and brush onto the tops of the bagels.
  17. Bake at 475 degrees until the bagels are a light golden brown, approximately 20-30 minutes.