Hello! Today is Wednesday, which is my favorite day of the week…why? NO CLASSES FOR ME! Yay! I can spend the entire day doing homework, cooking, baking, grocery shopping, lounging, etc. It’s wonderful.
It’s been a while since my first post. To be honest, I have been getting somewhat frustrated and a little discouraged from time to time about baking. Here’s the deal–I like to make things lower in fat whenever I can (ex. I used slow-churned ice cream for the baked alaska) but I am still relatively new at all of this baking and creating stuff (from scratch, anyway). The combination of these things can sometimes yield undesirable results in the kitchen :( Combine this with the fact that I am sometimes a little bit overambitious and try to make something crazy with no recipe for guidance and then it’s easy to see how I can get so discouraged. Despite the discouraging results I have seen in the past week thanks to my just jump in the kitchen and measure stuff and combine it and see what happens and expect great results approach, I have learned a lot.
So, the other night when I talked to Jay (if you don’t remember from the first post, she’s my roommate Taylor’s girlfriend) about my frustrations (her mom is a serious baker/cook/foodie), she helped me realize all of the above, I learned those things with some practice, experimenting, and support/encouragement/help from a good friend.
That being said, I realized that I needed to work on practice with recipes first before I could get to the point of making my own recipes. I thought back to the baked Alaska and thought about how wonderful it turned out; I realized that I could adapt from a recipe that was already made, but that I could still do little things to sort of make it my own, give it my own creative twist. So, I went on a multiple day search for something that looked great that would give me a chance to put my own little tiny twist into the recipe, and I found something that looked absolutely amazing…
Know what it was?
Oreo Cheesecake Cookies.
I could not be happier that I found her blog, it’s truly amazing. Although, I will say that it was quite the temptation over the weekend when I was trying to study for my accounting exam…that just shows how awesome it is considering how much I love accounting (seriously, I love accounting, no sarcasm at all).
Anyway, I had been thinking about the possibility of making a cheesecake at some point during this blogging adventure I have started, and recently I had become the recipient of a lovely Mars bar. I thought to myself I’ll make a Mars Bar Cheesecake! When I saw the browneyedbaker’s recipe for there Oreo Cheesecake Cookies, I knew what I wanted to do.
Yes, I wanted to put my Mars Bar into cheesecake cookies. Win.
Here’s the thing about Mars Bars, I don’t think they sell them in the United States, at least not where I live. I had never had one. My boyfriend, Michael, is on Semester at Sea right now and I have become pen pals with his good friend Emma, who is from Canada. She and I have had a few conversations about chocolate, sweets, candy etc, and she has raved about Mars Bars.
I really wanted to try one. Lucky for me, when Jay’s German exchange student from high school, Konstantine, was visiting last weekend, he had a Mars Bar from his flight he didn’t want.
I got it.
I got a Mars Bar.
We also happen to have a TON of M&M’s around my suite. Peanut, milk chocolate, pretzel, you name it and we’ve got it. Chris, one of my roommates, and Jay both receive M&M’s for gifts from family members, but neither really like them, so they just accumulate until we find a use for them. I had found a use for the M&M’s accumulating in our cabinets…I would add them to the cheesecake Mars Bar cookies. Yes. So that’s why they’re called Silly cookies, for some reason, I just thought it was so fun and silly to put all of those things into a cookie! It’s pretty great though.
Okay, so I think that I have rambled enough for now, and I will now give you the recipe for these silly cookies.
Silly Cheesecake Cookies (Recipe adapted from BrowneyedBaker’s Oreo Cheesecake Cookie Recipe found here: http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2011/03/22/oreo-cheesecake-cookieso)
1/4 cup of Smart Balance Light*
8 tbsp of 1/3 less fat Cream Cheese** (I put in extra cream cheese just because, feel free to add less if you want)
1 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 chopped up Mars Bar
as many or as little M&M’s as you want, or any other kind of candy
Note: I like to do lower fat substitutions when I make things, so feel free to make the same substitutions I did or not, it depends on what you prefer, if you do not want to make the substations, that’s perfectly fine and you will still get a great product :)
*I used Smart Balance Light because it is lower in fat; I also used half the amount as the original recipe. Feel free to go with the original if you like
**I used 1/3 fat cream cheese and added 2 extra tbsp for an especially cream cheesy flavor; again, feel free to go with the original if you would like
Here’s What You’ve Gotta Do:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (mine stuck, so I would recommend putting a little cooking spray on the parchment paper!)
First, combine cream cheese and Smart Balance (or butter if you do not want lower fat substitutions) in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and combined
Next, add in your 1 cup of sugar
Then, combine sugar into the cream cheese and Smart Balance light mixture
After that, add in 1 cup of flour
Then, mix well!
Okay, now it’s time to cut up your Mars Bar (or other type of candy bar you are using)
Now, add in your Mars Bar/M&M’s/other candy item
And now, it is time to put these little guys into the oven to bake!
In they go!
Here is the final yummy product
Remember how I said earlier that I have learned a lot?
One thing I have learned is that I am still a beginner, I cannot just jump in and start doing things that I think will turn out well with absolutely no guidance from a preexisting recipe, especially if I am making lower-fat substitutions. I need to take it a little bit slower, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
The other thing I have learned is that it takes a lot of time practice and experience to make your own recipes from scratch (at least with baking, when I try out new experiments while I make dinner, it generally works out better), I am not at this point yet, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
The final thing I have learned is that baking is a science, it is very exact, and making substitutions is a very difficult thing to do because of how exact this delicate science is; being able to do this takes practice. There’s nothing wrong with that.
To help me with this fun and messy adventure, Michael let me get a few cookbooks for our two and a half year anniversary :)
Hopefully they will arrive soon, they should be a great help in learning about this wonderfully fun art of baking!
I hope that you enjoy these Silly Cheesecake Cookies and that you have fun getting your hands messy while making them :)
FYI: I am so sorry about the less-than-great/poor quality of my photos. I use my iPhone to take pictures because I lost the battery charger for my digital camera :( I haven’t used my digital in years (seriously) because Michael is a photographer, so I never really needed to use it when he was here. I will take better pictures and try to find an alternative to my phone! I was a little shaky for these photos :(