Pumpkin Cheesecake with Candied Pecans

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I know you might think it’s too late to make a pumpkin cheesecake in 2019, but I believe in you. I came up with this recipe for a work Thanksgiving potluck, because I wanted to bring something thematic but I didn’t want it to be the same old pumpkin pie. Let me tell you, this is one of the best desserts I’ve ever made. It has a great BALANCE of both flavors and textures. The cheesecake tastes very pumpkin-y while the topping speaks strongly of pecan pie. It’s the best of both worlds and I recommend you make it this week.

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

20191109_221941As I’ve said before, when I get bored, I bake. Since it’s usually a spur of the moment thing and all I really want is a sweet diversion, I try to take it as an opportunity to test out a new recipe, rather than just make the same old chocolate chip cookies. This time, I decided to try to COMBINE two of my favorite types of cookies, oatmeal raisin and peanut butter, into a beautiful marriage that would taste something like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. These would be great with raisins or other dried fruit instead of cranberries, but don’t skip the peanuts – they really give that crunchy peanut butter taste! Also, a note about the instruction to hit the pan on the counter halfway through baking: I didn’t make this up but I hoped it would help with chewiness. To hear about the origins, see this New York Times Cooking article.

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Peach Blueberry Upside-Down Cake

20190902_201154Before the summer is truly over, I wanted to make a dessert that celebrated some of my favorite fruits of the season. My mom had recently tried the Peach Upside-Down Cake from NYT Cooking, which was good, but I wanted something with more fruit, that paired the peaches with almond to make a more complexly flavored cake. To do this, the RATIOS of the ingredients were crucial and I relied heavily on knowledge from sources across the internet. Almond flour is not the same as wheat flour and combined with almond paste it can really weigh the cake down. I needed enough egg whites (instead of whole eggs) to provide lift. I also wanted to use buttermilk for lift and moisture, but I had to compensate for the added acidity by replacing some of the baking powder with baking soda. Overall, I was very pleased with the result!

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Chai Custard Tart

20190518_183021As another offering at my birthday tea party, I decided to use up some of my remaining chai masala spice mix (leftover from previous recipes on this site) to make a twist on a traditional English egg custard tart. Egg custards are sweet and wobbly, and a perfect backdrop for stronger spice flavors. Given the obvious nature of this combo and the fact that India was once a British colony, it’s easy to see why this dish works so well.

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No-Bake Chocolate Tahini Bars

20190518_182705For my 30th (!) birthday, I had a tea party/picnic with a bunch of friends. I made tons of sweet treats (recipes to follow), and this is one of my favorites. Chocolate peanut butter bar recipes are ubiquitous all over the internet (such as this one) and for good reason – they are easy, they BALANCE salty, sweet, smooth, and crunchy, and taste just like peanut butter cups. To make the recipe my own and satisfy a peanut-allergic best friend, I ADAPTED my favorite recipe, replacing the peanut butter with tahini. The result still satisfies all of the same cravings, with additional smoky complexity from the tahini that will wow your guests.

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Goat Cheese Ice Cream Sundae

20190427_214516Of my many goals for this blog, one of the big ones is being able to develop recipes that I’ve never heard of, that don’t seem like they would work, but that have an underlying logic to them founded in flavor and texture BALANCE that makes them tasty as well as surprising. From my life before this blog, I knew that watermelon rind pickles taste great on vanilla ice cream. For this recipe, I wanted to expand that foundational truth into a composed dessert, adding textural components and new techniques to make something that could be served in a restaurant.

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Vegan Lemon Macarons

20190421_141012As I’ve mentioned, my sister is vegan. Back before she became vegan, when she was just a vegetarian, we would make macarons together when we were both home at our parents’ house. If you’ve never made macarons, you should know that they’re more of a project than your usual dessert recipe. I typically set aside ~4 hours to make a batch, and that doesn’t include the overnight steps. While that is undeniably a lot of time to spend on some cookies, it saves a lot of money because macarons do not have expensive ingredients but are extraordinarily expensive to buy in the store. Even better, I get to use that time to catch up with my sister, and we both feel the accomplishment of making a beautiful dessert that can seem very intimidating. Since going vegan, my sister and I had not made macarons. But I learned about using aquafaba (more on that after the break) in place of the eggs in macarons on the Great British Baking Show, so over Easter we decided to give it a try. All I can say is, boy was my sister pleased with the results!

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Vegan Chocolate Truffles

20190421_144740My sister has been a vegetarian for 15 years and within the last year decided to go fully vegan. This has inspired me to eat vegan more often myself, both because it’s better for the environment and my health and so that we can share meals together. There are many things my sister had to give up when going vegan, and other things that are just very hard to find. Chocolate falls into this last category. Chocolate itself is already vegan – it’s just a bean. But a lot of chocolate has milk added to it, even if it’s not what you would consider milk or white chocolate. Even if the chocolate is vegan, the filling of a truffle might have animal products in it. It seemed so silly that my sister would have to give up chocolates, especially because they don’t require non-vegan ingredients. So this year for Easter I enlisted her help in making up a couple recipes so everyone could have a great holiday! To the full post!