Learning to bake fearlessly <3

Posts tagged ‘strawberries’

Strawberries stuffed with maple whipped cream, and a story!

I’m back home and mostly recovered! That trip was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it was so worth it. I met amazing friends, both old and new (and my big sister!), and saw so much of the country! I’ve officially touched both coasts now.

I hit eleven tour stops all told, including the Vegas stop that was added after they made this map. The schedule was tough–every morning we’d have to get up around six, to be ready to go around seven AM. Then we’d have an eight to ten hour drive, and get to the theater two hours before the show to set up. We got so good at setting up merch displays.

During the show, we’d do whatever was needed–mostly selling merch and corralling fans, with occasional tasks like picking up dinner or making character card packs. The meet and greets at the end would usually get over anywhere from midnight to 2 AM, leaving us only a few hours to get back to the hotel room or friend’s house we were staying at and pass out, to get ready to do it again the next day! Tough schedule, but you do what you gotta do, right? Totally worth it. I worked with some wonderful people that I hope will be friends for a long time, and the energy at the stops was just amazing. Everyone was having a good time, excited and happy, and glad to be there. I tried to say at least a few words to every person that came through my line.

(Myself, Kimmie, and Shi being silly at the merch table while Kessie looks on judging us.)

And I even managed to get in some baking! Kessie’s mom’s birthday was a few days after we left, so I made her some cupcakes, plus some for us on the road. Hers were turtle cupcakes (devil’s food cupcakes with pecans baked on top, with caramel and chocolate ganache), and ours were simply devil’s food with chocolate ganache. We gave some to the tour team, and we were told they were inhaled. No pics since I was exhausted by the time they were finished, after the first show.

But that’s a few days gone already, and my baking fingers got itchy, so I whipped something up last night! I made this maple whipped cream with my sister ages ago, but this time I added more syrup and thought it was sooooo much better. But then, I’m a maple fiend. And maple+strawberries? Delicious! Who’d’a thunk?

Maple Whipped Cream
Adapted from JustJenn Recipes

4 cups heavy whipping cream
6 tbsp powdered sugar
6 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Pour the cream into a cold stand-mixer bowl and whip it on medium-high til it starts to thicken. Then add the powdered sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla, and whip on high til you have a nice whipped cream. Don’t overwhip or it’ll get grainy–I overdid it just a bit, but not too badly. Eh, learning experience! And it still tastes lovely.

Then take your strawberries and wash them, cut off the stems, and core them. Sit them on their flat sides and cut halfway down the strawberry in an X shape. Then put your whipped cream in a piping bag and fill from the bottom so that the cream comes through the slits. Best enjoyed on the same day as made. I topped them with disco dust and a sugar heart.


Strawberry and nutella mini cheesecakes

You know that adage, never go shopping when you’re hungry? Yeah, listen to that. Last week, I rolled out of bed and went grocery shopping without breakfast, and…well, I came home with some interesting items. One of those was a box of store-brand Nilla Wafers. Which I do love when I’m in the mood for them, but I just wasn’t feeling it this week. So, they became something even more delicious! I sat down and thought about it, and realized they would make an amazing cheesecake crust. And everyone loves cheesecake, right? (Lie to me if you must.)

Know what else everyone loves? Nutella. And strawberries, which are in season right now and looking luscious. So this recipe was begging to be made. The only trouble I’m having is not eating them all before my family gets home!

Strawberry and nutella mini cheesecakes

Adapted from Annie’s Eats

For the crust:
3/4 cup nilla wafer crumbs
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tbsp sugar

For the filling:
1 pound (16 oz, or two packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature

For the topping:
Four or five large strawberries
1 tbsp sugar
About a cup of nutella

Makes approximately 17 mini-cheesecakes

Preheat the oven to 325 F and line your cupcake pan with cute liners. Take your nilla wafer crumbs (I used a food processor to pulverize them), and mix them with your sugar and melted butter until the mixture is moist and crumbly. Then take about a tablespoonful and press it into the bottom of each liner, pressing it down hard. I used a small cup to help. Bake these for about five minutes, until solid.

While these are cooling, make your cheesecake filling. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream cheese on medium-high until fluffy. Add the sugar and mix well. Then add the vanilla and the tiniest pinch of salt and mix until incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing in between. The filling should now be about pudding consistency and easily spoonable.

Let that hang out in the mixing bowl while you make the topping. It’s simple–chop the strawberries, add them to a food processor with the sugar, and puree. The resultant mixture will be thin, but that’s all right. Spoon the strawberry puree and nutella on top of the cheesecake batter in any configuration you like (half and half, or both on all, or some of each!), and swirl with a knife or toothpick to get a pretty wave. Bake for 22 minutes, until firm, then refrigerate for four hours before serving.