Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

I have a very fuzzy memory of having mini cheesecakes like this when I was a kid. Maybe not Oreo's, but with a Vanilla Wafer or Nilla Wafers as the crust and a raspberry or strawberry topping. Either way when requested to have cheesecake for dessert I obliged. 

Cheesecake is great! But, and there is a but, it is super rich and sometimes a bit much to take on as a dessert. Therefore these "cupcake" cheesecakes are a great way to serve it without having to try and cut the perfect slice. Plus, one whole cookie acts as the base and saves loads of time and effort! Gotta love short cuts! 

Since Kraft have taken over Cadbury they have made Oreo Cadbury chocolate bars and at Easter we get Oreo Eggs - since it's that time of year I added these on top as a decoration! If it's not Easter add on a mini Oreo! Remember any sandwich cookie/biscuit would do as a base and the cheesecake flavors are endless! So, be creative and bake your favorite mini cheesecake, but to start this is how I made these! 

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

makes 15
21 Chocolate Creme Cookies
455g full fat cream cheese
200g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temp
250ml sour cream
pinch of salt 

Heat the oven to 135C/275F and line a muffin tin with liners and place a whole cookie at the bottom of each liner. Beat the cream cheese until soft before gradually adding the sugar. Once combined add the vanilla and mix. Gently beat the eggs together in a bowl before gradually adding to the cream cheese mixture, scraping down the bowl as needed. Then add the sour cream and salt and beat. Chop up the remaining cookies, which should be 6 cookies, fold into the cream cheese mixture. Using a medium sized ice cream scoop fill the muffin liners with the cheesecake mixture. Bake for 22 minutes rotating the tins half way through baking. Filling will still be a bit wobbly, but should be slightly firm and colored on top. Leave to cool completely before placing in the fridge over night or for a minimum of 4 hours. 

Chocolate Glaze (optional)

170g of chocolate, mix of milk and dark or one or the other, broken up 
140ml double cream 

In a double broiler melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. When the chocolate is almost melted remove from the heat and slowly add the double cream mixing in quick small circles with a whisk, until the mixture comes together and is smooth and shiny.

To Finish: Top the chilled cheesecakes with a tablespoon of the glaze and gently spread with the back of the spoon. Top with chocolate eggs or cookie or nothing and serve! 

Cookies and Cream is not just an ice cream flavor! These mini cheesecakes are just the right portion size and the cookie gives a nice texture to the creamy cheesecake, great for dessert or afternoon treat! 

* This is NOT a sponsored post. All views and opinions are my own. Please see my contact/policy page above for more information. Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart. 

* I linked this post up with Treat Petite hosted by The Baking Explorer and Cakeyboi 

Oat Crumble

This is a short and sweet post sharing how to make oat crumble for a number of different bakes and treats! I would use this on top of yogurt, ice cream, and custard as well as muffins! Will add a kick to any breakfast cereal and of course it's a different type of crumble for fruit crumbles. My girls were eating it as is!

Oat Crumble

110g salted butter, cold and cubed
110g oats
110g plain flour
110g dark muscovado sugar

Place all ingredients in a bowl and like if you were making a pastry rub between your fingers until it resembles bread crumbs. Spread over a prepared baking sheet (lined) and place in the freezer for at least 10 minutes before baking in a preheated oven at 180C for 10-15 minutes.
Let it cool before breaking up.

Then use as you want! Feel free to add other spices or ingredients like nuts. Also adjust the amounts to how much you want or need! Keeps for at least two weeks if stored in an airtight container.

Stay tuned for the recipe I used this Oat Crumble on!

Mountain Berry & Desert Spice by Sumayya Usmani {book review}

Pakistan is one of those countries that intrigues me. I have never visited myself, but it sounds like a place of mystery and enchantment and I would love to go one day. Sumayya Usmani is based in the UK, but grew up in Pakistan, and has written an award-winning book Summers Under The Tamarind Tree. Following the success of that book she has written a second one titled Mountain Berry & Desert Spice: Sweet inspirations from the Hunza Valley to the Arabian Sea, which is the book we are here to discuss and it's out now!

There was a point when I first started this blog that I did a lot of research on sweets and treats from countries around the world and it's still something that intrigues me. Sumayya gives us a collection of great recipes inspired by family recipes and from travels across Pakistan. I read this book cover to cover and with so much choice I'm not sure what I will try first!

The "Key ingredients and techniques" chapter is very useful in knowing where to source or how to make  key things used in the following recipes. The majority of the ingredients I have heard of and/or used before, but a few of them are completely new to me and that gets me excited as I love trying new things! The following chapters are full of amazing sweet recipes full of flavor and the recipes listed below are the ones I would definitely get started with!

Sweet Vermicelli Pudding - with black cardamom and vanilla
Sweet Parathas - filled with date, walnut, and milk fudge
Bramble Gulgulay aka blackberry doughnuts
Gajrela - carrot rice pudding
Rabri kulfi sticks - with honey, cardamom, and bay leaf
Dar ni puri - sweet bread filled with channa daal and candied peel.
Sohan saffron honey caramels - with rose water, pistachio and almonds
Pakistani jalebi - spiralled fermented doughnuts in turmeric-infused syrup
Semolina halva ladoos - with buckwheat groats, pine nuts, aniseed and coconut.
Spiced apple samosas
Chitrali rishiki - pancakes with mulberry syrup
Mulberry and cherry fruit leather with crushed walnuts and pistachios
Fresh curd burutz cheese with walnuts, apricots, figs, and honey
Pakwan - wheat flour and jaggery rolls with aniseed.
Afghani gosh-e-fil - elephant ear-shaped fried pastry with ground pistachio and cardamom
Badami kulcha - almond and cardamom meringues
Khanfaroush - spiced saffron crumpets with honey
Meva naan - sweet bread with dried fruit
Saffron-infused zaria - sweet rice with nuts, coconut, candied fruit and khoya
Dadi's rasyawal pudding - cane sugar molasses rice pudding
Karachi halva - with pumpkin seeds and cashews

This is only a short list of what this book has to offer! If you have ever been curious about sweet treats in other parts of the world this book is for you! It's also for you if you just have a sweet tooth and need a change from your chocolate bar or bag of pick n' mix! And last but not least it's for those of you who have tasted and experience sweets from Pakistan, now you can create your favorite treats in the comfort of your own home!

*I was given a copy of Mountain Berry & Desert Spice by Sumayya Usmani to review by the publisher, Frances Lincoln. Retails at £20 and available now from your local book retailers or online! All opinions are my own, I was not given any other compensation nor was I asked to give a positive review, please see my contact/policy page for more information.

Caramel Biscuit Fudge aka Twix Fudge

The blogging world has changed. Years ago people followed and read blogs all the time, but not any more. First because the world wide web is saturated with blogs. Blogs of fashion and beauty, food and parenting, gaming and movies the topics are endless. Then we have the internet aka social media outlets feeding our need for instant gratification with short videos showing us how to make ... well anything and everything!

Of course I am in the foodie world so my social media channels are full of short videos making fun recipes and one of the things that keeps showing up is fudge. How to make fudge with only 4 ingredients or by just using this or that! So, I thought I would give a few of these recipes a try. See if these simple recipes are that simple and to see if they taste like the fudge that takes forever......

So, I started with this recipe from Sally's Candy Addiction by Sally McKinney and Sally's Baking Addiction blog - One of the blogs I follow like a groupie.

Caramel Biscuit Fudge

1 can of sweetened condensed milk (from 14 oz can)
2 tablespoons caramel sauce
546g white chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla
⅛ teaspoon salt
140g Twix Bites

Line 8-by-8-inch pan with foil, leaving overhang on sides to remove fudge later.
In medium saucepan over medium heat, combine condensed milk, caramel and white chocolate. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat before stirring in vanilla and salt. Cool mixture 10 minutes.
Slowly and carefully fold in chopped Twix bars (to keep chocolate swirl intact). Pour and spread mixture into prepared pan. Cover pan with foil and refrigerate 4 hours or store at room temperature overnight.
Remove fudge from pan using foil as handles. Use sharp knife to cut fudge into 64 1-inch squares (if fudge has been refrigerated longer than 4 hours, let fudge sit at room temperature 20 minutes before cutting).

* for more delicious recipes like this check out Sally's blog (link above) and if you want to know more about her book Sally's Candy Addiction you can check out my review here

Have Your Cake and Eat It by Mich Turner {book review}

It's an interesting phrase "have your cake and eat it" - generally one hears the phrase being said as "You can't have your cake and eat it too." Meaning that life isn't perfect; that sometimes you get one thing, but that means you miss out on something else. You can't have both!

Why can't we have both, why can't we have our cake and to eat it too? Mich Turner probably asked the same question and she is telling us that we can have our cake and to eat it! 

Mich is not only a baker, cake decorator, and author she has a degree in food science and a founder of a company! She's done it all and she's done it again with her latest title Have Your Cake and Eat It! A book full of nutritious, delicious recipes for healthier, everyday baking. 

When we bake at home we can control what is put in it and Mich shows us how best to do that! I will get to all the delicious cakes and bakes recipes, but for just a moment I want to point out that the introduction, ingredients, and dos and don'ts chapters are great because Mich not only tells what we are going to need, but educates us on the why and how of baking! It's what turns it from a good baking book to an amazing one! 

Now to all the glorious recipes Mich gives us. First chapter Muffins, Cupcakes, & Buns - The easiest of all bakes. The next chapter Biscuits and Cookies - my favorite type of bake because they are easy to make and they come in all sort of varieties: crispy, crunchy, soft, gooey .... Bars & Flapjacks come next my second favorite type of bake! Finally we get to the Cake chapter the longest and most extensive chapter followed by the last chapter on Meringues! 

My list of recipes to try: 

Date, Banana, & Peanut Butter Muffins 
Raspberry, Rose, & Pistachio Cupcakes
Pumpkin Scones
Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Party Rings
Almond & Cranberry Biscotti 
Almond Toscaner
Date & Apple Squares
Salted Caramel Pumpkin Brownies
Strawberry & Walnut Flapjacks
Pumpkin & Carrot Bars
Queen Elizabeth Date Cake
Citrus Coconut Layered Cake 
Soured Cream Vanilla & Blueberry Cake
Layered Chocolate Orange Cake
Lemon Meringue Chiffon
Lemon, Pistachio, & Honey Loaf Cake
Banana, Coconut, & Caramel Pavlova
Raspberry & Rose Meringues

*I was given a copy of Have Your Cake and Eat It by Mich Turner  to review by the publisher, jacqui small. Retails at £22 and available now from your local book retailers or online! All opinions are my own, I was not given any other compensation nor was I asked to give a positive review, please see my contact/policy page for more information.

Blueberry Scones

Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: I wonder if asking Ms. Chase to dance would...
Giles: For God's sake, man, she's 18, and you have the emotional maturity of a blueberry scone. Just have at it, would you, and stop fluttering about. 
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer - season 3 episode 20

I started watching Buffy when I was in high school and I was obsessed with it! My friend and I would call each other during the commercials for any "OMG" moments. We related to all the teenage angst and felt we were a part of the Scooby Gang.

Re-watching it now I am still taken into all the angst, but with less "OMG" moments not just because I have seen it before, but because I have more life experience. Now it's more like "Yup that's how it happens, that's life." Which is why it's such a great show.

Watching Buffy has been a trip down memory lane and when I decide to watch it again in like 20 years I am sure I will see it differently once again. Sometimes long for the days of having the emotional maturity of a blueberry scone, but mostly I'm glad those days are over.

Blueberry Scones

150g dried blueberries
orange juice, for soaking
150g cold unsalted butter
500g self-raising flour , plus a little extra for dusting
2 level teaspoons baking powder
2 heaped teaspoons caster sugar
pinch of salt
2 large free-range eggs
4 tablespoons milk , plus a little extra for brushing

A couple of hours or so before you start place the dried fruit into a bowl and pour over just enough orange juice to cover. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Put the butter, flour, baking powder, sugar, and a pinch of salt into a big bowl and using your (clean) fingers to gently rub the butter into the flour until just combined. The less it's touched the more crumbly it will be.
Make a well in the middle of the dough, add the eggs and milk, and gently mix with a spatula or spoon. Drain the soaked blueberries and fold into the dough. If needed add a little bit of milk, until it forms a soft, dry dough. It should be bit scruffy, the opposite of bread dough which is usually smooth and neat.
Sprinkle a little flour over the top of the scruffy dough and leave in a bowl (covered with with cling film) in the fridge for 15 minutes.
When the time is up roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it's about 2-3cm thick. Then with a 6cm round cutter or something with about that diameter cut out circles from the dough. Place them upside down on a baking sheet. Re-roll the rest of the dough and cut out as many as you can. Brush the top with either melted butter or milk.
Bake for 12-15 minutes. They will be risen and golden on top! Leave them to cool before serving with clotted cream and jam!

Scones are one of the most controversial afternoon treats here in England; from how they are pronounced and what gets put on first the cream or the jam? I myself pronounce scone like cone with an 's' and I like my cream first then the jam. 

*recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver's Crumbliest Scone recipe - found in Jamie's Great Britain

Banana and Walnut Muffins

No one ever eats a whole bunch of bananas. That's why I generally only buy 3 at a time, one for me and one each for my little people. I could continue down the path of going on about how these muffins are a great way to use up old bananas, but to be honest I bought discounted already brown bananas just so I could make these muffins! 

Actually I had a bag of walnuts in my cupboard - so this time it wasn't the bananas at all! Except for the muffins. The muffins are about the bananas. 

Banana and Walnut Muffins

3-4 ripe bananas, smashed
75g melted butter
190g sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
200g flour
100g walnuts, chopped up

Heat the oven 180C. Mix the smashed bananas and butter together. Mix in sugar, egg and vanilla. Sprinkle in baking powder and salt and mix. Slowly add flour, blending after each addition. Fold in the walnuts and scoop the batter into the muffin pan, lined. Bake 18-25 minutes. 

These muffins are super easy to make! They actually don't take all that long in the oven and can easily be made upon waking up on one lazy weekend morning! 


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