Browsing articles from "January, 2012"
Jan 31, 2012

Recipe for: Cheesecake Heart Pops

From the kitchen of: Isabel Canfield
Total time:
takes 25 min to prep the cheesecake, 40 min to bake and refrigerate overnight to set
About 75 hearts (depending on stencil)

Valentine’s day is just around the corner. I know, don’t remind me. Even I have no idea what to get Jared yet. But I do know my guy and he’d be happy with anything sweet and Manchester United related. Haha. Since I can’t afford a $100 jersey this time, I think I’ll satisfy his sweet tooth instead. Jared absolutely loves cheesecake. So, I thought of a creative way to show my love for him through these homemade cheesecake heart pops. Cake pops have been the craze lately, but I sometimes feel they’re too dense and overly sweet for my taste. Using cheesecake instead was different and in my opinion, tastier. In my journey to make cheesecake heart pops for the first time, I’ve learn some valuable lessons that can help you in the process:

1. The cutouts work well with or without a graham cracker crust. I wasn’t sure if the stencil would cut through the crust okay. It did.
2. Don’t try to dip hearts in the melted candy because it will fall apart. Believe me. I almost had a meltdown. See photo:

3. Don’t add too much concentrated paste to the melted candy or else the texture firms up too much.
4. You will end up with a lot of unused cheesecake, just ball them up. They’re good in any shape or form.
5. Last but not least, the freezer is your friend. Pop the cheesecake back in if it gets to soft to cut out the hearts.

With these tips and a damn good cheesecake recipe, I hope you enjoy them as much as Jared did and my pregnant sister who devoured 7 pops in less than 5 seconds. A world record.

1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers (about 20 crackers)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

3 (8oz.) packages cream cheese
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
3 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup vanilla candy melts
Wilton concentrated paste icing color (creamy peach)
75-ish lollipop sticks

1. Prepare the graham cracker crust.
In a small bowl, combine graham crackers with sugar and melted butter with a fork. Using a 10×15 rectangular pan, form the crust on one half of the pan. Use your fingers and the palm of your hand to flatten the crust. Bake in a preheated 325° oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

After baking, the crust gets a little toasted.

2. Prepare cheesecake filling. In a large bowl, cream together sugar, flour and cream cheese until light and fluffy with an electric mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well with each addition on medium speed. Finish the filling by adding the sour cream, vanilla and lemon juice on low speed.

3. Bake cheesecake. Pour the cheesecake filling over the entire pan. Carefully spread the cheesecake evenly using a spatula. Bake in a preheated 300° oven for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to set.

After it’s been baked, the coloring doesn’t really change. Mine cooked at exactly 40 minutes, but check yours at 35 minutes. Should be fairly firm, but can wiggly slightly. It will continue to cook after you’ve removed it from the oven.

4. Stencil out hearts. Before you use a small heart-shaped stencil to cut out the hearts, place the cheesecake in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up. This will help cut out the hearts easier. After pressing out 2-3 hearts, you’ll need to rinse the stencil under hot water. This will help cut into the cheesecake better. If the cheesecake gets too soft, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes until it firms up again.

5. Microwave candy melts and add sticks to the hearts. In a microwaveable bowl, melt the candy melts according to the directions on the back. I heated mine at 50% power for intervals of 1 minute. Dip the end of the stick into the melted candy. And then gently twist the stick into the heart. You’ll need to be very gentle to prevent the heart from breaking. Twisting the stick instead of just stabbing the stick into the heart will also help.

6. Drizzle pink candy melt. With the remainder of the melted candy, add a dab of concentrated paste using a toothpick. A little of the paste goes a long away. Using a spatula, mix the paste with the melted candy to your desired color. Pour the melted candy into the corner of a zip lock bag and cut a tiny tiny hole in the corner of the bag. Drizzle the pink candy over the top. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve the pops.

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Jan 30, 2012

Winner of the Sucre & Spice Wooden Utensils is…

Sara H! Lucky number 1 is the winner of the customized wooden utensils provided by Sucre & Spice. Congratulations, Sara! Thank you so much for entering this giveaway. Sara wrote: “I’d love a set of the chevron stripes! How sweet! I could use them at my wedding reception :)” I’ll be sending you an email later today. These utensils would be perfect for your wedding reception. Thanks for being a Pretty Tasty Things reader!

I’d also like to thank all the other contestants for following Pretty Tasty Things and entering our giveaway. Please continue to read Pretty Tasty Things because they’ll be more tasty giveaways in the near future. If you didn’t win, you should still check out Sucre & Spice because their customized wooden utensils are very affordable and awesome. Special thanks to Brooke!

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Jan 25, 2012

Recipe for: Egg and Avocado Toast

FROM THE KITCHEN OF: Isabel Canfield
TOTAL TIME: 20 min to prep
2 pieces of toast

Eating perfectly cooked eggs with slices of freshly ripened avocados has got to be one of my favorite things in this world to eat. I don’t know where this combination originated from, but I can certainly eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This dressed-up toast is my go-to meal for Jared and me if all we have in the kitchen is cheese, eggs, bread and avocados. With these four main ingredients, you can whip up a very hearty meal full of protein in less than half an hour. And just so you know, it does take a little bit of practice to perfect an over-medium egg, so don’t fret if you mess it up the first time. In the end, you’ll end up mixing up the cooked egg anyway. This toast may be a little messy to eat, but let me assure you that it will be devoured in minutes.

2 slices of Artisan bread (Focaccia)
fontina cheese
1/2 avocado, sliced
2 eggs
1 teaspoons butter
salt + pepper

1. Slice bread. Choose a good artisan bread. I love fresh baked focaccia, while Jared loves multigrain. Slice half-inch-thick slices of bread and add the slices of fontina cheese to cover the surface. Set aside. (I doubled this recipe since I made some for Jared, of course.)

2. Cook over-medium eggs. In a small omelet pan, heat about 1 teaspoon of butter over medium temperature. When the butter has melted and tiny bubbles form, gently crack two eggs into the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook this side of the egg for a minute or so. You’ll know it’s time to flip them over when the clear part of the egg has turned white. With a rubber spatula, separate the two eggs. Tilt the pan and gently slide the spatula underneath the egg. Carefully flip it over. Cook the other side for an additional 30 seconds for over-medium eggs.

3. Toast bread and slice avocados. While you’re frying the eggs, place the bread with fontina cheese under a low broiler in the oven. The broiler gets hot, so keep an eye on it to prevent burning. At this point, slice an avocado in half and remove the seed with a knife. Take a spoon and scoop out the avocado from the skin. Lay the avocado flat on a plate and slice into long pieces.

4. Assemble toast. As soon as the eggs are to your liking, remove from pan and place in a bowl. Using a fork and knife, dice and mix the eggs together. Remove the toast from the oven and place the slices of avocados over the melted cheese. Next, add the “scrambled” eggs over the avocado. Serve hot and eat immediately.

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Jan 23, 2012

Customized Wooden Utensils Giveaway!

Do you see those wooden spoons in the ice cream bowls? Well, you have an opportunity to win these awesome customized wooden utensils designed by Brooke Pratt of Sucre & Spice for your next event!

These wooden utensils are an eco-friendly alternative to plastic, and they have so much more character! They’re available in a wide selection of colors and designs, and they’re completely customizable. Wooden party utensils by Sucre & Spice have been blogged and featured by Foodista, The Cupcake Project, A Subtle Revelry and Sweet Paul Magazine. Rumor has it, her utensils might also appear in Martha Stewart Magazine in May!

Brooke is giving away a lucky Pretty Tasty Things reader 2 packages of 20 utensils, 40 total! You even get to choose the design from the five available selections and pick the the type of utensils you would want—ice cream spoon, full size fork or full size spoon.

To be eligible to win 2 packages of 20 utensils (40 total), all you have to do is:

LEAVE A COMMENT on this post indicating what design is your favorite and
tell us what you would use these utensils for!
The five available designs are: stripes, chevron, ombre, confetti and happy birthday

Also, don’t forget to like my Facebook page, as well as, checking out Sucre & Spice’s Etsy shop!

You must leave a comment in order to be eligible to win the customized wooden utensils! Deadline to enter is 11:59 p.m. EST on Friday, January 27. Please one entry per person. A random winner will be chosen and announced on Monday, January 30. Good luck! Please make sure you leave your correct email address in the email field so we can contact you if you won.

How amazing is this giveaway?! These utensils can certainly be used for crafty food gifts, intimate dinner parties, small wedding favors, holder for appetizers, practically anything. Please share this giveaway with your friends and family. Spread the word! A special, special thanks to Brooke from Sucre & Spice for helping me coordinate this giveaway. Thank you so much, Brooke! So readers, don’t forget to leave a comment!!

In case you don’t win, don’t forget to check out Brooke’s Etsy shop and blog and purchase some wooden utensils of your very own.

*Giveaway is closed. No longer accepting entries. Thanks all!*

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Jan 19, 2012

Recipe for: Fried Panko Artichoke Hearts with a Lemon and Mayo Sauce

FROM THE KITCHEN OF: Isabel Canfield
TOTAL TIME: 20 min to prep, 10 min to fry
3-4 servings

I had a nice lunch date with my sisters a few weeks ago at The Mill on MacArthur in Northside. It’s one of my favorite restaurants in our side of town. I’ve been there several times and haven’t been disappointed yet. One of my sisters ordered their artichoke po’ boy and, of course, I had a bite. I immediately fell head-over-heels in love with the concept of breaded artichoke hearts. I’ve never even seen it on television or in any of my cookbooks. The breading was golden brown and super crispy. The artichoke heart was tender and had a hint of the tangy brine it was soaked in. I decide to try to recreate these at home and serve them as an appetizer with a very simple lemon and mayo sauce. There’s really nothing to it.

1 can artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups panko
2 eggs, scrambled
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 lemon, squeezed
salt + pepper
vegetable oil for frying

1. Prepare the dipping sauce. In a small bowl, combine mayo, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Prep artichoke hearts. Remove the liquid from the can by pouring the artichoke hearts in a colander. After most of the liquid has been drained, transfer the hearts on a plate lined with 2 paper towels. Just be careful when handling the artichoke hearts. You don’t want to break them apart. Pat them dry and allow them to continue to air dry for 15 minutes or so.

3. Coat the artichoke hearts. First, heat a large cooking pot on medium high heat with vegetable oil about 1-inch deep. While the oil is heating, coat the artichoke hearts. Gather three small bowls. Add flour to the first, 2 eggs scrambled with salt and pepper to the second and panko bread to the third. Take an artichoke heart and lightly coat it in the flour, dip it in the egg and then cover with the panko bread. Repeat this process for all the artichoke hearts and set aside.

4. Fry the artichoke hearts. When the temperature of the oil is hot enough, carefully drop about 7-8 artichokes at a time. They should sizzle and turn golden brown almost immediately. Each side probably takes 30-45 seconds so keep an eye on them. Remove the fried hearts from oil and place on a paper-lined plate. Season the hearts immediately with salt and pepper. Serve with the lemon and mayo sauce.

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