Category Archives: cheesecake

Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins

Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins

There are two kinds of people: the ones who love carrot cake and the ones who don’t. I’m decidedly the former, as evidenced by posting two carrot recipes in a row. To those of the latter persuasion, let me say this: sorry, not sorry.

Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins

Where last week’s carrot cake was vegan and gluten-free, this week’s muffins are quite the opposite. Made with a carrot-flecked batter and filled with a little well of sweetened cream cheese, these Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins are a delightful addition to your Easter repertoire.

If these look familiar, it’s because they are…kind of. They’re inspired by some cream cheese-filled muffins Starbucks used to have (and maybe still does) that looked cute, but didn’t taste very good. These muffins, however, look cute *and* taste great. I should know—it took eight batches to get them just right!

Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins are simple to make, but require some special assembly. Once you’ve whisked up the carrot muffin batter, put 3 tablespoons in each well of a standard muffin pan. Next, pipe some sweetened cream cheese into the center of each well of batter. It’s about a heaping tablespoon of cream cheese per muffin, but since that’s impossible to measure while piping, I have a little trick. The wells are about 3/4 full before the cream cheese, so when I pipe it in, I watch for the batter to juuuuust reach the top of the well. It’s the perfect amount every time.

Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins

These muffins bake up in just about 20 minutes, getting some lift from a 425F start, then baking to perfection at 375F. The cream cheese will rise to the upper third of the muffins and expand a bit, which is a very good thing as far as I’m concerned. If you’d like a well that goes further into your muffins, bake them at 350F for 20 minutes. You should know, though, that if you go for the lower temperature, you’ll have flatter muffins.

That said, they’re delicious both ways. There’s no wrong way to get your carrot cake on, after all.

Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins
makes 12 muffins

Carrot Batter:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil (I use canola)
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups shredded carrots, not packed (about 3 medium carrots)

Cream Cheese:
1 8-ounce brick full-fat brick-style cream cheese
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners, or grease well. Set aside.

Make the carrot batter. In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together oil and water. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Whisk in dry ingredients in two installments, mixing just until combined. Set aside.

Fold shredded carrots into the dry ingredients. Add liquid in two installments, stirring to combine. Batter will be thick. Let batter sit 5 minutes while you prepare the cream cheese.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until it’s fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in confectioner’s sugar until combined. Load mixture into a piping bag, twist to close and snip off a corner.

Assemble muffins. Put 3 tablespoons of the carrot batter into each well of the prepared muffin tin. They will be about 2/3-3/4 full. Tap pan on the counter 5 times to release any large air bubbles. Pipe cream cheese into the center of each well until the batter reaches the top of each well (or within 1/8-inch of the top). Wet your finger and smooth down any peaks on the cream cheese to prevent burning. Tap pan 5 times on the counter again to help the cream cheese settle.

Bake muffins 5 minutes before reducing the heat to 375F for another 15-16 minutes. Muffins are ready when a toothpick inserted in the non-cream cheese section comes out clean. Let muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Friday Favorites: Peaches

Friday Favorites: Peaches

Late summer means stone fruits are out in full force, and while I won’t turn my nose up at apricots, plums and nectarines, none is more iconic than peaches! Anywhere I go right now, I seem to run into them. Peach cakes, scones, cobblers, pies—they’re inescapable, even in my own kitchen. Not that I’m complaining. Here are some of my favorite peach desserts from the archives.

Friday Favorites: Peaches

Peach Pie

It doesn’t get much more classic than peach pie! Mine is made with a just the barest hint of spice and wrapped up in a delicious whole wheat crust.

Friday Favorites: Peaches

Peach Tart

What’s easier than pie? This Peach Tart! It’s a sheet of rough puff pastry topped with a fresh peach mosaic and the tiniest amounts of sugar and butter, assembled in no time and baked to golden peachy perfection.

Friday Favorites: Peaches

Peach Crisp

And what’s even easier than a Peach Tart? Peach Crisp! This classic dessert begins with sweetened fresh peaches, gets topped up with an oaty, nutty crumble and is baked until bubbly and begging for vanilla ice cream.

Friday Favorites: Peaches

Peach Upside-Down Cake

Here, a mosaic of ripe sliced peaches are baked underneath a brown sugar batter, then inverted to reveal a sweet, sticky, summery upside-down cake.

Friday Favorites: Peaches

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake

This delicious cheesecake is completely vegan and gluten-free, and sweetened with maple syrup. It’s chilled until firm, then crowned with sliced fresh peaches and another drizzle of maple syrup. It’s non-traditional, but delicious—a no-bake dessert for everyone.

What’s your favorite thing to make with peaches? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Friday Favorites: No-Bake Recipes II

Every year I consider doing a “No-Bake Summer,” wherein I only make desserts (and other things) that don’t require cranking the oven in my already-too-hot apartment. I’ve never gone through with it though, mostly because I just really love to bake (regardless of the potential for heatstroke). That said, I have a whole new appreciation for no-bake desserts after the searing hot temperatures we had in NYC this week.

I’ve done a no-bake round-up before, but it’s been a few years. In the intervening time, I’ve added to my repertoire of creamy pies, non-traditional s’mores, puddings, and mason jar desserts. Instead of relying on ambient 350F (or so) heat to provide structure and flavor, all of these recipes rely on things like stovetop cooking (double boilers!), stiff peaks of whipped cream, coconut oil, and long chills for their deliciousness. There’s no wrong way to get your no-bake on! Here are a few of my oven-free favorites from the archives.

Friday Favorites: No-Bake Recipes II​

Chocolate Pudding

Homemade Chocolate Pudding is simpler than you may think, and takes all of fifteen minutes to whisk up. Made rich with whole milk and egg yolks and flavored with both cocoa powder and dark chocolate, this classic stovetop dessert is not to be missed!

Friday Favorites: No-Bake Recipes II​

Vegan Cheesecake (3 ways!)

Vegan cheesecakes require a bit more planning ahead than your average no-bake dessert, but they are so worth the minimal effort. These concoctions of soaked cashews, coconut oil, coconut cream, maple syrup and other delicious things come together in a blender, then firm up in the fridge. Their texture is as luxurious as any dairy cheesecake, and they are sooo delicious. Try a plain & peachy version, a decadent chocolate one, or the new chocolate hazelnut variation I posted on Wednesday. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Friday Favorites: No-Bake Recipes II​

Lazy Lemon Curd & Lemon Meringue S’mores

You’ve almost certainly had classic lemon curd, but have you tried my Lazy Lemon Curd? It couldn’t be simpler—just whisk together lemon juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk, then simmer the mixture over a double boiler until it’s luscious and lemony. My all time favorite way to use it is stacked with toasted marshmallows and graham crackers for Lemon Meringue S’mores…

Friday Favorites: No-Bake Recipes II​

Little Lemon Pie Jars

…but I also love it whirled with cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar, lightened with whipped cream and nestled onto loosely-packed graham cracker crusts.

Friday Favorites: No-Bake Recipes II​

No-Bake Strawberry Cream Pie

Creamy pies are a classic no-bake treat. Here, billowy whipped strawberry filling is layered over fresh strawberries and a puddle of ganache, all nestled in a crumbly Oreo crust. Yum!

Chocolate Mousse Pie

If berries aren’t your bag, by all means, make this No-Bake Chocolate Mousse Pie. I don’t even think I need to talk you into it, except to say “make this.” Make this.

Have you made these or any of my other no-bake recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake

It is far too hot to bake today, but that’s okay because Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake requires no baking at all.

Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake

We’re talking all the rich, creamy, irresistible texture of a classic cheesecake with none of the dairy and exactly zero reasons to crank your oven. Oh, and more deep dark chocolate-hazelnut flavor than you can shake a stick at. (What does that even mean?)

This take on vegan cheesecake is made with toasted hazelnuts for flavor and raw cashews for creamy texture. They’re soaked together overnight for maximum tenderness, then combined in a blender with coconut cream, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, salt, and—oh yeah—half a pound of melted dark chocolate. Put on the lid and then blitz-blitz-blitz until smooth.

This is the part where I get on my soapbox:

Please get yourself a good blender. You deserve a good blender. Good doesn’t necessarily mean expensive—it means a blender that actually blends things until smooth. Whether that’s a fifty year-old Oster (my parents’ amazing blender) or a Vitamix, a solid blender is crucial to vegan cheesecake success, and a million other things. I have a Ninja that I bought for $100 five years ago and it rules. Get a good blender!!!

*steps off soapbox*

Ahem…the batter is then poured over an Oreo crust—yes, Oreos are vegan!—and chilled until firm. Then it’s released from the springform and finished off with some Homemade Chocolate Shell and easy candied hazelnuts before being sliced and served. You can use a plate and fork if you’re fancy (or taking pictures) or just eat ice cold slices with your fingers like a wild animal, as I did.

Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake

I’m pretty sure that’s what hot girl summer is all about.

Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake
Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake 
makes one 9-inch cheesecake

Filling:
1 cup whole raw hazelnuts
1 cup whole raw cashews
1 14-ounce can coconut cream (not cream of coconut)
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons coconut oil (preferably refined), melted and cooled
8 ounces dark chocolate, melted

Crust:
24 Oreos (or other chocolate sandwich cookies)
5 tablespoons coconut oil or melted vegan butter

Candied Hazelnut Garnish:
1/3 cup whole raw hazelnuts
3 teaspoons granulated sugar
Homemade Chocolate Shell

The night before you want to make the cheesecake, toast and peel the hazelnuts. Place hazelnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir frequently until fragrant, 7-10 minutes. Immediately transfer hazelnuts to a clean, dry hand towel. Fold towel around the hazelnuts and then rub the towel with the palm of your hand. This will allow the hazelnut skins to loosen. This step does not have to be done perfectly.

Place peeled hazelnuts in a 3-4 cup container that has a lid. Add cashews. Cover with water. Refrigerate for 4-12 hours.

Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan with coconut oil.

Make the crust. Place Oreos in a high-powered blender and blitz until they are crumbs. Add coconut oil or melted vegan butter, and pulse until the mixture can be pinched together. Transfer crust mixture to prepared pan, and press it to the edges to form an even layer. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to set.

Very carefully wipe it out the blender with a paper towel.

Make the filling. Drain soaked hazelnuts and cashews and place them in the blender. Add half of the coconut cream (~2/3 cup), maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. Process until the mixture is smooth. Add remaining coconut cream & coconut oil, followed by melted chocolate. Continue processing until everything is fully combined and smooth.

Pour filling mixture over crust and smooth with an offset spatula. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or freeze for 1 hour).

Make the candied hazelnut garnish. Line a plate with parchment and set aside. Place hazelnuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Toast for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant and shiny. Add sugar by the teaspoon, stirring until it dissolves (it may smoke up a bit). When all sugar has dissolved, remove hazelnuts to prepared plate. Let cool completely. Place on a cutting board and give them a rough chop with a large, sharp chef’s knife.

Run a thin, flexible knife around the edge of the pan. Release the cheesecake from the springform pan, and allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Drizzle with chocolate shell, then immediately scatter on the candied hazelnuts. Slice with a large, sharp chef’s knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve.

Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for a few days. Filling may slump slightly in very hot weather.
Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake
Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake

Friday Favorites: Red Velvet

Friday Favorites: Red VelvetI professed my love for red velvet earlier this week, and this round-up is the proof! Whether it’s cake, cookies or cookie cake, I am all about this ruby red chocolate-vanilla flavor. Just in time for Valentine’s Day weekend, here are a few of my red velvet favorites from the archives.Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Marble Cupcakes

I posted these cupcakes two days ago, and I am not over them. The red velvet-swirled sour cream cupcake, the plume of two-tone cream cheese frosting—I love it all. These are positively dreamy.Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cake

You can’t beat a classic, and my red velvet cake is just that. Super moist, springy and perfectly red, this is the best of the best…unlike the photos. Did I take them in the dark?! Yikes. Looks like I need to replace those immediately, if not sooner. Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cookies

These chewy Red Velvet Cookies were one of my first posts ever! The cream cheese frosting is swapped for white chocolate chips, but please trust me when I say the flavor is all there.Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Sandwich Cookies

I made these simple and stunning Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies a couple of Oscar Nights ago and haven’t stopped thinking about them since! They’re soft and chewy like the Red Velvet Cookies above, but instead of being studded with white chocolate chips, they’re sandwiched with a swipe of cream cheese frosting.Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cookie Cake

Here I’ve taken that Red Velvet Cookie recipe, baked it in a cake pan and crowned it with cream cheese frosting. It’s a little underdone in the center for maximum cookie cake goodness!Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cut-Out Cookies

Heck yes I made little red velvet cookie Oscars! I celebrate every Oscar Night with a red velvet baked good. If you’re not a total awards show weirdo though, you can cut these into hearts for Valentine’s Day.Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cheesecake Thumbprints

Sparkly red velvet cookies with little wells of cheesecake baked in the centers? Sign me up!Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cheesecake Bars

And speaking of red velvet cheesecake things, I made these Red Velvet Cheesecake Bars for a bake sale a few years ago and they were the first things to go! With a chewy red velvet blondie base and a thick layer of creamy cheesecake, they’re absolutely irresistible.

What’s your favorite way to eat red velvet? Have you made these or any of my other red velvet recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Friday Favorites: Red Velvet