Almost Famous

I’m so excited! I’ve gotten so many new views since I posted my mini cheesecakes on Foodgawker last week. Over 600 blog views just that day, and almost a thousand Foodgawker views! I can’t believe it. The fact that I’m even getting my submissions accepted is amazing – it means my photography is getting better! I know when I started this blog last year my pictures were awful. I still have a lot of room for improvement, of course, but I’m very happy!

I baked these with a friend last week. They were originally supposed to be cookies, but they came out a little more like cake than I expected. They were absolutely delicious, but I think to call them “cookies” would be a little misleading.

Chai Applesauce Cupcake Tops
Makes 2-3 dozen. Adapted from here.

Ingredients
for the cupcake tops
2 1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 bag chai tea
1 C brown sugar
1 stick butter
1 egg
1 C + 2 Tbsp applesauce
for the frosting
2 Tbsp butter
2 bags chai tea
2 Tbsp boiling water
2 Tbsp milk
dash cinnamon
dash nutmeg
2-3 C powdered sugar

Instructions
1.
Preheat oven to 325F. Grease cookie sheet.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, spices, and tea (crush a bit before opening the bag).
3. In another bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Stir in egg applesauce.
4. Slowly pour flour mixture into applesauce mixture and mix well.
5. Drop spoonfuls onto cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes, until edges are brown. Let cool completely.
6. When cookies/cupcake tops are almost cool, begin the frosting by browning the butter in a small saucepan.
7. While butter is browning, steep tea bags in water.
8. In a medium bowl combine butter, tea, milk, and spices. Slowly add powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached, adding more milk if necessary.
9. Coat cookies with a thin layer of frosting.

My Super Fancy Dinner Party

Sorry for the super late post! I’ve been busy doing so many fun and exciting things, like going to a taping of The Daily Show, seeing Batman, and going to the beach!

Anyway last weekend I had a Super Fancy Dinner Party. With paper plates because I had five people over and only four plates. I went to this super fancy grocery store, Eataly, right around the corner from my apartment, and got all sorts of great, overpriced ingredients.

Fresh pasta…

Ripe eggplants…

And I made…

Eggplant Parmesan
Serves 6. Original recipe here.

Ingredients
2 medium eggplants, sliced about a half inch thick
2 eggs, beaten
breadcrumbs seasoned with basil and oregano
2 bottles tomato sauce
~1/2 C grated parmigiano reggiano
~8 oz shredded mozzarella

Instructions
1.
Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Dip each side of the eggplant slices in the eggs, then coat thoroughly in breadcrumbs. Bake for 5 minutes on each side. (You may have to do this in several batches – don’t stack slices on top of each other!)
3. Spread tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Place down a layer of eggplant slices, and sprinkle with both cheeses. Add another layer of sauce, eggplant, and cheese, continuing until you’ve used all the eggplant. Top the final layer with sauce and cheese.
4. Bake for 35 minutes. Serve on top of pasta.

Now, if you know me at all, you know I couldn’t stop there. Obviously I made dessert.

How delicious do those look? I recently got a super cool mini cheesecake pan from Norpro, which I’ve been dying to use. It’s funny – I think a lot of people think cheesecake is really difficult to make, but these were so easy. The only thing is you really can’t do it without a mixer – you’ll never smooth out all the chunks.

Mini Lemon Cheesecakes
Makes 12. Adapted from here.

Ingredients
for the crust
7 honey graham crackers
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp sugar
for the filling
16 oz low fat cream cheese
2 eggs
1/2 C sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Instructions
1. 
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease cheesecake pan.
2. Crush graham crackers, either by hand or in a food processor. Mix with butter and sugar.
3. Divide crust between wells of pan (about 1.5 Tbsp each). Press down evenly in each well – I used a shot glass to help since it’s a little hard with your fingers.
4. Bake crusts for 10 min. While they cool, begin the filling.
5. Thoroughly mix cream cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice, using either an electric mixer or a food processor.
6. Fill each well about to the top and bake for 15 minutes.
7. Remove from oven and let cool. Then remove cakes from pan and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
8. Garnish with berries and dark chocolate to serve.

PieCake

It’s funny that my blog is called Square Root of Pie but I don’t actually have an recipes for pie on here. I made an apple pie once, but it was before I started the blog. I actually really wanted to bake a pie for July 4, but I ended up taking the bus to Pittsburgh for the holiday so I wasn’t about to hold a pie in my lap for eight hours.

I did this instead, and I’m really proud of it. The recipe is completely my own, and it came out really good! I’ve had apple pie with cheddar cheese once or twice, and although I was definitely afraid to taste it the first time, it’s actually really great! Feel free to use as much or as little as you want though – I actually only put the cheese on half because I knew some people probably wouldn’t want it.

Apple Pie Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting
Makes one dozen.

Ingredients
for the cupcakes
1 C flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 C sugar
3 Tbsp butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 C applesauce
1 Tbsp lemon juice
shredded sharp cheddar (optional)
for the filling
1 granny smith apple, peeled and diced (about 1 C)
1 Tbsp brown sugar (not packed)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
for the frosting
1/3 C brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 Tbsp butter
dash cinnamon
2 Tbsp milk
1 C powdered sugar

Instructions
1.
 Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cupcake tin with paper liners. (I used silicone pans, but the cake was so moist that it was actually a bit difficult to remove them from the pans without them falling appart! I definitely recommend the paper.)
2.
Prepare the filling. In a small bowl, toss the diced apples with cinnamon and brown sugar. Set aside.
3. For the cake, in a medium bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
4. In another bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add the egg, vanilla, applesauce, and  lemon juice.
5. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Fill cupcake wells about 2/3 full and top with spoonfuls of the pie filling.
6. Bake 18-20 minutes. If using, top with cheddar around the 12 minute mark.
7. When cupcakes are almost cool, begin frosting by heating butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly.
8. Add the milk and let boil until it thickens. Remove from heat and add sugar. Frost a *thin* layer on the cupcakes – the frosting is very sweet!

Do(ugh)nuts

Do you spell it “doughnut” or “donut”? Doesn’t matter. Either way, I made some.

I’ve recently become obsessed with Fab.com. A little while ago I bought a few new baking pans from a sale Norpro was having there – a square cupcake pan, a mini cheesecake pan, and, yes, a mini doughnut pan. I am in love.

Mini Mocha Doughnuts
Makes two dozen.

Ingredients
for the doughnuts
1 1/2 C flour
1/3 C cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp coffee grounds
2 eggs
2/3 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C + 2 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp oil
for the icing
1 C powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp hot coffee

Instructions
1.
 Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly grease your doughnut pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cocoa, and coffee. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, mix eggs, sugar, vanilla, milk, and oil.
4. Pour wet into dry and mix until a thick batter forms.
5. Fill the pan 2/3 full and bake 8 min.
6. Once doughnuts are cool, stir coffee into powdered sugar in a small bowl. Dip the tops of the doughnuts in the glaze. Top with chocolate sprinkles if desired.

These are teeny tiny, but very dense.