Cookies and Cream Cheesecake

BLOG OVERLAP FROM DEAR COUNTRY MOUSE

Dear Country Mouse,

Happy September to you!

I indulged at the food truck and made this dreamy cookies and cream cheesecake. The best part was that I forgot I had made it, went into work the next day, opened the back refrigerator and POP, there it was un-sprung from the pan with just the one slice cut out of it. Somehow the surprise of it gave the cake an extra skip of charm.

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Anyway, I thought I’d tuck the recipe here so that if you’re feeling cheese-cake-y you don’t have to search too far : )

COOKIES AND CREAM CHEESECAKE

FILLING:

Whip in a large bowl until smooth:
16 oz cream cheese (letting it warm first to room temperature makes it easiest)

Add to the cream cheese and continue to whip:
1 + 1/3 cups white sugar

Add and continue to whip:
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt

Add and continue to whip:
2 cups sour cream

Add and mix but try to keep some chucks:
1 + 1/2 cups Oreo style cookies (I use Newman O’s) broken into pieces. 

Add one at a time and mix until everything is combined:
4 eggs

CRUST:

Remove the cream from 2 cups of Oreo style cookies. 
Pulse the cookies in a food processor until they are crumbs. 
Add 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil and pulse again. 
Add water until the mixture holds together (about 1 tablespoon).

Press into a buttered 10 inch spring form pan. Fill with the cream cheese filling and top with half a cup of cookies.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 24 minutes or until the center is only slightly jiggly. 

Alright lovely, I miss you and hope to hear from you soon!

Cheers,
City Mouse

The BIRTHDAY BOOK IS DONE!!!

At long last I am actually writing this post. I have dreamed about this for almost as many years as I have been authoring this blog. It is with great satisfaction I can finally say–and mean it–The birthday book is done! 
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I have told my husband and the kids so many times “the birthday book is done” that it started to loose meaning. Draft after draft, after frustrating small-tweaks-here-and-there draft, it is really truly completely, no-more-to-do done. I invite you to to pop some champagne for me… no not really, I can do that myself, but geez luize, it is good to put this one on the shelf and say fini! 
crafts, chidren, homeschool, birthdays
It was a project my good friend Robin and I started back when the kids were little. We traveled through so many stages of our lives and I have lived in five houses since we started. I guess I like to move! Or it has just taken a long time and finding the place that is home takes a long time too. 
But anyway, enough about that, here are some of my favorite images from the book:

Filled to the brim with step-by-step instructions for making original gifts, favors, cakes, wrapping, decorations and games, BIRTHDAYS: HANDMADE, HOMEMADE is interwoven with stories, photographs, illustrations and anecdotes. We invite readers to pull up a chair, pour a cup of tea and spend the afternoon making and creating. Our goal is to offer inspiration on how to make a birthday handmade, homemade and your very own.
Readers will love the creative ideas that make this book so personal and tangible. Projects range from fast and easy . . . Dinosaurs in real eggshells, to more timely and in depth . . . Dining table forts. Young parents and do-it-yourself enthusiasts will find endless help onhow to prepare and execute a homemade birthday party.
At a time when it seems like families are trying to take back just a bit of their own and blogs hum with self-reliant know-how, this book is a great jumping-off point for those aiming to leave commercialism behind and bring it all back to the ones they love. 
Birthdays: Handmade, Homemade is available online. 
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Hope everyone is enjoying summer!
                                   

                                              Cheers~
                                                         Marica

P.S. I have one copy to give away, so if you live in the United States and would like to enter for a chance to win, leave a comment below. I’ll pick a name at random and post a winner Sunday July 23rd.

Coconut Cream Pie, but no cream…

A couple of days ago I made a coconut cream pie, and it was exactly that, a “coconut cream” pie.
I had bought two cans of coconut cream from Trader Joe’s, the thick creamy kind, planning to
make chicken marsala, but instead they became a most decadent pie… 

Coconut Cream Pie

Start by preparing a crust. I used the crust recipe from this post
except I used an egg instead of the water… If too dry, add a few drops of water at a time. 
Recipe from The Blue Heron Ranch Cookbook
Roll out the crust, place in a buttered pie pan, poke a few holes with a fork so the crust
doesn’t bubble then bake at 375 degrees until done, 15-20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

On a dry pan place:
2/3 cup dry shredded coconut 
Bake until golden, maybe 6-8 minutes?? I didn’t time it…
Spread half of the coconut over the bottom of the pie crust
and save the rest for the top of the pie.

Filling
Combine in a medium size heavy pan
and stir until smooth:
5 egg yolks (save whites for this recipe…)
2/3 cups raw sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
pinch salt
2 + 1/2 cups thick coconut cream 
(I used Trader Joe’s canned coconut cream)
Place over medium heat and cook, stirring CONSTANTLY until thick.
Remove from heat, and add, stirring until smooth:
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
3 tablespoons butter sliced into piece

Pour immediately into the crust and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

Cool in the refrigerator for at least several hours. 

The filling for this pie is based off of the recipe for Vanilla Cream Pie in the Joy of Cooking.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!!
                                      
                                                                 ~ Marica

Sunflower Seed Butter Cookies…

Today’s been dark and rainy, definitely cookie baking weather. Since I can’t eat peanut butter I am always trying other butter cookies. These came out particularly nicely; chewy, flavorful, a touch too sweet, but hey, they are cookies.
sunflower seed butter cookies, cookie recipe, sunflower seed butter cookie recipe, portland based blog
Sunflower Seed Butter Cookies:
 In a medium bowl mix:
1/2 cup butter soft
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 sunflower seed butter
2 eggs
Add:
1 + 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Bake 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
P.S. I didn’t add it to mine, but I’m sure some sort of citrus zest would be wonderful! 
                                                     Hope you all are well!!
                                                               ~ Marica
      

Easter Sunday…

Another excuse to make unearthly large amounts of decadent, overly rich food…
Such as Easter Pie which contains so much cheese and eggs 
that I’m not sure how it all fits into the pie crust… 
 So many eggs I ended up counting. Yesterday cost some hens approximately 
eighty plus eggs; thirty-six were dyed and hid, but the rest became an array 
of baked goods that left my stomach undoubtedly a bit too full…
 But isn’t that what it’s all about…?
 The beauty of a spring feast…
Deep commitment to not taking it lightly…
Depth in decadence… 
Hope you had a lovely early spring weekend…
                                                              Cheers ~ Marica
P.S. My favorite pie crust recipe goes:
Pie Crust
Mix in a large bowl, rubbing the butter into the flour
until it resembles sand-like crumbs:
1+1/2 cups unbleached white flour
A dash salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup butter cold and cut into small pieces
Add mixing gently until it forms a ball:
3 tablespoons water
If you have time let it chill a bit wrapped in the refrigerator.
Otherwise roll out immediately on a floured surface then place into
a buttered pie pan…

Valentine’s Day and a fresh cake filling…

Well I guess it’s Valentine’s Day….
I sort of forgot this year and hurriedly made it up to the kids by leaving
 them these bags on the counter… 
 While I was at the store picking out candy I came across these nice
oreo-like cookies…
 They made me think cake, so cake it was…
I had a container of creme fraiche in my refrigerator so I decided a 
nice creamy filling would make the cake more exciting…
 I really like how the filling came out; light, clean with a touch of berry…
Creme Fraiche Berry Filling:
In a large bowl whip until almost stiff:
1 + 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
Add and then whip until the cream makes 
small peaks when you pull out a spoon:
1/2 cup creme fraiche
Add and fold in gently:
3 tablespoons berry jam such as marionberry or blackberry.
                                                                                        (The sweet card the nine-year-old of this house left me)
                                                         Hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day ~ Marica

Halloween…

Well Halloween has come again…
 October has made its way round, and before I even fully saw its face, 
it has already made plans to be on its way…
 Pumpkins and squash have hit their peek, and now are resting until either, they will be consumed as food, carved into lanterns or perhaps just left to become compost that will help build the soil for plantings to come…
 We made pumpkin doughnuts… the recipe of which is right here
The kids spent yesterday afternoon carving scary faces on their chosen pumpkins… 
I think this might be the first year each of them could could actually carve their own pumpkin… Wow!)
 And then there are these little guys, so oblivious of the haunting and sweets 
gathering that is about to happen!!

                                                       Happy Halloween !!! ~  Marica