I got a craving for blackberries. But it’s winter in Wisconsin, so blackberry preserves seemed like a better idea. Blackberry preserves, and, because I sometimes pretend to be a civilized adult who wouldn’t eat blackberry preserves straight out of the jar, cheesecake. My first stop, obviously, ended up being The Pioneer Woman, but I don’t actually have a food processor, so I went a little differently.
- Oreo cheesecake crust
- 2 packages cream cheese
- a jar of blackberry preserves
- lime juice
- 2 eggs
Soften your cream cheese – leaving it on the counter for an hour and then microwaving it for 45 seconds was enough for me – and put it in a large bowl. Add sugar, lime juice, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste, beating well. The ‘to taste’ thing works really well, because it’s safe to eat the batter until you add the eggs. I used a ton of cinnamon and a couple generous splashes of lime juice because I wanted it as a strong counterpoint for the blackberries. Start your oven preheating to 350°F and add your eggs and beat well again, until everything’s well mixed.
Pour or scrape all of that into your Oreo crust, then add the preserves. If you’re feeling ambitious or artistic, heat the preserves a bit, either in the microwave with the lid off or spooned out into a pot and heated on low. Then drizzle the warm preserves over the batter for a marbling effect.
I just kind of spooned room temperature preserves in and then smoothed everything with a spatula, because I didn’t have it in me to care about what it looked like. Bake for 50 minutes at 350°F, then turn off your oven. Let it cool in the oven to close to room temperature, then cool on the counter completely before refrigerating, otherwise the top cracks.
It tastes amazing.
I should probably be embarrassed by how many of my recipes start with ‘and then this produce had been sitting around long enough that I really badly needed to find something to do with it,’ but I live a no-shame life, so nah.
Apple Pie is a Wisconsin specialty
- Apple Pie liqueur
- Pillsbury crescent rolls
Cut your apples into bits and throw them in a pot with some nutmeg and cinnamon and sugar. Douse it with Apple Pie and put it on medium – you want everything to turn all delicious and filling-like. When it’s close to done, start preheating your oven to 350°F and add a pinch of flour to the apple mix: it’ll help thicken it a bit so you end up with less apple filling all over your nonstick baking tray.
Unroll your tubes of pastry and add a bit of apple filling to each crescent roll before you roll it up. Bake for 12-15 minutes!
They make for delicious portable desserts, and any leftover apple filling can be handed over to a friend who can actually make pastry crust in order to eventually become pie.
I was getting fudge supplies, and T brought up her favorite cookies: the only cookies she likes, really, after a somewhat traumatic stint working in a cookie shop in high school. So we got ingredients for them. And today I made them. They’re supposed to make four dozen? I made two dozen, because I am apparently bad at ’rounded tablespoon.’ And making sure edges don’t touch. Like, I wanted to make these the way T remembered them enough that I actually measured shit.
And now you know why I don’t do cookie recipes.
Oatmeal scotchies recipe here.
I really love fudge.
- 20oz bag white chocolate chips
- smallish bag of wrapped baking caramels
- 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
- optional: sea salt
Throw everything in a pot on the stove! Turn it on very low and let it all melt, stirring every few minutes to makes sure you’re circulating from the bottom. It will smell amazing. While it’s doing that, put a sheet of parchment in a 9×13 pan.
When it’s all melted and smooth and tempting, you can either beat in some confectioner’s sugar until it’s pretty stiff, or just pour it directly in the pan and then stick that in the freezer for a couple hours. When it’s pretty solid, take it out, pop it out of the pan, and cut it into cubes.
So . . . this was meant to be biscuits of some sort. It didn’t end up that way, but they were pretty good regardless.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Mix the stuff up! It will almost definitely work better if your jelly is room temperature. Or possibly jam – something that has a physical texture not lent to it entirely by gelatin.
Put it in . . . honestly, whatever. I tried doing biscuits, obviously, but an 8×8 pan would have been a better choice. Or cupcake tins. Slip that in the oven for like 10-15 minutes – until it starts looking golden brown on top. It will taste like some kind of brownie form of your favorite jelly.
Fudge continues to be one of my go-tos when I’m stressed or want to take food to when I’m asking people to do things. This is wonderfully simple, too.
- 24oz bag of butterscotch flavored chips
- 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
- powdered sugar
- mini marshmallows
Put your whole bag of chips and both your cans of sweetened condensed milk on the stove on low. If you are very fancy, you can use a double boiler. Sprinkle a little bit of salt on top, because salt makes all sweets better. Let that go for a while.
Get out a 9×13 pan and line it with parchment paper – it makes for way easier extraction and cleanup.
When the stuff on the stove starts to get melty, stir it, making sure to get the stuff at the bottom. No one likes charred sugar bits. Or maybe you do, I don’t judge. But when it’s all melted and smooth, remove from heat. If you want, this is when you’d add a little bit of vanilla and mix it in. The powdered sugar is more for texture than taste. This stuff ends up pretty soft out of the freezer, but beating in powdered sugar means it’ll be stiffer on its own as soon as it’s cooled. It does need to be beaten, though, either with a whisk and a great deal of enthusiasm or a mixer.
Then pour the fudge in your pan! Spread it out so it’s all more or less level. If marshmallows are your thing, this is when you’d drop them on top. If you have ended up with sugar bits or small pockets of powdered sugar that weren’t quite integrated, marshmallows on top are a way to pretend you totally meant it to have a non-uniform texture.
Stick the whole pan in the freezer for a couple hours, then take it out, lift the whole slab of fudge out on the parchment paper, and cut it into bits. Running the knife under hot water before you cut will make it easier, but either way, it makes tons, and stores well in the freezer.
- tube of crescent rolls
- a ripe peach
- brown sugar
I feel like I’ve been putting cinnamon and nutmeg in everything recently, but they’re goddamn delicious so whatever.
Putting all of this together took a little longer than preheating my oven did, so you might want to mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon and nutmeg or slice the peach into 8ths before you start the oven preheating to 350°F.
Anyway, slice the peach into 8ths and unroll the crescent rolls. Put one of the peach slices on each of the unrolled crescent rolls. If you’re fancy or whatever you could probably chop the peach and spices and sugar together and make it more pie-filling-y, but whatever. Add some sugar and spices to each of the rolls, then roll them up and fold over the edges so that there’s not much peach showing.
Arrange those on a non-stick baking sheet and stick them in the oven for 15 minutes or until they start looking golden brown.
Try to wait until they’re cool before eating, but enjoy them even if you end up scalding your tongue.