Small-Batch Vanilla-Plum Preserves {no canning required} and a giveaway

By Coleen

Plums contain lots of natural pectin, so making preserves is easy! Vanilla-plum preserves make a delicious topping for your breakfast! 

Small-Batch Vanilla-Plum Preserves by @TheRedheadBaker

I first heard about these vanilla-spiced plum preserves YEARS ago in an issue of Food Network Magazine. I saved the recipe, and have been dying to make it ever since.

That said, I’m a little intimidated by canning. And I was hesitant to invest money in all the necessary equipment. So, it’s been filed away ever since, gathering dust.

I had a few jars here and there, but they were meant to hold small batches of homemade condiments and spice mixes; they were not suitable for canning. I featured one of those Kilner jars in my Homemade Sriracha post, and the distributor of those jars, Pacific Merchants, contacted me to offer a gift card to give away to my readers.

Small-Batch Vanilla-Plum Preserves by @TheRedheadBaker

I was trying to decide what to make in conjunction with the giveaway that could feature one of their products. That was when I discovered that if you plan to consume preserves relatively soon after you make them, you don’t NEED to go through the canning process!

A non-canned batch of preserves will last about 3 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator. This recipe makes about a cup. I use about two tablespoons per bagel, or per two slices of toast, so this will last me through 8 breakfasts.

These preserves were so tasty, I want to make another batch (and maybe I’ll finally jump into canning, so I can make a big batch!). I thought they would be tart, but they were just the right amount of sweet. I loved the subtle vanilla aftertaste.

Pacific Merchants $50 gift certificate giveaway

Pacific Merchants has offered a $50 gift certificate to one lucky reader of The Redhead Baker. Not into canning? Pacific Merchants sells so much more! Acacia wood serving bowls, trays and utensils; fermenting crocks; placemats; and more! If you’re interested in cooking (which you probably are if you read my blog), then there’s something for you.

Simply scroll down to the bottom of this post and enter to win! The only required entry is to leave a comment on this blog post; all others are optional, but provide you with additional chances to win!

In addition, anyone who reads this blog can get 15% off their purchase at by using the code Redhead15!

Small-Batch Vanilla-Plum Preserves by @TheRedheadBaker

4.8 from 5 reviews
Small-Batch Vanilla-Plum Preserves {no canning required}
  • 6 small ripe plums, skin on, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 inches of vanilla bean
  • 3 inches of cinnamon stick
  • Juice of ¼ of a lemon
  1. Place half of the plums in a medium, non-reactive saucepan with the sugar. Split the vanilla bean in half, and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the vanilla bean halves to the plums with the cinnamon stick and lemon juice.
  2. Set the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until the plums begin to break down and the mixture boils.
  3. Add a candy thermometer to the mixture, and if it's not already, bring the mixture to 220 degrees (the point at which the mixture will gel when cooled).
  4. Let the mixture cool for 30 minutes. While the mixture cools, soak one 8-ounce (or two 4-ounce) glass storage jars in hot water (putting hot preserves in cool glass jars can cause the glasses to break).
  5. Return the plum mixture to a boil, and add the second half of the plums. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for another 5 minutes, until the newly-added plums are very tender. Fish the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean halves out with tongs.
  6. Remove the glass jar(s) from the hot water and wipe dry. Use a funnel to fill the jar(s). Wipe any spilled preserves from the neck of the jar(s). Twist the lid(s) on, and let the jars cool on the counter for about two hours, then place in the refrigerator. Use within 3 to 4 weeks.

Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: Pacific Merchants is supply the $50 gift certificate as prize for this giveaway. I was not compensated with cash or products for conducting this sweepstakes.

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  • Giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, August 17, 2014
  • Winner will be selected at random by the Rafflecopter widget
  • Winner will receive one (1) gift certificate valued at $50 to be redeemed at
  • Prize must be claimed within 7 days or it will be forfeited, and another winner chosen
  • Prize can only be claimed by an individual age 18 or older with a US address
  • Official giveaway rules can be found here

Oven-Dried Cherries #SundaySupper

By Coleen

Savor the flavor of sweet summer cherries all year long! Make dried cherries in your oven, then keep them in an airtight container for a taste of summer, even in the winter!

Oven Dried Cherries by @TheRedheadBaker for #SundaySupper

There are so many reasons that summer is my favorite season: warm weather, long days full of sunshine, swimming, barbecues, flip flops, and abundant fresh produce.

Sadly, summer doesn’t last forever, at least not in Pennsylvania. The weather will begin to cool down, the days will get shorter … then things will get downright miserable. NOT looking forward to winter, can you tell?

Oven Dried Cherries by @TheRedheadBaker for #SundaySupper

Sure, there are some fruits and veggies that you can buy “out of season,” but they don’t always have the same flavor as in-season produce, and they’re also usually more expensive. So today’s #SundaySupper is all about saving that peak flavor.

I actually came across this recipe earlier in the summer. Whole Foods had their annual cherry fest, selling cherries for $2.99 a pound. Cherries normally sell for about $6.99 a pound, so this was definitely a steal! I came home with 12 pounds of cherries!

Between Dave, Liam and I, we polished off half of those cherries in about a week! I sent another two pounds to daycare with Liam for Snack Share Wednesday. I used another two pounds for other recipes. I was left with about a pound and a half of cherries that were getting precariously close to the end of their shelf life. Then someone told me I could dry them in my oven!

If you want to try it on your own, you’ll need to choose a day that you’ll be home all day. Oven-drying has to be done “low and slow,” so it takes a while. But you’ll be left with dried fruit just like you buy in pouches at the grocery store that will keep very well in an airtight container. Grab a handful whenever you need a quick taste of summer!

Oven Dried Cherries by @TheRedheadBaker for #SundaySupper

5.0 from 3 reviews
Oven-Dried Cherries #SundaySupper
If you don't have an oven-safe wire cooling rack, you can dry the cherries directly on the silicone baking mat or parchment paper, but the cherries will need an additional two hours in the oven.
  • Fresh cherries (1 lb of pitted cherries will yield about 4 oz of dried cherries)
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper, then place an oven-safe wire cooling rack over top.
  2. Remove the pits and stems from the cherries, and space them evenly on the wire rack.
  3. Place in the oven for six hours.
  4. Remove and allow to cool completely on the wire rack.
  5. Transfer for an airtight container to store.

Drying method from The Kitchn

Learn how to …

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Sunday Supper Movement Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake #CookbooksandCalphalon

By Coleen

Fresh raspberry puree creates a pretty pink, fruity swirl inside this tender, buttery pound cake.

Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake for #Cookbooks&Calphalon

My foodie friend, Colleen from Souffle Bombay, was thinking about just what cookbook it was that made her fall in love with cooking recently, then she decided to ask the same question to a number of her foodie friends, myself included, and #CookbooksandCalphalon was born! Enjoy 17 food bloggers stories as well as the recipes that go along with them as we celebrate our love of cooking and the perfect pairing of Cookbooks and Calphalon!

My story? Well, I like food. Making it, eating it, sharing it. And since a career in the culinary industry didn’t work out, I started this blog to share my love of cooking and baking.

I’ve always liked food. As soon as I was old enough, I was the designated birthday-cake-baker in my family (yes, that included my own). I was a bookworm kid, and you would be just as likely to find me with my nose in a Babysitters’ Club book as my mom’s tattered old Betty Crocker cookbook.

Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake for #Cookbooks&Calphalon

That old cookbook had recipes for just about everything, from appetizers to drinks to main dishes to desserts. One of the first things I made out of that cookbook was pound cake. The recipe below is not from that book, as it’s long-since fallen apart. But it does remind me of my early baking attempts.

Pound cake got its name because when the recipe was first developed in the 1700s, it was made with a pound of butter, a pound of flour, a pound of eggs, and a pound of sugar. Yikes!

The recipe has been refined since, and the ratios altered, and new flavors added. This one uses the juice of fresh raspberries to create a pretty pink swirl, and adds a mild raspberry flavor. If your raspberries are not very ripe, you can add a small splash of raspberry extract to enhance the raspberry flavor.

#Cookbooks&Calphalon First Prize

This wouldn’t be complete without a fun giveaway for you to enter—you can’t cook without cookware and you can’t use cookware unless you can cook, right? So when you’re done drooling over this pound cake, take a moment to scroll to the bottom of the post and enter our awesome Cookbooks and Calphalon Giveaway!

Also, now through September 1st, Calphalon is celebrating couples! From the first meal they create together in their new home to the meal they share on their 25th anniversary, couple cook up memories! The cookware they choose serves as the foundation for which these “Couples Cooking” memories are made.

#Cookbooks&Calphalon Second Prize

Calphalon wants to recognize these #CouplesCooking moments by asking couples to share pictures of the meals they cook together for a chance to win $1,000 in Calphalon cookware! Calphalon is inviting couples to post photos of the meals they prepare with their significant other on Calphalon’s Facebook page. To enter, couples will be asked to share why the dish is unique or special to them and use the hashtag #CouplesCooking. How fun is THAT?

Follow the #CookbooksandCalphalon fun on social media for great recipes, tips and more and good luck in BOTH giveaways!

Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake for #Cookbooks&Calphalon

5.0 from 3 reviews
Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake
  • 3 tbsp whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups (5¼ oz) sifted cake flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 13 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 oz fresh raspberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x4-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, lightly whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix all the dry ingredients (flour through salt) on low speed until combined (about 30 seconds).
  4. Add the butter and half the egg mixture, and beat on low speed until all dry ingredients are moistened, then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
  5. Add half of the remaining egg mixture, beat for 20 seconds, and scrape down the bowl. Add the last of the egg mixture and beat for 20 seconds.
  6. Remove ½ cup of the batter and place in a small mixing bowl. Press the raspberries firmly through a fine-mesh sieve with a rubber spatula until you get a tablespoonful or so of thick juice. Add to the reserved cake batter and mix until well-combined.
  7. Scrape ⅓ of the vanilla batter into the prepared pan. Add half of the raspberry batter down the middle, and use a butter knife to swirl with the vanilla batter. Add another ⅓ of the vanilla batter on top, then scrape the rest of the raspberry batter down the middle, and swirl again. Top with the remaining vanilla batter and smooth it out with a knife or spatula.
  8. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then remove the cake from the pan to cool completely.

Adapted from Rose Levy Berenbaum’s “Perfect Pound Cake” (found in The Cake Bible)

Don’t forget to check out the other #CookbooksandCalphalon recipes! 




a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: I was not compensated to write this post with money or products to write this post. Thanks to Page Street Publishing and Calphalon for offering fun prizes!

Southwestern Turkey Burgers

By Coleen

Have a healthier barbecue — lean ground turkey burgers flavored with chili powder and roasted poblano peppers, dressed with chili-spiced mayo.

Southwest Turkey Burgers by @TheRedheadBaker #CLBlogger

In summertime, we usually end up having burgers at least once a week. And since I prefer to use 85/15 ground beef (85% meat/15% fat), well, those calories can add up. And that’s before you smother them in melty cheese.

I made this recipe a little reluctantly. My only past experience with turkey burgers was … less than yummy. It was flavorless and dry. Unlike beef burgers, turkey burgers must be cooked all the way through for safety reasons, which contributes to the dryness.

But I’ve been on a chili powder kick lately, and I just couldn’t pass these up. I’ve been spicing everything up with chili powder, ancho chili powder, chipotle chili powder …

Southwest Turkey Burgers by @TheRedheadBaker #CLBlogger

These burgers are the complete opposite of flavorless and dry. Chili powder and roasted poblano peppers add tons of flavor. The original recipe called for regular chili powder, but I use chipotle chili powder, because I prefer the smoky flavor.

The burgers are topped with mayo mixed with yet more chili powder, which adds more moisture. The original recipe does not call for any cheese, and we didn’t miss it at all. If you want to add some, a slice of Colby Jack, or some crumbled ricotta salata would be delicious!

Green poblano peppers are on the milder end of the chili pepper spectrum, so don’t worry about using gloves or removing the seeds before roasting.

We served these with Trader Joe’s frozen fire-roasted corn, but they would also be great with some baked sweet potato fries.

The original recipe contains 320 calories, 8.5 g of fat, 27 g of protein, 32 g of carbohydrates, and 2.6 g of fiber. I didn’t alter the recipe very drastically, so the recipe as written below probably isn’t too far off from that. That’s about half the fat of a typical homemade beef cheeseburger!

Southwest Turkey Burgers by @TheRedheadBaker #CLBlogger

Southwestern Turkey Burgers
Serves: 4
  • 2 poblano chiles (about ½ pound)
  • ½ oz plain bread crumbs, plus more if needed
  • ¼ cup 1% milk
  • ½ tsp chipotle chili powder, divided
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground red pepper
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey breast
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tbsp mayo
  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns, split and toasted
  • 4 slices plum tomato
  • 4 iceberg lettuce leaves
  1. Set broiler to high. Cut the tops off the peppers and split them in half. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil, then spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place peppers, skin-side down, on the baking sheet and broil for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Place the peppers in either a brown paper bag, or in a large bowl covered with plastic wrap. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Peel the skins off the peppers, then dice.
  3. Combine bread crumbs and milk in a large bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. Then add ¼ tsp chili powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, red pepper, ground turkey and diced peppers. Gently combine, then divide into four ½-inch thick patties.
  4. Spray a grill or skillet with nonstick cooking spray and cook burgers for about 3 to 5 minutes per side, until a thermometer reads 155 degrees. Remove from the grill or skillet and let rest for a few minutes, to allow carryover cooking to finish the burgers.
  5. While the burgers are resting, stir together the mayo and the remaining ¼ tsp of chipotle chili powder. Spread the mayo on one half of each of the buns, then top each with a patty, tomato slice and lettuce leaf.

Recipe slightly adapted from Cooking Light

Pizza Dough by Hand

By Coleen

Reclaim the lost art of making bread dough by hand! No electric mixer or bread machine is needed to make this delicious pizza dough.

Pizza Dough by Hand by @TheRedheadBaker

Have you ever seen a yeast bread recipe that mixes in either a mixer or a bread machine, and skipped over it because you don’t have that appliance? After this post, you’ll never have to do that again.

Yeast breads have been baked long before the invention of mixers or bread machines. It’s time to reclaim the lost art of baking bread by hand.

When I was in culinary school, “bread station” was one of my favorites. I didn’t always understand what I was doing or why I was doing it. But there are so many different things to make with only a few simple ingredients.

I decided to demonstrate this process with you by using my favorite homemade pizza dough recipe from Annie’s Eats. In all of the pizza recipes you’ll find on my blog, that’s the crust I use.

Pizza Dough by Hand by @TheRedheadBaker

Unkneaded dough

All that the dough hook on a stand mixer or a bread machine basically does is mix and knead the dough for you. Kneading is a process of working the dough to create chains of gluten. These chains are what create the structure of bread. If you didn’t knead the bread, your dough would not rise.

How do you knead? Well, you pull fold the back of the dough up over the front, and push it away from you with the heel of your hand, give it a quarter turn, and repeat. Sound a little confusing? Here, I made a video:

How do you know when you’re done kneading? What does “smooth and elastic” mean? Under-kneaded dough is flopping, tears easily, and looks ragged. Well-kneaded dough holds its shape, bounces back quickly when poked, and if you stretch out a portion of the dough, it becomes almost see-through.

On the other hand, what about over-kneading? Good news — it’s almost impossible to over-knead dough. Why? You’ll probably get tired before the dough gets to that point. If you’re kneading dough in a machine, over-kneading can happen, and the dough will feel dense and won’t fold. If that happens, let the dough rise a little longer than called for by the recipe, to let the dough relax.

There is no “magic number” for knowing when enough kneading is enough. Though yeast dough is finicky, it’s surprisingly forgiving when it comes to kneading. Your dough can be a little under- or over-kneaded and still come out well.

And best of all, homemade pizza dough is (A) inexpensive to make and (B) keeps well in the freezer, so go ahead and practice all you want!

Pizza Dough by Hand by @TheRedheadBaker

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pizza Dough by Hand
Serves: 4
  • ½ cup warm (95 to 105 degrees) water
  • 2¼ tsp instant yeast
  • 4 cups (22 oz) bread flour, plus ¼ cup more if needed
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1¼ cup room temperature water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  1. Sprinkle the instant yeast over the warm water, stir, then set aside to dissolve for 5 minutes.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the 4 cups of bread flour, kosher salt, room temperature water and olive oil. Add the dissolved yeast, and mix well.
  3. Dust a clean work surface with bread flour. Scrape the dough onto the floured surface, and knead in a rhythmic manner for 8 to 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape dough into a ball, and place in a well-oiled mixing bowl. Spray the top of the dough with cooking spray, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then with a kitchen towel. Set aside in a warm, dark area to rise for 90 minutes to two hours, until the dough doubles in size.
  4. Once risen, punch the dough down to remove as much air as possible. Divide the dough into two equal pieces.
  5. If not using immediately, roll each portion of dough into a tight ball. Wrap each in plastic wrap. Place both dough balls inside a gallon-sized zip-top freezer bag, and place in the freezer.
  6. On the day you plan to make pizza for dinner, preheat then oven (and your pizza stone!) to 500 degrees an hour before you plan to bake. Remove the plastic-wrapped dough ball from the freezer bag and place in the refrigerator first thing in the morning (if making pizza for lunch, put dough ball in the fridge the night before). Remove from the refrigerator and unwrap the plastic. Let sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes. Then pat into a disk and stretch into a 12-inch circle.
  7. Top your pizza as desired, reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees, and bake pizza for 12 to 18 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Cut into 8 slices.

Recipe from Annie’s Eats

And in case you’re wondering, the topped pizza is Cooking Light’s Summer Veggie Pizza.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Nutella Ganache Topping

By Coleen

Creamy peanut butter cheesecake is layered over an Oreo crust and topped with rich nutella ganache!

Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Nutella Ganache Topping by @TheRedheadBaker

I love cheesecake. Can you tell? If I had to pick something to call my “signature dish,” it’d be cheesecake.

So when Carla over at Chocolate Moosey told me about a blog event called Cheesecake Day hosted by Roxana of Roxana’s Home Baking, I jumped to sign up.

I had a heck of a time trying to choose a cheesecake recipe to make. Should I go chocolate-y? Fruity? Then, we spent Father’s Day at one of our favorite Philly restaurants, Catahoula, and they had a fabulous peanut butter cheesecake on the dessert menu. I had to recreate that cheesecake at home.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Nutella Ganache Topping by @TheRedheadBaker

The question I see most often regarding cheesecakes is how to prevent it from cracking. First, ensure all of your ingredients (not just the cream cheese) are at room temperature. This ensures that they will blend together well. And secondly, even if the recipe you’re following doesn’t include it, use a water bath.

What is a water bath, and what does it do for cheesecake? To make a water bath, you place your springform pan inside a larger baking pan, and pour boiling water into the larger pan before placing the whole setup in the oven.

Why go to the extra trouble? First, cheesecakes are thickened with eggs. Eggs set (cook) at a much lower temperature than most other baking ingredients. Cheesecakes start off baking at a high temperature to set the cake, then finishing “low and slow” (at a low temperature for a long time). If the egg proteins cook too quickly, they will tighten up and shrink, causing your cheesecake to crack. The water bath acts as insulation, keeping the batter from overheating and cooking the egg proteins too quickly.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Nutella Ganache by @TheRedheadBaker

One final trick to preventing cracks is to let the cheesecake cool slowly. And definitely use a paring knife to separate the cheesecake from the springform pan before placing it in the refrigerator. The cake will definitely shrink once chilled, and if it’s still clinging to the side of the pan, it can crack.

Although, if after all these precautions are taken, and the cheesecake still cracks, I just remember the wise words of a chef at my culinary school: cover the cheesecake with some sort of topping! Whether it’s melted chocolate or whipped cream, or fresh fruit, just cover up the crack! No sense in wasting a perfectly tasty, if slightly imperfect, cheesecake.

This cheesecake is just amazing. The cheesecake itself is light and creamy, almost silky, which contrasts with the thick, rich ganache topping. The combination of chocolate and peanut butter and Nutella is one of my favorite flavor combos.

This recipe is definitely getting added to my “Must make again!!” file.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Nutella Ganache Topping by @TheRedheadBaker

5.0 from 2 reviews
Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Ganache Topping
Equipment needed: 8-inch springform pan; large offset spatula; a 10-inch or larger cake pan
Serves: 12
For the cheesecake:
  • 15 Oreo cookies, cream removed
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
For the ganache:
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • ¼ cup Nutella spread
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the Oreo cookies and the sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until reduced to fine crumbs. Add butter to the crumbs, pulse until all ingredients are moistened.
  3. Scrape crumb mixture into the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan and tamp down to an even layer. Wrap the bottom of the springform pan in a double layer of tin foil. Bake for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool. Keep oven at 350 degrees.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese, brown sugar and sour cream for several minutes. Scrape down the bowl, then add the first egg. Beat until well-combined, then scrape down the bowl and add the second egg. Beat until well-combined, then scrape down the bowl and add the third egg and the vanilla. Beat until well-combined. Add peanut butter and mix until evenly combined.
  5. Scrape the batter into the springform pan and spread evenly.
  6. Place the springform pan inside the larger cake pan. Carefully pour boiling water into the larger cake pan, being sure not to splash any into the cheesecake batter.
  7. Use oven mitts to carefully transfer the cheesecake in the water bath into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temp to 200 degrees, and bake for another 2 hours.
  8. Remove from the oven, and remove the cheesecake from the water bath. Let cheesecake cool at room temperature for at least an hour.
  9. Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cheesecake from the sides. Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator overnight.
  10. The next day, remove the sides of the springform pan from the cheesecake. Then, make the ganache: place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Place the heavy cream in a small saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring the cream to scalding (small bubbles form around the edge of the pan). DO NOT BOIL. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, let sit for a minute, then stir until the chocolate is melted and incorporated with the cream. Stir in the gananche. The ganache should be pourable/spreadable consistency. If too thick, add another tablespoonful of cream and stir.
  11. Transfer the ganache to a spouted measuring cup. Pour over the center of the cheesecake, then use an offset spatula to spread to the edges of the cheesecake, letting the ganache drip down the sides.
  12. Place cheesecake back in the refrigerator, uncovered, for an hour to set the ganache. Then place a cover (such as a large tupperware bowl) over the cheesecake to prevent the ganache from seeping.

Cheesecake recipe adapted from Bake or Break; Ganache recipe from Culinary Couture

Don’t forget to check out the other Cheesecake Day recipes!

Baked Cheesecakes:

No Bake Cheesecakes:

Cheesecake Beverages:

Cheesecake Cookies and Bars:

Cheesecake Desserts and Treats:

Frozen Cheesecakes and Treats:

Tropical Sangria Popsicles

By Coleen

My favorite summer cocktails in frozen form! The flavors of coconut, mango and pineapple mix together with white wine in these tropical sangria popsicles!

Tropical Sangria Popsicles by @TheRedheadBaker

While browsing the July 2014 issue of Cooking Light, I came across an article on 5 easy ice pop recipes: strawberry-balsamic, melon mimosa, cappuccino, vanilla yogurt and spiced plum, and cucumber-chili-lime.

I love ice pops almost as much as I love ice cream. When I was a kid, I attended a summer day camp, and ice pops were almost always our afternoon snack. At the local YMCA swimming pool, when the lifeguards called “Adult swim!”, the kids all ran to the snack stand to get ice pops.

As soon as I saw that ice pop article, I immediately ordered a set of popsicle molds from Amazon. That ice pop article had given me an idea.

Tropical Sangria Popsicles by @TheRedheadBaker

Though popsicles remind me of my childhood, I wasn’t going to make a kid-friendly popsicle. Cooking Light’s mimosa popsicle sounded really good, but I didn’t have any sparkling wine on-hand. I did, however, have white wine. And what cocktail can you make with wine? Sangria.

I remembered that I had recently seen a tropical sangria on The Healthy Maven’s site. Flavored with coconut, mango and pineapple — what better beverage for a summer day?? And these flavors translate so well into frozen form. These are a delicious adult treat! But if you do want to make them kid-friendly, use 1 cup of white grape juice instead of white wine.

One thing homemade popsicles have over homemade ice cream is that they are so much easier to make, and they are ready faster. One tip for getting these popsicles out of their molds: fill a bowl with scalding water. Dip the popsicle molds into the hot water for 4 or 5 seconds, then gently ease the popsicle out of the mold.

Tropical Sangria Popsicles by @TheRedheadBaker

Tropical Sangria Popsicles
Serves: 6
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup white wine (something inexpensive, I used Cupcake Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc)
  • ½ cup diced mango
  • ½ cup diced pineapple
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Place over high heat and bring just to a boil, then remove from the heat and add the coconut. Stir to combine. Set aside for 30 minutes to 4 hours.
  2. Strain the water mixture into a clean saucepan and discard the flaked coconut. Bring the water mixture to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes, or until reduced to a cup of syrupy liquid. Set aside to cool.
  3. Once the coconut syrup is cooled, combine it with the cup of white wine.
  4. Mix together the mango and pineapple, and spoon some of the fruit into each of six (1/3-cup-capacity) popsicle molds. Then pour some of the liquid into each mold. Place the molds in the freezer and let sit for at least four hours.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 popsicle Calories: 148 Fat: 5g Carbohydrates: 27g Sugar: 15g Sodium: 49g Protein: 1g

Inspired by Cooking Light and The Healthy Maven

Friday Favorites

By Coleen


1. My new Target bathing suit. Great tummy coverage. I love the mint color.

2. Also from Target: Sam & Libby Kamilla Sandals in turquoise.

3. Kerrygold Dubliner Cheddar cheese. C’mon. It’s cheese. Thin slices of this cheese on Triscuits are my go-to afternoon snack.

4. Peanut Butter Cup Oreos. These have gotten mixed reviews among my friends, but OMG, I love them.

5. Reading classic literature. I downloaded The Great Gatsby for my Kindle.

6. Rediscovering childhood favorites. I loved the Berenstain Bears books as a child, and now I read them to my toddler.

7. These strawberry-banana smoothie popsicles. Can I call them favorites if I haven’t actually tried them yet? I just bought a popsicle maker. But how can you go wrong with (A) strawberry and banana or (B) popsicles???

8. These lobster tacos with avocado salsa. Lobster tails are $5.99 at my local Whole Foods today only. Yum yum yum!

9. Bare Minerals Lash Domination mascara. Did you know choosing a brand of mascara was so controversial? It’s a very “love it or hate it” product. One person loves a mascara, another person hates it. For me, Lash Domination thickens and lengthens my lashes without being clumpy.

10. Maybelline Color Tattoo Leather Collection. I was initially scared of the intensity of color in cream eyeshadow, but I figured at $6.99 for one pot, I could experiment. I’m a convert. My favorites are Vintage Plum and Creamy Beige.

Fresh Peach Donuts {dairy-free}

By Coleen

Low-fat baked peach donuts: vanilla batter studded with diced fresh peaches! Using coconut milk and dairy-free butter substitute make these an indulgent treat for those with milk allergies!

Fresh Peach Donuts #DairyFree #LowFat by @TheRedheadBaker

It’s Snack Share Wednesday again! Even though I’m temporarily unemployed, Liam still attends daycare three days a week, for a couple of reasons. The first is that we would lose our spot if we pulled him out, and the second is that he genuinely enjoys daycare, and playing with his friends there.

I must admit that I chose Wednesday as one of the days he would attend, because I wanted to continue participating in snack share! It’s been so much fun coming up with new snacks for the kids to enjoy. Sometimes it’s as simple as fresh pitted cherries, courtesy of Whole Foods’ CherryFest sale, and sometimes it’s a homemade baked treat.

Fresh Peach Donuts #DairyFree #LowFat by @TheRedheadBaker

One of the children in Liam’s class has a milk allergy, so I’ve researched dairy-free recipes and baking substitutions to ensure that the child can fully participate in snack share.

I wanted to make Girl Versus Dough‘s peach donuts, and read that I could substitute coconut milk + vinegar for the buttermilk, and coconut oil for the butter. Coconut oil is very expensive, however, so instead I bought Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, which are dairy- and soy-free. They are mostly made up of vegetable oil, and are trans-fat free. They can be substituted for butter on at a 1:1 ratio. And at $4.19 for a 1-lb box, they are about the same price as butter. (This is starting to sound like an ad, but I promise, I was not compensated in any way for writing about this product!)

Anyway, the donuts came out exactly as if they were made with buttermilk and butter. I snuck one for myself (after all, all chefs should taste their food!), and they don’t taste any different than I imagine the original recipe did. I’m sure the kids will love this special treat!

These donuts are moist enough on their own, but if you love iced donuts (and who doesn’t??), then the icing drizzle will add a touch more sweetness to the donut.

Fresh Peach Donuts #DairyFree #LowFat by @TheRedheadBaker

5.0 from 1 reviews
Fresh Peach Donuts {dairy-free}
Serves: 12 donuts
For the donuts
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ⅔ cup + 1 tbsp coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp dairy-free butter substitute (such as Earth Balance Buttery, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • ⅔ cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Generous pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 small peaches, diced (about 2 cups)
For the icing
  • 1⅓ cups confectioners sugar
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • Splash of vanilla extract
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Liberally spray two 6-well donut pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the cider vinegar and the coconut milk. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut milk/vinegar mixture, the melted butter substitute, and the eggs.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.
  5. Pour the dry ingredients over the wet, then whisk just until combined. Then fold in the diced peaches.
  6. Portion the batter into the 12 wells of the donut pans, filing each ⅔ to ¾ full. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until baked through and golden brown around the edges.
  7. Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. Once the donuts are cooled, whisk together the icing ingredients until smooth. Drizzle the icing over the donuts with a spoon, or dip the tops of each donut into the icing. Let sit until the icing has set.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 donut Calories: 214 Fat: 3g Carbohydrates: 44g Sugar: 28g Protein: 3g

Recipe adapted from Girl Versus Dough

Milk Chocolate S’mores Ice Cream #IceCreamForOXO

By Coleen

Everyone’s campfire favorite in ice cream form! Milk chocolate s’mores ice cream: milk chocolate ice cream with swirls of marshmallow topping and chunks of graham cracker!

Milk Chocolate S'mores Ice Cream by @TheRedheadBaker #IceCreamForOXO

It’s summertime, so what more excuse do you need for a homemade ice cream recipe? How about the fact that yesterday was National Ice Cream Day? Honestly, I hardly need an excuse to break out the ice cream machine.

I was chosen as one of many bloggers to create an ice cream recipe as part of the #IceCreamForOXO campaign, so I sat down and thought of my favorite ice cream flavors. The one flavor that came up the most was chocolate. But what sort of chocolate ice cream could I make at home that I can’t find in the store?

And it occurred to me that I’ve never seen s’mores ice cream at the grocery store. What a fun flavor to make! And after all, s’mores is a classic summertime dessert.

Milk Chocolate S'mores Ice Cream by @TheRedheadBaker #IceCreamForOXO

This is a classic ice cream recipe, which begins with a cooked egg-custard base. If you’re new to making this at home, I strongly suggest using a thermometer to ensure your custard reaches 170 degrees, at which point, the eggs are properly cooked and your base has thoroughly thickened.

Use the best quality milk chocolate you can find. I used Scharffen Berger chocolate wafers from Sur La Table. If you don’t have one near you, you can use Ghirardelli chocolate chips.

I also recommend marshmallow topping over marshmallow fluff because A) it’s much easier to drizzle into the churned ice cream, and B) it has that soft consistency that you’re probably used to if you’ve had store-bought marshmallow swirl ice cream. You might be tempted to swirl the marshmallow and graham cracker into the milk chocolate ice cream, but it’s really not necessary. Once you scoop the ice cream out, the scoop will create the swirls.

The result of this project is a rich chocolate-y ice cream with swirls of sweet marshmallowy and graham goodness. I don’t know if it’s the recipe, or the fantastic (BPA free!) freezer-safe container that OXO sent to me, but after sitting in the freezer overnight, there was no layer of ice crystals on the top.

Milk Chocolate S'mores Ice Cream by @TheRedheadBaker #IceCreamForOXO

4.0 from 1 reviews
Milk Chocolate S'mores Ice Cream #IceCreamForOXO
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ⅓ cup sugar, divided
  • 7 oz. good-quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup marshmallow topping
  • 2 full sheets graham crackers
  1. Make sure the bowl of your ice cream maker has been frozen for at least 24 hours.
  2. Place the whole milk and heavy cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Sift the cocoa powder over top, then add half of the sugar and whisk to combine. Set a large bowl next to the stovetop, and place the egg yolks inside.
  3. Have the chopped chocolate in another large bowl nearby, as well as a gallon-sized zip-top freezer bag. Fill a third bowl about halfway with ice water.
  4. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and bring the mixture to a simmer. Do not let the mixture boil.
  5. When you start to see steam rising off of the milk mixture, start whisking the egg yolks with the second half of the sugar. Whisk vigorously for three to four minutes, until the yolks turn pale yellow. Continue whisking, less vigorously, until the milk mixture is simmering. Sugar will "break" the yolks into separate protein clumps and water if you let them sit together, which will ruin your ice cream base.
  6. Once the milk mixture has come to a simmer, very gradually pour about half into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly, to slowly bring the temperature of the eggs up without scrambling them. Pour the egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan, and cook over heat for about 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 170 degrees, and the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon without running off.
  7. Once the custard is fully cooked, pour it over the chopped milk chocolate. If you think you scrambled the egg yolks, pour it through a fine-mesh strainer. Let the custard sit on the chocolate for about a minute, then whisk slowly until the chocolate is completely melted and fully combined with the custard.
  8. Pour the ice cream base into the zip-top freezer bag, seal it, then place the freezer bag in the ice water. Let sit for about 30 minutes, until completely cooled. Store in the refrigerator for at least four hours, or overnight.
  9. Set up your ice cream maker and immediately pour the ice cream base into the machine. Churn according to manufacturer's directions for your machine.
  10. Scrape a third of the ice cream mixture into a freezer-safe storage container. Drizzle two tablespoons of the marshmallow topping over the ice cream. Break one graham sheet in half, and place inside a sandwich bag. Hit once or twice with your fist to break it into large pieces, then scatter those over the ice cream.
  11. Scrape another third of the churned ice cream into the container, and repeat with the remaining two tablespoons of marshmallow topping, and the second broken graham sheet. Top with the remaining third of the churned ice cream.
  12. Seal the storage container and let the ice cream harden for at least four hours, or overnight.
  13. Scoop and serve!

Adapted from Fine Cooking

Disclosure: OXO provided me with: a Solid Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop, a Small Silicone Spatula, a 4 Piece Mini Measuring Beaker Set, a Medium Square LockTop Container, a 2-Cup Angled Measuring Cup, a Sugar Dispenser, and a Mini Chopper in exchange for creating this ice cream recipe. All opinions of these products are my own. I’ve been a fan of OXO products long before I partnered with them for this recipe.

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