I’m Back – with Cupcakes!

Hello out there! It has been way too long. The last few months have been kind of a whirlwind. Since we’ve last spoken, I’ve survived a surprisingly grueling data entry job in the spring, and floated through a lovely summer in Madison. Although this blog has called to me for all these months, I was busy selling pizza at the Children’s Museum cafe, making picnics, spending hours with friends doing absolutely nothing, and falling in love.

Life happens sometimes. Priorities change. Trust me, it’s a good thing. But I’m back, if anyone is here to read my words (or not, I suppose). And guess what? I made cookies! (Are you shocked?)

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The perfect simplicity of chocolate chip cookies is all I need to soothe my soul (and fill Sunday night’s big empty house with wonderful smells).

BUT, I already told you about these cookies. (They were basically these.) So I thought I’d share a recipe that I made earlier this summer – some adorable cheesecake cupcakes. I topped half with melted chocolate and half with sliced fresh strawberries (which were as sweet as sugar in the height of their season).

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These are a such a rich and creamy summer treat. Is it already fall? Well, any time of year, make these little treats for someone you care about. Top them with whatever you like!

I used the vanilla beans that I received in a giveaway from the wonderful Adrianna at A Cozy Kitchen. I was so excited to be finally putting them to good use! Thanks Adrianna!

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Vanilla Cheesecake Cupcakes

Graham Cracker Crust:

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs, about 8 whole crackers

2 tablespoons sugar

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

5 tablespoons melted butter

Cheesecake:

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

Makes 18-24 cupcakes

16 ounces (2 large packages) cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup heavy cream or sour cream

3 large eggs

2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)

1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease 2 cupcake tins.

To make the crust, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of the cupcake tins and bake for 6-8 minutes, until set. The color should not change much.

Remove the crust from the oven and allow to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

To make the batter, mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix until well combined.

Spoon the batter evenly into the cupcake tins, on top of the baked crust.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the filling is set but still soft in the middle. An instant read thermometer will read about 180 °F.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature for about 30 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Top with whatever you’d like! A dollop of melted chocolate, some berries, or sliced fruit.

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