Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

Time to share another dessert I made for my work’s soup club! I chose yesterday for my date since I knew my plans for Valentine’s Day would be minimal (little did I know I would wind up with no valentine at all… more on that later) and I’d have plenty of time for baking over the weekend. Even so, these were super simple to make!

I found this recipe on AllRecipes.com. The original can be found here.

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

Yield: 12 mini cheesecakes

– 2 (250g) packages of cream cheese
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 2 eggs
– 12 Oreo cookies
– 3 (1 ounce) squares Baker’s Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
– 1 cup thawed Cool Whip topping*

* I did not use the Cool Whip topping for my mini cheesecakes.

A special baking recommendation I would like to make, especially if you found yourself alone during Valentine’s Day like I did, is to pour yourself a drink to serve as your baking companion. Even if that’s not the case, pour yourself a drink anyway. You deserve it for whipping up these tasty treats!

Both the wine (Sutter Home Moscato) and the glass were part of a care package one of my roommates threw together for me. They served me well.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and sugar until well blended. Add the eggs into this mixture one at a time, beating on low speed until well blended.

Post-mixture-scooping results. Can anyone tell me what kind of beaters these are? They were the only ones I could find and worked really well with the cream cheese, but I would genuinely like to know what for what kind of mixing is their intended purpose.

Place baking cups in the wells of your muffin pan and fill each with an Oreo cookie. You can obviously use whatever kind of Oreo (or other similar sandwich cookie) you like. For the occasion of Valentine’s Day, I chose to use the new Red Velvet Oreos.

Also because they’re fucking delicious.

Once you’ve placed a cookie in each baking cup, fill each cup with your cheesecake batter. Don’t be afraid to fill each to the top with batter as you should have plenty of it and the cups won’t overflow while things are baking.

Witness my great filling skills.

Bake your mini cheesecakes for 20 minutes or until the centers are almost set. They’re be a bit puffed up when they come out of the oven but will deflate as they cool down. Once they’ve cooled, refrigerate them for 3 hours. After refrigeration, melt the Baker’s chocolate as directed on the package and drizzle over the cheesecakes. Add additional Cool Whip topping when ready to serve (as stated above, I omitted this step).

Tada! My little masterpieces.

See? Really easy to make. The biggest commitment is refrigerating them for the three hours but this is obviously a vital step. If you’re a fan of thick and creamy cheesecake, this is the perfect recipe for you. The only thing I would change would be the addition of a bit of vanilla to the recipe because there wasn’t much flavor beyond a general creamy cream cheese taste to it, and I’d like something to kick it up a notch. Also, in my experience, the Oreo cookie more or less retained its consistency, in other words it did not soften much after baking. If you’re looking for a softer “crust” to your mini cheesecake, I would recommend perhaps soaking the Oreo in something like milk or butter prior to baking, or crushing up Oreos to create your own crust, though both options do take away from the ease of this recipe. This is certainly a recipe I’ll come back to as it was a hit with my coworkers and wasn’t much of a hassle at all!

Have you tried this recipe, or a similar recipe? Any tips? Do you plan to try this if you haven’t yet? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time, stay well, stay beautiful xx

Egg Nog Bars

Something miraculous has happened–I finally have a recipe to share for the first time in a long while! A lot of the cooking I’ve done lately, if I’ve done any, has been very hodge-podge meals made from stuff I have on hand and not any true recipes, so I’m very excited to finally have something to share.

Every Monday from about the end of September to the middle of December, then once again starting in January and going to the middle/end of March, we hold Soup Club at work. Each week, four people make soups and one person makes dessert. I signed up to do dessert this week, and since I was already making cookies for our Christmas cookie exchange, I decided to make another recipe that fit the season.

These Egg Nog Bars are absolutely simple to make and so delicious. I’m not quite satisfied with how mine turned out, but with how well they were received I will certainly be making them again and can hopefully perfect them to my liking!

The recipe is taken from Jen’s Favorite Cookies and can be found here.

Egg Nog Bars

Crust:
– 2 cups gingerbread crumbs
– 1/2 cup butter

Egg Nog Filling:
– 8 oz softened cream cheese
-1/2 cup egg nog (not homemade)
– 1 T. floor
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
– 1 tsp. rum extract
– 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Combine gingerbread crumbs with butter, and mix until all crumbs are moist. Press your crumb-butter mix into the bottom of a 9×13 pan and bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes.

While the crust is baking, combine the cream cheese, egg nog, flour and sugar. Add egg and egg yolk and mix well. Add extract and nutmeg, mix.

Once the crust is ready, pour egg nog mixture over baked crust and return to oven. Bake an additional 25 minutes, or until the center is set and not loose when jiggled. Allow to cool before serving.

For my version, because I lack a food processor (and lacked the energy to crush up enough cookies), I bought Betty Crocker gingerbread mix and mixed that with the butter instead and it turned out just fine. This will obviously result in a slightly different, more cookie-like crust than one made with crumbs from already-baked cookies, and if you want to go for a more authentic cheesecake feel to these bars–as they are technically egg nog cheesecake bars–you may want to go the crumb & butter route. My filling consistency was also a little off sadly; I could have incorporated the cream cheese better but could not for the life of me find the electric hand mixer so I had to do it the old fashioned manual way. I did the best I could this time around. Considering these were still a hit with my co-workers, there’s no where to go but up next time I make them!

I’d love to share what I made for the cookie exchange with you but I had intended to get a finished product shot this morning after they settled and my alarm decided it wasn’t going to go off this morning so I had to hurriedly pack them before dashing out of the house 😦 Perhaps I can make more after the holidays to show them off!

Let me know if you make these bars yourselves and how they turn out for you 🙂

Until next time, stay well, stay beautiful! xx

Sugar Sugar: Peanut Butter Cookies and a lip scrub!

A couple weeks ago I was tasked with dessert-duty for a small grill-out at work with some co-workers. I was running a bit low on baking ingredients but I wanted to bake something from scratch and not from a mix. Now, I love peanut butter. I can’t even begin to describe how much I love peanut butter. Case in point, I’m currently having some special time with a bowl of Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Fudge Core ice cream as we speak (if you haven’t tried any of their Core ice creams yet, you’re seriously missing out). Having this love of peanut butter means having the knowledge of an extremely simple recipe for peanut butter cookies.

Behold… Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies!

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

The ingredients list I have for this recipe is the result of a combination of a couple recipes I found on Food.com and Foodnetwork.com (they can be found here, here and here). The essence of this recipe is the peanut butter, granulated sugar and egg. I doubt the baking soda added much as a leavening agent but the vanilla I added because, well, I love vanilla too.

Ingredients with bonus Grandma Bunny cookie jar in the background. She’s either drunk or going for the Miley Cyrus look.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease your cookie sheets.

In a bowl, mix the peanut butter, sugar, egg, baking soda and vanilla together in a bowl. Because I used your regular store-brand peanut butter, I cut the sugar in half, so I only used half a cup. This is because my peanut butter already has sugar added in and I don’t want to lessen the peanut butter taste with so much sugar. Remember, I love peanut butter. If you’re using a sugar-free/natural peanut butter, you may choose to use the whole cup.

At this point, I just wanted to stop and eat the dough.

When all the ingredients are well-combined, begin spooning out the dough. Two of the recipes said teaspoon-sized spoonfuls and the third said tablespoon-sized. I did probably somewhere in between and ended up with around 24 cookies out of this recipe. Roll the dough you’ve spooned out into balls and place them about an inch apart on your cookie sheets. With a fork, use the tines to make the crosshatch pattern on the cookies by lightly pressing in to the dough. I dipped the fork in some extra sugar each time to coat the tines before pressing down.

Om nom nom. Seriously, we don’t need to bake them. They’re still tasty this way.

Bake your cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until they start getting some puff to them and are a nice golden pale color. Because these cookies are a little lighter, you’ll want to give them at least two minutes to cool before you transfer them off the cookie sheet or they’ll have trouble staying together during the move.

Now I had some downtime while I was waiting for each round of cookies to bake. Since I already had my sugar out I thought I’d grab my honey and take care of my lips.

Shamless Wisconsin plug.

This is a homemade lip scrub I found a while ago online and it has worked well for me when my lips could some exfoliation. All you have to do is mix equal parts sugar to equal parts honey. For this, I used a teaspoon of each, which is honestly more than you’ll need. I don’t know why I chose a shot glass to mix these guys in but it was a small enough vessel to use. Feel free to use whatever you’d like.

Sweet, sweet lip scrub.

Then all you gotta do is slather it on your lips. Due to the size of the sugar granules, this can be a bit of a heavy-duty scrub so be careful. You don’t need to rub this too harshly on your lips, the sugar will do most of the work for you. Best part is the scrub is edible! Though you’ll probably still want to wash your face because, you know, honey sticky goodness.

Once you’ve done a slight scrub and cleaned up, I suggest putting on your favorite lip balm/moisturizer. One of my favorites at the moment is Vaseline’s Lip Therapy. They come in what are basically mini Vaseline tubs and they’re super adorable on top of being super effective.

I’m a much bigger fan of the Cocoa Butter version from this line but that one, after surviving a tumble through the washer and dryer, decided to runaway. Be free, friend.

I’ve also seen a version where coconut oil was used in place of honey along with sugar. If you want something a little milder and less sticky, that could be a good option. Be sure to patch test the coconut oil before use as it can be highly comedogenic for some people.

If you try out either of my recipes seen here, let me know and tell me what you think! If you made any additions, alterations, etc., please sure to let me know as well!

As always, stay well, stay beautiful!

So… Where do we start?

Photo from nyxcosmetics.com

Today I received the email for NYX’s Bakeoff Promotion for their Baked and Butter products. Yes, I thought, this is exactly the sign that I was looking for to finally start my blog!

Just kidding. I had already decided on this blog before even seeing that email.

Regardless, I did take it as the perfect sign for the kind of blog that I’ll be creating here. A quick background about myself: I am a 23-year-old graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BS in Genetics and Spanish currently working in a laboratory in my college town. Other than the mass of bills and loan payments I’ve begun drowning in suddenly had to keep track of, what I’ve discovered about this new transition into post-school life is I have a lot of free time. Like, more than I know what to do with, actually. So I’ve been searching for other activities to occupy my time other than constant Netflix binges (she says as she marathons Archer while writing this). My boyfriend suggested that I finally go about creating all those Pinterest recipes that I have saved and review the cooking/baking experience on a blog.

I contemplated this for a long time. In the meantime, I was introduced to /r/makeupaddiction and it was all downhill from there.. for my wallet. For me, though, I fell in love with the community and makeup in general. I never did much more than mascara and maybe some eyeliner on occasion, but suddenly I found myself yearning to replicate the artistry I saw in front of me. These beauties were incredible and I wanted to be like them. Since beginning to lurk there back in late January/early February, I have amassed quite the collection of cosmetics that sadly sit there most days. I wake up at 5:30am every day to make a 6:30am bus for my job that starts at 7am, and even if I did forsake more sleep and get my butt out of bed right away, I’m a laboratory technician, I don’t have the ideal job for a full face of makeup.

Wanting to actually use these products outside of weekends, I figured the best way would be to create something that would force me to spend more nights out of my week playing around with makeup for a purpose, and a blog seemed like the right answer. But I still liked my boyfriend’s suggestion about creating the food blog, however I didn’t want to have two new blogs plus my personal blog. Then I thought, why not do both in the same place? No matter which medium, I’ll be creating something that I want to showcase, and recipes are just like makeup tutorials, right? Sort of? Pretty close?

And that is how Palates and Palettes was born. (Hehe, get it? Like, the palate of your mouth, and then makeup palettes? I am so witty, you guys)

It’s going to be weird since I’ll be catering (no pun intended) to two different kinds of audiences for the most part. Some of you will be here for makeup, some for cooking. My hope is that it won’t get in the way of your enjoyment of this blog and that perhaps you can appreciate both sides even if you’re partial to one! Heck, maybe I can even create some food-inspired looks based on what I’m cooking. Products like Too Faced’s Chocolate Bar do exist, after all, so food and makeup totally go together!

This is going to be an experiment in many ways, from combining both hobbies into one blog to actually creating food and makeup looks on a regular basis when I’m still quite new to doing both seriously. But I’m a scientist, my whole life is about experiments. And damn it all if I don’t have fun doing it.

So here we go. It’s time to begin the wild ride. I don’t yet know quite what my schedule will look like for posting to this blog, I’ll figure that out as I go online. Both of these hobbies will not only be a time investment but a financial one as well, so it’s inevitable that things may get hindered at points due to money, but as of this moment, I’m in it and I can’t get out.

Until next time!

This post has been brought to you by tea, post-workout grunge, power brows and NYX’s Hunk Butter Lipstick.