Monday, June 16, 2014

Jacobean Journey Quilt - Block B5

This next block we received is block B5 which is the exact same block as B4 and we need to complete 8 of them.  B5 block is the same as B4 except some of the fabrics and thread color is different.

I didn't do a video showing this block but here's a picture of blocks B4 and B5 together. B4 is on the left and B5 is on the right.

And on a more depressing note, my Babylock Unity has been acting up lately and I was hoping that a good cleaning would take care of the issue but it hasn't.  So I'm going to finish up the remaining B5 blocks I have to do and then take it into the quilt shop.  I don't know why but the machine will just stop during embroidery. No error message, nothing.  It'll start again and sometimes stop again or it will just keep sewing.  There doesn't seem to be any reasoning to it and rebooting doesn't help either so I'll just make a note whenever it stops, take some video (since you KNOW it won't happen when its being repaired!), and take it into the shop.

Here's a tip though if your doing this quilt. If you remove the hoop from the machine, don't grab it by the battilizer.  Always, grab the frame of the hoop.  That battilizer is fairly slippery and the slightest tug could just pop it right out of the hoop and then you'll have to start all over.  Ask me how I know.  So I'll just have to start a new sewing project. One that doesn't involve embroidery.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Brown Sugar Cheesecake

I don't know about anyone else but I get tired of making the same recipes over and over and once in a while I look for different things to try or at least change up a favorite.  I've got my tried and true recipe collection and there's my I've-got-to-make-this-one-day collection because they sound really good. And since cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts and my dad's birthday is this month, I decided to dig out one of those recipes I promised I'd try and found this one: Brown Sugar Cheesecake with Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce. Oooooh yeah, sign me up baby!

I found this recipe on Epicurious which received 3.5 forks out of 4. The reviews were good but there were a few issues "not thick like a NY cheesecake" and some had problems with the sauce.  I too enjoy a NY style thick cheesecake, which is how I always make mine and the directions for the sauce seem, well, weird.

First things first, I didn't have any bourbon but I had rum, which I figured would work just fine and the original recipe called for chocolate wafer cookies and graham crackers so I got chocolate graham crackers, which made sense to me.

I slightly modified the recipe in order to try to get a thicker cheesecake.  The recipe calls for 4 eggs and I used 3 which I probably could've used 2 since the batter still seemed a little thin.  I also used a 10" springform pan instead of a 9" because that's just what I have.

The sour cream topping was okay on the cheesecake but this made way too much in my opinion. I would go lightly on the topping as you spread it out and I bet you'd have at least 1/2 - 1C left in your bowl or more. So I would definitely ease up on that a bit. The cheesecake itself isn't real sweet at all, despite its name and neither is the topping and I admit I added 2 more Tbls of brown sugar to the topping and it still wasn't that sweet.

The instructions for the sauce seemed really weird to me. I've never just melted sugar in a pan, got that to a caramel stage and slowly poured water into it. I know what's going to happen. Its just going to seize up. Why would I do this? So, I melted the butter in the rum sauce together over very low heat. I then melted the water and sugar together and boiled that for roughly 30 minutes. When it starts to brown its about 30 seconds from burning and if it burns you'll have to start over. I got a bit more color in the pan then in the picture and then I slowly poured in the butter rum mixture and you can see what I got. Its a thin butterscotch rum sauce. The way I did it only made about a 1C of sauce so not much.

I probably would make the following changes if I were to make this cheesecake again.  The chocolate nor the pecans seem to add anything to the crust, so I would probably just stick to a cinnamon graham cracker crust.  3Tbls of rum in the cheesecake mixture seemed a bit much. Depends on how much of a rum hit you want in your cheesecake but a bit less would've been fine. I would definitely not use all of the sour cream topping. Probably half or three quarters would've been more than enough.

As for the sauce its good but not many people want to deal with making this type of thing. I would stick with a caramel ice cream topping and call it quits but if you want to try it feel free.  If you want to stick to the original recipe the link is above the recipe with my changes are below.

Brown Sugar Cheesecake with Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce

For crust
1/3 cup pecans (Optional)
16 thin chocolate wafer cookies
four 5- by 2 1/2-inch graham crackers
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
For filling
three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs*
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons of flour*
For topping
a 16-ounce container of sour cream
4 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar*
1 teaspoon vanilla


Make crust:
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a baking pan toast pecans in one layer in middle of oven until golden, about 10 minutes, and cool. In a food processor finely grind pecans, wafers, and graham crackers. Add brown sugar, butter, and salt and pulse until combined well. Transfer mixture to a 9 1/2-inch springform pan and press evenly onto bottom and 1 1/2 inches upside.

Make filling:
In a bowl with an electric mixer beat cream cheese until fluffy and add eggs, 1 at a time, beating at low speed until just combined. Beat in bourbon, vanilla, and brown sugar until just combined.
Pour filling into crust and put springform pan in a baking pan. Bake cake in middle of oven for 35 minutes. Leaving oven on, transfer cake in springform pan to a rack and let stand 5 minutes. (Center of cake will set as it cools.)

Make topping:
In a bowl stir together sour cream, brown sugar, and vanilla.
Drop spoonfuls of topping around edge of cake and spread gently over center, smoothing evenly. Bake cake in baking pan in middle of oven 10 minutes and cool completely in springform pan on rack. Chill cake, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 4 days.
Run a thin knife around inside edge of pan and remove side of pan. Transfer cake to a serving plate and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
Serve cake with sauce.

*I modified the ingredients or the amounts of the original recipe.

Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup bourbon
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter

In a dry 3-quart heavy kettle cook sugar over moderately low heat, stirring slowly with a fork (to help sugar melt evenly), until melted and pale golden. Cook caramel, without stirring, swirling kettle, until deep golden. Remove kettle from heat and carefully add water and bourbon down side of kettle (mixture will bubble and steam). Simmer mixture, stirring, until caramel is dissolved. Stir in butter until incorporated and cool sauce to warm.
Butterscotch bourbon sauce may be made 1 week ahead and chilled covered. Reheat sauce to warm before serving.