Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Honey Dijon Pork Loin with Veggies

Most of the time I feature confections loaded with sugar on this site (hey, I've got to stay true to my title), but for this post I'm bringing you something you could actually eat without going into a sugar coma.  I love honey and mustard together, and I think pork is such a great alternative to chicken....thus, honey dijon pork!

Another great thing about this meal is it's done all in one dish.  Adding some vegetables into the bottom of the pan allows the juices from the pork to marinate them throughout the time in the oven.   I'm sure you could also add some herbs to the veggies as well if you're looking for even more flavor.

Honey Dijon Pork Loin with Veggies
1 3-4lb pork loin, boneless
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
3/4 C Dijon mustard
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley leaves
1 tbsp freshly chopped chives
1 tbsp freshly chopped tarragon leaves
3 tbsp canola oil
Salt and pepper
Fresh "roasting" vegetables (I used carrots, onions and potatoes)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Season the pork with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.   Combine vinegar, mustard, honey and herbs in medium bowl and set aside.

Cut vegetables into even pieces and place in the bottom of pan lined with tin foil and misted lightly with pam (makes for an easy clean up).  Sprinkle vegetables with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

*If you are using larger cuts of vegetables go ahead and let them get a head start on cooking while you prep your pork.  Larger portions of vegetables take some time to cook all the way through and might not be done within the 30 minutes alloted for the pork*

Heat canola oil in sautee pan over medium-high heat.  Sear pork loin evenly on all sides.  This seals all of the juices in so that the pork stays nice and flavorful!

Brush pork loin with mustard and honey mixture and place directly on top of vegetables in roasting pan.   Cook at 350 degrees for  approximately 30 minutes.   Remove from oven and let rest before slicing and serving.

Ready to go with the mustard and honey sauce.

*Please note that cooking times may vary greatly depending on the size of the pork loin.  To be safe, make sure that the internal temperature of the pork is 145 degrees.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Red Velvet Layer Cake

My mom's birthday (I won't tell you which) was this past week and for her big day she requested none other than a red velvet cake.  Red velvet is her absolute favorite and is subsequently my favorite as well.  Something about the bright red color just makes it taste better.

A while back I posted about making red velvet cupcakes.  You can revisit that post here.  The cupcakes were super moist, but almost too moist (if that's even possible).  As a result I reduced the vegetable oil to 1 1 1/4 C which fixed the issue.

Red Velvet Cake
2 1/2 C cake flour
1 1/2 C sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/4 C vegetable oil
1 C buttermilk
2 tbsp red food coloring
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp white distilled vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
4 C confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
*I doubled this recipe for the cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 3 9-inch cake pans and set aside.  

Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa and salt in medium bowl.  Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar in electric mixer until well combined.  Slowly add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Divide batter evenly among prepared cake pans.  Bake in preheated oven for approximately 18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.  Turn the cakes out onto wire cooling racks and let cool completely.

When the layers are almost completely cooled you can begin the frosting.  I usually combine the butter, cream cheese and vanilla first and then gradually add the confectioners sugar.  This keeps you from being consumed in a big poof of sugar if you were to add all 4 cups at once.

Next is one of the most important steps of making a layer cake: leveling the cake.  I'm a little ashamed to admit this is a step I had skipped in the past, but it really does make such a big difference when it comes to making sure each of the layers are even.  When the layers are even they stack perfectly so that you don't have a lopsided or droopy cake.

A leveled cake on the left vs an unleveled one on the right.

Next up is the actual stacking of the layers.  I always place the top of layer (the leveled side) down to cut down on the number of crumbs I have to worry about.

Sandwich the frosting between the layers. *Notice the layers are top side down*

One of the best ways to get an even coat of frosting is to do a crumb coat first.  Simply cover the three layers with a thin coat of frosting (it doesn't have to be neat) and then place in the fridge for approximately 10 minutes.

This crumb coat ensures you a nice clean and firm (and crumb free) base on which to distribute the remaining frosting.

For this cake I decided to try something a bit different since it is a birthday cake after all.  I don't have fancy decorating skills, but loved the idea of rosettes covering the cake.  Wilton's 1M tip is perfect for this.  

After covering your cake with a crumb coat, go over it one more time to make sure you cannot see any cake peaking through.  Then use a piping bag with the 1M tip to pipe swirls (rosettes) all over the cake.


Time to dig in!

And the inside of course.  This photo is much more true to color....I used a
different lens on all of the other shots.

On another note, I plan to begin selling my cakes next week.  Which means.....more cake recipes to come!! Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Parmesan Garlic Knots

Today I bring you these amazing Parmesan Garlic Knots.  I'm pretty sure I haven't been this excited to share a recipe in quite a while.  They are simply to.die.for and are highly addictive.

I discovered the recipe while sifting through Pinterest.  FYI:  If you haven't already discovered Pinterest STAY AWAY!! You will get sucked in and any productivity you previously possessed will poof into oblivion.   But if you would still like to check it out you can do so here.  But don't say I didn't warn you.

This recipe takes canned biscuit mix and doctors it up, and voila!  You have delicious, incredibly flavorful dinner "rolls".  The best part is that it only takes about 5 minutes to prep.  But because they turn out so lovely everyone thinks you slaved away in the kitchen making them :)

Parmesan Garlic Knots
1 tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley flakes

Roll each biscuit into a rope and tie into a knot.  Tuck the ends under.

The steps to make the knots....easy as pie.

Combine all remaining ingredients and brush knots with mixture.  Bake knots according the packaging instructions.  If desired, brush them with any remaining mixture after baking.

ENJOY!! :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Key Lime Cupcakes

Ok, I know what you're thinking....key lime cupcakes in September?  Aren't we supposed to be going into fall and flavors like pumpkin spice?  I know, I know.  But in my defense I fixed these cupcakes back over the summer when key lime was a very relevant and appropriate flavor and am just now having time to post them.

I love baking cakes from scratch and normally do, but this recipe that uses box mix was too good not to pass on.  It's SO SO SO moist!  It's also a great recipe to whip up when you're short on time and/or ingredients.

I paired the cupcake with a cream cheese frosting, however I don't doubt you could pair it with a buttercream.  I just happen to believe that cream cheese makes everything taste better :)

Key Lime Cake
1 (18.25 oz) box lemon cake mix
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
3 oz package lime flavored gelatin mix (aka jello)
3/4 C orange juice

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Pour batter into prepared cupcake liners and bake according to box instructions.  *Make sure not to over-bake...otherwise these won't turn out as moist as they should*

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 C margarine, softened
4 C confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients into stand mixer and beat until smooth.  Frost cupcakes with desire tip.
*I always love lots of frosting and did an extra 1/2 of this recipe so I had plenty to work with.

I forgot to take pics while baking, but I did manage to sneak just one before all of these were gobbled up.  Enjoy!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Links

I don't know about you, but I couldn't be more excited about the fact that Fall is right around the corner.  Fall is probably my favorite time of year....boots, sweaters, football, and tons of recipes that use seasonal flavors such as pumpkin and cranberry.  Below are some of the recipes that I'd love to try out over the next few months.

I love cooking with pumpkin but always used the canned puree.  I'd love to try making my own using this recipe from Annie's Eats.

Pumpkin bread is always a fall staple for me, so I'm dying to try out Bobby Flay's Pumpking Bread Pudding!  The Pioneer Woman featured it on her blog and I've been wanting to try it ever since.

I'm a huge fan of white chocolate and love the idea of combining it with cranberries for these cookies from the Brown Eyed Baker.  Delish!

Other recipes on my list:
-Cranberry sauce
-Pumpkin pie
-Pecan pie

What's on your list for fall?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Caprese Salad

I'm baaack!  I took quite a long hiatus due to my crazy work schedule, but I am officially back in action in the blogging world.  I've missed it so much!  I promise to have more features on a regular basis from here on out.  Cross my heart.

I figured caprese salad would be a good recipe to feature for my comeback blog post....this appetizer is so easy to throw together, but is certainly not short on flavor.  Caprese salad is also a lighter option and is quite a refreshing turn from the usually heavy and calorie laden appetizers you often see.

Caprese Salad is usually sliced in such a manner that it requires a fork, but this slight twist allows you to combine all of the ingredients on a toothpick so that your guests can grab it and go.


Caprese Salad
Fresh mozzarella
Cherry tomatoes
Fresh basil, chopped
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Cut mozzarella into bit sized cubes.  Place tomatoes and mozzarella on toothpicks alternately.  Sprinkle with fresh basil and drizzle with olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Yes, it's that easy.  But SO great!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

New York Style Cheesecake....a Flop

I told you I would be sharing my triumphs AND failures on this blog...and apparently it hasn't taken me very long to post a flop.  Hang in there...this is a long one...here it goes...

My fiance's mom's birthday was not too long ago, and the two of us promised her we would make her dinner (she got to pick the menu) to celebrate one night.  Her favorite dessert is cheesecake and, feeling pretty confident in my previous cheesecake attempts, I set off to find the perfect New York Cheesecake recipe.  My previous cheesecake endeavors have involved "flavored" cheesecake (White Chocolate Raspberry and Pumpkin) and I was excited about making a nice plain jane one.  Cheesecake is so delicious in and of itself that it really doesn't need much to make it special.

I just became a member of Cooks Illustrated and decided to try out their recipe for New York-Style Cheesecake.  Their recipes never disappoint.

Everything was going great.....I licked the bowl (as usual) after putting the cheesecake into a waterbath in the oven....it was divine!  Incredibly creamy, rich and velvety all at the same time.  Deliciousness.  I baked the cheesecake as directed and then placed it in the fridge for the afternoon.  

Much to my dismay, the cheesecake never completely firmed up as it is supposed to.  I checked the recipe again....what went wrong?  Did I leave out an ingredient?  Cook it at a too-low temp?  Nope.  I followed the recipe to a "T" :(

I only had an hour before everyone arrived for dinner, so I flew into damage control mode.  I would love to be able to tell you that I pulled together several ingredients from Trey's pantry and whipped up a delicious dessert.  Nope.  I sent Trey to pick up a cheesecake at Publix AND a small Dairy Queen ice cream cake of course!  I had to concentrate on making the actual dinner and was so grateful that Trey stepped in.

But wait, the story doesn't end here......after everyone left later that night I was putting left overs away in the fridge and noticed that everything in the fridge was warm.  We checked the setting and somehow it had gotten turn down way too low......which is why the cheesecake never firmed up.  Redemption!!  It *wasn't* my fault!!

We left the cheesecake in the newly cooled fridge overnight, and low and behold when we woke up Sunday morning it was all nice and firm.  Too bad we hadn't discovered this earlier the night before.  The moral of the story is this:  when something goes wrong don't immediate assume you yourself messed up....lots of environmental factors come into play.  Environmental factors such as the temp of your fridge :)

Still, I thought I'd post the recipe since it's not what cause this cheesecake attempt to go awry.  I'll make sure to make this again when it turns out pretty.

Just for kicks....Before we had discovered the fridge issue we simply too spoons to the firmer edge of the cheesecake and ate it as was....yum, yum.

New York Style Cheesecake - Cooks Illustrated
1 cup Graham cracker crumbs (roughly 8 whole crackers)
1 tbsp granulated sugar
5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus additional 1 tbsp melted butter for greasing pan

2 1/2 lbs cream cheese, cut into chunks and left to stand at room temp for 30-40 min
1/8 tsp table salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
6 large eggs

  1. For the crust: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar in medium bowl; add 5 tablespoons melted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened. Brush bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan with most of remaining melted butter, making sure to leave enough to brush pan in step 3. Empty crumbs into springform pan and press evenly into pan bottom. Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown around edges, about 13 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.
  2. For the cheesecake filling: Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium-low speed to break up and soften slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape beater and bottom and sides of bowl well with rubber spatula; add salt and about half of sugar and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; beat in remaining sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla, and beat at low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add yolks and beat at medium-low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add whole eggs two at a time, beating until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute, and scraping bowl between additions.
  3. Brush sides of springform pan with remaining melted butter. Set springform pan on rimmed baking sheet (to catch any spills if springform pan leaks). Pour filling into cooled crust and bake 10 minutes; without opening oven door, reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue to bake until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of cheesecake registers about 150 degrees, about 11/2 hours. Transfer cake to wire rack and cool 5 minutes; run paring knife between cake and side of springform pan. Cool until barely warm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours. (Cake can be refrigerated up to 4 days.)
  4. To unmold cheesecake, remove sides of pan. Slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cake onto serving plate. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Italian Cream Cake

The first time I ever attempted making a layer cake I made an Italian Cream Cake.  I asked my grandmother what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday, and when she said Italian Cream I panicked just a bit....it sounded pretty complicated, and I wasn't sure I didn't want to just stick to boxed mix for my first layering attempt (not that there's anything wrong with boxed mix).  To my pleasant surprise, this cake turned out to be fairly easy to make.....several steps but very straightforward.  Plus, this recipe won't disappoint....it's unbelievably moist and the cream cheese icing is my favorite icing of.all.time.  Hands down.  Yum!

My friend and coworker Rachel requested this cake for her birthday this year, and I thought I would take the opportunity to try making a 5 layer tiered cake.  It took way longer than making the standard 3 layer, but it was well worth it.

*Recipe is for one 3-layer cake.  I usually double the icing recipe for a 3 layer cake as well...but then again I like the sweet stuff :)

Italian Cream Cake

  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 5 egg whites

Best Cream Cheese Icing
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Before starting, don't forget to make sure that the eggs are at room temperature*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 8 inch round cake pans.

Beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

Fluffy peaks

In a large bowl, cream 1/2 cup margarine and shortening till light. Add white sugar, and beat till fluffy. Beat in egg yolks. Stir together flour and baking soda, and add alternately with buttermilk into the creamed mixture; mix well after each addition. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla, coconut, and 1 cup pecans. 

LOTS of batter crammed into my mixer

Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. 

I had to revert to a larger bowl for this step....the double batter wouldn't fit in the mixer

Spoon into prepared pans.  Bake for 25 to 40 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting: Combine cream cheese, 1/2 cup margarine, confectioners' sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in mixer bowl. Beat till smooth. 

When doing larger layer cakes it's important to give the layers support.  Otherwise the cake will either topple sideways or sink in on itself.  For this step I used cake pop sticks from Michaels.  Insert the supports (whichever kind you like) into the bottom tier of the cake.  Make sure before you insert them that you've measured and trimmed them so that they don't stick out of the top.

Then place the second tier on top.  Obviously you'll want the two tiers placed on their own cardboard cake boards...otherwise that defeats the purpose of the supports.

To hide any space in between and make the tiers look seamless, use a piping bag with your favorite tip to pipe a design at the base of both tiers.

Okay, so I didn't smooth the frosting out before taking these pics but you get the idea.  Imagine this...but smoother and prettier :)  

Monday, May 9, 2011

White Bean Chicken Chili

Chili is one of my favorite cold weather meals.  It's warm, filling and just makes you feel all nice and toasty inside.  So why the heck am I posting a chili recipe in May?  Because this is a different kind of chili....it has chicken instead of beef, and white beans instead of kidney beans.  It's quickly becoming a new favorite of mine.  And the best part?  It's SO easy to throw together at the last minute!

PS These ingredients can be combined in a crock pot in the morning and then left to cook on low all day as well.  The soup also freezes nicely.

White Bean Chicken Chili
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (14.5oz) can chicken broth
1 (16 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1 (16 oz) can corn
1 (15 oz) can white beans
1 (7 oz) can diced green chiles
1 lb cooked chicken meat, shredded
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 (18.75 oz) bottle salsa verde
pinch salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil and cook onion and garlic until soft.  Stir in broth, diced tomatoes, chiles, salsa verde and spices.  Bring to boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.  Add corn, chicken and beans.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Classic Birthday Cake

The classic birthday cake consisting of yellow cake and chocolate icing is a favorite of almost anyone I've ever met.  It's a traditional combination and you really can't go wrong.....except that you can.  Anyone who has ever tried to make a homemade yellow cake knows just how dry and bland this type of cake can turn out.  And to me there's not much worse than dry cake.  Yuck.

I found this comparison of yellow cake recipes on The Way the Cookie Crumbles, and decided to go with the "fluffy/moist" cake from Cooks Illustrated.  So incredibly glad I did because it turned out great.

I also used The Way the Cookie Crumbles' comparison of chocolate icings.  While I loved this icing, I'm still in search of that perfect, rich, fudge-like frosting.  While this one was very good, it was more of a mousse type frosting.  I guess that's just a good excuse to get back in the kitchen for round 2 :)

**This recipe is for a two layer cake....I made the recipe plus a half and made 4 smaller layers...just didn't want anyone to get confused...

Fluffy Yellow Cake

Makes two 9-inch round cakes
2½ cups cake flour
1¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon table salt
1¾ cups sugar
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup buttermilk, at room temp
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks plus 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
*Start up tip:  I hardly ever have my milk and eggs at room temp when I need to start baking.  Simply place these ingredients in a bowl of warm water to bring them to room temp faster

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (*Recipe calls for 350 degrees for 20 min, but I baked mine at about 330 degrees for a bit longer because I was worried about them baking too fast and drying out.)  Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.  Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1½ cups sugar together in large bowl. In medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and yolks.
Egg mixture
In bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. With machine running, gradually add remaining ¼ cup sugar; continue to beat until stiff peaks just form, 30 to 60 seconds (whites should hold peak but mixture should appear moist). Transfer to bowl and set aside.
Add flour mixture to now-empty mixing bowl fitted with whisk attachment. With mixer running at low speed, gradually pour in butter mixture and mix until almost incorporated (a few streaks of dry flour will remain), about 15 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape whisk and sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium-low speed and beat until smooth and fully incorporated, 10 to 15 seconds.

Using rubber spatula, stir ⅓ of whites into batter to lighten, then add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans. Lightly tap pans against counter 2 or 3 times to dislodge any large air bubbles.
Bake until cake layers begin to pull away from sides of pans and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 20-22 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen cakes from sides of pan with small knife, then invert onto greased wire rack. Cool completely on rack, about 1½ hours.
Layers cooling....I used a leveler to lop off the top portion of one layer

Martha Stewart's Chocolate Frosting
14 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
9 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups (12 ounces) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Set aside to cool until just barely warm.
I cheated and used chocolate chips, and then melted everything in the microwave :)

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Gradually mix in confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Beat in melted and cooled chocolate and then sour cream. (*I used about half the sour cream the recipe called for....that much sour cream in a frosting just didn't sounds appetizing) Continue beating until mixture is smooth and well blended. 
Big bowl of frosting ready to go...



What's your favorite type of cake?  Any favorites you always request for your birthday every year?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Cheesecake is one of those versatile desserts that can be dressed up in so many ways.  Blame it on The Cheesecake Factory if you want, but it seems everywhere you go there are 5+ flavors of this dessert on the menu.  You can add some simple fruit, pumpkin flavoring for fall, your favorite candy bar, or (in this case) some white chocolate and raspberry.

I also know that cheesecakes can be somewhat intimidating.  They were for me anyhow.  I always worry about them over baking, or worse, cracking.  One great simple remedy for this is to cook the cheesecake in a water bath.  Wrap some tin foil around a springform pan to prevent water from seeping into the pan, and then place the entire pan in a larger pan filled with hot water.  *Make sure to add hot water to the larger pan, or else the first 30 minutes of baking will do nothing but heat that water.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
2 cups crushed oreos
1 1/4 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup butter melted
1 8oz jar seedless raspberry preserves
2 cups white chocolate chips
1/2 cup half and half
3 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Add first three ingredients to bowl and mix well to combine.  Use hands to press mixture into bottom of 9 inch springform pan. *Make sure to wrap aluminum foil around pan first in preparation for water bath.

Crushing up the oreos.  No need to get double stuff.

Oreo mixture evenly distributed in springform pan.

Empty raspberry preserves into saucepan and set over medium high heat.  Heat until melted completely. *You can also make a syrup out of fresh raspberries, but preserves or jam works just as well if you're in a pinch and want to save some time.

Place white chocolate chips and half and half in heat proof bowl and microwave in 25 second increments until completely melted, stirring in between microwaving.

In large bowl mix cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth.

Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.   Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate/half and half mixture.  

Hey there little buddy

Pour half of batter into prepared springform pan.  Evenly drizzle half of melted preserves on top.  Pour remaining batter into pan and top with rest of preserves.  Use a toothpick to create desired swirl pattern.

I didn't swirl it exactly how I would have liked...this sort of looks like splatter painting.

Place springform pan into water bath.  Bake for approximately 55 minutes or until center is set.  Turn off oven and open oven door.  Let cake cool for 1 hour, then place in refrigerator for 4 hours, or overnight.

Down for the count in the water bath...

Look who found some batter lingering on a spoon :)

Sadly my only shot of the finished product....it all got sliced and eaten, which I guess
is a good thing...

What's your favorite type of cheesecake?