Hello to all my loyal followers and friends! Pure & Yummy now has pages on both Facebook and Twitter. This is just another way for all of you to keep in touch with what is going on here at Pure & Yummy. I would love for you to click the links that are located on the right side of the blog and follow along with me there. I am working on some yummy food and plan to have more recipes up very soon. Hope you are all having a wonderful week wherever in the world you are. Happy cooking, baking and especially, Happy Eating to you all!

 Mini Key Lime Cheesecakes

Tuesday was my birthday and I wanted to make something yummy for my birthday. That is right, I am made my own birthday dessert (I know that my fellow food bloggers will understand this quite well). Now my first thought (of course) was to make a super fun cupcake that I hadn’t tried yet, but then I remembered these delicious mini cheesecakes that I made this past fall, and I knew that was what I wanted. The ones I made in the fall were raspberry, but for some reason I have been on a lime kick lately, so I came up with the idea of a key lime flavored cheesecake. I knew that someone somewhere had created one already and I was right. I found a recipe at Smitten Kitchen and low and behold she even made them mini like I was looking for! In her blog I also noticed she had a neat mini cheesecake pan. I had never seen one of these before and was immediately fascinated so I hopped on my favorite gadget buying site, eBay, and found one for a good deal! This pan is adorable, that is if a pan can be adorable, and it makes adorable little bite sized desserts. How perfect is that? I digress…on to the recipe.

Mini Cheesecake Pan

The original recipe from Gormet, May 2002 was made for a full cheesecake and our friends over at Smitten Kitchen used half the recipe to make 12 mini cheesecakes. The recipe that I show below has been reduced and will yield 12 mini cheesecakes (with a little bit extra), that is why some of the measurements are a little odd. The original recipe also called for lime soaked mangoes to garnish the tops of the cakes, however I am not a big fan of mango so  I decided to go with coconut. After reading the Smitten Kitchen blog she put the “lime in the coconut” song in my head and I couldn’t get it out. I even played the song and sang it a lot while I was baking these. That song is addicting! I also used cinnamon gram crackers in the crust as this is my favorite way to make a cheesecake crust (my super fabulous cousin Hallie gave me the idea).

Mini Key Lime Cheesecakes

These cheesecakes were fantastic! They were exactly what I had imagined a key lime flavored cheesecake would taste like. They have the perfect tangy lime flavor and the cheesecake is soft and smooth. I loved these so much I think next time I will make the whole big cheesecake! 🙂

Mini Key Lime Cheesecakes
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For crust
3/4 cups fine cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For filling
1 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh key lime juice (strained from about 1 1/2 lb Key limes) or bottled if you can find it
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg and 1 egg yolk

For topping
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Make crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. This recipe can be made in a mini cheesecake pan or in a muffin pan with or without papers.

Stir together crumbs and butter in a bowl with a fork until combined well, divide the crumb mixture into the 12 holes of your mini cheesecake pan (or muffin cups) then press evenly onto bottom of each hole of the pan. Bake crust in middle of oven for 4-5 minutes and cool in pan on a rack.

Make filling: Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy, then beat in sugar. Add lime juice, sour cream, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Mix in flour and salt at low speed, scraping down side as needed, until just incorporated, then add eggs all at once and mix just until incorporated.

Pour filling onto the crusts in each hole of the pan. Bake cakes in the middle of the oven until set in center, about 25-30 minutes (be sure to watch your mini cheesecakes as they can over cook very since they are small). Cool completely in pan on a rack. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.)

Run a thin knife around edge of each cake and push up to remove from the pan.

Make topping: Place the shredded coconut in a saute pan and heat over medium heat on the stove until lightly toasted (it is important that you watch it closely as it can burn very quickly).
Beat cream with sugar in a bowl with electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks, then spread or pipe on top of each cheesecake. Then place the toasted coconut on top of the whipped cream and enjoy your bite sized treat!

Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen

Orange Sherbet

 Orange Sherbet

Well, here is the first delicious thing I made with my surplus of citrus from this past weekend. I know for most of you it is snowy and cold, but for us here in Southern California it has been very sunny and warm this past week. We have been having summer-like weather and there is nothing better on a warm summer day then a refreshing bowl of ice cream. With all the fresh oranges from my neighbor’s tree and the warm weather, I immediately thought of my favorite childhood summer treat…orange sherbert. My grandparents would always have those fun 50/50 cups with the wooden spoons when we would go and visit them in the summers and my brothers, cousins and I loved to sit in their big back yard and enjoy the warm summer air and our tasty dessert. This recipe is fantastic and with the first bite I smiled and felt like I was that little girl again in my grandparents back yard. It was a big hit with the rest of the family too. I can already predict that I will be making this recipe often this summer and I definitely plan to make my own 50/50 version too!

Orange Sherbet
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7 ounces sugar (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice, approximately 2 to 3 pounds oranges
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups very cold whole milk

In the bowl of a food processor combine all of the ingredients except the milk and process until the sugar is dissolved, approximately 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and whisk in the milk. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator until the mixture reaches 40 degrees F or below, approximately 1 hour.
Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process until it is the consistency of soft serve ice cream. You may serve now or transfer to a lidded container and place in freezer until firm, approximately 3 hours.

Adapted From: Alton Brown

 Citrus, Citrus, Citrus!

I live in Orange County California and right now we are surrounded by tons and tons of wonderful fresh citrus. I just love citrus. Citrus is so bright and colorful and can add so much flavor to so many things. The food possibilities are endless when it comes to the wonderful flavors of citrus.

Last Friday the girls and I were at a local farmers market and it was filled with oranges and grapefruit ripe and ready to eat. The girls and I loved trying the samples of all the wonderful oranges and we brought home some sweet and juicy satsuma oranges to share with daddy. Later that same afternoon we acquired some fresh oranges and lemons from a very generous neighbor, her tree was over flowing and she let my daughter and some other neighbor kids pick some to take home. The kids had a blast picking the oranges and lemons and filling multiple bags. Immediately I was thinking of all the fantastic things I could make!

The following day we spent with family celebrating Great Grandpa’s 88th birthday! It was a wonderful celebration and so nice to see him and spend good quality time with him. Happy Birthday Great Grandpa!!!

Happy Birthday Great Grandpa

While we were at our Aunt and Uncle’s house celebrating, Katelyn saw some juicy ripe ruby red grapefruit on their trees and she wanted to pick them. So Uncle Bob was kind enough to help Katelyn harvest a few for us to take home with us. These will make a delicious breakfast treat!

Picking Grapefruit

While we were all together for the birthday celebration, I happen to mention to my mother in law that I was in search of some key limes that I want to use in my own yummy birthday treat this week. So when she came over yesterday she suprised me with a bag of those tasty little key limes. I was so excited that she found them and brought me some! So with all this wonderful citrus on hand, I have no choice but to be on a citrus kick this week. I plan to make many different treats with a few different kinds of citrus and I will share them all with you very soon.  It is gorgeous and warm here in Southern California so I plan to enjoy some time outside with my two sweet baby girls. Hope you all have a wonderful week!

White Bean Dip

 White Bean Dip

Now who doesn’t love a good hummus dip? I think hummus and pita is a wonderful snack or appetizer. So when I came across this Italian version, I knew I just had to try it. This version is made with white or cannellini beans instead of garbanzo beans (chickpeas). This dip is equaly as creamy and flavorful as hummus and the addition of the lemon juice and the parsley add a refreshing flavor to the dip. I served this with my home made pita bread and also crunchy pita chips for a little variety. I myself prefered the soft fluffy pita to go along with this delicious dip. Since we are all trying to stick to resolutions this time of year, a healthy way to enjoy this dip is to serve it with your favorite vegtables.

White Bean Dip
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1 (15 ounce) can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup (loosely packed) fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove
⅓ cup olive oil
½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoons freshly gorund black pepper

In the bowl of tha food processor, combine the beans, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse on and off until the mixture is coarsely chopped. With the machine running, gradually mix in the olive oil untl the mixture is creamy. Season the mixture with more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a small bowl and serve with fresh baked pita bread or crunchy pita chips.

Adapted From: Giada De Laurentiis, Everyday Italian

 Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Happy New Year everyone! I don’t know about you, but I am starting to feel a little less busy and overwhelmed from the holiday season. I have not been able to find the time to post anything for 2 weeks and I am excited to have the time to share this recipe with you today! Last year I made it my goal to try making home made bread and learn to work with yeast, and I have to say that I proudly met and exceeded that goal. I have come to love working with yeast and the home made breads are just so yummy that it is hard to think about buying many breads from the store anymore. That especially goes for pita after I made this recipe! This pita bread was amazingly delicious. It was so soft and fluffy and went perfectly with humus. My version didn’t make pita pockets, and I am not sure what the trick is to make them. After making this pita bread, I can honestly say that I will never buy store bought pita again. Store bought pita is like card board compared to this wonderfully fluffy version. Both of my girls absolutely love it as well and it makes a perfect snack. It is also whole wheat which can help with any of you starting your New Year’s resolutions! 🙂

Whole Wheat Pita Bread
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2¼ tsp. instant yeast
1 tbsp. honey
1¼ cups warm water (105˚-115˚ F), divided
1½ cups bread flour, divided
1½ cups whole wheat flour, divided
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
Cornmeal, for sprinkling

In the bowl of a stand mixer*, combine the yeast, honey and ½ cup of the water.  Stir gently to blend.  Whisk ¼ cup of the bread flour and ¼ cup of the whole wheat flour into the yeast mixture until smooth.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap and return the bowl to the mixer stand, fitted with the dough hook.  Add in the remaining ¾ cup of warm water, 1¼ cups bread flour, 1¼ cups whole wheat flour, olive oil and salt.  Knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.  Transfer the ball of dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, and let rise in a warm draft-free place, about 1 hour, until doubled in bulk.

Place an oven rack in the middle position.  Place a baking stone in the oven (if using) and preheat to 500˚ F.

Once the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces.  Form each piece into a ball.  Flatten one ball at a time into a disk, then stretch out into a 6½-7 inch circle.  Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet or other work surface lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.  Once all the rounds have been shaped, loosely cover with clean kitchen towels.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, until slightly puffy.

Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, onto the baking surface.  (Note: These can be baked on a baking stone or directly on the oven racks.  I use a pizza stone, but either method is fine.) Bake 2 minutes, until puffed and pale golden.  Gently flip the pitas over using tongs and bake 1 minute more.  Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.  Repeat with the remaining pitas.  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

*As always, anything mixed in a stand mixer can be mixed by hand.

Adapted From: Annie’s Eats

Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies

It is the time of year when I just can’t get enough gingerbread flavored treats. As I mentioned earlier this week, I absolutely love the flavors in gingerbread treats. I came across this recipe earlier this fall and just could not wait for this time of year to make them. These cookies are out of this world fantastic! They are unbelievably soft and chewy and I love soft and chewy cookies! They are the perfect soft and chewy ginger cookie with the added bonus of chocolate chips. I am already on my second batch of these because they are that good! The second time around I used mini chocolate chips and I think they are a wonderful choice for this cookie as you just get sweet little nibbles of chocolate with each bite of the spicy ginger cookie. Stay tuned as I have one more yummy gingerbread flavored treat coming later this week. Hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas season!

Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies
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2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup chocolate chips (milk chocolate or semi sweet)
1/4 cup granulated sugar, for rolling dough balls

Position a rack in the middle of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or just spray lightly with cooking spray.
Sift the flour, baking soda, spices and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until smoothly blended, about 2 minutes.  Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing.  Add the egg and molasses and mix until blended and an even light color, about 1 minute.  On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing just to incorporate it.  Fold in the chocolate chips.
Spread the granulated sugar into a small bowl.  Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough between the palms of your hands into a ball, toss the ball in sugar to coat and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Continue making cookies, spacing them about 2 inches apart.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm but they are still soft in the center and there are several large cracks on top, about 12-14 minutes.  Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Adapted From: Joy the Baker