One year ago today I posted a recipe for a Vanilla Chai Cheesecake- not much stemmed from that for the following 365 days. I am a well-intentioned gal, but unless I’m getting paid I have issues with follow through. Story of my life. However, I’m back, but I won’t promise for how long since we all saw what happened the last time I made promises.
I promised two posts a week and a short story a week… I am so full of shit. The reason why I haven’t posted anything on The Baker in the Rye for an entire year is (drum-roll) because I wanted to watch disgustingly awesome reality TV and do what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to bake and write about food so I didn’t. But here’s the thing- if this blog created recipes inspired by The Real Housewives of New Jersey instead of books, I’d have 0 followers. It was best to take a break.
Baking, blogging, and working at my old friend Starbucks made me one bitter bitch. Like the ULTIMATE crAAzY bitter bitch. So I took a break, stepped back from baking for people’s parties and from writing because it didn’t make me happy anymore. I created this blog because I loved to write, I loved to bake, and I wanted to feel like I was achieving an ounce of any goal I set forth for myself once I graduated college. But after a while, I lost my passion for it and I lost sight of what it is that I wanted to do- until now- kinda.
Things are gonna change around these parts- let me tell you. For starters, I know how to create all of these recipes and I spend a lot of time making sure they are easy to make and with a lot of detailed instructions. Therefore, do not ask me to bake these things for you. You can do it, I promise its pain-free. I do not cater events.
Secondly, do I hope to post once a week. YEAH! Will I? Probably not because I have proven to be a dirty, dirty liar on the internet just like almost everyone else on the internet. But I will try my best.
Thirdly, the last book I read was in August (of 2012) and it was Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me, and though it was hilarious and wonderful and I highly recommend it, I haven’t read a single book since then. Will every recipe be inspired by a book moving forward? No. But will I share with you what I am reading and make occasional recipes inspired by that? Yes. In fact, a friend of mine lent me The Charm School by Nelson DeMille and, though I am in the early pages, it is an exciting, suspenseful read and I’ll most likely make a Russian recipe inspired by the novel, as it takes place in Russia.
Fourthly, moving forward I will not be as salty as this blog post is making me out to be- well I am making me out to be. I mean, I am salty, but usually not to the public.
A lot has changed in the last year and I have learned to celebrate all of my failures instead of wallowing in them. For example, I’ve failed as a blogger for the last year. It’s true. People are more likely to have more failures than successes anyway, and by celebrating them it’s less bad. You feel less like a total emotional dork if you have a glass of wine and think I’ll get ’em next time instead of sitting on the couch with a bowl of ice cream crying because you failed and didn’t get that $10.00/hr PR position run out of some lady’s living room in Red Bank, NJ…. whaaaaa? Oh, wait- that was just me two years ago.
Today, I am no longer that sad girl crying into an excessively large bowl of double fudge brownie ice cream. In the last year since I blogged, I found a job working for a non-profit in Philadelphia. I finally found a stinkin’ job where I utilized what I learned in college. I was starting to think college was a total waste of my time. I wouldn’t have gotten the job that I’m in now if I didn’t take a break from all this internet nonsense and just focus on me and making myself a happy person again. No one wants to hire a sad, bitter Rachel. But everyone wants to hire a happy, goofy Rachel!
So I left last year with a cheesecake and I begin this year with a cheesecake. How full-circle-of-life of me? It’s been a year, but I still make a mean cheesecake. This time, I made an Almond Amaretto Cheesecake. It’s pretty bad ass. It’s so right its wrong and needs to be slapped- or just eaten in total gluttonous serenity. This cheesecake is the 8th deadliest sin. This cheesecake was also made a year ago before I abandoned the The Baker in the Rye. See, I told you I’m a dirty, dirty liar.
Almond & Amaretto Cheesecake
1 1/2 Cups crushed amaretti cookies, plus extra for topping
3/4 Cups ground almonds- crush until it looks like flour
5 tablespoons butter
4-8 Oz packages of cream cheese
1 1/2 Cups white sugar
3/4 Cup amaretto
3 Eggs + 1 egg yolk, room temperature
1/3 Cup sour cream
2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 Cup ground almonds, ground until it forms a flour
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup heavy cream
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
4 Tablespoons powdered sugar
Almonds for garnish
For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Heavily grease a springform pan with butter and sprinkle with flour so the cake will release easily. Crush the armaretti cookies and grind the almonds until it forms a powder. Melt the butter and combine it with the dry ingredients until the mixture just sticks together. Press it to the bottom of the greased springform pan. Wrap the bottom on the springform pan in aluminum foil and place it on a baking sheet to prepare it for its water bath.
For the cheesecake: In an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until it is lump-free. Add the sugar and continue to beat until it is light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Once that is well combined, mix in vanilla extract, sour cream, and amaretto. Once it is well combined, add in the almond flour, which you made form ground almonds, and salt. Beat until it is lump free and creamy. The good thing about cheesecake is that you don’t have to worry about over mixing it. Then, pour this mixture into the springform pan. Fill the baking sheet up half way with hot water and place the cheesecake in the oven. The reason why I cover the bottom on my springform pan with foil is to prevent the pan from potentially burning the crust. I cook it in a water bath to prevent cracking.
Bake the cheesecake for 60-70 minutes- until it jiggles like jell-o when shaken GENTLY. Then, turn the heat off and leave it in the oven for 1-2 hours. Take it out and let it get room temperature before putting it in the fridge overnight. This creates the creamiest cheesecake with no burns, cracks, or any imperfections. Trust me- no one has ever had a bad work about my cheesecake.
For the topping: Right before serving, make the topping by whipping the heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks. Then add in vanilla and sugar and beat for another 5 seconds. Swirl it on the top of your cheesecake and garnish with crush amaretti cookies and almonds.
Isn’t it pretty to think so? ~ The Sun Also Rises