Saturday, December 31, 2011

New York Black and White Cookies

This is my last blog post of 2011! It's amazing how quickly time goes by. I remember starting this blog in 2009, not knowing that it would bring me such joy and friendships. One of the best parts about blogging is the sense of community: Women (and some men) connecting over a love of food and creating in the kitchen. 2011 held some important life events. I bought a condo, turned over a new leaf in my outlook on food/nutrition and best of all, I fell in love.

I'm happy that these cookies are my last post of the year as they symbolize one of my best memories of 2011: My trip to New York. When I think back on that vacation in September, I remember feeling happy, carefree and loved. These cookies are New York Deli classics and have been featured on episodes of Sex and the City and Seinfeld. They are larger than most cookies but they are light rather than dense. They are sometimes called "Halfmoons" or "Amerikaner Cookies" and were said to once have been made out of leftover cake batter.

Makes 12 | Gourmet, February 2002

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg

For icings
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1. Cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a cup. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add egg, beating until combined well. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches at low speed (scraping down side of bowl occasionally), beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix until smooth.

2. Spoon 1/4 cups of batter about 2 inches apart onto a buttered large baking sheet. Bake in middle of oven until tops are puffed and pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack and chill (to cool quickly), about 5 minutes.

3. Make icings while cookies chill: Stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl until smooth. Transfer half of icing to another bowl and stir in cocoa, adding more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, to thin to same consistency as white icing.

4. Ice cookies: Turn cookies flat sides up, then spread white icing over half of each and chocolate over other half.

Friday, December 30, 2011

S'mores Brownies

These brownies are the perfect embodiment of s'mores. A graham cracker crumb base is covered with a layer of brownie batter followed by another layer of graham crumbs then baked. Mini marshmallows get sprinkled on top and broiled then the whole thing gets sprinkled with a covering of chocolate chips. They look fantastic and taste even better. They are chewy, crispy and gooey all at the same time.

My words of advice are to be really watchful during the marshmallow broiling stage. They go from toasty brown to charred black in seconds!

S'mores Brownies
8" Pan | adapted from Marcy Goldman

Bottom Layer:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
4 tbsp butter, melted
Brownie Layer:
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
pinch of salt

Top Layer:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 - 2 cups chocolate chips or chopped chocolate bars

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8" square pan and line it with parchment paper, leaving an overhang with which to lift the brownies.

2. For the bottom layer, combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Refrigerate while you prepare the brownie layer.

3. Brownie layer: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate; stir until chocolate is melted. Stir in the sugar. Whisk in the eggs, vanilla, flour and salt. Spread the mixture over the bottom layer in the pan.

4. For the top layer, toss the cracker crumbs with the melted butter. Sprinkle over the brownie batter. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until just set. Remove the pan from the oven and preheat the broiler.

5. For the final topping, sprinkle the marshmallows on top of the baked brownies. Place under the broiler for 20-60 seconds, or until the marshmallows start to brown. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with chopped chocolate bars. Let cool fully before cutting into bars.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Copycat Almond Roca

It was Christmas Eve and my boyfriend and I we were in Fred Meyer picking up some stuff to make dinner when we decided to make some Almond Roca. He usually makes it with his mom, so he called her up and got the super easy recipe, picked up the ingredients and off we went. Note: This is his first time cooking for me and it was delicious!

I have made toffee before and have vivid memories of it sticking to the pan. I was very skeptical when he said we don't have to grease the pan, but he was right! The almonds are used to line the pan and the toffee gets poured over top of the almonds. When it comes time to break into pieces and serve, it peels right off the pan.

Copycat Almond Roca
Makes 24 - 1" Pieces

1 cup butter
1 cups sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 cup sliced almonds
1 – 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread almonds out in an even layer in a rimmed baking sheet. You do not need to grease the pan. The almonds should cover the pan fully. Toast in preheated oven until golden brown. Watch carefully as they can burn quickly.

2. Over Medium heat, melt butter in a large pot. Add water and sugar to pot and cook until the mixture becomes the color of a brown paper bag (approximately 290 degrees). Stir constantly with a wooden spoon (mixture will rise and bubble). Remove from heat and pour evenly over toasted almonds. You will not be able to cover all the almonds but that’s OK as the uncovered almonds will be crumbled on top of the chocolate layer later.

3. Let the toffee set for just a few minutes, then sprinkle the chocolate chips on top and let them melt from the heat of the toffee. Once softened, use a rubber spatula to spread out the melted chocolate chips to form an even layer on top of the toffee.

4. Around the edges of the toffee there will be almonds that are not covered in toffee. Take these and crumble them on top of the chocolate while it is still warm. Set aside and allow candy to cool completely and chocolate to harden before breaking apart and serving.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesdays with Dorie comes to an end

I just had to share this link to an article in the Washington Post featuring the Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) group that I have been a part of since I first started blogging two years ago. It is sad to close the chapter and say goodbye to what has been a wonderful baking experience through the book "Baking" by Dorie Greenspan. Read the article here: TWD Comes to an End - Washington Post, December 26, 2011.

Fortunately, in February 2012 there will be a new group starting into another book, "Baking with Julia", written by Dorie. To join the group and for more info, visit Tuesdays with Dorie.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

I hope everyone had a great Christmas filled with sugar and delicious baking. I am pretty sure everyone has either made these or eaten these cookies at some point in their lives. Easy, pretty and always welcome at any gathering. If you happen to be someone who has not tried one, NOW IS THE TIME! Especially since holiday chocolates are now 50% off everywhere. Buy yourself a bag of Reese's mini PB cups and get to baking! I have a hard time resisting post-holiday chocolate sales, so while my boyfriend was at work I spent the day at the mall.

Depending on how peanut-buttery I want them, I use either peanut butter cookie dough, shortbread cookie dough or sugar cookie dough. The recipe below is for PB dough. Now I'm going to decide what to make us for dinner. Yum!!!

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
Makes 40

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
40 mini chocolate covered peanut butter cups, unwrapped

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, salt and baking soda.

2.Cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and milk. Add the flour mixture and mix well. Shape into 40 balls and place each into an ungreased mini muffin pan.

3.Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each ball. Cool and carefully remove from pan.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

BEST EVER Gingerbread Cookies

This is really and truly the best gingerbread cookie recipe you will find. You simply MUST try it. Go. Now. Bake gingerbread! I have used it for over 10 years and it is a no-fail every time. It gets rave reviews and my best friend asks me to make her a batch every year. If you are making a house with the dough, I recommend tripling the recipe so you have enough.

The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, which is a huge time saver over the holidays. It rolls out with ease and with minimal flouring of surfaces needed. The cookies are sturdy enough to use for a gingerbread house but delicious enough that you want to eat them. Unlike those cardboard-tasting gingerbread house kits - these cookies fill your home with the spicy aroma of Christmas. What I like best about these cookies is that they are on the soft side. With cloves, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, they are bursting with flavor.

Gingerbread houses are such a fun family activity for all ages. We usually do our house on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Morning itself. I let Zach decorate the whole back wall of the house without any assistance and I must say, it turned out great!!! He says that the chocolate balls on the top of the house are supposed to be "reindeer poop". Merry Christmas everyone and have a great holiday season with your loved ones.

Best Ever Gingerbread Cookies
Makes 2 dozen

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg yolk
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until smooth. Stir in molasses and egg yolk. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg; blend into the molasses mixture until smooth. Cover, and chill for at least one hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks. Frost or decorate when cool.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Copycat Blueberry Nutrigrain Bars

I am a lover of blueberries when when they are sandwiched between delicious buttery base and sweet crumbly topping like in this bar. Funny how I prefer banana bread to fresh bananas and that I love blueberries in pies and pastries but not so much when they are freshly picked.

These bars taste like the Nutrigrain Bars you can get from the grocery store. They freeze well and are perfect for breakfasts, afternoon snacks or even dessert when served with ice cream! I imagine you could use jam or other fruits for fillings and make your own clone of a Nutrigrain Bar in your favorite flavor.

Copycat Blueberry Nutrigrain Bars
9 x 13" pan

1 cup white sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground cinnamon
4 cups blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
3 teaspoons cornstarch
zest of 1 lemon (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch pan.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and cinnamon. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Gently mix in the blueberries and zest (if using). Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Butterscotch Blondies with Peanut Pretzel Caramel

There are two camps of people: vanilla people and chocolate people. I am most definitely a vanilla person. I prefer white chocolate over dark, angel food over devil's food cake, vanilla bean ice cream over double fudge and of course BLONDIES over brownies.

I made these blondies for an office cookie exchange. I can't say enough how wonderful cookie exchanges are. You get a whole array of cookies for the effort of making only one. Plus, you get to sample your friends' favorites and find new favorites of your own. Thanks to all the ladies I exchanged cookies with this year!

This recipe came from the December 2011 issue of Bon Appétit. It has a nice salty-sweet flavor from the pretzels contrasted against the homemade caramel. The blondie beneath the topping is chewy and filled with brown sugary goodness. I doubled the recipe and baked it in a jelly roll pan below to make 72 - 1" x 2" bars.

Butterscotch Blondies with Peanut Pretzel Caramel
9 x 13 pan | Bon Appétit, Dec/11

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teapsoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peanut-pretzel caramel
4 cups roasted unsalted peanuts
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups thin twisted pretzels, coarsely crushed

1. Blondie: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 1" overhang on long sides of pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Stir butter in a medium skillet over medium heat until browned bits form at bottom of pan, 7–8 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add brown sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat until well combined and mixture resembles wet sand, 2–3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until fluffy and well combined, about 2 minutes. Add dry ingredients; beat until smooth (batter will be thick). Using an offset or regular spatula, evenly spread batter in prepared pan.

2. Bake blondie until golden brown, edges pull away from sides of pan, and a tester inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 20–25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

3. Peanut-pretzel caramel: Stir sugar and 1/2 cup water in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil without stirring, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until caramel is deep amber, 12–15 minutes. Add honey; return to a boil, stirring often, about 1 minute longer. Add butter; stir until blended. Add cream (mixture will bubble vigorously); whisk until smooth. Stir in peanuts and pretzels. Pour over cooled blondie. Chill until cool, about 30 minutes.
DO AHEAD: Chill for up to 1 week in an airtight container. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Cocoa-Nana Swirled Bread

For this week's TWD rewind, I made this bread because I had two overripe bananas in my freezer waiting to be turned into something delicious. (However, next time I will use 3 bananas or add some milk or yogurt because it wasn't quite as moist as I like it).

I chose to do a marbled version of this chocolate banana bread because it's prettier and because I was skeptical of the cocoa-banana combo. Turns out I had nothing to worry about. It tasted wonderful. The cocoa part isn't overpowering and it actually complements the banana part wonderfully. Because I made quite a few adaptations to the recipe, I have included it below with my changes. The original is on page 46 of Dorie's book: Baking.

Coco-Nana Swirled Bread
1 loaf | Adapted from Dorie Greenspan

2 1/2 cups flour, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine 2 cups flour, salt, baking soda and powder.
2. Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs, mixing well after each then add bananas, vanilla and buttermilk. Add flour mixture and mix just until combined.
3. Scoop 1/2 the batter into a separate bowl. Add 1/2 cup cocoa powder to one bowl of batter. Add 1/2 cup of flour to the other bowl and mix each by hand just to incorporate. Do not over mix.
4. Scoop batter into greased 9x5 inch pan, alternating spoons of white and chocolate batter. Run a thin knife through the batter in the pan a few times to marble. Bake for 60-75 minutes rotating halfway through (you may need to cover with foil if browning too quickly).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Oreo Truffle Bites

We have just over 2 weeks to go until Christmas! This weekend coming up is the last shopping weekend. I am starting to panic about all the stuff I still have to do. I have not baked a single Christmas cookie this year, nor have we done a gingerbread house. I feel guilty about slacking - never before have I left it to this late - but somehow this year feels busier than before.

It's a good thing these adorable Oreo bites are so simple and non-time-consuming. I love how cute they are too. I made them with my 4-year old. He had a blast crushing the cookies with a rolling pin in a Zip-lock bag. You can create a million different varieties by using different cookies instead of Oreos. I also like Nutter Butters! For a more festive touch of color you could use colored melting wafers for dipping instead of chocolate.

Oreo Truffle Bites
Makes approximately 42

1 (16 ounce) pkg Oreo Cookies
1 (8 oz.) brick cream cheese, softened
8 oz semisweet chocolate, melted
8 oz white chocolate or white almond bark, melted
Sprinkles, Nuts, Etc. (for decorating)

1. Remove 9 of the cookies from the package. You will not need these. Crush remaining 36 cookies to fine crumbs (in food processor or in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin). Place crumbs in medium bowl. Add cream cheese; mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into 42 balls, about 1" in diameter.

2. Dip balls in melted chocolate; place on wax paper-covered baking sheet. Do some in white and some in the dark chocolate. Decorate as you wish, with sprinkles or roll in chopped nuts or drizzled with the opposite chocolate color. Any leftover chocolate can be stored at room temperature for another use.

3. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store covered in refrigerator.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Junior's Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake

This tall cake cannot be described any other way besides "statuesque". It stands a stunning 5" high - crowned with rosettes of piped whipped cream. It consists of a strawberry cheesecake layer sandwiched between two fluffy sponge cakes. It is not too sweet and very impressive in both appearance and taste.

I made this cake for Thanksgiving, since we are not big fans of pumpkin pie. It was so refreshing and light that it didn't weigh us down even after a huge meal! My sister's boyfriend doesn't usually like cheesecake but he went back for seconds of this one. I can't say enough to recommend this recipe.

Don't be deterred by the seemingly long and labor intensive recipe. While it does have a lot of steps, they are all easy. Essentially you are making 2 sponge cakes, 1 cheesecake and whipping some cream and slicing strawberries then assembling. It can be broken up over a few days. I made the cheesecake first (this can be made ahead and frozen) then the sponge cake. I whipped the cream just before assembling it on the same day it was served. Below is a picture of the first layer of cake, cream and strawberries, before the cheesecake layer gets put on.

The recipe comes from Junior's Cheesecake Cookbook. It is one of their "Too Tall" recipes - aptly named as these are indeed skyscraping cakes!

Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake
tall 9" cake | Junior’s Cheesecake Cookbook

Cheesecake layer:
10 oz (1 cup) frozen whole strawberries, thawed and drained well
1/3 cup plus 1 tsp cornstarch
3 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 extra large eggs
2/3 cup heavy or whipping cream

For the sponge cake (2 layers):
2/3 cup sifted cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 extra large eggs, separated and at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp pure lemon extract
¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ tsp cream of tartar

to assemble and frost:
2 quarts fresh strawberries
1 tbsp unflavored granulated gelatin
3 tbsp cold water
1 quart heavy or whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter the bottom and sides of one 9-inch springform pan and two 9 inch round layer cake pans. Wrap the outside of the springform (but not the cake pans) with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way up the sides. Very important: line the bottom of all three pans with parchment or waxed paper (do not let the paper come up the sides).

2. Pulse the thawed strawberries in your food processor until smooth (you need 3/4 cup of puree). Stir in the 1 tsp of cornstarch and set aside. It will thicken slightly as it stands.

3. Put one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl a few times. Beat in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 cup sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each. Beat in the cream just until it’s completely blended. Be careful not to overmix! Fold in the strawberry puree.

4. Gently spoon the batter into the springform, then place it in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes 1 inch up the sides of the springform. Bake the cake until the edges are light golden brown and the top is set, about 1 ¼ hours. Remove the cake from the water bath, transfer the tin to a wire rack, and let cool in the pan for 2 hours, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely cold, about 4 hours. Then freeze overnight until ready to assemble the cake.

5. While the cheesecake is cooling, make the sponge cake layers. Check that the oven is preheated to 350 degrees and that the water bath has been removed. In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high for 3 minutes. While the mixer is still running, slowly add 1/3 cup of the sugar and continue beating until thick, light yellow ribbons form in the bowl, about 5 minutes more. Beat in the extracts. Sift the flour mixture over the batter and stir it in by hand, just until no white flecks are visible. Blend in the melted butter.

6. Put the egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean medium size bowl and, using clean, dry beaters, beat the mixer on high until frothy. Gradually add the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. (the whites will stand up and look glossy, not dry). Fold about 1/3 of the whites into the batter, then add the remaining whites. Don’t worry if you still see a few white specks-they’ll disappear during baking. Divide the batter evenly between the two layer cake pans and bake until golden (not wet or sticky) and the center springs back when lightly pressed, about 12 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then turn them out onto the rack and gently peel off the paper liners. Let cool completely, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or until ready to assemble the cake.

7. on the day you plan to assemble the cake, hull 1 quart of the strawberries, then cut them into 1/2 inch pieces (you need 2 cups). Reserve the remaining berries for decorating the cake.

8. Make the frosting. Place the gelatin in a heatproof measuring cup, stir in the cold water, and let stand until it swells and thickens. Cook in the microwave on high for about 30 seconds or over a pan of simmering water for about 1 minute, until clear and completely melted. In a medium size bowl, whip the cream with an electric mixer on high until it thickens and soft peaks just begin to form. With the mixer still running, add the sugar and beat just until the cream stands up in peaks (don’t overmix or the cream will curdle). Beat in the vanilla. Add the melted gelatin all at once and beat until thoroughly incorporated. Refrigerate the cream for at least 30 minutes (preferably no longer than 1 hour) in two bowls: 2 cups in a small bowl for piping decorations on the top of the cake and the remainder in a second larger bowl for frosting the cake. Meanwhile, remove the frozen strawberry cheesecake from the freezer and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.

9. Place one layer of the sponge cake, top side down, on a cake plate. Spread evenly with a thin layer of whipped cream frosting from the large bowl and half of the strawberry pieces. Release and remove the ring of the springform, then remove the frozen cheesecake from the bottom of the pan. Peel away the paper liner and place top side down on top of the frosted bottom layer. Press the cheesecake down gently, just enough so the two layers stick together but not enough for the filling to come out the sides. Top the cheesecake layer with some more whipped cream from the large bowl, and sprinkle evenly with the remaining strawberry pieces. Top with the second cake layer of sponge cake, top side up. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the rest of the whipped cream in the large bowl.

10. To decorate, hull the remaining quart of berries and halve them, from top to tip. Place a ring of berries around the bottom edge of the cake, tip ends up. Using 5 or 6 berry halves, make a star in the center of the cake, pointing the tips of the berries away from the center. Fit a pastry bag with a medium closed star tip or medium open star tip and fill the cream from the small bowl. Pipe shells or rosettes around the top edge of the cake and make a large rosette on top of the strawberry pieces.

11. Refrigerate the cake until serving time (it takes at least 2 hours to allow the cheesecake to thaw enough to slice easily. Use a sharp straight edge knife, not a serrated one. Cover and leftover cake and refrigerate.