foodgeek's diary


No-Bake Mini Cheesecakes

Posted by foodgeek on December 26, 2009 at 12:57 AM Comments comments (1)

Another recipe out of my idol, Sherry Yard's "Desserts By The Yard" book. So easy, yet so good. A big hit at potlucks. Makes 24 mini cheesecakes.

12 vanilla wafer cookies

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbsp sour cream

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

12 ripe strawberries, hulled, and halved or quartered


Pulse the cookies in a food processor until you have crumbs. Line the cups of two mini muffin pans with paper liners (or use small remekins with or without the liners) and spoon a layer of cookie crumbs into the bottom of each.


In a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. On low speed, beat in the sour cream and lemon juice until well combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.


Spoon or pipe the filling into the cups. Refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours, until set.

Before serving, top each cheesecake with a strawberry piece or two.

Lemon Ginger Cookies

Posted by foodgeek on December 20, 2009 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (2)


I am a big fan of Sherry Yard, Executive Pastry Chef of Spago. This is one of my favorite recipes taken out of her book "The Secrets of Baking". These cookies are much like sugar cookies, but a bit cakier due to the chemical leavening. Lemon and ginger are a refreshing combination.


Makes 3 dozen cookies

Preparation Time 15 mins.

Cooking Time 12 - 15 mins each batch



1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

3/4 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup for rolling

1 TBSP grated lemon zest

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp salt

1 large egg, at room temperature

1/4 cup finely diced crystallized ginger



Sift together flour and baking soda into a medium bowl and set aside.

Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, cream the butter on medium speed until pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle. Add the 3/4 cup sugar, lemon zest, ginger and salt. Cream on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.


Add the egg and beat on low speed for 30 seconds, or until fully incorporated. Do not overbeat. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.


On low speed, add the flour mixture. Beat until all the dry ingredients are incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the crystallized ginger and mix until just incorporated.


Remove small handfuls of the dough from the mixer and plop down the middle of a sheet of parchment paper, creating a log about 2 inches wide and 12 inches long. Fold the parchment over creating a sausage. Chill for at least 1 hour. At this point, the dough will keep nicely, tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer up to 1 month. (Thaw frozen dough at room temperature for 30 minutes.)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust the rack to the lower third of the oven. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.


When the dough has chilled, remove it from the parchment, pour the remaining 1/4 cup sugar onto the work surface, and roll the log in the sugar. Using a chef's knife, slice 1/3 inch thick rounds off the log. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.


Bake one sheet at a time for 12 to 15 minutes or until brown around the edges, turing the cookie sheet once halfway through the baking. Remove from the oven and carefully slide the parchment directly onto a work surface. Wait at least 5 minutes before serving or 30 minutes before storing in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.