Studying for the GRE = Procrastination Baking

I know I know… I haven’t written a post in forever. Work and life have been busy, but here are some updates:

* I have decided to get a raise at work. Having a difficult system in place like the California School System will make this challenging, but I am determined to get it done. Therefore, the appeal has been long thought out.
* I applied to Graduate School!!! Barring I don’t fail the GRE, I should get in no problem. Get excited for me :)
* I am working heavily with HDSA to get their upcoming fundraiser in August. They do such a good job with Huntington’s Disease, that I equally have to do a good job and work my tail off for the cause.
*Did I mention I am taking the GRE May 27th? What is most difficult about this, is I made this decision 5 1/2 weeks before the test date. And I get one shot, as my application is all due June 1st. If you care to send me good vibes, I will take them!

One of the best parts about studying is the fact that is makes my baking/cooking better. This, my friend, is solely due in part to the fact that I would rather procrastinate than actually study. Last night in fact, I made a delicious vegetable frittata and butternut squash risotto for me and my mom. We had plans to go out to eat, but I offered to cook… wonder why.

In light of Mom’s Day, me and my mamma

For those of you who are studying for something, or just want to explore in the kitchen, here are two of my recipes to make to waste some time. Please make sure if you use these, to credit me. Unless noted otherwise, I have worked hard to perfect these. Thank you and Enjoy!
The BEST Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe
 I am usually a fan of chewy cookies. Don’t get me wrong, these cookies are chewy, but they hold up like a crunchy cookie. This recipe has the perfect balance and the cookies stay moist and soft for a week. One of the mother’s of the people I work with brought me her recipe, which I have modified a bit. Here is to you Mrs. DeMarcus!

1. Beat together 1 cup of butter and 1 cup of crunchy peanut butter until nice and fluffy. DO NOT MELT THE BUTTER. Use room temperature butter.
2. Add 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup of brown sugar. 
3. Add 1 tsp of vanilla. Beat the mixture. 
4. Add two eggs and mix.
5. In a separate bowl, add 2 1/2 cups of flour, 1tsp of baking soda,  and 1 tsp of baking powder. Mix well. 
6. Add the wet and dry ingredients.  
7. Roll into balls and then roll the balls in granulated sugar, completely coating them. Place on a greased baking sheet and press with a fork.
8. Bake at 375 degrees for approx 15 mins or until the top is slightly browned. Don’t overcook unless you like them crunchy. 
9. Remove from sheet when cooled and put on a cooling rack. 
10. Pig Out!

Mom’s Cheesecake
This recipe is especially delicious for the cheesecake lover. I always add almond for a little something extra, but you could also get creative and add cherry extract, lemon, orange, lavendar, etc. The choice is yours!

Filling
1. 20 ounces Philadelphia Cream Cheese

2. 4 ounces sour cream
2. 2 TBS Cornstarch
3. 1 cup Granulated Sugar
4. 3 tsp Vanilla Extract
5. 2 tsp Almond Extract
6. 4 eggs

Crust
1. 1 ½ cups Graham Crackers, crushed (better to put them in the food processor and crush them really fine)
2. 3/5 stick butter, softened
3. ¼ cup granulated sugar

4. 2 tsp Cinnamon
5. 1 tsp Nutmeg
1. Blend all the crust ingredients in the food processor, minus the butter.
2. Once really fine, add the butter.
3. Take out the mixture and place mixture in a 9 inch cheese cake pan (spring form pan works best) to form a crust by pressing down on all sides, including the wall. Bake at 350 F for about 10 minutes and set to the side.
4. Next, Blend the cream cheese and sour cream in the food processor. Add the eggs one at a time, blending on low. Next, add the sugar, cornstarch and extracts. Beat on high for 20 minutes in the food processor to make an insanely creamy mixture.
5. Add the filling to the crust and smooth the top. Bake 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until center of cake does not jiggle (or an inserted toothpick comes out clean). Remove cake from oven and let cool. After cooling, for best results, refrigerate for 24 hours before serving (or at least for a few hours if you are impatient like me. You run the risk of messing up the rest of the cheesecake if it is too warm when you cut into it).

Pardon the low quality photo, it was taken on my boyfriend’s non-smart phone :)

Bonne Appetite!

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