My college career is coming to an end, and while so many people advise me to, “Stay as long as you can” or assure me, “You don’t want to enter the real world just yet,” the truth is, I do. I do want to enter the real world and I do want a job that allows me to put everything I’ve learned during my four years of schooling to use. But let me specify. I dream of a full-time job in New York City writing for a food website or magazine publication, and, if possible, assisting a food stylist during photo shoots. When people ask me what I see myself doing after college (and lately, that’s a question I hear more and more often) that is what I tell them. Sometimes I worry I’m being too specific with my career goals, but other times I feel fortunate for knowing exactly where I want to be.
I recently came across this article written in first person by Winnie Ma, food photographer. She explains her love for food and food photography by telling her readers that, “shooting food is in my blood.” I love everything about this article. Not only does it show that Winnie is an extremely talented photographer, but has a knack for writing as well.
Truth is, I absolutely love to bake (and cook on occasion). In my mind, baking is therapeutic and the end result, gratifying. I grew up in a household where baked goods were made weekly and my sister, brother, and I would hover around the kitchen island fighting for who gets to lick the bowl clean of cookie dough, batter, or frosting. I guess that’s where my love for baking sprouted from, and now, it is a true passion of mine.
I guess I should say food in general is my passion. I love everything about it, from the way it’s prepared to the way it tastes, right down to the very way it is plated and presented. Food really can be beautiful. Pick up any food magazine and flip through it. I can almost guarantee you won’t find any photo of food that looks unappetizing. Then turn to the text about the photo. I’ll bet just by reading what it is will make you want to put a fork to the page. As I mentioned, food is my passion, but so is writing and photography because words and pictures bring feelings, tastes, emotions, and facts to life.
So here I am, a senior in college, graduating in May, with a passion for food, love for words, and [developing an] eye for photography. I can only hope and pray that someday I will be able to fulfill my dream of working for a food publication, with the overall goal of inspiring and entertaining my readers.
For now though, I need to tell you how amazing these mini peanut butter cheesecakes are. I know I know, I just bored you with my life story, so I guess I owe this to you guys. These peanut butter cheesecakes are heavenly. So heavenly I made them twice in two weeks. As a food blogger, I rarely make the same dessert twice (I think I’ve mentioned this before) because I like to experience new recipes, but these, these I just had to make again. The cheesecake base is mixed with a cup of peanut butter and combined with chopped pieces of Reese’s cups, giving these individual desserts a rich, smooth finish. They’re baked on top of chocolate graham cracker crust and topped with more chopped Reese’s. If you couldn’t tell, I happen to like peanut butter and chocolate desserts. If you’re as much of a chocolate-peanut butter fan as I am, make these. I’ve been told they’re the best thing I’ve ever made.
Mini Peanut Butter Cheesecakes Recipe
[yields between 20-24 cheesecakes]
Graham Cracker Crust
- 2 cup cracker
- 3 tbsp sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 6 tbsp butter, melted
- 1 ts cinnamon (optional)
Grease muffin tins (24 muffins) and preheat oven to 325 degrees (don’t turn off when done). Grind the graham crackers in a food processor or by hand. In a large bowl, mix the ground up crackers and other ingredients until all crackers are moist. Place one tablespoon of cracker mixture into each muffin cup and press down until compact. Bake crusts for 10-12 minutes. When done, let cool on wire racks until filling is ready.
Peanut Butter Cheesecake
adapted from The Adventures of the Ireland Family
- 2 bricks (8 oz each) 1/3 less-fat cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 19-20 mini Reese’s cups, chopped
Preheat oven 325 and grease muffin pan with non-stick spray (or line with muffin cups).
Beat first 5 ingredients in a large bowl with mixer on medium speed until smooth. On low speed, beat in eggs, 1 at a time, just until blended. Fold in the chopped Reese’s cups. Fill muffin pans a little more than 3/4 full. The cheesecake rises a bit when being cooked so you don’t want to fill them all the way. If you want to yield more cheesecakes, fill the pans less than 3/4 full.
Bake 20 minutes, or until puffed. (Some may crack on top; that’s OK). Cool completely in pans on a wire rack.
Chocolate Pouring Glaze
adapted from Baker’s Royale
- 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
- 4-5 tablespoons water, warm
Place chocolate and heavy cream in a bowl over simmering water. Let chocolate and cream sit for 2-3 minutes to melt without stirring. Then slowly stir mixture to combine. Add powdered sugar and mix to combine. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition until pouring consistency is reached. Set aside and let sauce cool. Drizzle with spoon over cheesecakes, top with chopped up Reese’s pieces, and devour!