Café Apron

As a follow-up to my last post, here is the final piece to the kitchen set – the Café Apron.   But of course, some back story…

We have something called the “IMAX-10” at work.  Similar to the Freshman-15, one almost always gains 10 pounds their first year at IMAX largely due to our most highly trafficked pit stop – the snack table.  Much to my waistline’s dismay, I sit within an arm’s reach of aforesaid snack table, but this also means I get first dibs on whatever goods are put out, including my boss’s homemade baked delectables.  Bernie is a baker extraordinaire, and I swear she puts a little bit of heaven (or quite possibly crack) in every one of her confections.  My first attempt at the kitchen set (potholders, oven mitt, and café apron) was destined to belong to her last Christmas!

I pulled the idea for this project from Lotta Jansdotter Simple Sewing: Patterns and How-To for 24 Fresh and Easy Projects.  The pattern for the oven mitt was used for the pocket of the apron.

To give you some context of how popular her desserts are, she’ll put an entire chocolate bundt cake on the snack table bright and early at 9am, and you’ll be lucky if you even see crumbs on the table by 10:30am.  Keep in mind, we only have less than 25 people on our floor.  The only way one would know she brought in her infamous eight-layer bars is by searching for flakes of coconut and bits of chocolate and toffee in the professional baker’s boxes she packed them in, while he sole remnants of the mini blueberry pies she brings in reside in the corner of a coworker’s mouth.  Yes, we eat her desserts for breakfast, lunch, and dinner when she brings them in.  I will admit, I’ve been guilty of snarfing two servings of her treats – one for now, and one for later.

I hope the apron et al comes in handy for the indulgences that have been made and those that I have yet to enjoy (and those my waist detests me for eating!).

Peanut Butter Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes

I would have to say my love of food is probably more fervent than the average person.  There is nothing I enjoy more than ordering 1.5 entrees when eating out, making enough food to last me a couple days and then eating it all in one sitting instead, talking about eating while I’m eating, stuffing my face til I can no longer formulate complete sentences . . . you get the picture.  I cook and eat mostly healthy fare, but I unfortunately inherited my dad’s sweet tooth and will probably inherit his diabetes as well.  I’ve learned by trial-and-error to only bake for other people and/or special occasions, because I end up eating the whole batch when I bake something just for myself.

I made these for a birthday dinner this past August, and the birthday boy was an avid cheesecake and peanut butter lover.  I had never made cheesecake before nor really eaten much of it, so this project was a bit of a challenge in that I didn’t know how to adjust cheesecake texture and flavor during the baking process like I know with cookies or regular cake.

I got the recipe for the Peanut Butter Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes from Food Network, courtesy of Paula Deen.  Click on the photos below for a larger view!

I had no idea how to make cheesecake fluffy, so I thought perhaps just beating the cheesecake mixture extra long with would do the trick.  I think it paid off – when I had my first bite, my favorite line from Despicable Me came to mind.  Big thanks to baking/cooking connoisseur Jay Liu for letting me borrow his electric mixer!

Again, I’m not an avid fan of cheesecake, but I have to admit these were pretty tasty.  The birthday boy liked them too, so that’s all that matters in the end.  Thanks, Paula Deen!