French Onion Soup

September 29, 2011

Did you know, onions can go bad too? Well, I thought onions are like garlic and ginger and last forever. Not quite. The bag of onion I had was slowly starting to rot. Eewww…so the best way to use it up seems to be onion soup.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

Unlike chicken noodle soup, it is really easy to have bad French onion soup. They can be very flat, watery and salty and boring. I think I tasted good onion soup only once or twice. I’m on the fence with this soup. But sometimes you just get that craving…and a lot of chopped up still-good yellow onions. And enters the Smitten Kitchen to the rescue! It’s my favorite food blog. Everything is good and to my taste. The desserts are not sickeningly sweet, the recipes are simple or else very detailed, the ingredients are easily accessible, and Deb is excellent in responding to recipe questions. So when the French Onion Soup recipe appeared, it is time to jump off the fence and use up those ripe onions!

Onion Soup ingredients

All you really need for French Onion Soup

Sure, it take a while to caramelize the onions, but the hardest part is to STOP EATING THE ONIONS. When they are caramelized and transparent, they have none of the pungent taste of the raw onions, only sweet deliciousness…and it is really really really difficult not to just eat it right then with a bow of rice or something. But! I persevered and poured in the wine and the beef stock and made french onion soup.

Caramelized onion

Caramelized onion

There’s not much change to the recipe. I skipped cognac because the smallest/cheapest is $10 and I don’t see myself using it for other dishes. Also skipped butter because, today of all day, I happen to have no butter in the fridge. Tsk. The liquor store lied, I asked for dry white wine but they gave me the normal white wine. And I accidentally used double the amount needed. It’s still tasty, but if you want ABSOLUTELY HEAVENLY, sprinkle a generous layer of shredded Gruyere on top of hot soup and eat with bread, or do the fancy bread topping thing in the original recipe.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup with o' plenty of Gruyere and artisan bread crutons

Onion Soup [Soupe à l’Oignon]
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

1 1/2 pounds (680 grams or 24 ounces or about 5 cups) thinly sliced yellow onions
3 tablespoons (42 grams or 1 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt, plus additional to taste
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) granulated sugar (helps the onions to brown)
3 tablespoons (24 grams or 7/8 ounce) all-purpose flour
2 quarts (8 cups or 1.9 liters) beef or other brown stock*
1/2 cup (118 ml) dry white wine or dry white vermouth
Freshly ground black pepper
For finishing: 1 to 2 cups shredded Gruyere and some artisan/Italian/French bread.

Melt the butter and oil together in a pot over moderately low heat. Add the onions, toss to coat them in oil and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to real low and let them slowly steep for 15 minutes. They don’t need your attention; you can even go check your email.

After 15 minutes, uncover the pot, raise the heat slightly and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook onions, stirring frequently, for 30 to 40 minutes until they have turned an even, deep golden brown. Don’t skimp on this step, as it will build the complex and intense flavor base that will carry the rest of the soup.

After the onions are fully caramelized, sprinkle them with flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the wine in full, then stock, a little at a time, stirring between additions. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 more minutes, skimming if needed. Correct seasonings if needed but go easy on the salt as the cheese will add a bit more saltiness.

Sprinkle Gruyere generously on top of hot (or reheated) soup and dig in accompanied by some bread. Yum.


Quick Spinach

September 29, 2011

There’s very few vegetables I don’t like, but spinach is one of those. It’s ok raw on salad, but it’s nothing special. But I’m anemic sometimes, and spinach is good for you, so I embarked on a quest for easy and tasty spinach recipes (other than salad, stir fry with garlic, or soup).

Spinach brownie

Spinach brownie

I’ve made this spinach cake recipe, which reminds me of a crustless quiche, but I don’t like the spice and if it’s gonna taste like quiche, less spinach and more eggs please, and the buttery crust is a must. There’s also this spinach and cheese strata if you want to be fancy (and have 9 eggs and 8 cups of cubed bread to spare). My favorite is spinach brownie, I used only 1 egg, sprinkled cheese on top, and 3tablespoon olive oil instead of 1/2 cup butter (be sure to squeeze as much liquid as possible out of the cooked spinach, or else it will be soggy). It turned out tasty and makes for a simple lunch…along with some meat (ribs or chicken nuggets?). Absolute yum.

Spinach brownie 2

Spinach brownie

Then I remembered, the one spinach dish I do like is spinach dish, so if I get the same taste but lessen the cream, it should work. So here’s as simple as it gets: 4 ingredients and 4 steps. 1 pan for the spinach and 1 pot to rinse (no meat or oil involved, so rinse to clean is fine). And you are done. I’ve eaten it with rice or bread or by itself when cravings arise. The actual preparation took about 5-10 minutes depending on if you were distracted by other things.

  • 20oz of spinach roughly (or 2lb)
  • one large onion
  • 2 cups of sour cream*
  • pinch of salt/pepper
  1. Put washed spinach in a pot with 1 cup of water, some salt and garlic (optional). Bring to a boil then lower the heat to simmer (and stirr a bit) until limp (slightly undercook/raw is fine since it’s going in the oven anyways).
  2. Drain and squeeze out the juice from spinach. Roughly chop it up (~1in in between or more).
  3. Chop the onion, mix with chopped spinach and sour cream (and other ingredients).
  4. Put in a 9×13 pan and bake until edge is brown (20-30min depending on if you like your onion slightly raw/crunchy or sweet/soft).

Done and yum. =P

p.s. Even lazier: you know that bottle of ranch dressing that’s sitting in your fridge for a while, substitute sour cream/salt/pepper with dollops of that, and then bake. Delish.


Lazy summer food…

September 25, 2011

Despite the occasional attempts at reaching 80 degrees F, the summer is definitely over. There’s the rain, the slightly chilly wind, and the sunset at 7pm instead of 9pm. There’s also the fact that my apartment lacked proper air conditioning, which killed most of my motivation to cook. So, I spent the whole day in my office (ahh~ AC…) doing work everyday for the summer (read up some research papers, was reunited with the lovely Matlab etc etc).

The summer cooking started with a chocolate cake in May/Jun, a from-scratch cake that hopefully can replace the from-a-box rum cake I usually make. It is based on this chocolate stout cake recipe, but I put too much coffee in, so I’ll be attempting this again in the future.

chocolate cake 

chocolate rum coffee cake

But summer is the time for fruits! and cold stuff! I made fudge Popsicle once, then I discovered a great ice cream place, the Dairy Bar at UConn, and never made ice cream again. Then there was the ripe and delicious fruits on sale everywhere! For the ones I don’t think I can finish in time, I washed and then froze them, then during particularly hot days, I made frozen smoothies with them. Frozen fruit + sugar/honey + yogurt/orange juice. They were delicious and what my meal consists of on some days.

Strawberry banana yogurt

Strawberry banana yogurt

Then there was that summer cake I made because the recipe promises it will make my apartment smells like a strawberry patch. Anything that can make my apartment smells good (instead of oooold wood) and give me a tasty result is a plus in my book.

Except it lied. My apartment didn’t quite smell like a strawberry field, and the cake was good, but not superb. It might have something to do with me using less butter than the recipe called for, in an attempt to make it more healthy. At least it looks pretty.

strawberry cake

strawberry cake

And it was a nice breakfast.

strawberry cake

strawberry cake

I get my carbs from cakes, and ate mostly salad for the veggie part. I only made meat once during the summer because my ketchup is almost expired. It was boiled BBQ chicken based on this recipe. Basically parboil the chicken, drain/rinse, then dump sugar/mustard/soy sauce/ketchup/vinegar and half an onion, then boil.

There were two amazing recipe I discovered during the summer, and they were so delicious that I finished them before even think about taking pictures of them. So, they will be posted later after I get a firm grip on my schedule and not buried under a deluge of work.

Enjoy the last days of summer! Savor them before the onslaught of the snow!


Learn English, the fun way

July 9, 2011

I came to US 11 years ago and now, I barely have an accent and can write pretty good English (especially if I take the time to proofread. ha!). Some of my friends have asked what’s an efficient way to learn English, and maybe American culture. So here’s how I learned, the fun way, in chronological order:

1. Children’s books. If you really don’t know a word, start with really simple books–baby books with 20 pages, a giant picture and 2 sentences on each page. The kind you find in toddler section at Target or Walmart. When you can read it without using a dictionary, move on.

2. Simple book with simple sentences. Nancy Drew series, Hardy Boys series, Chronicle of Narnia, Harry Potter are some of the more well known children series that will help with English. For those not interested in children’s book, Ernest Hemingway is a classic author known for using simple words and simple sentences in his book. You might have heard of “The Old Man and the Sea”, “The Sun Also Rises”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Mark Twain is my all time favorite author, he wrote children’s books and thought provoking essays.

3. Grammar. There’s no avoiding it. Reading books will help you to understand the culture, vocabulary and how to write good sentences and paragraphs, but there are things like tenses that you really should look at a grammar book for. Get a grammar book, and remember the rules.

4. SAT Critical Reading workbooks. This is not as fun as reading novels, but it will give you a more solid grammar and vocabulary base. Most importantly, it will help you to understand and interpret the meaning of the writing instead of just reading it. It is sort of fun and useful because it takes example passages/paragraphs from books, biographies, science and different literatures, so it will help you to read a broad range of topics in English.

Speaking, listening and conversational skills:

Talk to people and watch TV, in English. But if you want better advice, here they are:

1. Disney movies. All Disney movies use everyday English with very clear pronounciations. Turn on the subtitles if they speak too fast for you. Some of them are great movies, not just for kids.

2. Discovery channel. They basically cover the introductory topics to science, history, space, technology and more. They also speak pretty slowly with clear pronounciation, so it is easy to understand.

3. The Daily Show by Jon Stewart or The Colbert Report by Stephen Colbert. They are shows that meant to bring news to you in a funny but thought provoking way. It usually start with them poking fun at current events, famous figures etc, and end with an interview between the host and author of a book, celebrities, politicians etc. It’s good for laugh but you have to know some American culture to get some jokes. It’s also good for conversational English and the news.

There are, of course, a lot of good novels/movies/TV shows not mentioned here that are good for learning English. And there are tons of self-help books as well as classes for learning English. Listed here are things that has helped me learn English, get a better feel of American culture, and made the learning process more enjoyable. Hopefully it is useful to others, too. =)


Must have programs for new computers

June 30, 2011

Everybody loves a new computer. Everything’s clean. Everything is prettier and the newest version. Most of all, everything is suddenly blindingly fast.

The only caveat for me is installing all the software and hopefully didn’t forget any. Well, here’s the list of software must for me:

Notepad++: oh Notepad++, how I love thee. At first glance, it look just like the default notepad on windows. But it’s so much better, especially for coding. You can have multiple tabs, rearrange them, and open virtually any files with them. Sure, if you are coding things from scratch and building and compiling them, a real IDE like Eclipse or Microsoft Visual studio might be better. But with large project, sometimes you just wanted to open a couple of files to look at, or make one tiny change. With other IDE, it takes foreeeeeeeeeeeever, or if you are using the windows notepad, it’s not color coded and difficult to read. Notepad++ opens in an instant and have colorcode options for basically any language you need. It’s also my software of choice when coding websites.

Putty/WinSCP: Do a lot of coding? on multiple computers? or with multiple people? Get putty for easy remote access to the machine. Now WinSCP is not necessary if you are a hardcore command prompt advocate, but it’s great for browsing through folders and moving files/folders between your/remote computers. Afterall, clicking is faster than typing.

Ad-aware: security softwares are expensive, and even if my computer already have a security software installed by the school/company, I always like having 2 in case one misses anything. Ad-aware is free and I’ve been using it forever. Maybe there’s better free ware out there, but for now I’ll stick with Ad-aware.

Firefox(+Ad-block): maybe Internet Explorer have improved since I last tried it, but my impression is that Firefox is faster on the rare occasion when I accidentally open things in IE. The other popular browser is Google Chrome, but with all the privacy concerns (especially since I’m online 24/7), I’d stick with Firefox. Aside from the personalization options, firefox have an add-on called Ad-block, which blocks 95% of all ads and make websites load much much faster.

GIMP: want to touch up a photo? draw better pictures with more options than paint? Photoshop is the best no questions…except for the sky high price. For good free ones, there’s, Gimp, and photoscape. Gimp have more options than photoscape and is closest to photoshop. Don’t remember if I tried…

That’s about all the free good basic softwares I need on every computer. There are other things like Lyx for writing LaTeX documents, or CodeBlock for programming in C (but programming is better done in Linux, so just install Ubuntu if you are a beginner or want ease of use, or Gentoo if you are hardcore). Or if you work between multiple machines and need to share folders, dropbox is a good option.



Granola and yogurt

June 30, 2011

So, I’m one of those people who never really liked granola, or plain yogurt. Well, recently I’ve grown to appreciate the mildly tart taste of plain yogurt with some honey, or mixed with smoothies (mango lassi!). But to make it a hearty healthy meal, I need granola.

Crunchy granola

Crunchy granola

I don’t see the point of making my own granola since they all taste pretty much the same. Well, except making my own means it’s fresh out of the oven (and that makes everything taste better) and edit out the dried fruit etc that I hate. Well, the last nudge came from Smitten Kitchen, a food blog I’ve been following. Her recipe is for chewy granola, but since I’m eating it with yogurt, I want a contrast in texture — crunchy crispy and crumbly.

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (used pumpkin seeds and walnut)
1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
4 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey (maple syrup this time)

1. Put oats in blender and pulse a couple of times (no need if its quick oats), then combine with the rest of dry ingredients.

2. Melt butter and combine the wet ingredients. Preheat oven to 350F.

3. Combine and push on bottom of a 9 by 13 pan. Bake for 30-35min until brown around the edges.

It is delicious, and since the recipe is so flexible, it’s much easier/simpler than making cookies or cake, especially for those days when there’s almost nothing in the fridge. It’s also great for when you are craving sweets, hopefully healthy, and have no time. I combined the dry ingredients and put it away beforehand. Then I just add the wet ingredients before baking.

Granola and plain yogurt

Granola and plain yogurt


Lemon Bar

May 9, 2011

I was never a fan of lemon bars since the ones I had are always sickeningly sweet. But I love the fresh scent of the lemon (not the cleaning product!) and decide to make a bar where I can actually taste the lemon, not the sugar. Well, there’s also the fact that it’s sorta like cookies, except without the hassle of dropping them individually on the sheet. So, I searched for lemon recipes

Heart cutout lemon bar

Heart cutout lemon bar

I’m also a fan of shortbread, so this lemon bar is about 2/3 shortbread and 1/3 lemon custard and adapted from Lemon pie Bars recipe in

Lemon bar


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup softened butter for a crispy crust (the dough will be like wet flour and crumbly. You can also use 1 cup of butter for a soft buttery crust).
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup flour

Optional: a pinch of salt and a bit of vanilla in the crust or top?


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix the flour and sugar, then rest of the crust ingredients together. Thoroughly mix everything. The crispy crust will be like wet flour and crumbly, and the buttery crust will be softer and more doughy. Press into a 9×13 pan.
  3. Bake 15 to 20 min until golden brown (metal pan heats up faster than glass pan), or browning on the edge.
  4. Beat together topping ingredients together for at least 1 min. Then pour mixture over baked crust.
  5. Bake bar for another 20 min or until topping is set. Sprinkle with flour or confectioner’s sugar (depending on if it’s sweet enough) when cooled.
lemon bar

lemon bar with 1 cup of butter in the crust

Lemon bar with 1/2 cup of butter in the crust

Lemon bar with 1/2 cup of butter in the crust

And that was that. If you like more filling, double the recipe for the topping. If you half the topping and only use 1/2 cup of butter for the crust (as in I doubled the crust and did not double the topping…and I only have 3 eggs and 2 sticks of butter), then you will get something like crispy lemon cookie with a thin layer of glazing. People seem to prefer the 1/2 cup of butter crust, but it’s a bit difficult to work with, so 1.5 stick (3/4 cup) seems to be a happy medium.


A Mother’s Prayer for Her Child (by Tina Fey)

May 6, 2011

April was filled with work work and work, 3 pound of store brought coleslaw and endless stream of Panda Express take out. Well, that is over, and it is mother’s day this weekend. I still remember the high school days when I fought for independence from my protective parents, but as years go by, I appreciate their support more and more, and I don’t pull away from them anymore. It has also been a while since I last read a piece that struck with me, enough that I want to record it down and read it again later (I seldom read the same book/article/movie more than once, except for textbooks…or the less than handful of movies/books that I get excited about even now). I saw this from a friend’s facebook, and on some blogs, and like it enough to repost. It’s from Tina Fey’s book Bossypants, and I will have to pick up a copy next time I remember.

A Mother’s Prayer for Her Child

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her when crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me.

And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.


Happy early Mother’s Day! And try not to forget to call your moms. =)


Baked Chicken and Toasted Coconut

March 20, 2011

Not together. Well, I suppose baked chicken with coconut crust also sounds promising, but that’s not what I made today. After a week of empty fridge, I finally went to a grocery store and got real food! Fresh veggies and fruits. And meat! I’ve always refrained from cooking meat because they seem so fussy, and everything have to be washed extra clean after cooking raw meat. Well, I had some days old dry bread, olive oil, and forgotten parmesan cheese (they last foreeeever), so this Garlic Chicken recipe sounds promising. The recipe calls for chicken breast, but chicken drumsticks are the cheapest, so drumstick it is. 10min for prep plus 30min baking/waiting time is all it needs.

Baked Crispy Chicken

Baked Crispy Chicken. The bottom right is the leftover crust from the one I ate before remembering to take pictures.

To fit the recipe, I just cut each drumstick into 2 pieces of meat and prepare accordingly. There’s too much olive oil and I ran out of bread crumb/parmesan mixture when I had 2 piece of chicken left. The bones and leftover chicken went to the freezer to be used as soup stock for another day. And since I was too lazy to turn over the meat halfway, the bottom got slightly burnt while the top is just right, so maybe I will put it one rack up, or use a glass pan instead of metal pan next time. Recipe below includes the adjustments.

Baked Crispy Chicken


  • 2 teaspoons crushed garlic (3 big cloves)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (or 6 drumsticks)


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Put the garlic, salt and olive oil in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds to blend the flavors. In a separate dish, combine the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Dip the chicken breasts in the olive oil and garlic mixture, then into the bread crumb mixture. Place in a shallow glass baking dish, or put the oven rack 1 level above middle.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until no longer pink and juices run clear or the crust is is about to burn.

Despite the minor adjustment/mistakes, it was delicious! The chicken is tender and juicy, the coating was crispy and flavorful, and c’mon, things always taste the best fresh out of the oven. Guess I will never buy chicken nuggets or crispy chicken outside again.

Crispy chicken sandwich

Crispy chicken sandwich: chicken + baby spinach + dijon mustard in a dinner roll.

It took great self control to not eat all of it, especially since dessert is also yummy. I always like to use the left over heat from baking to toast things (turn oven off, take the dish out, put to-be-toasted stuff in and don’t take it out until oven’s completely cool) and today I toasted some coconut flakes. O.M.G it was tasty. I tried some sweetened coconut flakes out of the bag. It was sweet and chewy, way too chewy, like eating rubber bland, except coconut flavor. But when its toasted? omg, the flavor is coconut +caramely+nutty and it is crispy instead of chewy. I meant to use it for cakes later. Well, I ditched the cake and ate the flakes. It was a good dinner.

Toasted coconut flakes

Toasted coconut flakes


Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

March 18, 2011

So this week is absolutely busy. So busy that I didn’t dare go shopping, which brings me back to another point. If you don’t have a car, don’t clean out your fridge if you only need to leave for a week. I came back to an empty fridge and survived for a week on various beans and vegan chocolate cup cakes. Contrary to my believe, vegan chocolate cup cakes should be called cocoa cup cakes since most recipes does not need chocolate. It taste great out of the oven…if you like cocoa cup cakes…but it doesn’t keep well and taste slight bit powdery from the cocoa powder and lack of eggs. But, if you put enough frosting on it, no one probably would mind anyways. Since I’m not a vegan and like regular chocolate cakes better, this recipe is not a keeper (neither is the ginger muffin, unless you are also the kind of person who like to snack on candied ginger, in which case this is for you).

So that was a let down, which brings me to another keeper recipe that I haven’t posted yet. People always “ooh” and “aah” when you make cheesecakes, cuz it somehow seem fancier than other cakes (well, it is fussy I’ll give you that). Baking a full size cheesecake involves a lot of waiting.  And it cracks easily even with the water bath. But knowing how to bake cheesecake always makes people think I’m a more impressive baker than I actually am. So here I am, looking for the simplest tasty cheesecake recipe that’s hopefully not too fattening (most cheesecake recipes call for 3 8oz bar of cream cheese and/or sour cream. Geez).

The answer? mini pumpkin cheesecakes.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake with a walnut on top

The top is cracked cuz I took it out too soon, and it is uneven because the batter is thicker than cake batter, which means the way batter looks is the way your cheesecake looks. You can smooth it before putting it in, or draw pics =D

Its mini so the baking time is only 15min (can you imagine that? cheesecake in 15min). Its healthy since half of the filling is pumpkin instead of cream cheese cream cheese and more cream cheese. It’s easy and simple. I made mini pumpkin cheesecake with the muffin pan, store brought gingersnap cookies, and cream cheese/pumpkin fillings. 20min of prep and bake, then 1hr of waiting and its good to eat (of course, it taste better on the second day).

Mini pumpkin cheesecake

Mini pumpkin cheesecake with a walnut on top, made in muffin pan

The recipe is inspired by the quick&easy mini cheesecake recipe here as well as the ingredients from full size pumpkin cheesecake here.



  • 12 ~2in gingersnap cookies (store brought or make it yourself)
  • 1 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened (softer the better, but not melted).
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 15 oz (1 can) of canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and put a pan with shallow layer of water on the rack under the cheesecake rack.

2. Put foil cup liner in each muffin cup of the pan (paper works too, but don’t look as nice). Put a cookie in each cup and push down securely.

4. Mix all non-cookie ingredients and pour evenly into each muffin cup ( you may have 1-2 muffin cup worth left over)

5. Put in the oven and bake for 15-20 min. Then turn off the oven, half open the door and let cheesecake sit until at room temperature, then put in the fridge.

And take out when you want to eat.

UPDATE: The same formula can be used for sweet potato cheese cake! If you want to get fancier, a crust of ginger snap, pecan and butter taste better than just ginger snap. And a splash of rum doesn’t hurt. =P