Mini Banana Pudding Cheesecakes

I’ve been thinking of these for quite some time now…

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Banana Pudding Cheesecakes.

When my friends at McCormick asked me to come up with a brunch worthy recipe using their great vanilla and almond extracts, I knew this would be the way to go.  It just had to be done.  So thanks, McCormick, for sponsoring this post and forcing me to actually make it happen!

Being from The South, Banana Pudding is a tradition.  A Classic.  A dessert tied to the territory.  I can’t think of a single holiday or pot luck where there wasn’t a Banana Pudding.

But let me tell you a little secret…

I’m not a huge fan.

Slap my mouth!

True though, and here’s why.

Bananas, for me, have about a 22 minute window of consumption.  Not too green, no specks of brown.  Perfectly yellow. Eat it quickly, out of hand.

22 minutes.

Once the bananas are cut up and put in the pudding?

Oh God.  They get brown.  And slimy.  Let’s not even talk about it, okay?

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Let’s instead talk about Vanilla Wafers.

I don’t really like those either.  They’re either too crunchy (I don’t like to hear myself chew), or, too soggy once they’ve been buried down in the pudding.  Gosh, I’m finicky.  Whatever.  I like what I like.

So despite all that, and the overwhelming tasks that I would need to overcome, I set out to make a Banana Pudding Cheesecake.

Why?

Because the FLAVOR of Banana Pudding is pretty darned awesome.  Combine something like that with the perfection of cheesecake, the ultimate in desserts?

Could be an award winning combination.

It was.

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I recently met the Executive Chef of our local restaurant – Chef Mike Behmoiras – who is the mastermind behind The Bank Food & Drink.  Mike knows his stuff, and I, the leech that I am, have latched onto him in hopes I can learn a few things.  So, like I do, I Twittered him, then texted him, then confused him.

Yep, confused him.  It’s my M.O. and that’s all there is to it.

I convinced him to come up last Monday and cook with me.

That’s code for I’m hungry, I have a few people to feed dinner to tonight, why don’t you come up here and cook while I watch, and then I’ll eat it and take the credit for it.

He fell for it.  I am very convincing.

It only works once though, folks, then you need to come up with another ruse.

So anyway, while he was here, we attacked the making of the ultimate Banana Pudding Cheesecake.  Because I am not a big fan of crusts, I put Chef Mike in charge of that.  Plus, he said he had a recipe that would work for our purposes, so off he went.

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While he did that, I modified my go to cheesecake recipe in order to make it Banana Pudding-y.  I gave him 3 slightly overripe bananas, which he roasted with a little brown sugar and Captain Morgan’s Black Rum in Gilda (my KitchenAid range).  Once they were smooshed and flavorful, into the batter they went, along with a few wafer crumbs.  A quick taste of the batter (how many samples did we have?  I lost count), confirmed one very important thing – this cheesecake tasted JUST LIKE BANANA PUDDING.

I baked the cheesecakes in mini silicone molds, but you could also bake it in a regular full sized round.  I just wanted to go mini, as it’s nice and easy for a dinner party or brunch.  It’ would be a fantastic dish for Easter, and what a way to kick off spring!  Give it a shot, I think you’ll love it as much as we did!

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Banana Pudding Cheesecake

makes 24 mini cakes or 1-8 inch cheesecake

For the Roasted Bananas

  • 3 Bananas, over ripe and mashed
  • 1/4 cup Captain Morgan’s Black Rum (if desired)
  • 1/4 cup Dixie Crystals Dark Brown Sugar

Instructions:

Combine the bananas, rum, and sugar; roast in shallow pan at 400 for 10-12 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool while preparing cheesecake batter.

For the Cheesecake

  • 3- 80z bricks of cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup Dixie Crystals Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Dixie Crystals Light Brown Sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Almond Extract
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 cup pulverized Vanilla Wafer cookies
  • Roasted Bananas (see above)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F and grease or butter a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the pan in heavy duty aluminum foil so that it is waterproof. Press crust into prepared pan.  If using mini silicone molds, skip this step.
  2. Place one 8-ounce package of the cream cheese, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until creamy, about 3 minutes, then beat in the remaining packages of cream cheese.
  3. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat in the remaining sugar, then beat in the salt, vanilla, and almond extract. Blend in the eggs one at a time, beating only until completely blended. Mix in the sour cream and heavy cream. Be careful not to overmix the batter.
  4. Lastly, stir in the cookie crumbs and roasted bananas by hand.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan on silicone molds. Place the springform pan in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake the cheesecake until the top is lightly browned, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. (or 25 minutes if using molds.  Molds require no water bath)  Allow to cool in the oven with the door propped open.

For the Crust

  • 10 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 2/3 cup Dixie Crystals Granulated Sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup pulverized Vanilla Wafer Cookies

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the egg and beat until combined.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  2. Add dry ingredients and mix on low until combined.
  3. Chill for 30 minutes, then roll half of dough  between two floured pieces of parchment paper.  Press into round cake pan or, if making minis, cut into desired size.  Freeze remaining dough for later use.
  4. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown.  (Skip this step if making full sized cheesecake and follow directions above.)

To Assemble:

Mini Cheesecakes – Place one mini cheesecake onto one cookie crust.  Top with homemade whipped cream and garnish as desired.

Full Sized Cheesecake – Remove from springform pan and top with piped homemade whipped cream.  Garnish as desired.

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Thanks so much Mike for your help, and I’m thrilled to have gotten to get to know you. I think.  And thanks for the sugared jalapenos we used to top this beauties – I appreciate it!

This post is courtesy of and sponsored by McCormick.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Orange and Almond Cheesecake with Cranberry Sauce

I write very little about my in-laws.  My family?  Well, I grew up with them, and while I may not name names, or tell every little story I want to, I am allowed.  They are required to love me, no matter what.

The in-laws? Well, they are not bound by blood or contract.  And? All of them are in a school system.  For real.  It wouldn’t be nice to tell you all the little things about them, then their students somehow find out about my blog and harass them over it.

Much.

But, I am going to take a chance here.  You see, my parents-in-law are just about to retire from their respective positions, which leaves me only a few more months of keeping my mouth zipped. So, I am going to tell you a little story about my Father-in-Law, and what I have dubbed the Christmas Meanness.

Every year for the holidays, Jon and I, as well as his sister and her family travel to the unspoken depths of West Virginia to spend a few days with the folks.  Typically it’s three days of laying around for the gals, and the guys all go outside and do random yard work.  I can get lost in a book or 32 various catalogs that for some reason always seem to be on hand.

It’s an enigma, those catalogs.

This year, there was still plenty of relaxing down time, but upon our arrival the first evening, the Christmas Meanness was deployed as soon as we walked in after a 5 hour drive.

“I need you to make a cheesecake.  And you need to use this Cranberry Sauce.”

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Now, don’t get me wrong.  You know I love to bake.  I love cheesecake, especially, and all boasting aside – I make a fabulous cheesecake. Fabulous.  I’ve spent about 3 years perfecting my method, I know a good base recipe by heart, and there’s something about popping the springform release on a gorgeous specimen that really gets me going.

But my cheesecakes take a day to make.  AND – I don’t dig cranberries.  Period.

The biggest kicker? I like to bake at HOME, where I know my mixer, my oven, my ingredients.  I’ll be honest – I was skurred.  I didn’t want to be the Cheesecake Queen that failed vehemently on Christmas, after a request from a gourmet lover like my FIL.  I just couldn’t let that happen. I mean, he’s displayed every single one of my cookbooks, even the one I only photographed.  He thinks I am CAPABLE.  That’s a lot to live up to.

Despite the fear (am I being ridiculous?  Does anyone else have Baking Away From Home fears?  Pressure To Impress fears?) – I set out to make that cheesecake.

Because I am a crust hater (judge away, I can take it) I opted to use a sugar cookie as the base, and trust me, that was the perfect crust for this flavor combination.  Sweet, but not overpowering, just a great compliment to the flavors I chose to use.

Not being at home with my stash of all things baking, I made use of what their kitchen had on hand, namely some Almond Extract and an orange.  I knew both would play well with the cranberry sauce, which I decided to use only as a topping versus IN the cheesecake.  That way, those of us who aren’t cranberry lovers (which was about half of us) didn’t have to opt out of dessert.  That would have been tragic.

A tip I learned from Dorie Greenspan (the lady I attribute my love and knowledge of baking to) is to take the zest of your orange and work it into your sugar by using your fingers.  What results is a pungent, aromatic, gloriously citrus-filled sugar that emanates into every bit of the dessert, and it’s worth the minute or two it takes to do it.

That citrus-y sugar combined with a bit of Almond Extract was exactly the right combination for this cheesecake, and believe it or not, that cranberry sauce he’d purchased was really good…so we all ate it anyway.

Live and learn.

Okay, so maybe The Christmas Meanness was a little harsh.  So it took me a few hours of hands on time, but, I did get to eat it.

And blog about it.

That’s a score.

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Orange and Almond Cheesecake with Cranberry Sauce

makes one 9 inch cheesecake

Ingredients

  • Sugar Cookie Dough (I used Pillsbury, about 18 cookies)
  • 4 – 8-ounce packages cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar (I prefer Dixie Crystals)
  • Juice and Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Almond Extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Homemade or Purchased Cranberry Sauce, if desired

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease or butter a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the pan in heavy duty aluminum foil so that it is waterproof.
  2. Press cookie dough into the bottom of the pan. For store bought dough, it will take roughly half the roll or 16-18 cookies.
  3. Work the zest of the orange into the sugar, until sugar is uniform in color and aromatic.
  4. Place one 8-ounce package of the cream cheese, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until creamy, about 3 minutes, then beat in the remaining 3 packages of cream cheese.
  5. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat in the remaining sugar, then beat in the salt, vanilla, almond extract and orange juice. Blend in the eggs one at a time, beating only until completely blended. Lastly, mix in the sour cream and heavy cream. Be careful not to overmix the batter.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the springform pan in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake the cheesecake until the top is lightly browned, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Allow to cool in the oven with the door propped open.
  7. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it’s completely cold, at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove the sides of the springform pan. Top with cranberry sauce.

Cream Cheese Ideas for the Holidays

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of PHILADELPHIA cream cheese . All opinions are 100% mine.

Cream cheese.

Creamy. Sweet. Delicious.

Doesn’t make you fat at all.

I kid, I kid.

Every single bite is worth it. You know it, I know it. There’s nothing better than cream cheese.

Now…I’m a cream cheese snob. If it’s not Philadelphia Cream Cheese, I don’t want it. Have you bought the store brand versions? They’re so…icky. Wet. It sticks to the wrapper. It’s kind of, well… weird. The Philly?

Doesn’t do that. It’s uniform and slick and perfect.

Yum.

Okay, enough of that. You want to know the best things to make with it, right?

Right.

Well, here are a few of my favorites… Cheesecakes.

I love cheesecake. Thick and rich and tall and creamy.

Cheesecake.

S’mores Cheesecake. The comforting flavor of graham, chocolate, and marshmallow, but paired with cheesecake. Die.

Toasted Coconut and Raspberry Cheesecake. Don’t knock it until you try it. Coconut and raspberry combine to make the most incredible partnership. You won’t be sorry.

Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake. I don’t think I need to say one more word about this.

Not enough cream cheese?

Take a gander around my site. You’ll find more cream cheese than you can shake a stick at.

Still not enough?

Philly isn’t all about dessert. You can use it in savory recipes, too. The PHILADELPHIA cream cheese site is full of recipes to help you out with your weekly dinner plans. And those holiday parties. And cheesecakes.

You’ll like it.

Maybe even enough to Pin a few recipes (ahem, the above cheesecakes might be a good place to start?) on Pinterest.

Just saying.

Happy baking!

Visit Sponsor's Site

S’Mores Cheesecake

Don’t judge…I am not a fan of S’mores.

I know, I know.  But let me tell you why.  It’s the graham crackers.  I can’t see eating a perfectly browned marshmallow and chocolate on a crunchy cracker. Messy.

I don’t dig messy.

I also don’t add crusts to my cheesecakes, for the record. If you’ve been hanging around here very long, you realize that already.  Cheesecake doesn’t require crust.  Cheesecake is creamy, or fluffy, and rich – why spoil it with a cracker?

Maybe it’s just me…but I like what I like.

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I do like this cheesecake.

Or should I say cheesecakes.

I made my go-to cheesecake recipe the other night and poured it into individual silicone molds…no crust.  Once they were baked, I topped them with thick chocolate ganache – Hershey’s, of course, because hello? It’s a S’mores. I sprinkled the plate with graham cracker crumbs, and for the top – toasted marshmallows.

Heaven on Earth, I tell you.  What could be better?  And what could be a better way to celebrate National Cheesecake Day, which just so happens to be today?  Nothing, I tell you.

Celebrate. Cheesecake Day. Today.  You can make this and be eating it in no time, promise.

Enjoy!

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S’Mores Cheesecake

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 1 cheesecake or 12 individual cheesecakes

Ingredients

  • 3 - 8-ounce packages cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 3 Tbsps cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • Marshmallows, as needed
  • For the Ganache
  • 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F and grease or butter an 8-inch cake pan. Place a round of parchment paper on the bottom. Spray the pan and the parchment. If you are wanting individual cheesecakes, like I have, use a silicone mold that has 12 cavities and fill each nearly full.
  2. Place one 8-ounce package of the cream cheese, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on low speed until creamy, about 3 minutes, then beat in the remaining packages of cream cheese.
  3. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat in the remaining sugar, then beat in the vanilla, and salt. Blend in the eggs one at a time, beating only until completely blended. Be careful not to overmix the batter. Slowly mix in the cream and sour cream until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the pan in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake the cheesecake until the top is lightly browned, about 1 hour (use no waterbath if making individual cheesecakes and bake roughly 25 minutes or until lightly browned), or until the top is lightly browned and center is set. Allow to cool in the oven with the door propped open.
  5. In small saucepan, heat heavy cream to a simmer (not boil). Remove from heat. Add in the chocolate chips and stir until smooth. Allow to cool a bit, then top each cheesecake with a spoonful of the ganache. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs atop the ganache or around the plate.
  6. Top the cheesecakes with marshmallows, and toast with a kitchen torch or quickly under the broiler. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

I used a DeMarle at Home silicone mold for my cheesecakes, and it worked like a charm.

http://doughmesstic.com/2012/07/30/smores-cheesecake/

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Have a great week everyone!

Superbowl Snacks…Oreo Cheesecake Bites

Good morning everyone!  I hope you had a great weekend…I know I did!  I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow, promise!  Until then, I want to introduce you to today’s guest poster, Peabody!  You may have seen her Culinary Concoctions all over the net, but I met this hockey loving food blogger when we were both in Tuesdays With Dorie…oh so long ago!

A few weeks ago, the two of us decided to get together and Guest Post for each other, sharing a some Superbowl Snacks with everyone.  You can see what I made over on her site today, so be sure to go check it out!

Now, Peabody isn’t much of a football fan (I know, right??) but, she HAS come up with a Superbowl worthy sweet for us, and it’s even in team colors! Luckily, she chose the correct team to root for, despite her rationale!  So now I give you over to her, and these oh so sweet Oreo Cheesecake Bites!


Hi! I’m Peabody and I run Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, a blog that is mostly about sweets and baking, with a random side of savory and photo of my cocker spaniel from time to time (don’t worry we don’t eat her!). Susan and I decided it would be fun to each do a Super Bowl Food idea post and post it on each other’s blog today. Now, you would think with me being the one actually coming up with the idea of doing Super Bowl stuff I would know about it, right?

Nope.

I knew the date of the Super Bowl after I Googled it, as well as who is playing. See, I really only care about food (and hockey). The Super Bowl is a great day because you can graze and graze on food and blame other people when someone asks why there is no onion dip left. If I was just at home with 7 layer dip, the dog, and my BFF, and all the layer dip was gone? Things get suspicious. I mean, I know when all the beer is gone the dog is to blame, but food, well that was probably me. Where else can you shout “someone ate all the chips!” and look around accusatory of people all the while knowing it was you who in the back of the room munching down the Fritos while others were pretending to care about the game.

After Googling who was playing in the game, I decided I was pulling for the Giants. My reason? The movie Madagascar:

“Julian: Where are you giants from?

Alex the Lion: New York

Julian: All Hail the New York Giants!”

So All Hail the New York Giants!

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Next I had to figure what color they are. Well, hmmm, great, they are the same colors as the team they are playing against. Oh well. I figure throw some blue and red in what I am making and both teams can be covered. You can stop just there and just make the golden Oreo cheesecake cups if you so desire. But, if you want to go the extra mile you can make the marshmallow Oreo footballs. You could just place them on top of the cheesecake cups. Or you could attempt to get crafty like me. I assure you, yours will look better, as arts and crafts was one of the last badges I ever got as a Girl Scout and I am pretty sure they would ask for it back if they see some of my DIY craft work in the past.

Regardless of who you are routing for this Super Bowl, just remember… you only ate the celery sticks, and you have no idea why there aren’t any chicken wings left!


Oreo Marshmallow Footballs

  • 16 ounce package of Oreos (classic flavor), pulverized in the food processor
  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 5 cups marshmallows
  1. In a large sauce pan melt butter and marshmallows together (like you would for crispy treats). When melted, add the cookie crumbs and stir until fully combined.
  2. Wet your hands a little so that they won’t stick to the marshmallow and roll the cookie mixture into balls and then shape into football shapes best you can. As you can see best I can it’s not great. :)
  3. While those sit out to firm up start the cheesecake cups. Then come back while cups are baking and pipe some laces on the footballs using a white frosting of your choice.

Oreo Cheesecake Bites

for the Giants/Packers and any other red and blue team (go Rangers!)

  • 21 Golden Oreos, 15 left whole, and 6 coarsely chopped
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • Food coloring for your teams colors…which are both teams colors this year…annoying.
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar, and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.
  3. Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies by hand.
  4. Divide batter evenly among cookie-lined cups, filling each almost to the top. Add a drop of blue food coloring on one half and swirl the blue. Then do red on the other side. Repeat on all of them…or don’t, your choice it will taste all the same.
  5. imageBake, rotating pan halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). Remove from tins just before serving.

From Martha Stewart Cupcakes by Martha Stewart

If you want to be semi creative you can make little goal posts. It’s just a wooden skewer and some paper. You leave a little room at the bottom and top so that one end goes in the cheesecake bite and the other can hold the football. If you make them too long they will tip over. I suggest making one or two for effect and just leave the others plain.(If you take the lazy route, which I do and fully support.)

Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

My sister loves red velvet.  Me, I never cared for it.  I’m not sure why – it’s basically chocolate, gussied up with a little food coloring to make it prettier.

Whose idea was that?  I mean, the adding of the food coloring?

It serves no real purpose really, purely aesthetics.

So perhaps I never cared for red velvet based on its mediocre attempts at being pretty versus tasty.

Whatever.

I’m getting over it, thanks to these brownies.

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No joke, I will be using this recipe from here on out.  I may never search for another variation, ever.  It will be the base for every brownie in my future, unless someone can convince me otherwise.

Think chewy.  Moist.  Decadent.  Fudgey. I’ll be perfectly honest here – I left the brownies sitting out, all night, uncovered.  UNCOVERED.  I just cut a piece to eat (okay, slab), and it is STILL as moist as ever.

I am in LOVE.

And hence, the red.  Ideal dessert for Valentine’s Day, which is just around the corner. (How’d THAT happen? Wasn’t it just Halloween??)  Leave out the red, add it, or go green, blue, whatever…pick your poison.  Just make them.

Do it.  I promise you won’t be sorry.

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Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Yield: 16-20 Brownies

Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Ingredients

  • 10 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Red Food Coloring (I used Wilton No-Taste Red)
  • 3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • For the Cheesecake Layer
  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper long enough to hang over on two sides, making it easier to remove from pan once baked. Spray pan and paper.
  2. In small saucepot over medium heat, or in the microwave, melt chocolate and butter until smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, vanilla and red food coloring with the sugar. Slowly add in chocolate mixture until well combined.
  4. In small bowl, sift together cocoa, salt and flour. Add mixture to rest of batter. Do not overmix.
  5. Pour batter into prepared baking pan.
  6. For the Cheesecake Layer
  7. Beat ingredients together until smooth. Pour over brownie batter. Use sharp knife to swirl together.
  8. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, or until just set and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool. Enjoy!
http://doughmesstic.com/2012/01/23/red-velvet-cheesecake-swirl-brownies/


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One of the secrets to these brownies is the QUALITY of chocolate being used.  There are lots of options on the market, but I tend to use Scharffen Berger.  I love the flavor, the availability in stores, and the range of product.  For this recipe, I chose to use the Semisweet Baking Chunks, but an even darker chocolate would have been just as good or better.  The Scharffen Berger Semisweet, though, is a great percentage to transition between kids and adults (kids like sweeter, adults a little darker, on average) – so it’s a favorite here at our house.  I also used Scharffen Berger Cocoa in this recipe.

No, I was not paid to say this.  Not a word of it.  I just love it, and want to share the things I love with you!

GIVEAWAY

Speaking of sharing, how would you like to win an assortment of Scharffen Berger Chocolates?  Lucky for you, I can make that happen.  Just help me out by sharing this post with your friends, either on Twitter, on Pinterest, or on Facebook.  You can so that, right?  I mean, it’s my birthday week, after all!

So, leave me a comment, letting me know how you shared.  If you shared it on multiple sites, leave a separate comment for each and every share.

If you’d like another chance to win, I’m SURE Scharffen Berger would like a new fan, so go join them on Facebook!  Be sure to return here, and leave me a separate comment, letting me know you did.

We’ll also be Twittering with Scharffen Berger next month, sharing chocolaty recipes in time for Valentine’s Day, so now would be a great time to join them on Twitter.  Again, once you do, return here to leave a separate comment.

Good luck, have a great day, and be sure to come back often, as I’ll be hosting a LOT of great giveaways over the next couple of weeks…like I said, it’s my birthday this week and I want everyone to celebrate a little!

Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

 

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Happy New Year!

I hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday, but truth be told, I’m ready to tackle 2012 and I am GLAD to have you BACK, reading, baking, and just being here for me, giving me reasons to keep posting!

Over the holidays, I made this: a chocolate mousse topped cheesecake.  I’ve made a similar cheesecake before, but this one literally takes the cake.  A thick layer of sturdy, deeply rich chocolate mousse is piled as tall and thick as the insane cheesecake it sits upon, it’s intensity playing ever so sweetly with the tanginess of the cream cheese.

A match made in heaven.

As you may know, I do not like graham cracker crusts, so I opted to use cookie dough for this cheesecake.  No kids, the cookie doesn’t burn.  In fact, it doesn’t get too done at all.  hard to believe, considering it is baked for an hour and a half, but, it gets just the right amount of baked.

Nice.

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I used chocolate chip cookie dough, straight out of the Nestle refrigerated section, and it was the perfect amount to substantially fill the 9 inch pan.  Don’t you love when things work out like that?  Oh, I do.  It’s kismet.  Serendipity.

I hope you’ll give this recipe a shot, and let me know what you think.  It’s easier than it looks, but I’ll warn you…the mousse requires a ridiculous amount of dishes.  I have no idea why, but it does. Pots. Bowls. Whisks and spoons and more bowls.  Is it worth it?

Oh, you betcha.

You’ll see.

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Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, divided
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 - 9 inch cheesecake, prepared

Instructions

  1. Prepare cheesecake according to instructions. Allow to cool. (Do not decorate with chocolate or chocolate chips.)
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate over low heat. While it melts, whisk sugar, milk and egg yolks in a medium bowl. Once chocolate is melted, add the sugar/egg mixture. Stir constantly until smooth and thickened, about 7-9 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool completely.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter on medium speed until fluffy, then add 3/4 cup of the confectioners sugar and beat for 2 more minutes.
  4. Add cooled chocolate mixture to the butter and beat well. Leave in mixing bowl.
  5. In a separate mixing bowl, whip egg whites and salt to stiff peaks. Gradually add in 3/4 cups confectioners sugar.
  6. Fold egg white meringue into chocolate mixture, then add vanilla. Place mixture in refrigerator to cool for one hour or more.
  7. Remove cheesecake and mousse from refrigerator. Ice the sides of the cheesecake with the mousse, then pipe or spread remaining mousse on top of cake. Allow to cool completely before serving. Mine is decorated with white chocolate snowflakes, which are simple to make with a piping bag and melted white chocolate.
http://doughmesstic.com/2012/01/03/chocolate-mousse-cheesecake-2/

If you have a minute, I’d love for you to share this post with your friends.  There are buttons below for sharing on Facebook and Twitter, but if you like it, I’d appreciate a Pin or Stumble, too.  The more folks come to check it out, the more inspired I get!

And thanks so much everyone for making 2011 a banner year for me – I couldn’t have done it without you!  Now…look out 2012!

Brown Sugar Cookie Crust Cheesecake

 

Did you survive the Holidays?  Eat too much? Shop too much?  Get a face full of pepper spray while trying to secure a $2 waffle iron?

(I already have a waffle iron, and I hope you do, too. Pepper spray sucks.)

No matter…I hope you had a great long weekend full of friends and family, and of course – FOOD.

Every year we have a huge Thanksgiving meal at my parents house, It’s my mom’s side of the family, and it’s always a great time.  My cousins are crazy! This year I decided to take a cheesecake, since I was still on a high from the raspberry coconut version I made last week, and I decided to play a bit with my tried and true recipe.

Not much, mind you, I love that recipe and it never lets me down.

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I usually don’t put a crust of any kind on my cheesecakes, but I decided to at least give it a shot.  Not graham cracker, not Oreo, I went full on chocolate chip cookie.  I had some dough left from the Mrs. Fields clone, but you could certainly use your own recipe, or even a store bought refrigerator dough for that matter.  It was fantastic!  I simply pressed it into the bottom of a 9 inch springform and then poured the prepared batter on top of it.  I feared it may burn, but no worries, it was great!  Because I added this crust, I wanted to richen the batter a bit, so I used some brown sugar in place of all white sugar.  Great idea – it was just enough, and I intend to adapt my recipe to include it from now on!

To decorate this deliciousness, I pressed mini Nestle chocolate chips around the edges.  I also made a little bit of chocolate ganache and drizzled it on the top, before piping a few tall puffs of whipped cream.   Chocolate embellishments went on top and a few cookie crumbs sprinkled about for good merit and I called it done!

I do encourage you to try this cheesecake recipe…it has honestly never let me down. Ever.  Let me know what you think!

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Brown Sugar Cookie Crust Cheesecake

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Yield: 12-15 Servings

Ingredients

  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  • 4 - 8-ounce packages cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 1 split Vanilla Bean, scraped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease or butter a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the pan in heavy duty aluminum foil so that it is waterproof.
  2. Press cookie dough into the bottom of the pan. For store bought dough, it will take roughly half the roll.
  3. Place one 8-ounce package of the cream cheese, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until creamy, about 3 minutes, then beat in the remaining 3 packages of cream cheese.
  4. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat in the remaining sugars, then beat in the vanilla, salt, and vanilla bean. Blend in the eggs one at a time, beating only until completely blended. Lastly, mix in the sour cream and heavy cream. Be careful not to overmix the batter.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the springform pan in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake the cheesecake until the top is lightly browned, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Allow to cool in the oven with the door propped open.
  6. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it’s completely cold, at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove the sides of the springform pan. Decorate as desired.
http://doughmesstic.com/2011/11/28/brown-sugar-cookie-crust-cheesecake/

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Okay kids, be sure to check back in a few hours…I have a GREAT giveaway to kick off the week!  See you then!

Toasted Coconut & Raspberry Cheesecake…and a Giveaway!

 

I adore cheesecake.  Thick, creamy, sweet.  I have to say, my favorite cheesecake is plain, nothing baked in, just the cream cheesy goodness.  Sure, I’ll top it with a variety of different things, like chocolate ganache, whipped cream, fruits, lemon curd.  But when it gets right down to it, just keep the cheesecake portion PLAIN.

I made a tiny exception here.

“>raspberrycheesecake4

I knew from the get go I wanted to top this cheesecake with a raspberry gelee and fresh berries.  That was a no brainer.  I had just been shipped a flat of Naturipe Red Raspberries, and they were burning a hole in my refrigerator.  They ached for cheesecake.  And if you’ve been reading here for any length of time and you keep a journal on all my idiosyncrasies, you know I don’t like crust.  At all.  Other than the fact that it holds a cheesecake in place, it’s nothing of use to me, so typically I omit it altogether. Instead of crust, I wrapped this cheesecake with toasted coconut flake, which was both gorgeous AND delicious.  What flavor! And, it played so well with the tart berries.  Knowing I was going with the toasted coconut wrap, I decided to add a tiny bit of coconut extract to the cheesecake.

Just another good decision.  Sometimes I make them, believe it or not.

I made this Toasted Coconut & Raspberry Cheesecake to take to Jon’s family Thanksgiving, and it was a huge hit.  Even Jon’s sister ate it, despite being anti-coconut.  I was left with one scant piece at the end of the day, which I promptly ate after our 3 hour drive home.  I couldn’t very well throw it out, could I?

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These raspberries were excellent.  It is rare that I use a berry in the off season, as we grow our own raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries.  But, when these Naturipe showed up, they were a thing of beauty.  So fresh!  I was literally afraid Seven was going to eat them all before I could get them on to the cheesecake.  He’s a mad man for berries!

Honestly, this recipe for cheesecake is the only one I ever use.  Ever.  Yes, I will sub out orange oil, coconut extract, lemon zest, even a bit of mint on occasion, but the main recipe? I will NOT change it.  it bakes off perfectly, always creamy, rarely (if ever) cracks, and garners rave reviews each and every time I make it.  Give it a shot, I think you’ll love it!

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Toasted Coconut & Raspberry Cheesecake

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yield: 12-15 Servings

Ingredients

  • 4 - 8-ounce packages cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon Coconut extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 335 F and grease or butter an 8-inch cake pan. Place a round of parchment paper on the bottom. Spray the pan and the parchment. If you are wanting a crust, now is the time to make it.
  2. Place one 8-ounce package of the cream cheese, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on low speed until creamy, about 3 minutes, then beat in the remaining 3 packages of cream cheese.
  3. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat in the remaining 1 1/4 cups of the sugar, then beat in the vanilla, coconut extract, and salt. Blend in the eggs one at a time, beating only until completely blended. Be careful not to overmix the batter. Slowly mix in the cream and sour cream until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the pan in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake the cheesecake until the top is lightly browned, about 1 hour and 25 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and center is set. Allow to cool in the oven with the door propped open.
  5. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it's completely cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
  6. Press the toasted coconut into the sides of the cheesecake. Spread raspberry gelee to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the cheesecake. Place fresh raspberries in a circular pattern around the top.
  7. Raspberry gelee – 1 cup fresh raspberries, 3/4 cup sugar. Reduce in small pot over medium heat until thickened. Allow to cool.
  8. Toasted Coconut – 2 cups coconut flake. Spread onto baking sheet and toast in 325 oven until lightly browned, stirring every 5 minutes.
http://doughmesstic.com/2011/11/22/toasted-coconut-raspberry-cheesecakeand-a-giveaway/

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The Giveaway

Guess what?  This giveaway isn’t even on my Gift Guide.

Nope.

But it’s fantastic.  it’s called…money.  As in $100.

Whaaa?  You already have some money?  Well then, I guess you don’t need to enter.  More for me.

Courtesy of Naturipe, one of you lucky readers will win a $100 Visa Gift Card, to buy whatever you want.  Maybe it’s a bunch of cookbooks.  Maybe it’s 11 Rubik’s Cubes.  Maybe you want to go on a date with your husband.  Maybe you just want a new pair of boots.  It’s up to you!  Here’s how you can win…

Just leave me a comment here, telling me your favorite thing to make with berries. Boom…you are entered.  But you know I can’t leave it at just one chance, right?

Of course not.image

Naturipe is looking to meet you!  So, go become a fan on their Facebook page.  That alone will gain you 1 bonus entry.  Easy as pie. (Or Cheesecake)  But, while you are there, if you’ll comment on their wall, saying Hello, or that I sent you over, or something you’ve used berries in – that will gain you ANOTHER bonus entry!

But wait, there’s MORE!  Not only will there be a $100 Visa Giveaway, FIVE lucky alternate entries will win coupons for THREE FREE PACKAGES of Naturipe Berries!  That means there are 6 winners in this giveaway!

Contest is open until 11:59pm EST on November 26, 2011, and is shipped by and courtesy of Naturipe.  I was supplied berries as well and all opinions are 100% my own.

Just a final note about raspberries…

…so that you don’t feel guilty eating the whole container (not that I did that. Much.)

Raspberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, iron, potassium, antioxidants and disease-fighting ellagic acid. Ellagitannins, a family of compounds almost exclusive to the raspberry, are reported to have anti-cancer activity and contribute to the raspberry’s antioxidant power. They are also a great source of fiber, which has been found to lower cholesterol levels.

The BIG DEAL

imageSee that 7 Quart KitchenAid?  I know you want it.  I certainly can’t blame you.  So, to keep it fun and interesting, I’m giving you LOTS of extra opportunities to win it.  For every giveaway you enter during my 25 Days of Doughmesstic Christmas, if you’ll go comment on THIS POST (Click thru!) saying “I entered to win the …” (you know, whatever you entered to win), you’ll get a BONUS entry to win the mixer.  That’s 24 additional chances to win that bad boy.  So scoot! Go enter to win today’s giveaway, and then visit THIS POST to comment for your bonus entries on the mixer.

Good Luck, and see you back here tomorrow for more fun things to win!  And, don’t forget there’s still time to win these other great gifts from the Gift Guide!

By: ifood.tv