Tag Archives: sweet recipe

Death by Chocolate Cheesecake

I love watching recipe videos; I can spend hours on sites like Tasty or Delish. I think about how I could rediscover my passion for cooking, become the next Martha Steward and make all the things. This ambition inevitably gets derailed somewhere between watching the video and getting up to go to the grocery store. Christmas day my brother in law and his girlfriend came down to stay with Andy and I for a few days, and we agreed that we’d all enjoy a bit of holiday baking. When the idea of cheesecake came up, I hit Pinterest and quickly located the Death by Chocolate recipe I had pinned and Facebooked a couple of weeks ago. After watching the video, they agreed to give it a shot, and spoiler, we kind of killed it 🙂

Ingredients

Cookie Crust
  • 24 whole Oreo cookies
  • 6 tbsp. melted butter
  • Pinch kosher salt
Chocolate Cheesecake
  • 4 (8-oz.) packages of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 9 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped and melted
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
Chocolate Ganache
  • 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips
  • 3/4 c. heavy cream
  • Chocolate shavings, for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and position an oven rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Make crust: In a large Ziploc bag or a food processor fitted with a metal blade, crush or blend Oreos until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a bowl and pour in melted butter. Add salt and stir until crumbs are completely coated and moist.
  3. Make cheesecake: In a large bowl using a hand mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment), beat cream cheese, sugars, cocoa powder and salt until smooth. Add eggs one a time, beating well between each addition. Fold in melted chocolate.
  4. Coat a 9″ springform pan with cooking spray and press Oreo mixture into pan and 1/3 of the way up the sides, packing tightly. Pour cheesecake filling over crust.
  5. Bake until cheesecake is only slightly jiggly in the center, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. (If you want to use a water bath to ensure cheesecake top does not crack, wrap the outside of the pan in aluminum foil and place in a baking dish. Place on oven rack and pour in enough boiling water to reach halfway up the pan. Follow baking instructions.) If using a water bath, remove pan from water and unwrap foil. Refrigerate cheesecake until totally chilled, at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  6. Make ganache: Place chocolate chips in a medium, heatproof bowl and set aside. Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. When bubbles begin to break the surface around the edges of the pan, turn off the heat. Pour the hot cream over chocolate chips, whisking constantly until the sauce is smooth.
  7. Pour ganache on top of the cheesecake. Garnish with chocolate shavings. Return to the refrigerate for about 10 more minutes to let the ganache set.

Notes:

  • I neglected to really read the actual recipe until after we’d already started baking, but I was a little annoyed with the “refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to overnight” part. The video implies immediate cheesecake gratification, and we had to wait: so lame. Other than that, this is a really great recipe and I can’t think of a single thing I’d do differently. 9 out of 10 to be sure.

Chocolate Quick & Easy: English Chocolate Tea Bread

In pursuit of getting one step closer to crossing off #8 off of my 30 before 31, I pulled out a cookbook I received for Christmas from my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. It’s chock full of chocolaty perfection, and I was eager to make something Andy and I could quickly grab as a snack in between running errands and our household chores.B1
After perusing the book for a few minutes, I landed on this tea bread. It was pretty simple to whip up, and I thought with a couple of tweaks it would be pretty perfect for us.

Bread1

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 eggs lightly beaten
  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup craisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 cups self rising flour
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan and line the bottom with baking parchment.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating each. If the mixture starts to curdle beat in 1-2 tablespoons of the four.
  4. Mix in the chocolate, the crasins, the pecans, the vanilla and the orange zest. Sift the flour and gently fold into the mixture.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan and create a small well down in the center with the back of a spoon.
  6. Place loaf pan in the preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes to an hour.
  7. Leave to cool in pan for 5 minutes then carefully turn our to finish cooling.
  8. Serve in thin slices.

Notes:

  • At first glance, it looks like I changed a lot of this recipe, and to a certain extent ,that is true. I replaced three of the ingredients because of Andy’s food allergies and my absolute disdain of raisins, but I  tried to stay close to the original recipe by swapping them for items that wouldn’t alter the integrity. There was still chocolate, dehydrated fruit, and nuts, so I think it all came out pretty true in the end.
  • I left my bread in the full hour, and it came out a little drier than I like, which isn’t a problem if you are actually serving this with tea, but I think next time I’ll cut 5-10 minutes off the cook time.

A Very Vanilla Sprinkle Cake

I have bought quite a few cookbooks over the last decade or so, but I hardly ever use them. I leaf through them every now and again and make mental notes of things I would like to make “soon”. Before you know it, the book is back on the shelf, and I’ve forgotten all about it. I made a pledge earlier this year to make a real effort to use these beautiful books for their intended purpose instead of using them as paperweights or coasters. On our recent trip to Disney, Andy bought me a copy of Baked Occasions, and I swore to myself that I would make at least one of the recipes before February was over. I’m cutting it a bit close, but I am proud to tell you that I have successfully made Very Vanilla cupcakes.B1 Food7 B2 B3

Notes:

  • As you can see from the photo, I decided to use this recipe for cupcakes instead of a layer cake (makes 30 cupcakes). The only problem is this recipe follows the low and slow methodology for baking that produces a nice level cake. Not what you want for cupcakes; you want them to be a little humped up in the center instead of flat across. I forgot to correct for this and had rows and rows of flat little cupcakes. Next time I’ll crank the baking temp to 350 and reduce the bake time to 20-25 minutes.
  • This very vanilla frosting is my new favorite, non ganache frosting recipe. So much better than standard butter cream! It tastes a lot liked whipped cream, but you don’t have to worry about melting. While I am usually not much of a frosting girl, I caught myself absentmindedly sticking my finger is the bowl of left over frosting while I was cleaning up. I can’t wait to try this recipe out with some other flavor options.
  • I have to admit I was a little intimidated by this recipe the first time I looked at it. The ingredient list is really long, there are so many different steps, and the idea of cooked frosting is still pretty new for me. Seeing it from the other side, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but it was a bit more labor intensive than I usually go for. I am a big fan of one bowl mixes. As far as the cake recipe goes, I would use it again, but probably only for a special occasion.

I am excited to try more things from this book. I think it’s going to force me to stretch a bit as a baker, which is never a bad thing.


Very Blueberry Scones

I finally did it guys: I made scones. This might not seem like a huge thing for you seasoned bakers out there, but for a Florida girl, trying to keep tiny pieces of butter cold in the middle of summer is not the easiest thing. Especially when you have to work the dough, however briefly, with your hands. I saw this recipe from Smitten Kitchen a couple of weeks ago, but I had been under the weather, and it seemed like a perfectly good excuse to avoid baking a bit longer. Please excuse the horrible photos; I took these at 7am on Sunday right after I finished baking, and I wasn’t wearing glasses or contacts. In my defense, I thought they looked pretty okay at the time.

Scone 1

Ingredients

1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
3 tablespoons raw (turbinado) or light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits
1 cup fresh blueberries
2/3 cup (150 ml) milk, whole is best here
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon raw (tubinado) or other coarse sugar for finishing

Directions

Heat oven to 400°F (205°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine flours, zest, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add cold butter and work into the flour mixture until the biggest pieces are the size of small peas with either your fingertips or a pastry blender. Stir in blueberries, then milk, mixing only until large clumps form. Use your hands to reach inside the bowl and gently (so gently) knead the mixture into one mass. The more you knead, the wetter the dough will get as the blueberries break up, so work quickly and knead only a few times, if you can get away with it.

Transfer dough to a well-floured counter and pat into a roughly 1-inch tall disc. Cut into 8 to 10 wedges, do not fret if the blueberries are now making a mess of the dough; it will all work out in the oven. Transfer wedges to prepared baking sheet, spacing them apart. Brush the tops of each with egg, then sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until scones are golden brown on top. Serve warm. I find most scones to be best the first day, but these were not bad at all on day two, gently rewarmed in the oven before eating.

If freezing: I like to freeze scones unbaked and usually hold any egg wash until I’m ready to bake them. Simply spread the wedges on a baking sheet and chill until frozen solid and will no longer stick to each other, and pack tightly into a freezer bag. You can bake them right from the freezer; you’ll only need 2 to 4 minutes extra baking time.

Scone 2

*This is the point where I started celebrating, 1-because they were done & 2-because I almost dropped them taking them out of the oven but managed to right the baking sheet at the last moment.

Notes:

  • I was so pleased that these worked out. They were my first attempt at scones, and there my have been a bit of fist pumping and dancing around the kitchen as they came out of the oven a perfect golden brown.
  • I had to add an additional 1/3 cup of milk (bringing the recipe total to 1 cup) before my dough would come together. There was an initial freak out when the dough wouldn’t come together, but I added the extra milk, and it looked just like the pictures. This did, however, add another 5 minutes to the bake time.
  • Having read the full post, I know why the author chose to go half and half with regular all purpose and whole wheat flour, but the next time, I think I am going to do 100% all purpose. It’s just a texture/flavor preference for me. That being said I immensely enjoyed my scone, and by the end of the day, Andy had eaten the other 7.
  • You HAVE to add the zest, it makes the flavor so much more bright and complex. Andy even managed a garbled, “the lemon really makes it” around his ginormous second bite of scone. He’s so cute when he is happy.

The-I-Gotta-Have-Chocolate-Cake Cake: #12 of 12!

Most of the baking I do is for other people. Most of my 12 recipes from the 28 before 29 ended up going to the office for Andy. I had the same intention for whatever recipe ended up being #12… until the other night. It hit me, I needed chocolate and I needed it bad. I’d read the post on Smitten Kitchen earlier in the week, and I thought its alternate title “The Nothing Is Ever Going To Be Okay Again If I Don’t Have Chocolate Cake Cake” appropriately reflected my feelings.

Me

Cake
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (145 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup (175 ml) buttermilk (see Notes for other options)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1/2 cup (41 grams) Dutch cocoa powder
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table or fine sea salt

Frosting
2 ounces (55 grams) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups (180 grams) powdered sugar (sifted if lumpy)
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch of fine sea salt (optional)
1 tablespoons cream or whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the cake: Heat oven to 350°F (175°c). Line the bottom of an 8-inch square cake pan with parchment paper, and either butter the parchment and exposed sides of the pan, or spray the interior with a nonstick spray. In a large bowl, use a hand or stand mixer to beat the butter and sugars until fluffy; scrape down bowl. Add the egg, yolk and vanilla and beat until combined, then the buttermilk and mix again. Scrape the bowl down well and don’t worry if the batter looks uneven. Place your flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a sifter (I find this step necessary because my cocoa is very lumpy) and shake it over the batter bowl. Stir on low until just combined; scrape down bowl a final time. Scoop batter into prepared pan and smooth flat. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes in cake pan on cooling rack, then flip out onto rack or serving plate to completely finish cooling before frosting. Speed this up by placing it outside for 10 minutes (thanks, winter!).

Make the frosting: Place frosting ingredients in a food processor and run machine to to mix. Scrape down bowl then process for another 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth and somewhat fluffed. [Don’t have a food processor? Beat butter, powdered sugar and salt, if using, in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Pour in chocolate and milk, beat until combined, then one more minute to whip it further.] Scoop the frosting onto the cooled chocolate cake and swirl it around. Finish with rainbow sprinkles; don’t even fight it. Cut into squares and prepare for your family/roommates to completely freak out when they spy it on the counter. (But only share if they offer to do dishes.)

Cake keeps at room temperature for a day or two, or in the fridge up to a week, or so I’ve heard but never tested out.

*Yield: 1 generously frosted 8Ă—8-inch cake, which we cut into 16 small squares.
Could also yield: 1 generously frosted 8-inch or 9-inch round cake, 12 very generously frosted cupcakes, or it could be doubled and baked in a 9Ă—13-inch pan. Could also be scaled and stacked as a birthday cake.
Notes:
  • All and all, not a bad cake, and really easy to throw together.
  • The frosting recipe is now my second favorite chocolate frosting recipe. I don’t know what could possibly be better than whipped chocolate ganache, and this is pretty much half ganache, half butter cream so it make sense.
  • The cake was good; Andy even went back for seconds. I would like to note that it took much longer to bake than the instructions indicated. Almost 10 minutes longer.
  • I can’t believe I actually finished my recipes for the year!