Happy Birthday to Me (and the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Obsession Continues)


I’m here, I’m alive, I’ve survived another year! Go me! I know it’s been awhile since we’ve seen each other, but it’s been a busy year so it’s been hard to find time to sit down and blog. But, I’M BACK KIDS! It’s my birthday gift to me (and you)! For those of you who have been around awhile, you may be aware that every year I make my own birthday cake. This year was no exception. Previous birthdays included:

When I saw this cheesecake over on Smitten Kitchen, I just knew I needed to make it for my birthday. With layers of chocolate cookie crust, rich chocolate fudge, and creamy peanut butter cheesecake, all topped off with a chocolate ganache.


Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Ingredients

    For the crust
  • 9 oz (1 package) Nabisco chocolate wafers
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • For the fudge
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 13 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • For the cheesecake
  • 2 8-oz packages full fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup full fat sour cream, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the ganache
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 1/2 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter

Instructions

    Prepare the pan
  1. Cover the outside of a 9 inch springform pan with two layers of aluminum foil.
  2. For the crust
  3. Finely crush wafers in a food processor until they make fine crumbs. Add chocolate chips and brown sugar a pulse to combine. Add butter and continue pulsing until thoroughly moistened. (If you don't have a food processor, you can crush the cookies in a heavy duty ziploc bag using a rolling pin, then pour into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients).
  4. Transfer the crumbs to the springform pan and press them up the sides of the pan almost to the top (within a half inch) and into the bottom of the pan to form the crust. Place in refrigerator to chill while you make the fudge.
  5. Make the fudge
  6. Bring heavy cream to a simmer in a saucepan. Remove from heat and add the chocolate and peanut butter, whisking until smooth. Pour into pan and spread into an even layer. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes, until firm.
  7. Make the cheesecake
  8. Preheat the oven to 325°F
  9. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed.
  10. Scrape down the sides and add the sour cream, beating to combine.
  11. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated.
  12. Add vanilla and beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides and bottom to ensure everything is evenly mixed. Pour cheesecake over the fudge layer.
  13. Bake in a water bath
  14. Place foil-wrapped springform pan into a roasting pan large enough to hold it.
  15. Fill the pan with enough hot water to come 1 inch up the side of the springform pan and transfer very carefully to the oven.
  16. If you don't want to use a water bath, you can bake it without a water bath as well, but the water bath is more gentle. To bake without a water bath, simply place your springform pan onto a baking sheet in the oven. (The baking sheet will make it easier to remove when the cheesecake is done).
  17. Bake the cheesecake for 75 to 90 minutes until the cake is mostly firm but will still jiggle a bit in the middle when poked. If you like to be more scientific, the center of the cheesecake should reach about 150-155°F on an instant read thermometer. The top will be a light golden brown.
  18. When done, allow to cool about 30 minutes on a wire rack, then transfer to the refrigerator for at 3 hours (or longer).
  19. Make the ganache
  20. Heat cream in a small saucepan until simmering.
  21. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and peanut butter, whisking until smooth and shiny.
  22. Pour onto the cheesecake and spread evenly across the top of the cheesecake.
  23. Return cheesecake to fridge for at least 30 minutes, until the ganache has set.
  24. Serve the cheesecake
  25. Run a small offset spatula or butter knife around the outside of the cake to make sure it doesn't stick to the pan. Unhinge the sides to remove the bottom piece containing the cheesecake.
  26. To cut the cheesecake, run a sharp knife under hot water and wipe with a warm damp cloth. Cut into thin slices, pressing firmly at the bottom to ensure you cut through the crust layer at the bottom, wiping the knife as needed.
http://wee-eats.com/2017/03/15/happy-birthday-chocolate-peanut-butter-cheesecake/

[ Recipe from Smitten Kitchen ]

Baked Occasionally December – Peanut Butter Butterscotch Cookies

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It’s already been a whole year of our Baked Occasionally series, can you believe it!? It’s only logical that we would close the year with a recipe from their Christmas Cookie selection. This month, we each selected our own recipes, with Shannon choosing the whipped shortbread cookies and me choosing these beauties.

These cookies bake of wonderfully soft and chewy, filled with butterscotch and topped with a sprinkle of fleur de sel they are the perfect balance of salty and sweet, and will make the perfect addition to your Christmas cookie collection.  Continue reading

steak and arugula salad

wee-eats-steak-saladI’ve been spending a lot of the last few months experimenting with all types of food delivery services – HelloFresh, Blue Apron, Home Chef and more. Meal kits have their pros – I love how convenient they are and how they can push me a little bit out of my comfort zone, but they have their cons too. For one thing, the costs can really add up and for another the produce isn’t always in the best shape by the time it gets to my door.  Continue reading

Gluten Free Banana Bread (and a Gluten Free Flour Review!)

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Now as you are well aware, I am far from gluten-free. I do, however, enjoy gluten free foods from time to time. Usually when I bake gluten free items, I will just bake something that doesn’t require flour rather than something that substitutes a “gluten free” flour. However, the folks over at Butterfly Gluten Free Flour were kind enough to send me a bit of their flours to try out and being the curious cat that I am, I just had to try them out.  Continue reading