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 ]

mini tagalong cheesecakes

tagalong cheesecake 0953

As many of you are aware, FH and I were assaulted by tiny Girl Scouts the other week. Despite my best efforts, I was left with a couple boxes of Tagalongs hanging out in the pantry.  

I hadn’t opened them yet because… well, I know what happens when I open a box of Girl Scout cookies (or any cookies, to be honest) and let’s just say it’s not pretty.

Those “servings” on the side of the box? Lies.

The number of servings is closer to one than the number alleged on the side of the box, and the serving size varies mainly depending on how much space is between me and my self-loathing on that day.  (Oh, I went to the gym yesterday? That’s like 10 extra cookies!)

tagalong cheesecake 0928 2

A question lingered a moment in my head, “Do these little monsters know what they’re doing when they chase us with cookies and look at us with their stupid doe-eyed faces? Do they!?”

Like, I can walk by a cookie display at the store without caving (usually), but walking by a small child with a sad look who is practically begging me to purchase cookies? Even worse, one that COMES TO MY DOOR WITH COOKIES AND TRIES TO GUILT ME INTO BUYING THEM?

I’m pretty sure they know what they are doing to us. Preying on the weak.

So I was left with a problem to solve – how do I open the box of cookies without immediately inhaling all of the contents and collapsing into a pile of self-loathing on the floor?

My solution? Chop up all the cookies and divide them between another bite-sized treat… Thus, the mini Tagalong cheesecake was born.

tagalong cheesecake 0936

tagalong cheesecakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 21 cheesecakes

Serving Size: 1 min icheesecake

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 cup peanut butter (not "all natural", I use Jif)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 box Tagalongs, coarsely chopped** (or 1.5 cups mix-ins of your choice)
  • 21 whole cookies* (see note below)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees and line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each liner* (see note below)
  2. In a small bowl, gently beat eggs with vanilla extract, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. Add peanut butter and continue beating until incorporated.
  4. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until combined, scrape down sides of the bowl. .
  5. Drizzle in egg mixture, a bit at a time, beating until incorporated. Add sour cream and beat until combined.
  6. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl and stir in chopped cookies by hand.
  7. Divide batter evenly among cookie-lined cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake about 22 minutes, or until filling is set. Outsides should be stiff but it's ok if the centers jiggle a little when you tap the pan.
  8. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate uncovered (or they will get condensation on top) at least 4 hours or overnight.
  9. Serve with whipped cream, drizzled chocolate, and additional chopped cookies, if desired.

Notes

*For the "crust" you can use a cookie of your choice - I used a second box of Tagalongs for the first 16 and then used Oreos as needed for the rest.

**You could use 1.5 to 2 cups of any mix-ins for these cheesecakes - chopped peanut butter cups or chocolate/peanut butter chips would also be great.

I got 21 cupcakes out of this recipe, your yeild may vary depending on the depth of your cupcake tins.

With the variety of frozen cheesecakes sold in stores, I'm willing to bet that you could freeze these and thaw as needed but have yet to test this on my own.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/02/25/minitagalong-peanut-butter-cheesecake-recipe/

 tagalong cheesecake pin 0959

Celebrating the New Year and Top 12 of 2012

DSC_7956

It’s New Year’s Eve and while some of us will be popping bottles of expensive champagne to celebrate, the rest of us will be taking a much more affordable approach.  Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine and, in my opinion, is less dry and more delicious than your usual champagne anyway.  Mix it with a little pureed fruit or, for the lazier of us, peach nectar from a can, and you’ve got yourself what’s called a “bellini”.

Simple, delicious, bubbly.  Just like New Year’s Eve should be.

Making bellinis is super easy.  Just one part fruit juice or nectar to two parts prosecco.

Bellinis

  • 2 oz fruit juice or nectar
  • 4 oz Prosecco (the sommelier at our local grocer recommended La Marca brand)

Pour 2 oz fruit juice into champagne flute.

Add prosecco and let the bubbles mix it for you.

Drink, enjoy, pour another, drink more.

Happy New Year!

The Top 12 Posts of 2012

pds

moc

basil

ddcc

scc

peanut butter truffle brownies

gooey butter cake

chocolate peanut butter cake

smore cook

btc brownie

ccroll

oreo cheesecake cookies

oreo cheesecake cookie main

After I missed National Cheesecake Day, I vowed never to miss another food holiday again. Well, it turns out that I was a bit on the naive side. Did you know that there is a food holiday every day? Like, literally, EVERY DAY. I mean, I love food as much as the next girl… in fact, some may argue that I love food significantly more than the next girl, but every single day?? Isn’t that a bit overkill?

Monday was Root Beer Float Day, and today is Raspberries in Cream Day. August 5th was not only National Waffle Day, but National Oyster Day as well. We couldn’t even make them related? It had to be two of the most un-related foods celebrated on the same exact day? Granted, maybe Oyster Waffles are super delicious and I just have no idea. But seriously, calm down guys. We don’t need a food holiday every day... It will be OK.

I promise.

I’m on board for S’more Day on August 10th (THIS FRIDAY, GUYS!), maybe even Rum Day on the 16th, but  Soft Ice Cream Day and Julienne Fry Day are a bit much. What’s wrong with just “Fry-Day” (that could conveniently fall on a Friday every year), or just plain “Ice Cream Day”… why do we need to be so specific?

Anyway, I digress, moral of the story is that I missed Cheesecake Day and I’m sure that I missed Oreo Cookie Day (Which was apparently March 6th, for the record. Pretty sure I knew that thanks to the Birthday Cake Oreo, actually.)

So, In honor of belated Cheesecake Day & belated Oreo Day… in honor of all the other hundreds of food holidays I will miss (and have already missed)… and if you follow me on Pinterest, in honor of my apparent intense craving for Oreos…. I give to you:

Oreo     Cheesecake      Cookies.

Soft, chewy, cream cheese cookies rolled in Oreo cookie crumbs. So, essentially, a delicious cookie rolled in crushed delicious cookies, another cookie inception perhaps?

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies – Yields about 30 small cookies

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (4.8 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup oreo cookie sandwich crumbs (about 8 oreos)

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, cream cheese and salt on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, and then add the flour and mix on low just until combined. Mix in the chocolate chips.

3. Roll or scoop the dough into 1-inch balls. Drop the dough balls into a bowl of oreo cookie crumbs and roll to coat. Arrange the dough balls 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

4. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, until the edges just start to brown and the tops are set. Cool for a minute or two on the sheets, then transfer the cookies to wire racks and cool completely.

[ Adapted from crumblycookie.net ]