Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

I can’t believe it has been more than two weeks since my last post!  I have missed my little blog but have been trying to bake less in the New Year since everyone in my household overindulged during the Holiday season.  I figure it is about time to break those Resolutions and get back to eating the good stuff though.

I think you might want to start with this cheesecake, it is amazing!  The filling is very dense and studded with mini chocolate chips.  The crust is made from gluten free chocolate cookies and instant coffee.  I think this might be the best egg-less cheesecake I have ever made and I will definitely be making it again soon.  Make this a day ahead of serving since it needs to chill overnight for the best texture.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Adapted from The Food Network Magazine

Crust:

10oz gluten free chocolate cookies (I used Nana’s Fudge Cookie Bites, but you can use your favorite)

1/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp instant coffee

6 Tbsp melted butter

Pre-heat the oven to 350*F.  Grind cookies and sugar in food processor.  Add the instant coffee to the melted butter and mix until the coffee is dissolved.  Add the butter to the food processor and mix until all the crumbs are moist.  Pour into 10″ spring form pan and pat evenly along the bottom (don’t try to press crumbs up the sides or they will fall and you will have a really thick edge.)  Bake for 8-10 minutes and then let cool while you make the filling.

Filling:

1 pkg aseptic firm silken tofu

1 1/2 lbs cream cheese (3 8oz pkgs)

1 cup sugar

1 cup mascarpone

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup mini chocolate chips plus 1/2 cup for decoration

In a food processor or with your mixer, blend the tofu until smooth.  Add the cream cheese, sugar and mascarpone and blend until smooth and well incorporated, make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times.  Add the vanilla and salt and blend again briefly until well mixed.  Fold in the chocolate chips and pour into your prepared crust.  Bake at 350*F for 65-70 minutes, the center will still be very jiggly but the top will have just started to darken when it is done.   Let cool overnight in the refrigerator.   Before you serve the cheesecake, melt the remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds and then stir until smooth, pour into a plastic sandwich bag and snip off one corner.  Use this to drizzle the chocolate over the cake in a decorative pattern.   Serves 8-10.

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Gingerbread Cake

I made this for my grandfather’s 89th birthday this month.  We had a wonderful party and this cake was a big hit.  My uncle even said it was the best gingerbread he had ever had!  I think the best part is the little pieces of candied ginger spread throughout the cake, it is very nice to bite into one and get a burst of ginger.  I wish I had gotten some better pictures, the cake looked very pretty sprinkled with powdered sugar before we cut into it.

Gingerbread Cake

Adapted from Post Punk Kitchen

2 1/2 cups flour

2 Tbsp ginger

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger

1 cup oil

2/3 cup molasses

1 cup agave

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup yogurt

zest of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Grease and flour a bundt pan.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the crystallized ginger.  In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, molasses, agave, milk, yogurt and zest.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two batches, stirring after each addition.  Pour into prepared bundt pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for ten minutes and then flip out on to a cooling rack and cool completely.  Top with powdered sugar if desired.  Serves 12-14.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Cheesecake

Forget Pumpkin Pie this Thanksgiving, what you need is some Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Cheesecake!  I was a little intimidated by the number of steps in this recipe but it actually came together pretty fast.  I would defiantly recommend making this the day before you need it, the flavors really melded and got more intense overnight.  The cinnamon is really powerful, almost spicy.  Next time I might forget the vanilla part and make it just cinnamon and pumpkin.  The swirls look really pretty and make a nice presentation.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Cheesecake

Adapted from “The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes”

Crust

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

5 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted

Filling

2 8oz containers of cream cheese or soy cream cheese (I used cream cheese)

1 aseptic container firm tofu

1 cup sugar, divided

3 Tbsp cornstarch, divided

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp milk

1 Tbsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9 or 10 inch springform pan.

Crust:

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and cinnamon.  Add the melted butter and mix to form wet crumbs.  Press mixture into the springform pan and using a spoon form a crust part way up the sides of the pan.  Bake for 10 minutes.

Filling:

Combine the cream cheese, tofu, 1/2 cup of the sugar, 2 Tbsp of the cornstarch and vanilla in a food processor or blender.  Blend well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Pour 1 1/2 cups of the mixture into a separate bowl and set aside.  Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp cornstarch, pumpkin puree and spices to food processor.  Mix well.

From reserved filling remove three tablespoons to a small bowl.  Add milk and cinnamon to reserved three tablespoons.  Mix well.

To Assemble:

In the springform pan, alternate scoops of vanilla filling and pumpkin filling.  Drop small spoonfuls of cinnamon mixture over the top.  Wiggle pan to settle contents and then draw a knife through the filling to marble.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until center is set but still slightly jiggly.  Let cool completely then cover and set in fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.  Best if left in fridge overnight.  Serves 8-12.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Cheesecake 2

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

It has been a crazy week here at the farm.  Last Sunday we had almost five hundred people here to carve over 1300 pumpkins for our annual Pumpkin Lighting.  Here are some of the pumpkins during the day.

Jack-O-Lanterns

Jack-O-Lanterns 2

Jack-O-Lanterns

I made a bunch of baked goods to share with our carvers and my favorite new recipe is for Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.  They were nice and spicy with a good pumpkin flavor.  The filling was great tasting but I would want a firmer filling next time, maybe more cream cheese would do it.  I would definitely fill these and let them sit over night in the fridge.  They must have been good because they were gone in no time, luckily I had eaten two before they were put out for the carvers!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Adapted from Martha Stewart and Baked

FOR THE PUMPKIN WHOOPIE COOKIES

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 Tbsp ground cinnamon

1 Tbsp ground ginger

1 Tbsp ground cloves

2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled

2 Tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

FOR THE CREAM-CHEESE FILLING

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350*F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Add milk and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.  Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Transfer to oven and bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cookie comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pan.  For the filling, sift confectioner’ sugar into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, beat just until smooth. (Filling can be made up to a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate; let stand at room temperature to soften before using.)

To assemble the whoopie pies: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer filling to a disposable pastry bag (or ziploc bag) and snip the end. When cookies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edge of the cookies. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate cookies at least 30 minutes before serving and up to 3 days.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

My daughter came down with the Swine Flu last week so we have been spending a lot of time in the house, trying not to spread it around.  Both David and I got it too, luckily it is pretty mild in adults but it was still a lousy weekend.  I was pretty bored after three days in the house and wanted to bake something when I found out that David’s second favorite cake in the whole world is Pineapple Upside Down Cake.  I have never made Pineapple Upside Down Cake before and I think I have only eaten it once or twice.  I always thought it seemed a little fussy, having to do the topping and then the cake.  I went looking for a recipe that would be pretty easy yet still give David his soft cake topped with caramelized sugar and sweet pineapple.  After looking at a bunch of them I found Emeril’s version on the Food Network website.  He made it in a cast iron skillet so that the topping could be made in the same pan the cake baked in.  I figured that if we were going to be stuck in the house with the Swine Flu we might as well eat cake.

I converted it to an egg-less recipe and left out the rum, pecans and cherries but I think the cake came out perfect, very moist and sweet but not soggy.  I have to say that I am a convert and will definitely be making this cake again.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake in the skillet

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

1 can of Pineapple rings (I used 7 rings)

3/4 cup butter, softened

3/4 cups light brown sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup sugar

1 1/4 cups milk

1 tsp. vinegar

1/4 cup pineapple juice (from can)

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Pre-heat the oven to 350*F.  Mix together the milk, vinegar and pineapple juice, set aside.  In 10 inch cast iron skillet melt four tablespoons of butter and add the brown sugar.  Cook over medium heat until the mixture is bubbly then arrange the pineapple rings on top.  Cook two more minutes and then flip the rings over and turn off the heat.  Set aside to cool while you make the cake batter.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Beat the remaining butter with the sugar until fluffy, add vanilla.  Alternate adding the milk mixture and the flour, beating after each addition.  Pour the batter on top of the pineapple rings and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for 5 minutes and then invert on to cake plate.  Let cool to room temperature before serving.  Serves 8-10 (or two people with the Swine Flu).

Pineapple Upside Down Cake