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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Uncommon Pumpkin Cheesecake

I have been enjoying developing my own recipes lately and my latest endeavor is a Pumpkin Cheesecake with Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache.  I got the idea when I was trying to think of an entry for the WMUR/Common Man Favorite Holiday Dessert Contest.  I had to tape a video as my entry so you can see me making it here.  I made three cheesecakes in three days to get the recipe right and then do the taping, it was an overload of cheesecake at my house.  Luckily, I have a family that is more than willing to sample my recipes and give comments.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache

Crust:

½ cup toasted hazelnuts

¼ cup sugar

7 graham crackers

1 tsp cinnamon

5 Tbsp melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Grind the hazelnuts and sugar in the food processor until roughly chopped.  Add the graham crackers and cinnamon and pulse until fine crumbs.  Dump the crumbs into a 9 inch springform pan and add the melted butter.  Stir together until all the crumbs are moist and then press on the bottom and half way up the sides of the pan to form a crust.  Bake for 10 minutes and then let cool slightly.

Filling:

2 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened

1 aseptic container of firm silken tofu

1 cup light brown sugar

3 Tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp vanilla

1 can pumpkin puree

Puree the cream cheese and tofu in the food processor until combined.  Add the brown sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Add the vanilla and pumpkin and blend until uniform, scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Pour into prepared crust and bake for 50-55 minutes or until the center is set but still slightly jiggly.

Ganache:

8 oz semi-sweet chocolate

pinch of salt

1 cup heavy cream

2 tsp hazelnut syrup

½ cup toasted chopped hazelnuts

When the cheesecake is done let it cool for 30 minutes and then make your ganache.  Break the chocolate up into small piece and place in small bowl with the salt.  Heat the cream in the microwave for about 1 minute or until simmering.  Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for a few minutes.  Stir the cream and chocolate together until smooth.  Stir in the hazelnut syrup.  Pour the ganache over the cheesecake and tilt the pan to coat the top evenly.  Sprinkle the hazelnuts over the top and press lightly into the ganache.  Chill at least five hours but preferably over night.  Serves 12.

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