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.

Prizewinning!!! Peanut Butter Cup Pie

Our local paper the Concord Monitor held a Thanksgiving pie contest last week.  The results came out earlier this week and I placed fifth!  I was so excited!  You can see the top five recipes here.

The pie I made was my favorite Peanut Butter Cup Pie.  It is so quick and easy, especially if you use a ready made graham cracker crust.  It is even vegan.  Don’t be scared of the tofu, I swear you can’t taste it.  I like to feed it to people who don’t eat tofu and not tell them until after they eat the pie.  I know it is a little evil but they are always pleasantly surprised.  This picture are not the greatest but really how do you make brown pie look beautiful?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Prizewinning Peanut Butter Cup Pie

14 oz silken tofu

1/2 cup maple syrup or agave

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup chocolate chips

1 prepared graham cracker crust

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the tofu and maple syrup. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the peanut butter and chocolate chips. Microwave for 30 seconds then stir and microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring each time, until melted and smooth. With the blade running, slowly pour the chocolate peanut butter mixture into the food processor. Scrape down the sides of the work bowl and process until smooth. Pour into graham cracker crust and refrigerate at least four hours or overnight. Serves 12.

Cookbook Review: Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

I had ordered “Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar” in August not realizing that it was not going to be published until last month.  It was a long wait for it to arrive in my mail box last week but boy was it worth it!  I had heard so many good things about Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s (of The Post Punk Kitchen) first book “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World” that I was excited to see they were doing a cookie book.  As much as I like cupcakes, cookies are my favorite thing to bake, they are easy to mix up and just the right size to grab when you need a little pick me up.

I have already made three of their recipes and they have all been really good. First I made the Brekky Banana Cookies, which were lovely, chewy little cookies that taste just like Banana Bread.  Next I made Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles, although I left out the Mexican part, and the Peanut Butter Blondies for a girl’s night out.  Everyone loved them and the few leftovers were devoured at home.

The nice thing about this book is you don’t need all sorts of weird ingredients, they use things that can be found in most households.  There are some recipes that call for tofu and some that use ground flax seed but those can be found in most grocery stores.  The other thing that is nice is that a bunch of the recipes call for oil instead of vegan margarine, it is nice to have that option for when I can’t get to the big city and buy margarine.  I can’t wait to make more cookies from this book.

Cookies on a board

From left to right: Brekky Banana Cookies, Peanut Butter Blondies, Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles

Brekky Banana Cookies

Adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

1 very ripe medium banana

1/3 cup canola oil

2/3 cup agave

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup white wheat flour

2 Tbsp ground flax seed

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 cups quick cooking or rolled oats (I used rolled oats)

1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or light grease.  In a mixing bowl, mash the banana well.  Add the oil, agave, and vanilla and mix with a strong fork.  Add the flour, flax seed, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and mix until the dry ingredients are just moistened.  Add the oatmeal and walnuts and mix well.  Roll the dough into balls slightly smaller than a golf ball.  Flatten it a bit in your hands and place each ball about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack.

Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles

Adapted From Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

For the topping:

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

For the cookies:

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup or agave (I used agave)

3 Tbsp nondairy milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 2/3 cups white wheat flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon  (the original recipe called for a 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and a 1/2 tsp of cayenne)

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.  Mix the topping ingredients together on a large dinner plate.  Set aside.  In a medium-size mixing bowl, use a fork to vigorously mix together the oil, sugar, syrup or agave, milk and vanilla.  Sift in the remaining ingredients, stirring as you add them.  Once all the ingredients are added, mix until you’ve got a pliable dough.  Roll the dough into walnut-size balls.  Pat the dough balls into the sugar topping to flatten into roughly 2-inch discs.  Transfer the dough balls to a baking sheet, sugar side up, at least 2 inches apart (they do spread).  Bake 10 to 12 minutes; they should be a bit spread and crackly on top.  Remove the cookies from the oven and let the cool for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Blondies

Adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

3/4 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup oil

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup nondairy milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup white wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Lightly grease a metal 8×8 inch baking dish.  In a mixing bowl, use a fork to vigorously mix together peanut butter, oil, and sugar.  Stir in the milk and vanilla.  Stir in the flour, salt and baking powder.  Once you get the flour somewhat mixed in, it’s easier to just use your hands to knead the dough until soft.  It will be very very thick and won’t spread on its own.  Transfer dough to the baking pan and press it into place.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top and lightly press them into the dough.  Bake for 22 to 25 minutes; the blondie edges should be just barely darkened.  The top will appear soft, and that’s okay.  Remove the blondies from the oven and cool completely before slicing.

Just another Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe…

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know what you are thinking, not another Chocolate Chip cookie!  But yes, it is another Chocolate Chip cookie.  This one owes something to both Kris at nom! nom! nom! blog and Alton Brown.  I also made a Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip version.  These are going to work with David tomorrow for his lucky co-workers.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks butter, melted

1 1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 Tbsp milk

1 tsp cornstarch

2 1/4 cups white flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups chocolate chips

1 cup walnuts

Pre-heat the oven to 350*F.  Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat together the butter and sugars.  Dissolve the cornstarch in the milk and add to the butter mixture with the vanilla, beat well.  Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt then beat in to the butter mixture.  Stir in the chips and nuts.  Best if chilled for a few hours but if you are in a hurry they will just spread a bit more in the oven.  Drop by rounded tablespoon on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 9-11 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.  Cool on pan for 5 minutes and then move to cooling rack until cool.  Make 2 1/2 dozen.

Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

1 stick butter

2 1oz squares unsweeted chocolate

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

2 Tbsp milk

1 tsp cornstarch

1 1/2 cups white flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 2/3 cups peanut butter (1 package)

Pre-heat the oven to 350*F.  Melt together the butter and the chocolate (I used the microwave.)  Beat in the brown sugar.  Dissolve the cornstarch in the milk and add to the chocolate with the vanilla.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Beat into the chocolate mixture.  Stir in the peanut butter chips.  Drop by rounded tablespoons on parchment paper lined baking sheets and press down lightly on top of each cookie.  Bake for 12-14 minutes.  Let cool on pan for 2 minutes and then move to rack to cool completely.  Make 2 dozen cookies.

Mocha Chip Ice Cream

I had to give the ice cream maker I borrowed back to my aunt but I made one last batch before I packed it up.  I love coffee and chocolate together and decided to whip up a quick batch of Mocha Chip ice cream.  I used the Ben & Jerry’s Sweet Cream Base #2 and added my flavors before throwing it in the ice cream maker.  It came out perfect, very creamy and very flavorful. 

Mocha Chip Ice Cream Cone

Mocha Chip Ice Cream

2 cups Heavy Cream

2/3 cup Half and Half

3/4 cup sugar

3 tsp cocoa powder

2 Tbsp instant coffee

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Wisk together the creams, sugar, cocoa and coffee.   Freeze in your machine acording to manufactures directions adding the chocolate chips during the last few minutes.  Makes a little more than a quart.

The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes

I love getting new cookbooks.  I read them from cover to cover and then go through them again and mark all the recipes that I want to try.  I recently got The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes by Kris Holechek, author of www.nomnomnomblog.com.  After looking through it I had picked out quite a few recipes to try, as you can see here:

The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes

I am not vegan but I often buy vegan cookbooks because I don’t cook with eggs.  This book has some great looking recipes, most are pretty easy and are made with ingredients that are already in most kitchens.  The directions are simple and well written and the only complaint that I have is there are no pictures!

I decided to bake the Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies first.   I am a use-what-you-have baker and I don’t know if I have ever followed a recipe with out at least one substitution or subtraction.  So I used mini chocolate chips, walnuts instead of pecans and then I had just bought some White Wheat flour so I decided to try that in place of the All-Purpose Flour.  I also used real butter and milk.  All in all I thought this was a good recipe, the texture of the cookies is awesome, very chewy and not at all fragile.  I think next time I would increase the vanilla and maybe the salt.

Chocolate Chip Cookies Collage

Not Quite Vegan Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. cornstarch

2 Tbsp. milk

1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used mini)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (this was my first time using parchment paper and it is so worth it!)  In a bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt.  In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugars.  Dissolve cornstarch in milk and add to sugar mixture along with the vanilla.  Add flour mixture to sugar mixture in batches, then stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Drop by heaping tablespoons on to baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are slightly golden.  Let cool on baking sheet for five minutes and then move to cooling rack to finish cooling.  Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies.