Saturday, February 18, 2017

Boozy Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

I've posted several Chocolate Cheesecake Recipes over the years from Chocolate to Double Chocolate to Triple Chocolate Cheesecake, but here's yet another -- Boozy Triple Chocolate Cheesecake. This recipe is adapted from CookingLight. The original recipe calls for reduced fat cheeses and sour cream and less sugar than my adaptation. The recipe also calls for a chocolate graham cracker crust (included below), but if you don't care about the calories or the fat, I would make a chocolate cookie crust. So here's the recipe!

Boozy Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp egg white
1 1/3 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (about 16 crackers)
Vegetable cooking spray
3 Tbsp dark rum
3 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup chocolate syrup
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa
Raspberries or Strawberries for decoration

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°.

Crust:
Place first 3 ingredients in bowl; beat on medium speed until blended. Add crumbs; stir well. Firmly press mixture into bottom and 1 inch up sides of an 8-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes; let cool on wire rack.  (I make a chocolate cookie crust...but this one is good, too)

Filling:
Combine rum and chocolate in top of double boiler (or saucepan over saucepan over simmering water). Cook over simmering water 2 minutes or until chocolate melts, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; add chocolate syrup, stirring until smooth.
Preheat oven to 300°.
Place cream cheese in large bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until smooth. Add 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa, vanilla, and salt; beat until smooth. Add rum/chocolate mixture; beat at low speed until well-blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Pour cheese mixture into prepared pan; bake at 300° for 40 minutes or until almost set.
Combine sour cream, 1 Tbsp, and 2 teaspoons cocoa; stir well. Turn oven off, and spread sour cream mixture over cheesecake. Let cheesecake stand for 45 minutes in oven with door closed.
Remove cheesecake from oven, and let cool to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 8 hours.
Garnish with raspberries or strawberries.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Café au Lait Coffee Cake: Café au Lait Day!

February 17 is National Café au Lait Day! Café au lait is French for "coffee with milk" and refers to a specific French coffee drink, although like most things there are multiple varieties. Don't confuse it, though, with a Caffe latte. Did you know that in the 1600s a French doctor suggested Cafe Au Lait for patients, inspiring people to add milk to their coffee. Cafe au Lait is often served in a small bowl. Very French! There are several cafe au lait cups on the market.

To celebrate today, go to your local cafe or brew a cup at home, or you can make this sensational Café au Lait Coffee Cake from Nicole at MadebyNicole. Her recipe is fool-proof, and it's filled with Chocolate Chips. What better way to celebrate coffee with milk than with a Coffee Cake? As always, you can use any good quality chocolate, chopped into small chunks in place of chocolate chips.

For those of you lucky enough to live in New Orleans, pop on over to the Café du Monde today for a Café Au Lait. They make it with chicory, which gives it a strong, bitter taste. The bitterness of the chicory offsets the sweetness of the powdered-sugar-covered beignets which of course you'll want to have. O.K., getting ahead of myself.

Café Au Lait Coffee Cake 
Recipe by Nicole Maki


Crumb Topping:
1 tsp instant coffee
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 Tbsp cold butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup pecans

Cake:
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp instant coffee
2 Tbsp warm water
2 3/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk

Glaze:
1/2 cup icing sugar
milk or cream to desired consistency
vanilla (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x13 pan
Make crumb topping: Stir together dry ingredients, cut in butter, add chocolate chips and nuts.
In large bowl beat sugar and butter until light. Add eggs, then sour cream, and then coffee dissolved in water.
In small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Gradually stir into moist ingredients starting with 1/3 of dry mixture, 1/2 of milk, 1/3 dry, 1/2 milk, and final 1/3 dry mixture.
Spread half of batter into pan. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups of topping. Cover with remaining batter and finish with crumb topping.
Bake for 60 – 65 minutes

(Optional) Cool and drizzle glaze off a fork onto top of cake.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Toasted Almond Truffles: National Almond Day

This Retro 1985 Carnation/Nestle Advertisement is for Toasted Almond Truffles. They're so easy to make. Of course, you can substitute any good chocolate in the recipe. Personally I prefer dark chocolate in these truffles.


TOASTED ALMOND TRUFFLES

Ingredients
1/2 cup undiluted CARNATION Evaporated Milk
1/4 cup sugar
One 11 1/2 oz. pkg. (2 cups) NESTLE Milk Chocolate Morsels
1/2 to 1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup finely chopped almonds, toasted

Directions
Combine evaporated milk and sugar in small heavy-gauge saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a full rolling boil. Boil 3 minutes; stir constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in morsels and almond extract until morsels melt and mixture is smooth. Chill 45 minutes. Shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in almonds. Chill until ready to serve. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen truffles.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Thin Mint Brownies: Girl Scout Cookie Time!

You can't miss them. Every street corner, every park, every office is filled with girls in green uniforms and/or mothers and fathers hawking the taste of the season: Girl Scout Cookies.

Girl Scout Cookies are hard for me to pass up. I was a Brownie and a Girl Scout, and I used to pound the pavement selling and then delivering. I was on a mission, and I went door to door alone. Those were different times, but not the cookies. I still love them. Anyway, by this time of year,  I have a cupboard filled with Samoas, Tagalongs and Thin Mints.. well, not the cupboard for the Thin Mints. I put them in the freezer. I've been freezing my Thin Mints for more years than you can imagine. Not that they're being frozen for future times. I just think they taste better that way. It's no secret that my favorite cookies are Thin Mints.

Here's a fun recipe for Thin Mints--Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies Brownies.  Plenty of other ways to use Girl Scout Cookies. Be sure and scroll down for more tips!

Thin Mint Brownies

Ingredients
3/4 cup sweet butter
3/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1/2 Box Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies, crushed into small pieces

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter 9”x9” square baking pan.
In double boiler over low heat, melt butter and chocolate together and remove from heat.
In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.
When chocolate/butter mixture has cooled a little, whisk in eggs and vanilla.
Note: it is important to cool chocolate/butter mixture or eggs will cook.
Add rest of dry ingredients and whisk to combine.
Pour batter into prepared baking pan.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted into center comes out clean.

Other things to do with Thin Mints:
Crush them up and use them as ice cream toppings or in cakes and cookies, truffles, and brownies.
Girl Scout Cookies are also great to use as pie crusts, in the same way you'd make a chocolate wafer cookie crust or graham cracker crust. Yum.