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Epic Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake


Hi everyone!  This is my first food post.  I’m really excited to share the amazing recipes I’ve found with you.  I decided that my inaugural post would be this most amazing, epic and totally decadent cheesecake.  I made this for myself just for fun, but it is so good that if you make it for an event people will be raving about it all night.  I found the recipe from my favorite baking blog browneyedbaker.com.  I adjusted the baking directions to help the cheesecake cool slow enough to not crack.

It has an oreo crust, a layer of chocolate fudge, crumbled Reese’s, chocolate ganache topping, and if you feel so inspired you can decorate it with a deliciously creamy peanut butter frosting.    If you love peanut butter and chocolate I highly recommend treating yourself to this delight!  I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Epic Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake

Source: http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2010/03/25/chocolate-peanut-butter-cup-cheesecake/

Ingredients

Crust:
32 Oreo cookies, finely crushed or ground in a food processor
5½ Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of salt

Chocolate Fudge:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
20 miniature peanut butter cup candies, unwrapped and roughly chopped

Peanut Butter Cheesecake:
24 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs

Ganache Topping:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup heavy cream

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (300 degrees F if you are using a dark or non-stick pan). Butter a 9″ springform pan and set aside.

2. The Crust: Mix the oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in a bowl until the crumbs are moist.  Then press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of the springform pan.  Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.

3. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a rack and let cool.

4. The fudge: Heat the cream until it simmers over medium heat.  Then pour the cream over the chopped chocolate in a separate bowl.   Let  it stand for 1-2 minutes and then add the vanilla extract and stir until the chocolate cream mixture is smooth and combined. Pour the fudge over the crust and place in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove it from freezer, sprinkle the chopped Resse’s over the fudge and place the crust back into the freezer for 10 more minutes.

5. The peanut butter cheesecake: Beat the cream cheese and peanut butter together on medium speed until smooth. Then add the sugar and vanilla extract and beat on medium until they are thoroughly combined. Add the eggs one at a time and mix on low.  Beat the eggs just until they are combined with the cream cheese mixture.  Do not overmix or else your cheesecake will have too much volume.

6. Remove the pan from the freezer and pour the cheesecake filling over the crust.  Bake the cheesecake until the sides of the cheesecake are set and the middle just slightly jiggles, about 1 hour.  Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven (this helps the cheesecake shrink slowly to prevent cracking).  Transfer to a wire cooling rack and run a knife around the edge of the crust to slightly separate the crust from the pan. Cool the cheesecake to room temperature (at least 1 hour). Refrigerate the cheesecake at least 4 hours until it is thoroughly chilled. Carefully remove the sides from the springform pan before serving.

7. The ganache topping: place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Simmer the heavy cream over medium heat. Immediately pour the simmering cream over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for 1-2 minutes and then stir until the mixture is smooth. Pour the ganache on the top of the cheese and spread evenly over the top of the cheesecake. Return to the refrigerator to set the ganache (~20 minutes).

8.  If you wish decorate it with some creamy peanut butter frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting

Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/chocolate-cupcakes-and-peanut-butter-icing-recipe/index.html

Kathleen’s Peanut Butter Icing:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl  and mix on medium-low speed until creamy.   Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you mix. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.  Apply generously to the cheesecake!

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If a Brownie and a Cookie Had a Baby!


Tidbits:

When a brownie loves a cookie very much…you get a recipe for one of the most delicious cookies/brownies you will ever eat (if you love chocolate). On top of that, I surprisingly found that this recipe calls for like  300 times less butter (but I’m sure it’s made up for in other areas). I first found this recipe in my Clinton Street Baking Company cookbook which I am in love with. Every recipe I’ve tried takes something I’ve had before, and makes it 10 times better. Anyway, enough about that…My modification to the recipe is doubling the chocolate! I did it by accident and it came out so good that I can’t bring myself to bring it back down to the original measurements. Also, I change out the chocolate chips I add in. For example, I’ve used chocolate chips for eve more chocolate (my personal fave), peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, and a combo of all those.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp canola oil

1 tsp butter (it’s about 1/3 of the tbsp marking on the wrapper)

2 Ghirardelli 60% cacao chocolate bars (or something comparable)

2 large eggs

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 – 1 cup chocolate chip (you can decide how many you want when you see the batter, and here you can use and kind of “chip”)

Directions:

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 for convection)

2.Have 3 bowls ready, or 2 bowls and your stand-mixer bowl

3.Chop the chocolate bars in to small pieces (about 1/2 inch in size)

4.In one bowl (if you’re using your stand-mixer, use this bowl) whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla together until combines

6.In another bowl, which together the flour, baking powder, and salt

6.Melt the oil, butter, and chopped chocolate bars together in the microwave on high heat, stirring at 30 second intervals. For even better results, melt in a double boiler on the stove.

7.Fold the melted chocolate into the egg mixture.

8.Add the flour mixture to the egg and chocolate mixture and stir until just combined.

9.Add the chocolate chips until just combined.

10.Free the batter in a shallow pan or bowl for 6-8 minutes until the batters hardens slightly (otherwise it’s too runny)

11.Coat a large cookie sheet with nonstick spray or parchment paper. Scoop 1.5 inch dough balls onto sheet.

12.Sprinkle a little sea salt or fresh ground kosher salt on top if you happen to have some (not table salt!)

13.Bake for 11-12 minutes (9-10 in convection oven). The tops should look a little dry and cracked like a brownie, and the insides will be moist.

14.Devour after just a few minutes for the best taste, or bring some to your friends later and they’ll still love you even though they missed out on the “just out of the oven” taste 🙂

Individual chocolate lava cakes


Tidbits:

This recipe makes a delicious, fast, and super easy dessert! The creator of this recipe is Beth over at Budget Bytes. I highly recommend you get yourself over there and check out all of her recipes. I have yet to try one that isn’t awesome and not to mention the recipes are easy on your wallet! Honestly, I did almost exactly what she did so I’m not really adding much. But seriously, you must try this. Perfect for date night or for when you want a dessert all to yourself :). As you can see I forgot to take a picture before I had almost finished it. That’s what no self control will do to a girl. Note that this makes two ramekin’s worth so adjust the proportions accordingly.

Ingredients:

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

4 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter

1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or whatever you prefer chocolate wise)

1 tablespoon of cocoa powder (whatever kind you have on hand)

2 tablespoon flour

Directions:

  1. Assemble all the ingredients. Always do this first in case you forgot something or whatever.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Use the teaspoon of butter and coat the inside of two ramekins with a thin layer (room temperature is best for this).
  4. Dump one tablespoon of the flour into one of the ramekins and shake rattle and roll it until all the butter has a light coating of flour. Tap the excess into the second ramekin and repeat. Tap the excess from the second into the sink or trash.
  5. Combine the egg, egg yolk and sugar in a bowl and use a hand mixer to beat it until it’s light and fluffy looking. It takes a few minutes so just be patient with the mixer.
  6. Then put the 4 tablespoons of butter and chocolate chips in a bowl and microwave. Beth’s method works super well. Turn it on high for 15 seconds and stir briefly and repeat this process until the chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth.
  7. Add one tablespoon of flour and the cocoa to the chocolate and then add this to the egg/sugar mixture. Beat with the mixer just until everything is mixed well.
  8. Pour chocolatey batter into the two ramekins. Set them on a baking sheet and put it in the oven.
  9. Set your timer to 8 minutes and let it do its thing.
  10. After 8 minutes, open the oven and give the baking sheet a little jiggle. The point of the cake is to be gooey inside so you want to see the centers jiggle when you give them a shake. If it looks like the whole cake is jiggly, you need more time.
  11. If you need more time, you’ll pretty much have to baby sit it for the next few minutes to make sure it doesn’t get too “done”.
  12. If the cake does not jiggle at all, take it out of the oven immediately. Obviously it will still be delicious but it won’t be lava-like when you break into it (that’s how mine was, but it was still divine!).
  13. Give the cakes a dusting of powdered sugar for some flair, and if you’re feeling adventurous then combine some berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries) with a little sugar to  and drizzle the mixture over the top of the cakes.
  14. Enjoy! And be careful with the ramekins. They’ll be hot so don’t burn yourself or whoever you choose to share these delectable little cakes with.

I’m including Beth’s tip because I found it super helpful in knowing what to look for as the cakes were rising (I let them go over by not paying close attention :)):

TIP: You will notice the batter rising (puffing up) during the last couple of minutes of cooking. The outer edge will rise first and then the center will rise as it cooks. If the center rises up, that means it has cooked and will not be molten. So, remove the ramekins from the oven when the edges are high but the center is still a little sunken in. I failed to do this but it was still delicious.

Lemon Bars


Tidbits:

Does Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, ever have a recipe that is not amazing? Well for lemon bars these are it! Everything you want, tartness, lemony-ness, the perfect lemon bar.

I used the tweaked version of her recipe which made a lot less thick lemon filling than her original recipe based on the smitten kitchen’s blog post, but if you want to follow her original recipe I don’t think you can go wrong.

Make sure to line the bottom with parchment/wax/aluminum.

This makes a ton, and they keep amazingly well in a closed container in the refrigerator.

Ingredients:

For the crust:
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the full-size lemon layer:
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

[Or] for a thinner lemon layer:

4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (3 to 4 lemons)
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup flour

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into the greased baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

For the lemon layer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes (less if you are using the thinner topping), or about five minutes beyond the point where the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into squares and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

White Trash


Tidbits: This is a great little snack my aunt makes every Christmas. I altered the recipe a little bit, and this is the product! I recommend altering this to fit your tastes. You can add whatever you want to it: cashews, m&ms, popcorn. Honestly, whatever makes you happy. If you put it in little containers/jars wrapped with ribbon, it’s a delicious gift 🙂

Ingredients:

12 oz. of white chocolate (You can buy a bag of white morsels, or get two bars of Baker’s white chocolate)

2  Tbsp. of peanut butter

2-3 cups of Rice chex

1.5 cups of honey roasted peanuts

2 cups of small marshmallows

2 cups of pretzel pieces

1 cup of chocolate morsels (I use white chocolate, but get creative! You can use butterscotch morsels, milk chocolate, peanut butter morsels)

Directions:

1. In a double boiler or microwave, melt the 12 oz. of white chocolate with the peanut butter.

2. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a big bowl

3. Pour the melted white chocolate/peanut butter mixture into the bowl with the other ingredients

4. Stir until every piece is fully coated

5. Spread onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper

6. Wait for it to dry (this is the hard part)

7. Break it up into pieces, and serve!