Espresso Chocolate Oreo Cookie Dough Cheesecake

Espresso Chocolate Oreo Cookie Dough Cheesecake

Yeah, there’s no typo in the title.  And yes, it tastes as good as the title would suggest!  Much easier to make than the long list of ingredients and steps would indicate.

I ran across this recipe about a year ago, and almost gave up on it after making it twice, and the recipe just not cutting it as far as I was concerned (my garbage disposal loved it though!).  Biggest hits of the original recipe were that the coffee flavor was overpowering, and with the firm cookie dough layer placed on top, the cheesecake ended up getting squished out the sides when I tried to cut it.  Disappointing to say the least, but I still thought it had potential, as it wasn’t just a bunch of ingredients thrown into a cheesecake, but ingredients that complimented and accentuated each other.

I didn’t find that the sour cream layer added much to the taste, and never quite firmed up, so I ditched it.  In addition to baking the crust before filling it, I reduced the amount of Oreos called for, as I was just lining the bottom of the springform pan.  The ganache layer was too thick and hard, so I cut back on the amount of ganache called for, and used more cream to make the layer less firm (and easier to cut).  I swapped out the cheesecake filling called for and substituted my well-proven recipe.

The biggest sticking point was the cookie dough layer.  Placed on top, it would squeeze out the cheesecake filling when cut.  I considered freezing the entire baked cheesecake, but thought that was extreme, as who really wants to each frozen cheesecake?  Finally, it occurred to me that if I placed the cookie dough layer between the baked crust/ganache and the cheesecake filling, then baked the cheesecake, the cookie dough layer would be insulated from being baked and still come out cookie dough and not a half baked cookie.  Bingo! [continued after the jump...]

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Pumpkin Blondies

Pumpkin Blondies

Another entry in the “Holy crap, I have way too many cans of pumpkin in my little pantry” series…

Blondies are typically brownies without the chocolate, and using brown sugar instead of white sugar.

Michelle, over at Brown Eyed Baker took it a step further and added pumpkin to the blondies (would that make it a strawberry blondie, as the pumpkin is red-ish?).  As my pantry was overflowing with cans of pumpkin, I figured I’d give this a go.  Very glad I did, as this is both a tasty recipe, but also easy to make.

Don’t be scared by the laundry list of ingredients, this literally takes less than 5 minutes to prepare.  It will take you longer to get the ingredients out than it will to make it.

Pumpkin Blondies

2 1/2 cups / 10.625oz / 301g flour
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup / 7.5oz / 213g dark brown sugar
1/2 cup / 3.5oz / 99g sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla
1 (15-oz) can pumpkin (about 2 cups)
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13″ baking pan.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and both sugars until completely smooth and no lumps remain. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk to incorporate, making sure the egg has been completely mixed in. Add the pumpkin and again whisk to fully incorporate. Add the flour mixture to the batter and, using a rubber spatula, fold the mixture until combined and no pockets of flour remain. Fold in the butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips and pecans. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.
  • Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool completely, then cut into 16 squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Notes:

  • As these have almost two cups of pumpkin in them, they won’t be the same consistency as a traditional blondie, so keep that in mind.  Not quite blondie consistency, but not cake consistency either…

Source: http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2012/10/31/pumpkin-blondies/

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Double-Chocolate Browned-Butter Rice Krispy Treats

Double-Chocolate Browned-Butter Rice Krispy Treats
A CheesecakeForBreakfast original recipe!

Who doesn’t love Rice Krispy Treats (RKT)?  Easy to make, cheap, and quick, there is a reason they’re a staple at just about every bake sale you run into.

But lets face it, they’re a simple tasting treat too.  Rice Krispy’s don’t have a lot of taste to them and neither do marshmallows.  I was looking to make a RKT that was not only simple/easy to make, but also make them a more adult-like treat.

Tried using whiskey, which made boozy RKT. RKT are not rum balls!

I noticed in Joanne Chung’s Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe cookbook (read my review here, or do yourself a favor and order the book here) she uses brown butter to add some depth to her RKT.  Knowing how well the browned butter worked in my chocolate chip recipe, I made a batch using browned butter.  Better, but still not what I was looking for, so I added the browned butter to my bag of tricks and kept searching.

Figuring chocolate was what I was looking for, I melted some chocolate in with the marshmallows and butter.  The taste was there, but with the amount of chocolate I had to add, the texture suffered.  They were no longer light and airy, the hallmark of RKT.

I switched to using chocolate Rice Krispies, but the chocolate flavor just wasn’t strong enough.

Finally, I realized that with the chocolate Rice Krispies, I could still add some real chocolate without affecting the texture of the RKT.  With the nuttiness of of the browned butter, and the double punch of chocolate Rice Krispies and real chocolate, I had a winner.

The only hard part about these RKT was getting a photo of them before they were all gone! [continued after the jump...]

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Pumpkin Waffles

Pumpkin Waffles

So, while grocery shopping the other day, I thought it would be a good idea to pick up a couple cans of pumpkin puree to have on hand, as it is getting to be that time of the year where pumpkin everything is all the rage.  Of course, when I got home and put the cans of pumpkin in the pantry, I then found out that this wasn’t the first time I’d had the idea of picking up some pumpkin…I now had 6 cans of pumpkin.

Sounds like it’s time to start baking with some pumpkin!

Figured breakfast would be a good way of starting with some pumpkin, so I dug out my waffle iron and did some quick research on pumpkin waffles.  Most recipes were pretty basic, with varying amounts of the spices you’d put in a pumpkin-related baking item.

I was worried that the added pumpkin would make the waffles thick and dense, but they cooked up light and fluffy.  These waffles were pretty popular at breakfast, disappearing even before the bacon was gone, which in this house, is pretty rare indeed!

Pumpkin Waffles

2 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
4 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup buttermilk (see note below)
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
6 tbsp butter, melted

  • Place a baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven and preheat oven to 250° ; preheat waffle iron.
  • Sift together flour, brown sugar, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices.
  • Whisk eggs in a large bowl until blended, then whisk in milk, buttermilk, pumpkin, and butter until smooth. Whisk in dry ingredients just until smooth.
  • Bake waffles according to waffle iron manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Place baked waffles on preheated baking sheet to keep warm and crisp.

Notes:

  • If you don’t have buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to 1 cup of milk and let is sit for 5 minutes (this is what I actually used)

Source: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pumpkin-Waffles-104264

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Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake

When I first saw this in Cook’s Illustrated back in the Nov/Dec 2003 edition, I knew I had to try it.

I’d eaten pumpkin cheesecakes before, but they always left something to be desired.  Either too soft and runny (pumpkin has a lot of moisture in it), too artificial tasting (using flour or cornstarch to make up for the moisture in the pumpkin), or not enough pumpkin taste (use less pumpkin to reduce the amount of moisture).

The folks at CI came up with a simple way to remove the excess moisture from the pumpkin: simply spread it out over paper towels, and let the paper towels soak up the excess moisture.

I made it for Thanksgiving dinner that year, and from the looks on people’s faces when they took a bite, I wasn’t the only one who’d had less-than-spectacular pumpkin cheesecake.

Not the case with this pumpkin cheesecake.  Perfect cheesecake texture with pumpkin pie taste!

Fast forward 9 years later, and I’ve made this at least once, if not 2-3x times, a year to rave reviews. I guess you can file this under ‘so good it doesn’t last long enough to get a photo of’, hence the lack of a blog post (until now).

[continued after the jump...]

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Mille Feuile

Mille Feuile

This month’s Daring Bakers challenge was a Mille-feuille, something I’ve seen before, but never tasted, much less made.

Lots of instructions, but actually easy to make and pretty damn tasty too.

Cliff Note’s instructions:

  1. Make three 6×12″ puff pastry.
  2. Spread pastry cream over 2 of the layers as you stack them (the top layer is left bare).
  3. Spread royal icing over the top layer.
  4. Drizzle melted chocolate over the royal icing and comb in chocolate for a better looking Mille-feuille.

Mille-feuille

Pâte feuilletée (puff pastry)

  • I used the old reliable Pâte Brisée (recipe can be found here), as I had some already in the fridge from making apple turnovers.
  • Roll out to 18×12″, then cut into three 6×12″ sheets.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, prick all over with a fork, cover with another sheet of parchment paper.  Then place another baking sheet on top of the top layer of parchment.  If you have light weight baking sheets, add more weight by placing a 9×12″ Pyrex baking dish on the top baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15 minutes at 400°.
  • Remove Pyrex/baking sheet/top layer of parchment and bake another 10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven when brown and cool on wire rack.

Crème Pâtissière (pastry cream)

2 cups whole milk or 1/2 and 1/2, or heavy cream (use only one of the three)
¼ cup cornstarch
200gm/7 oz/1 cup powdered sugar
4 egg yolks (save 2 of the whites for the royal icing)
2 eggs
4 tbsp butter, cubed
2 tsp vanilla

  • Mix the cornstarch with ½ cup of milk and stir until dissolved.
  • Heat the remaining milk in a saucepan with the sugar, dissolving the sugar and bringing the milk to the boil. Remove from heat.
  • Beat the whole eggs into the cornstarch/milk mixture. Then beat in the egg yolks. Temper the eggs by pouring in 1/3 of the hot milk, stirring constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking.
  • Bring the remaining milk back to the boil, and add the egg mixture, whisking constantly as your pour. Keep whisking on a medium heat until the mixture starts to thicken.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and thoroughly whisk the pastry cream. At this stage the pastry cream can look slightly lumpy, but a good whisking soon makes it smoother.
  • Beat in the butter and vanilla until fully incorporated.
  • Pour the pastry cream into a stainless steel or ceramic bowl, and then place clingfilm over the surface to stop a skin forming.
  • Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight to give the pastry cream time to further thicken.

Royal Icing:

2 egg whites
2 tsp lemon juice
300g/14oz/2 cups powdered sugar

  • Whisk 2 egg whites with 2 teaspoons lemon juice until lightly frothy.
  • Whisk in the powdered sugar on a low setting until smooth and combined. The mixture should be thick enough to leave trails on the surface. If it’s too thin, whisk in a bit more powdered sugar.

Chocolate topping:

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate

Assembly:

  • Lay one sheet on the board and spread half the crème patisserie evenly over the top.
  • Take the second sheet and place it on top, pressing down lightly with your hands to ensure that it sticks to the filling.
  • Spread the remaining crème pâtissière and place the last sheet of pastry on top, pressing down again. (don’t worry about it being messy, you can fix that later)
  • Place in the fridge while you make the royal icing and melt the chocolate.
  • Make the royal icing.  Melt the chocolate, then place in a Ziplock bag with then tip cut off (you can fine tip).
  • Spread the royal icing over the top, then drizzle the chocolate in lines about 1/4″ apart from each other.
  • Comb the chocolate into the icing, going in opposite directions with each pass.
  • Refrigerate about 4 hours, then using a sharp knife, but into 8-10 pieces.

Our October 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Suz of Serenely Full. Suz challenged us to not only tackle buttery and flaky puff pastry, but then take it step further and create a sinfully delicious Mille Feuille dessert with it!

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