Category: Cheesecake


Well, fall finally showed up in Kansas City and with it, all the excitement about pumpkin. And while I’m not a pumpkin fan, I adore the warm spices that are associated with pumpkin – cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves!

One of the pumpkin-obsessed people in my life is a co-worker with an October birthday. Shortly after I discovered he loves pumpkin, I told him I’d make him a pumpkin cheesecake. I don’t care for it, but I hear it’s killer and he believed me. 😉  So October rolled around and as promised, this appeared at the office. Fortunately, it lived up to my bragging and he was happy. He kindly shared it with the team, then took the rest home for himself.

Pumpkin CheesecakeMy biggest tip: Be sure to wrap your pan in foil. I did, but because I don’t follow my own directions (big surprise, huh?) I used too much butter and my pan leaked. A lot. Up and over the foil, onto the bottom of the oven. Burned butter isn’t the best smell, but even worse is the sound of all the smoke detectors on our main floor going off. My son had to take the dogs outside because the noise was piercing!

If you love pumpkin pie – or pumpkin anything, really – and cheesecake, you have to give this a try. I’m told you’ll love it!

If you need a good cheesecake book, I highly recommend The Joy of Cheesecake by Dana Bovbjerg & Jeremy Iggers. It was my go-to cheesecake book when I was baking at the restaurants and it’s still my go-to cheesecake book.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Slightly adapted from The Joy of Cheesecake (Bovbjerg & Iggers)

Stuff you need:

Crust

1 ½ cups graham crackers or gingersnap crumbs

4-5 Tablespoons butter, melted [4 Tbs if you’re using gingersnaps, 5 if using graham crackers]

¼ cup granulated sugar

Cheesecake

2 ½ pounds cream cheese

1 cup granulated sugar

4 whole large eggs, lightly beaten

3 egg yolks, lightly beaten [in addition to the 4 whole eggs]

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cardamom [optional]

1 cup heavy cream

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1 can (16 oz) mashed pumpkin [not pumpkin pie mix]

Topping

2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

½ cup toasted chopped pecans

 

Now what?

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Prepare a 10” springform pan by setting it on a large piece of foil and wrapping the foil up the sides. [If your cheesecake leaks like mine did, it’ll help keep your oven clean. Or not as messy.]

For the crust:

Mix all ingredients and press into bottom of 10” springform pan. Press crumb mixture to even thickness. Set aside.

For the cheesecake:

In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.

Add the eggs and mix, then add the egg yolks and mix just until combined.

Add the flour and spices.

Using a low setting, beat in the cream and vanilla then add the mashed pumpkin. Beat at medium speed until just mixed thoroughly. Your bowl will be full and the batter will be fairly thin.

Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and bake for 15 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees and bake for an additional hour. The cheesecake should be mostly set but a little jiggly in the center.

Turn off the heat. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and run a wet knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Return the cheesecake to the oven for a couple hours to cool.

Before serving, warm the maple syrup and brush on the cheesecake. Drop the nuts into the syrup.

Serve the cheesecake warm or chilled, with whipped cream – just like you would pumpkin pie!

 

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Apple Bavarian Torte

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! 

I hope everyone’s had a good day! My mom is here from Chicago, my daughter came for dinner with her 4 kids, and we had a good, noisy afternoon!

Apple Bavarian TorteMy grandkids have an abundance of personality, and I find myself giggling and shaking my head quite often! The 6-year-old wanted to know “who caught the turkey” and wasn’t satisfied until we told her Butterball caught it. The 2-year-old helped me with the mashed sweet potatoes, or as she called them, orange taters. She enjoyed using the mixer and was ready to eat as soon as we turned it off!

The 3-year-old was playing puppy with his sister, running up and down the hallway on a leash, and got a nice lump on his forehead when he ran smack into the corner of the wall. And I didn’t notice when the 7-year-old slapped a sticker on my back. Hello, Kitty!

Oh, and I’m proud to say I introduced the two youngest to brown sugar – eaten right off the spoon! Sugar ’em up and send ’em home with their parents, I say!

We did the traditional staples for Thanksgiving: the turkey, sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, mashed potatoes & gravy, rolls, cranberry relish and stuffing. Nobody seemed to care we didn’t have any vegetables, as long as we didn’t run out of rolls! I sent most of the leftovers home with my daughter. I made a pot roast the other day that we didn’t eat, so I sent that home with her too. Mom wanted to eat out, even though I had cooked. Wonder what that says about my cooking?  😉Apple Bavarian Torte

For dessert we had the Pumpkin Pecan Crumble Pie I made / blogged last year (no, not the same pie – I made a fresh one!), and this Apple Bavarian Torte that’s been a favorite for years. It’s a cross between cheesecake and apple pie that’s not too rich or too sweet, so it’s perfect after a big meal.  As much as we love cheesecake (and that’s a lot!), this torte has just enough cheesecake filling to satisfy us. I sent about 1/4 of the torte home with my daughter, who said, “I wondered if I was going to get some of that!”

I normally make this with apples, although I’ve made it with fresh plums and fresh pears too. The plums make a great summer dessert! If you’re using plums, I’d switch out the walnuts for sliced almonds but use what you like best.

Apple Bavarian Torte

Slightly adapted from The Joy of Cheesecake, Dana Bovbjerg & Jeremy Iggers

Stuff you need:

Crust

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

5 Tablespoons butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

Filling

1 pound cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Apple Topping

3 medium apples, peeled and sliced

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Now what?

Preheat oven to 450F degrees.

Crust

Mix crumbs, butter and sugar in bowl. Blend well.

Press crumb mixture onto bottom of 10 inch springform pan and set aside.

Topping

Place apple slices in a large bowl and add sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Stir to mix well and to evenly distribute the ingredients.

Set aside while you make the filling.

Filling

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.

Add sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix until completely blended.

Pour the mixture into the prepared crust.

Layer the apple slices on top of the cheese mixture, then sprinkle the top with the walnut pieces.

Bake for 15 minutes at 450F, then reduce heat to 350F degrees and bake for an additional 35-45 minutes, until filling is set and lightly browned.

Cool to room temperature, then chill.

I love cream cheese brownies! That’s because I love cream cheese and I love chocolate. Mix them together, and the taste is divine!Blackberry Cream Cheese Brownies

I honestly didn’t think that combination could get any better…until I tried these Blackberry Cream Cheese Brownies TL posted on our Chocolate Madness! board.

Oh my. Oh my, my, my!!!

I’ve never put berries in my brownies, but these I had to try. I love blackberries, and almost always have some in the house.

I was poking around in my frig and realized I had 4 packages of cream cheese, a full container of blackberries, and some stir fry veggie mix. Passing over the veggies, I was wondering what to bake this weekend, and was browsing our board. These jumped out at me – they looked like something I might like, and I had the time to make the multiple steps.

Blackberry Cream Cheese BrowniesTurns out they weren’t as difficult as I thought they might be! There are only 2 steps, not the 3+ I expected. The hardest part about these is stirring in the blackberries – and not eating them all. 🙂

They can be made with a boxed brownie mix (follow the cake-style notes on the package) and can be made gluten-free if needed. I made them with my Craggy Topped Fudge Brownies. The recipe calls for frozen blackberries. I had fresh, so I popped them in the freezer (in a single layer) for about an hour. Poof – perfectly frozen and ready to stir in!

These were delish just a few minutes out of the oven – with the berries still warm. Mmmm!! I keep trying them as they cool, just to make sure they still taste OK, and they do. But I’ll try them again in the morning just to make sure. Quality control, you know??

If you’re looking for an interesting brownie give these a try. They’re fantastic, I promise!

Blackberry Cream Cheese Brownies

Adapted from Bless Her Heart
350F, 9×13″ greased pan

Stuff you need:

For brownie layer:
1 brownie mix for a 9×13″ pan plus ingredients for the cake-style method or your favorite brownie recipe that makes a 9×13″ pan
[I used my Craggy Topped Fudge Brownies:  https://munchiesmind.com/2012/07/11/chocolate-madness-craggy-topped-fudge-brownies/  Check the Mix It Up! page for the recipe.]
1 1/4 cups frozen blackberries
1/3 cup chocolate chips

For cream cheese swirl:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Now what?
Beat all cream cheese swirl ingredients and set aside while you mix up the brownie batter.

Make the brownies according to the cake-style method on the package directions or make your preferred recipe.
Gently fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips and 1 1/4 cups of frozen blackberries.

Pour the brownie batter into the pre-greased baking dish.

Using a large spoon, drop the cream cheese mixture into the brownie batter. Drag a butter knife through the cream cheese and brownie mix to create the cream cheese swirls.

Bake at 350F until a toothpick poked into the center of the brownie pan comes out clean, 25-35 minutes. This is kind of hard to tell, since you might be poking a juicy blackberry! [Mine took about 35 minutes.] 

Cutie Patootie #3

Cora’s 1st birthday!

Two of my grandkids just had birthdays. Yea! Cutie Patootie #3 turned 1 and the little Chunky Monkey turned 2 within a few days of each other. My daughter planned a creative double-party for the kids, with one side being decorated for Cora and the other for Corbin. She asked for a pink cheesecake for Cora’s table, and I had the perfect strawberry cheesecake recipe for it! Click for recipe.

Only part of this got eaten at the party, which wasn’t a problem, because it kept nicely in the refrigerator for the second party a couple of days later.  Cutie Patootie #1, who is 6 and was very busy at the party, slowed down long enough to taste it for me and declared it “OK.” Her mother, who has eaten my cheesecakes for years, said it was delicious. Pink Cheesecake, Strawberry Cheesecake

I liked it but it was a bit more subtly flavored than I’d like. Then again, I had a piece less than 24 hours after it was baked, so the flavor might have intensified a bit with time. If you want a really intense strawberry flavor, top it with more strawberries or spread a high-quality strawberry jam on the top of the cheesecake before you serve it.

I got this recipe from Junior’s Cheesecake Cookbook, a collection of 50 recipes from the owners of Junior’s restaurant in New York. I love cheesecake, so when this cookbook came out, I added it to my collection. I had never used cornstarch in a cheesecake until I made this recipe. I think it helps balance all the liquid from the whipping cream and the berries in the recipe; at least I assume that’s the purpose of it. It also may be the reason this cheesecake sliced up so beautifully. None of my other cheesecake recipes have ever sliced so cleanly!

If you need a dessert for a pink-themed party, this is it! If you just want a good cheesecake with the strawberries built-in, this is also it! Eat up!

The Best Blueberry Cheesecake

A title like that promises a lot, doesn’t it? I found this recipe online; the title pulled me in. I make really good cheesecake, but I wondered if this was better than mine. Mini Blueberry Cheesecakes - fresh from the oven!

Our karate club was about to have a reason to celebrate, and I was looking for a special Banzai Treat. One of our students was testing for a big milestone rank and the treats needed to be something beyond our usual bars and cookies. Our group likes cheesecake (seriously – what don’t we like?!?) and I had a lot of blueberries in the freezer, so I went looking for a blueberry cheesecake recipe. I would have used my standard recipe, but was curious to see what I would find online. This one, from Food.com, had great reviews and the name intrigued me.

The original recipe is for a regular sized cheesecake but things that are “grab and go” are easier than desserts requiring plates, utensils, etc. So instead of making one large cheesecake, I made minis! Making crust for tiny cheesecakes is a pain (and I’m impatient!), so I dropped a cookie in the bottom of the tin to give the cheesecake filling some support. You could choose any cookie that works well with the cheesecake flavors, and I went with Golden Oreos. Why? So I could eat the rest of the cookies that weren’t used for the cheesecakes! Why else?!?

I loaded up muffin tins with muffin liners, a Golden Oreo, and the creamy filling and popped them in the oven. The recipe made 26 minis. Well, in my case it made 24 minis plus a 6 oz. ramekin which I’m calling a Quality Control mini. Other than changing the crust and leaving off the topping, I made the recipe as it was written. Click for recipe.

Mini Blueberry CheesecakesThese cheesecakes puff up in the oven and will sink and shrink while they cool, but don’t be alarmed. I didn’t add the topping suggested in the recipe, but might next time. Alternately, you could top your creation with whipped cream and fresh blueberries.

Oh yeah – you probably want to know if they’re any good. Yes, they definitely are! And coming from someone who has made and eaten as much cheesecake as I have, that’s high praise.

The filling is smooth and creamy, and the lemony cheesecake base highlights the blueberries nicely. I still prefer my cheesecake recipe, but I really enjoyed these and so did our Karate Club! If you’ve never made a cheesecake, don’t be scared by these – they’re hard to mess up. You’ll be surprised at how easy they are, and I think you’ll like them!