Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

July 21, 2009 at 12:33 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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One night after a late movie, Matt and I were trying to decide where to eat.  I suggested “cheap” and “fast” but somehow we ended up at the Cheesecake Factory, which, while neither cheap nor fast, was delicious.  And after dinner, Matt gushed about the wonderful Vanilla Bean Cheesecake.  I can honestly say I probably would have worked my way through just about every cheesecake on the menu before I ended up ordering this, but he has never pointed me in the wrong direction before – and he was right again, it was very good.

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I wanted to surprise him and make this cheesecake, but it turns out, it was pretty difficult to find a recipe.  But I did, and it is posted below.  I think it is a pretty good replica.  A word of advice though – vanilla beans can be pretty pricey at your everyday grocery store, but I actually found them to be much cheaper at Whole Foods – shocking, right?  But whatever works!

Because this cheesecake has two layers, it is a little time consuming to make.  As I left my apartment to deliver the finished product, I thought to myself, “I hope he likes this cheesecake, but I hope he doesn’t love it” (so I wouldn’t have to go through this process again!) but turns out, he loved it.  And I’ll be happy to make it again – someday 🙂

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White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
Crust:
2-1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c. melted butter
4 T. sugar
1/2 t. vanilla extract

Filling:
3 (8 oz.) blocks cream cheese, softened
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 T. lemon juice
vanilla beans from 1 pod
1/2 t. vanilla extract

White chocolate mousse topping:
1 c. whipping cream
3 T. powdered sugar
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 oz. white chocolate backing squares
vanilla beans from one pod

Spray a spring form pan and set on a large baking sheet.  I used a 9 inch pan.  For crust, combine the crumbs, sugar, butter and vanilla. Press onto bottom and sides of pan with the back of a large spoon.  Do not bake.

For the filling, beat the cream cheese in a an electric mixer until smooth. Add in the sugar and beat until it’s soft and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for at least a minute after each addition. Add the rest of the ingredients until well incorporated.

Pour filling into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Shut the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for an hour. Stick a wooden spoon handle in the oven door to keep it slightly propped open. After an hour, remove it to cool completely on a wire rack, then refrigerate.

When the cake is completely cooled, it’s time for the mousse topping.
Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar, and beat a few more minutes until stiff peaks form. Set this bowl aside. Melt the white chocolate squares. Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the innards of the vanilla bean to the melted chocolate and add this mixture to the cream and beat until smooth. Fold in the whipping cream mixture to the cream cheese mixture. Spread on the cooled cheesecake. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

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Birthday Desserts continued

July 21, 2009 at 12:15 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Oh my birthday is my second favorite holiday!  You can bake and make as many birthday desserts as you want and no one can stop you!  I didn’t really go overboard this year – I did just basic dark chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream to take into work.  The trick was, though, that the frosting matched my “It’s My Party” nail polish.  Whew.  It gave me much more joy than it should have.  Mmmm pink cupcakes…

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Here’s the matching.

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And a little more.  The best part about this last picture is that I uploaded it to Facebook, forgot about it, and then saw it in my News Feed and thought to myself, “Oh HEY, who got engaged!?”  Man, was that a letdown or what!?  I even tricked myself.

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And while we’re on the topic of birthday desserts, here’s a piece of delicious tiramisu that we baaaaarely made a dent in after my birthday dinner at Chima.  But it was good!

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Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake

July 20, 2009 at 11:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I made a Bailey’s Irish Cream Chocolate Chip Cheesecake for my birthday.  It was pretty good but a bit rich and definitely not the best cheesecake I’ve ever made.  But it was pretty!

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Crust

* 1/2 cup toasted pecans, cooled and crushed (I left this out because Matt doesn’t like nuts)
* 2 cups chocolate Oreo cookie crumbs (I didn’t use oreos – used all chocolate wafers instead and added more since I left the nuts out)
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 6 tablespoons melted butter

Filling

* 2 1/4 lbs cream cheese, at room temp
* 1 2/3 cups sugar
* 5 eggs, at room temp
* 1 cup baileys original irish cream
* 1 tablespoon vanilla
* 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Coffee Cream Topping

* 1 cup chilled whipping cream
* 2 tablespoons butter (I omitted this – it seemed weird.  I put sugar instead.)
* 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
* chocolate curls or Skor English toffee bit, for decoration on top

1. Crust:.
2. Mix all ingredients.
3. Press into a 10″ spring form pan and up the sides one inch.
4. Bake at 325 for 7-10 minute.
5. Filling:.
6. Beat cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth.
7. Beat sugar in gradually, and then add eggs one at a time.
8. Blend in Bailey’s and vanilla.
9. Sprinkle half of chocolate chips over crust.
10. Spoon in filling.
11. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips.
12. Bake at 325 degrees approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes or until puffed, springy in center and golden brown. Place a pan of water on bottom rack of oven while baking to keep it moist.
13. Cool cake completely.
14. Coffee Cream Topping:.
15. Beat all ingredients and spread over cooled cake.
16. Decorate!

Crab Feast

July 20, 2009 at 11:51 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Now that I am officially a northern Virginia resident, which I hope is as close to the M-D line as I ever get, I have experienced my first “Crab Feast.”  It was very good, I’d do it again.   Especially now that I have a crab shaped cookie cutter!  Here was my “Crab Feast” contribution.  Y’all know how I love a good theme!

Here are the crab cookies, baked and ready to be filled with royal icing.  I used a recipe called “No Fail Sugar Cookies” which you can find easily on the Internet.

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And here are the little guys, filled with royal icing and topped with sugar eyes.

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The final product, next to some Key Lime Cupcakes topped with white chocolate crabs.  I have no life, I know!

Crab feast 2009 390I’ll post the recipe for those cupcakes one of these days because they were really good – just a basic vanilla cupcake, plus 1/2 cup of key lime juice and a 3oz. pack of lime gelatin?  Perfect!

Food blogging is back?

July 2, 2009 at 2:32 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Don’t get your hopes up too much, but I am going to try to bring back the blog.

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