Monday, February 24, 2014

white chocolate raspberry cheesecake

the goods:
1 store-bought pre-made oreo crust (save the lid)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/3 cup cold water
1 and 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
12 ounces cream cheese (1 and 1/2 packages), softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small saucepan, whisk together 1 tablespoon sugar and cornstarch until well blended. Stir in cold water and add raspberries. Cook over medium heat whisking frequently, until mixture reaches a boil. Allow mixture to gently boil about 5 minutes whisking constantly and reducing temperature slightly if necessary to reduce splattering, until sauce is thickened. Remove from heat and force sauce through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl to remove seeds. Set aside. 
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and 1/3 cup granulated sugar until fluffy, about 1 minute. Mix in egg and egg white. Add vanilla and lemon juice. Set mixture aside. Melt white chocolate with cream in a bowl set over a pot with 1-inch of simmering water in it until melted and smooth. Add melted chocolate to cream cheese mixture and blend until smooth. 
Pour 2/3 cup cheesecake mixture into oreo crust and spread over bottom. Drizzle or spoon 2 tablespoons raspberry sauce over top. Slowly ladle remaining cheesecake mixture over the drizzled raspberry sauce, covering all the raspberry sauce (you don't want any red showing). Swirl cheesecake with a toothpick. Carefully jiggle the pan to even out the top. Now, fill a clean medicine syringe with raspberry sauce and begin to drop small circles in a swirl pattern over cheesecake. Take a toothpick and beginning at the center or very outer circle, run the toothpick through the center of each circle to create a heart (don't lift the toothpick until you finish the last heart). 
I baked my cheesecake for 40 minutes and it cracked, so I would probably bake it for 30-35 minutes or until just set, then turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in there for 5 minutes more. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cover with the saved lid and refrigerate until fully set, about 6 hours. Serve with remaining raspberry sauce.

Monday, February 17, 2014

chocolate covered strawberries

the goods:
24 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces white chocolate chips
12 to 16 large strawberries

Melt both chocolates in separate glass bowls set over saucepans of simmering water. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Making sure that strawberries are completely dry, hold a strawberry by its leaves and gently dip and turn it in the chocolate to coat. Lay it on its side on the parchment. Repeat with remaining strawberries.  Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to set slightly. Take the melted white chocolate and place it in a pastry bag or plastic storage bag with a small hole cut in the corner, and drizzle stripes over the chocolate. Store in the fridge to set completely.

Monday, February 3, 2014

New York mini cheesecakes

the goods:
2 and 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pulse graham crackers and flour in a food processor until blended. With processor running, slowly pour butter in until crust pulls together. Line muffin cups with paper liners. Press graham cracker mixture firmly into liners. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on high speed until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs and yolks 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Add cream, lemon zest, and vanilla; beat on low speed until smooth. Spoon mixture evenly into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until set (not jiggly). 
Transfer pans from oven to wire rack; cool 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans; cool completely on wire rack. Cover and chill at least 4 hours. Serve with desired toppings. 
(my little sous chef couldn't resist a taste...)