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Dec 192012
 

White Chocolate Coconut Key Lime Cheesecake

Full Disclosure : This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for over a month. I made this cheesecake for my husband’s birthday in October. It’s not even a “traditional” Christmas flavor. But it is delicious, and totally worth the small amount of effort, if you are looking for a special dessert to take to a Christmas dinner or some other holiday festivity. It will require some planning; because like all cheesecakes it needs to set overnight before it is ready to serve.  I’m also going to apologize for the lack of detailed photos to accompany this recipe. I was really concentrated on getting it to turn out well and only a little on getting pics. Hence there is no picture of it sliced. By the time we got to the eating part, I wanted to enjoy it more than I wanted to snap away at it. ;)

And if you are one of those people that thinks (like I did) that cheesecake is really complicated and time consuming, don’t worry. It is remarkable how easily this all comes together. It really isn’t any harder than baking any other cake from scratch.  And here’s a pro tip- don’t be obsessive like me and buy key limes without having a citrus juicer or reamer. Your hands will cramp up half way through and you’ll have to battle through like I did, and that will put a damper on future cheesecake baking. Be fair to the cheesecakes, people. Get yourself a juicer!

 

What you’ll need

For the crust:

1 1/2 packages  Biscoff cookies

6 oz macadamia nuts, finely chopped

6-8 Tbsp melted butter

For the filling:

5 – 8 oz. packages of cream cheese (room temperature)

5- large eggs

1- can sweetened condensed milk

2 -3.5 oz Lindt Excellence White Coconut Bars

1/4 cup granulated white sugar

Approximately 1/4 milk

juice from 1 lb. key limes

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Tools of the trade:

1- 9 or 10 inch spring-form pan sealed on the bottom with aluminum foil.

 

OK ! Let’s get started. Throw your Biscoff biscuits into a ziploc bag. Use any heavy instrument you have (rolling pin, hammer, mallet. etc.) to bash them to smithereens. You want really tiny crumbs, without very many larger pieces. You can use this as an opportunity to take out any frustrations you may have during the holiday season. :) Next you’ll want to chop your macadamia nuts. I used a blender and it worked really well. You can also chop them by hand, or use a food processor. Just make sure that they are fairly finely chopped. Giant chunks of macadamia nut make it harder for the crust to hold together. Melt all 8 Tbsp. of butter in the microwave ( or on the stove top if you don’t have a microwave). Use approximately 2 Tbsp. of the butter to grease your spring-form pan generously. Add the remaining butter to cookie crumbs and add in your macadamia nuts. Toss it all together until everything is well coated with butter.

Press the cookie crumb mixture into the bottom of your pan and press firmly. Your crust should come up the sides of the pan about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch. Try to spread the crust as evenly as possible. Don’t obsess over it, just make your best effort. Set the pan aside.

Now it’s time to get to the good stuff. Open up your white chocolate bars. Each bar contains 8 squares of chocolate. You’ll need 12 squares ( or 1 1/2 bars)  plus about 2 Tbsp. milk melted together.

I melted the chocolate in the microwave. White chocolate has a tendency to melt a little unevenly so the splash of milk helps to smooth everything out. Once your chocolate is melted add the can of condensed milk, and the lime juice and mix well. Don’t worry if it looks a little curdled when you start mixing. The citrus juice and the milk react, but once it’s well mixed the whole thing will be smooth and delicious looking. DON’T EAT IT YET!

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and white chocolate mixture with a hand mixer. Mix until well incorporated. Remember to start off on low and increase to medium speed to avoid splattering your kitchen in cheesecake batter! Once your batter is well mixed add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed. Do not over mix. You only want to mix until the eggs are fully incorporated, then stop.

Pour the filling into the pan with the crust. Melt the remaining 4 squares of white chocolate with about 1 Tbsp. of milk. Once it is melted pour the melted chocolate on top of the cheesecake filling in a circular motion. drag a toothpick or bamboo skewer across the surface of the cheese cake to make a swirl pattern. Place the pan in a cold oven.

Turn the oven to 400 degrees and bake at that temperature for 15 minutes. Remember DO NOT pre-heat the oven. After 15 minute have elapsed reduce the heat to 300, and bake for 90 minutes.  The outer edge of the cheesecake will be fully set, while the center will still have a slight jiggle. Turn off the oven and open the door. Let the cheesecake rest in the cooling oven for another hour.

Transfer the cooled cheesecake to the refrigerator for 8-12 hours before serving. Once refrigerated, remove the outer ring of the spring-form pan, and slice. Enjoy!

 

If you try this recipe, please let me know. I would love to hear how it works out for you!

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Dec 052012
 

Alright, I promised you a recipe today. Well guess what… You’re getting TWO! That’s right. It’s the season of giving; and I’m giving you something to start your day, and something for the end. Although you can switch that around if you want. Heck you can eat them both at the same time in the middle of the day! Don’t let me tell you how to live your life.

If you follow me on Facebook (and if you don’t you should!), then you’ve seen sneak peeks of both of these delicious treats.

Last Saturday I posted a picture of a strata that I threw together with some junk I found in my fridge. I use the term “junk”  loosely, but you know what I mean. We all have bits and bobs left from meals we cooked on purpose. The kicker is that the things we make with the scraps usually turn out to be equally, if not more delicious.

I got my inspiration from some multi-grain Italian bread I had left from making garlic bread earlier in the week. Then I remembered that savory bread pudding I made for Thanksgiving and decided to make something a little more breakfast-y.  So I sauteed half a yellow onion with a few chopped up baby bella mushrooms and about a tablespoon of chopped fresh sage leaves. Sprinkle the veggies with a tiny bit of salt to help bring out the water and get them brown a little faster. Then I added a couple of tablespoons of butter and about half of the loaf of Italian bread cubed. While I let the bread get toasty and cozy with the vegetables, I whisked up three eggs with about a cup of milk. I decide to throw in a few slices of deli ham that I chopped up to add a little saltiness and about a quarter of a Braeburn apple for some crisp sweetness. Once the bread  got golden, I added the ham and the apple to the pan and just let it warm through before pouring in the egg mixture. Then I topped the whole thing with some grape tomatoes sliced in half, a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese, and a little bit of salt and pepper to taste. Throw the whole thing into the oven at 375 for about 15 minutes and then turn your oven up to broil for a minute or two just to brown the cheese. Take it out of the oven and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes before cutting into it , and BOOM- breakfast.

The Money Shot! Seriously delicious.

And on to number 2!

This one is one of those things I saw on the interwebs and was like, *drool*. They got me with the name -Baked Hot Chocolate- because it promised to turn my mommy’s homemade hot chocolate into a little cake in a mug. You can get the full recipe here. What it boils down to is some chocolate and some eggs and a little bitty bit of flour being baked into a deliciously decadent lava cake….with marshmallows on top. The cake is thick and rich and fudge-y and just yum! BUT the real star of the show ( for me at least) is the melty, crispy, marshmallowy topping.

If you decide to recreate this recipe you should know a couple of things. First the instructions in the recipe seem incomplete. The recipe calls for 2 Tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder and 1/2 cup of sugar that never seem to be included in the assembly. I added the cocoa powder in with the flour and the sugar into the egg mixture. I also dusted the tops of the cakes with a mixture of about 1 Tbsp. of cocoa powder mixed with about 1/2 tsp. of freshly grated nutmeg. You could use cinnamon too, or just the cocoa powder as indicated in the recipe. My mom always uses a little something extra in the hot chocolate which is why I added in the nutmeg. I also had one heck of a time finding oven safe mugs; hence the ramekins. My ramekins were only oven safe to 350 degrees, so I just added 2-3 minutes to the cooking time to account for the extra 25 degrees. They were also clearly larger than 6 oz each, so I made 4 instead of 8. But that just means it’s the perfect size to share with your sweetie under a cozy blanket. Yes people I’m giving you romance in a recipe!

All the stuff you’ll need :
8 tablespoons butter, plus extra for coating
3 tablespoons flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for dusting
10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Melt your chocolate and butter Bain-marie style

Mix together your eggs, egg yolk, vanilla, and sugar until they double in volume and become frothy.

When your chocolate and butter has melted and cooled for 5 minutes add in the flour and cocoa powder and mix to incorporate.

Mix the chocolate and egg mixtures together on low speed until well blended and divide evenly between the buttered floured and sugared dishes.

This is what your cakes will look like after baking from 13-17 minutes.

Cover the top of each cake with miniature marshmallows and return to the oven for 4-7 minutes allowing the marshmallows to melt and become golden brown on top.

Golden brown and fresh from the oven!

Lightly dust the top of your cakes with cocoa powder and spices.

Let your baked hot chocolate cool for 5 minutes….

Dig in! And enjoy the pillow-y marshmallows and the gooey chocolate center.

OK! Now that you’re hungry, get in your kitchen and whip up one of these treats. Let me know how much you enjoy them!

 

 

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Hey there! It’s Friday *confetti*, and I’m here to share a pretty awesome recipe that you can make this weekend.

Last Saturday was my husband’s birthday, so of course I wanted to do something special. He had already decided on takeout for dinner, so I thought what’s better than a nice homemade brunch. I have a tendency to overdo it when it comes to making plans for special occasions. I always find myself wanting to make some sort of 8 course spread fit for a palace. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I should learn to keep it simple, and stop stressing myself out. Luckily, this year, I did just that. J had mentioned that he’d been wanting a BLT for the past few weeks. Random, I know ; but what the man wants, the man gets (within reason). So I pulled out my handy Kindle and loaded up my Epicurious app. I love, love, LOVE Epicurious. The website has almost any recipe you can imagine and a glossary of ingredients to school even the most learned foodie. The Kindle app is just as amazing. I searched for BLT, and ended up with this awesome recipe from Esquire magazine. I tweaked a couple of things to make sure everything ran smoothly, and it was glorious!

The King of B.L.T.’s

French Toast BLT

What you will need:

12 thick slices smoked bacon

2 cups heavy cream

5 large eggs

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1 loaf of challah bread cut into slices (at least 1″ thick)

2 tbsp oil or butter

2 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese

12 slices ripe tomatoes

6 cups arugula, cleaned ( I used pre-cleaned available in the produce section)

How to put it together:

Combine the heavy cream and eggs in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can then soak the bread in this mixture overnight if you are planning ahead, or just soak for 10-15 minutes making sure you turn half way through to soak both sides equally.

Pre Heat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the bacon strips on a rimmed cookie sheet  and bake for 10-15 minutes or until brown. I cut the bacon strips in half and did an over under basket weave to make bacon squares. It keeps the bacon flat and together so that you don’t end up with bacon falling out of your sandwich, and you get bacon in every bite. It only takes a few more seconds and it works wonderfully!

While your bacon is cooking, heat your oil or butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry the challah slices on each side until brown, working in batches. Transfer the slices to a cookie sheet and place in the oven. Bake until the custard is fully set, about 6-8 minutes. You should see the bread puff up when done.  Remove the bread from the oven and cover each slice with cheese. Return the pan to the oven to melt the cheese. I melted the cheese and then turned up the broiler for about a minute to brown.

Remove the bread from the oven. Top with bacon, and tomato slices. Toss the arugula with the juice of half a lemon and 1 tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place arugula atop each piece of toast.

You can serve the sandwich open faced or top with another slice of the cheese toast. I chose option two, as it was a special occasion, and I was feeding a man with a hearty appetite ;) Serve these warm with a knife and fork, and dig in!

So Delicious and FILLING. I could only finish half!

 

 

 

 

Recipe modified from:  Esquire Eat Like A Man, June 2011

Author: Sue Zemanick

Photos by me :)

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Ezra thinks not having more smoothies to drink stinks!

Hi there! I’m back again. But why wouldn’t I be? This is my site, after all. Anyway, I’m here because I just made some smoothies, and they were tasty, so I thought I would share the recipe with you.

When I lived in California I was a big fan of Jamba Juice. My favorite smoothie was the Berry Lime Sublime. Only I hate raspberry seeds so I always substituted cherries for the raspberries. Anywho  today’s recipe is sort of an homage to that drink, with a little twist. It is especially tangy and refreshing, so it will help to remind you that soon enough spring and summer will be here.

OK. Enough talk here’s the recipe:

Super Sublime Lime Smoothie (yields four 8oz. servings)

1  cup frozen dark sweet cherries

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

1/2 cup frozen pineapple  chunks

1 cup lime sherbet

1/4- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (juice of 2 limes)

1/4 fresh orange or tangerine juice

1/2 -3/4 cup water

2 tsp. sugar (optional)

Combine the lime and orange juices in your blender. Add in about 1/4 cup of water and the frozen cherries. Blend until smooth. Add frozen strawberries to blender and blend, adding additional water if needed. Add frozen pineapple chunks and repeat. Once all of the fruit has been blended, add sherbet and final 1/4 cup of water. Sugar can be dissolved into the final addition of water if you find that your fruit mixture is too tart. Blend until the sherbet is well incorporated,  divide between 4 glasses, and serve.

These were so tasty, that we didn’t want to stop drinking them to take pictures, but I’ve included a picture of my son’s “why no more smoothie in my mouth?” face for reference. Enjoy!

 

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