Monday, October 6, 2014

Caramel Cheesecake





So I had an open can of dulce de leche in the fridge and thought maybe before I/we eat it all with apples (not that that would be so bad but...) I could maybe concoct a rich creamy cheesecake with it? Ahh, Yum!!
 
I was originally going to name it after one of my favorite turtle candies (Coblentz Chocolate where are you when I need you?!) and really deck it out but decided it's rich and decadent enough without adding MORE caramel and MORE chocolate. And the truth is, it would work with pecans as well and maybe even as a caramel apple cheesecake? Who knows? I decided to leave it plain and make the decision of which piece by piece as I/we go along.
 
And just for the record, I have no plans of feeding this whole thing to me or my family so if you are local and need a dessert, or simply want a taste :) Please do not hesitate to give me a shout out and say you want it. I merely wanted the pleasure of creating and a tiny taste and that's all over with now so , yeah, do stop in!!
 
I did add cashews to the crust but roasted pecans or even roasted peanuts would be perfect as well, so, there ya have it, I couldn't decide. I could tell you that indecision is unusual for me because I pretty much see things in black and white and know what it is that I want or don't want but this is not one of those important things where it's really useful to know for sure, so... not gonna insist on either/or. Ha!
 
Preheat oven to 300°.
Place a small bowl (ovenproof) of water on the bottom rack. Makes the top of the cheesecake glossy :)
 
Crust:
1¾ cups crushed chocolate cookie crumbs
¾ cup almond flour
2/3 cup roasted, salted cashews
 
Pulse to chop in a food processor (love my Ninja!) then when it's super fine and the cashews are evenly chopped add 7 Tablespoons cold butter, and mix well. Press into a prepared 10 inch Spring form pan. (By prepared I mean, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper with the pan apart. Place the outer rim over the bottom and close the clasp. Cut the excess paper off with a scissors and spray the bottom (paper) and sides lightly with non stick spray and wipe excess with a paper towel if necessary). Press the crumbs on the bottom and evenly up the sides about 1 inch. Set aside.
 
Cake:
6 (8 oz. each) cream cheese, room temp.
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
6 eggs, room temp.
 
Dulce de leche, to swirl
 
In a mixer bowl combine the cream cheese, sugars, vanilla, and salt. Beat on high several minutes until creamy and fluffy. Scrape down sides as needed.
 
In a separate bowl beat the eggs. Pour into mixer and mix until incorporated. Don't over mix! You know, cracks in the cheesecake and all that if you do.
 
Pour half of batter into prepared crust. Drop small dollops of caramel randomly over the batter. Use a wooden skewer to create a swirly effect. Use quick motions and don't stick the skewer too far down into the batter for best results. Pour the rest of the batter over top and repeat with the caramel. Place Spring form pan on a baking sheet and place in the oven.
 
Bake for 1 hour or till sides look puffed and dry. Turn the oven heat off and prop the door open with a wooden spoon handle for another hour. This also helps prevent cracks from forming by allowing the cheesecake to cool down slowly.
 
Allow to cool on the counter and then refrigerate over night, lightly covered with a tea towel (to absorb condensation) before removing from pan and serving.
 
Garnish as desired.
 
 
 
Blessings to you!
 
 
 


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wedding...

Photo overload...
Don't say I didn't warn you!

We were in Ohio for a beautiful wedding on the home farm. The day was gorgeous and perfect for an outdoor ceremony by the big pond. For many reasons this spot is one of my favorite places. But I'm sure I'm biased... :)
 

 



The barn that held the reception was just built in the last few years and isn't used in a typical barn fashion so it was still relatively 'clean' and with a good scrubbing filled the bill quite nicely.
 
 
 
This wedding was extra special to us. My nephew has been a great friend to all of our boys even though he is 3 years older than our oldest son and 7 years older than our youngest one. When we visit Ohio he was the one who always had time to hang out with them and Trish  was a great sport and shared quite nicely! :) I'm sure things will be slightly different (no sleepovers, haha) but the boys were assured that they would still be more than welcome at 'The New Digs'.
 
 
Jordon and Trish
Could they be any cuter?!
And every bit as sweet as they are good looking!
Again... I'm probably biased, but still... :)

 
 
I loved this part!
A little of the back story. They wanted to do the dove (well, pigeons, really) release but didn't have any so after the rehearsal Jordon and his Dad Joe (black tie on the right) got permission from the neighbors to catch a few of the ones that roost in their barn after dark. Perfect! I'm sure the doves soon made their way home to a familiar perch after being released.
 
~~~~Some Details~~~~
 
 
In Memory of Loved Ones who watched from Heaven
 
 
Shout out to my Sister Becky who has amazing artistic talent and wrote the sign you see at the last minute. I keep urging her to quit hiding her talent and do something with it. Someday... :) I think she's working her way in that direction.
 
 
Instead of a regular guest register Trish had a puzzle made of the photo you see and we wrote our names, etc. on the backs of the pieces.
 
 

 
 
 
 
~~~Behind The Scenes~~~
 
The flowers were beautiful, and done by 'impromptu florist' Andrew Poulson. He did a great job! I was told to give him a hand when he needs it but seeing as I have somewhere around zero talent for that kind of thing and he was quite handy with it all, I would merely check in now and then to make sure his head was still up out of the water and then leave him to it.
 
 
Andrew and another Ohio beauty, :) see? still biased..
my niece Rachael, Sister of the Groom.
 
Terrell, Brother of the Bride
 
And this became Serena's new friend. She spent most of the two days he was there hanging out around the pond catching fish with their hands and this monster bull frog.
 
 
Serena was in her glory. I saw a bit more of her girly side this weekend than I usually do. She was totally into the decorating details and everything , well, at least she was when she wasn't around the pond catching frogs. ha

 
Making sure Chloe feels taken care of.

 
Shawn in his glory as Chloe pretend sleeps, such a cutie!

 
You know... the chickens still need feed, even if there's a wedding going on. My brother Dean left for Spain early the next morning and discovered the morning of the wedding that the chicken feed would indeed get all while he's gone so it was business as usual for him.
 
 
Yep, that's us... in all our glory. :)
 
Blessings!
♥♥♥

Thursday, September 4, 2014

~ Fog & Divine Appointments

 
Posting these for Betsy :)
 
 
There's something so appealing
about a fog that makes a mystery out of ordinary places.
 
 
It's peaceful and gives permission to halt or at
least slow down from the headlong rush
that most of us engage in every day.
I'm convinced we miss many a
divine appointment
because of the rush
of our lives.

 
What was your Divine appointment today?
 
God will give you one or two or ten every day
if you ask Him for them.
 
I don't feel the need to
 share the specific one I had today,but I did ask
Him for one this morning and He was gracious and gave one.
Having conversations with Him is a highlight of my day.
 
I refuse to be rushed.
The possibility of missing something
He is trying to tell me is too great! 
 
 
And just for interest I added a Winter shot of the same place.
It's warm and muggy today and made me wish for cool/cold temperatures.
It's almost around the corner and I'm psyched about it!
How about you? :)

 
Have a blessed evening!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Peanut Butter Delight Cheesecake(s)

 
Peanut Butter Snickers
 
 
Peanut Butter Cup
 
If you love all things peanut butter these are for you!
Both of them super yummy!
 
This week was my second son's last day at the job he had and he wanted to treat everyone at the shop and asked if I would make cheesecakes for this. Interesting, because he doesn't even eat/enjoy cheesecakes. But I guess he knew everyone else did. I was impressed when I asked him if he's sure he doesn't want something that he enjoys as well. His reply was, "Mom, this isn't about me and what I like, it's about them." (Proud Mom moment for sure! :)
 
I asked if he has a flavor choice even though he won't eat it and he chose the Peanut Butter Snickers and the Plain w/Fresh Fruit (previous post) for two of them. (He did end up tasting the fruity one and said it wasn't too bad :) We may convert him yet! :)
 
The two recipes here are pretty much the same except the amount of crumbs and butter used and the sugars in the toppings. Original recipe from food.com.
 
Preheat oven to 300°. Place a small bowl of water on the bottom rack of the oven.
 
 
 
For the Snickers:
2½ cups chocolate cookie crumbs
(icing removed)
1 Tablespoons sugar
4-5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
40 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
1¼ cups creamy peanut butter
1¼ cups brown sugar
 
6 eggs
½ cup heavy cream
1½ teaspoons vanilla
1½ Tablespoons all purpose flour
 
6-8 Peanut Butter Snickers Squared
Candy Bars, diced
 
Topping:
12 oz. sour cream
½ cup brown sugar
                                                                  
 
 
 
For the Peanut Butter Cup
4 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
(icing removed)
2 Tablespoons sugar
6-8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
40 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
1¼ cups creamy peanut butter
1¼ cups brown sugar
 
6 eggs
½ cup heavy cream
1½ teaspoons vanilla
1½ Tablespoons all purpose flour
 
12 Peanut Butter Cups, diced
 
Topping:
12 oz. sour cream
½ cup sugar
 
Line the bottom of a 10" Spring Form pan with parchment paper. Lightly spray with non-stick spray.
 
Mix cookie crumbs, sugar, and butter. Press into the bottom of the pan for the Snickers and also press 1 inch up the sides for the Peanut Butter Cup. Bake for 10 minutes @300°.
 
Remove from the oven and set on a cookie sheet.
 
In a mixer bowl combine the cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar. Beat until fluffy.
 
In a separate bowl combine eggs, cream, vanilla, and flour. Beat with a hand mixer until smooth.
 
Add to the cream cheese mixture in the mixer bowl and beat until combined. Do not over mix.
 
Add in the diced candy bars. Mix again just for a little.
 
Pour into prepared crust and bake for 1 hour (on the cookie sheet) or until sides look puffy and dry and the center jiggles a little when lightly shaken.
 
 Turn heat off and prop the door open with a wooden spoon handle for 30 minutes.
 
Meanwhile combine the topping ingredients and stir periodically till sugar is all dissolved and mixture is smooth.
 
Gently spoon topping over the cheesecake working in towards the middle. With and off set spatula gently smooth it out. All the way to the edge. Return to the oven for the remaining 30 minutes. Most of the time I will leave the door completely closed when I return it to the oven.
 
After 30 minutes remove from the oven and run a thin sharp knife along the edge. Allow to cool completely. Refrigerate, covered with a tea towel overnight before taking it out of the pan.
 
Enjoy!
 
♥ Have a lovely weekend!♥
 
 
 
 


Monday, August 11, 2014

Plain Delicious Cheesecake


 - aka New York Style -
 
Imagine my surprise today when I went to send a link to someone for the recipe of this delightfulness and found that I had never posted it!
 
Yep, I was surprised!
 
But I'm here now, and it is just as good as it was that first time I made it many moons ago.
 
Besides the fact that it's wonderfully creamy and tastes fabulous with a variety of crust options (chocolate, shortbread, graham, etc.) it is super simple and always turns out perfectly without a lot of stress.
 
And for a topping?
 
Well, it goes well with just about anything there as well, but my all time favorite is just a plain fresh fruit concoction of whatever strikes my fancy at the time. Usually pineapple, strawberries, kiwi, blueberries, and this time I added fresh peaches. No need, in my opinion, to add a sauce of any kind to the fruit. Keep it simple, Nature does it well on it's own.
 
2½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1 Tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
6-8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
 
Combine and press into the bottom of a 10 inch Spring form pan. (Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and lightly spray the sides and bottom of the pan.) Bake @ 300° for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and set it on a cookie sheet.
 
48 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
1½ cups sugar
6 eggs
1 cup sour cream
3 Tablespoons flour
1½ Tablespoon Vanilla
 
Meanwhile. In a large mixer bowl combine the cream cheese and sugar and whip until fluffy. Scrape down sides as needed.
 
In a separate bowl combine the eggs, vanilla, sour cream, and flour. Beat until smooth.
 
Add to the fluffy cream cheese mixture and beat just until combine. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl and beat again just a bit.
 
Pour over crust and bake for 1 hour.
 
 Sides should look puffed up and dry but the center will still be jiggly. Sometimes I bake it an additional 5-10 minutes depending what it looks like and what mood I'm in and what the weather is outside. Seriously those are all factors, you just never know for sure! :) Ha!
 
Turn the oven off and prop the door open with a wooden spoon handle and leave the cheesecake in there for another 60 minutes. This is where a miracle happens. The center of the cake at this point usually looks a little caved in but while it sits in there cooling the top will become flat and smooth. Perfect!
 
When it's been cooling in there for about 35 minutes spread the topping on it.
 
12 oz. sour cream
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons clear vanilla
 
Make sure you mix this long before the cake is done baking so the sugar dissolves and it is completely smooth.
 
Return the cake to the oven and close the door completely.
DO NOT TURN THE HEAT ON!!
 
Leave it in there for about 15 minutes then take it out and run a thin knife around the edge and cool completely on the counter.
 
Refrigerate overnight before removing from the pan.
 
Blessings and Enjoy!