Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesday Treats: PB Chocolate Cheesecake

How much do I love my family?  So much that I made a cake that had a special part for each one of them!  Cheesecake for Lindsey, PB and chocolate for Pat, Chocolate for mom, and well, dad will eat anything I bake!  :)
I made this cake over the course of THREE days…it was worth every minute, though!

So, here goes….

Day ONE:  Cheesecake
20 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 Tbsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Boil pot of water on stove.  
2.  Meanwhile, beat together cream cheese and sugar until fluffy.  Add in vanilla and salt.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add sour cream.  
3.  Cut parchment paper in a circle and line the bottom of the spring form pan.
4.  Wrap the bottom half of the pan with aluminum foil.  
5.  Pour mixture into pan.
6.  Place pan in roasting pan and pour boiling water in roasting pan so that it comes half way up around spring form pan.
7.  Bake until just set in center, about 45 minutes.  
8.  Remove pan from roasting pan and allow to cool for 20 minutes.  Run a pairing knife around the edge and allow to cool completely. 
9.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

Day TWO:  Chocolate Cake
1 3/4 cup flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
(this would only mean that I must bake this part of the cake with my morning coffee)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour two 9 inch round baking pans.  
2.  In mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  
3.  In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.  
4.  With mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
5.  With mixer still on low, add coffee and mix well, scraping sides with a spatula.
6.  Pour the mixture equally into two round pans. 
7.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 30 minutes, and then turn them out to cool completely.

Day THREE:  Frosting and Assembly 
8 ounces cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup Peanut Butter (not natural)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup heavy cream

1.  Beat cream cheese and PB in electric mixer on medium speed.  Add salt and vanilla.  
2.  Alternating, add powdered sugar and heavy cream until you reach a desired consistency. 
(Use this immediately or refrigerate until ready to use)

 And time for the assembly of this bad boy!
Place one round cake on a cake plate.  Top with frosting.

 Remove cheesecake from refrigerator, unwrap, remove from pan and remove parchment paper. Place cheese cake on top of frosting layer.  
If cheesecake is too large, use a knife and cut around sides to line evenly with cake.
Place top layer of cake on top of cheesecake.  Coat with thin layer of frosting to act as crumb coating.

 Refrigerate for about 30 minutes and then frost with as much remaining frosting as necessary.  

 Top with whatever your heart desires! 
I decided to shave some chocolate off of a chocolate bar (using my carrot peeler) for the top and mini chocolate chips for the sides.  
Refrigerate until ready to serve.



Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Treats

Since I'm redoing my living room and kitchen this year, our house is not very warm and cozy and lacks the Christmas spirit.  I'm a little bummed about it, but I know next year it will be even better for our cocktail party!  This weekend I decided I needed to do something around the house to make it seem more cozy and inviting so I decided to make some Christmas treats for our neighbors, mail lady, and my hair girl, all of whom I owe big thank you's to this year and always!  This was the perfect way to spend the day, as it made the house smell of the holidays with the cinnamon floating in the air!

To give you an idea of how much this recipe makes, the above picture shows the 7 mini baggies I made for those special people.  I also had two other baggies I filled for my parents and my friend, Katie, who was busy baking for her neighbors and coworkers all weekend, too!

I saw a couple different recipes online, most for pecans and some different ingredients, but this is what I came up with, and I have to say, they turned out pretty darn good!

32 ounces of raw, unsalted almonds
3 cups sugar
3 cups brown sugar
6 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
4 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup water

1.  Spray crockpot with butter spray very well, coating the entire pot and turn on low heat.
2.  In large mixing bowl, combine sugars, cinnamon and salt.  
3.  In crock pot, with a spoon, mix together the eggs and vanilla.  Add the almonds and coat with the mixture, stirring for a couple of minutes.
4.  Add the sugars and stir well to coat. 
5.  Every 20 minutes, stir the mixture for 2 hours.
6.  In two hours, add the water and stir well, continuing to stir nuts every 20 minutes for an additional hour.
7.  Spray baking sheets with butter spray.  Drop dollops of nut mixture on prepared baking sheet and allow to cool for a couple minutes.  When mixture is cool, place in airtight containers, or in my case, little baggies for neighbors, family and friends.  Try not to eat any…I dare you.  It will not happen…they are just too good!

Since you are home for a good couple hours, make sure you have something to do.  Baxter and I decided to wrap our gifts with Christmas music on in the background.  We had a great time…well, I think Bax did, too, that is until I put his Santa hat on him for a quick pic!  

 I used a twist tie to ensure freshness and then just tied some colorful ribbon around the bags.  I will add a card to each and deliver this week.  


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

I took this a couple weeks ago to our Christmas Brunch with the babies.  Although, we were too busy playing and didn't to taste it as much, I shared the wealth with other friends and family who are asking for the recipe as its so moist and delicious!  

1/2 unsalted butter, softened
zest from one large lemon
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar 
additional 1 Tbsp sugar (for sprinkling on top)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour (minus 1/4 cup to toss in with berries)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup buttermilk

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 9 in square pan and set aside.
2.  Cream together butter, lemon zest, and 3/4 cup and 2 Tbsp sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla.
3.  Mix flour (minus 1/4 cup), baking powder and salt.  
4.  Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and alternate with buttermilk.
5.  Mix together berries with additional 1/4 cup flour.  Fold mixture into wet mix with spatula carefully.
6.  Spread batter into prepared pan.

7.  Bake for about 35 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
8.  Allow to cool and serve warm or cool.