Extremely Chocolatey Cheesecake

April 6, 2015

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Happy Easter!

We had our big family Easter dinner on Good Friday.  It is great to get family together over the holidays, I just wish everyone could have been there!  We had a wonderful dinner, not typical of an Easter dinner but delicious!  Mom cooked a huge pork loin and a large roast beef, both on the bbq.  She also made baked beans, broccoli cauliflower salad and coleslaw.  My aunts and uncles brought potato salad and macaroni salad, along with pickled beets and buns.  Everything was excellent, right down to the table set for 17!

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Another reason to love holiday meals with family is I get to bake!  This year Easter weekend fell on my Gramma’s birthday.  She requested lemon birthday cake, it turned out pretty good, you can see it here.  Now deciding on a cheesecake flavour! You would think everyone would get sick of cheesecake, but when asked it seems to still be the main request.  This time, I went with a simple flavour that I knew everyone would like (it is hard to please that many people with a flavour), chocolate.

I was feeling very confident in my cheesecake making, I have made quite a few and 99% have been successful.  I thought I would mix it up a little and try something different.  Aspects of  two different cheesecakes intrigued me.  I liked how The Brown Eyed Baker put cocoa powder in the base of her Chocolate Lover’s Cheesecake and how at Fine Cooking they whipped with melted chocolate right into the cream cheese at the beginning of the mixing process of their Extreme Chocolate Cheesecake.  They were both different as they used 4 eggs and no cream.  I incorporated all of these ideas into my Extremely Chocolatey Cheesecake!

 

Extremely Chocolatey Cheesecake

Filling

3 pkg cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
10 oz semi sweet chocolate
4 eggs
3/4 cup cream
1 tbsp vanilla
pinch of salt
Chocolate for shaving

Crust

1 1/4 cups Oreo Cookie crumbs
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp melted butter

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350ºC and start boiling water for your water bath

2. In a spring form pan combine cookie crumbs, sugar and melted butter – press to form even crust

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3. Bake for 8 minutes and set aside to cool

Filling

1. In a double boiler, melt chocolate and set aside to cool

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2. In the bowl of your stand mixer combine cream cheese, sugar and cocoa powder.  Whipping until smooth

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3. Slowly add the, room temperature, melted chocolate

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4. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg

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5. Add cream, vanilla and pinch of salt

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6. Cover spring form pan with parchment paper and heavy foil wrap to keep water out

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7. Place in a large roasting pan and fill half way up the sides of the spring form pan with the hot water

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8.  Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done – this can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don’t want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won’t crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

** and this is when things went terribly wrong….

ACK!  It cracked! What the heck?!? my cheesecakes don’t crack!  I was furious and shocked all at the same time.  And this was DURING the cooking, not even on the cool down!

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It didn’t just crack, this is a crater of epic proportions.  Seemed like you could lose a Smart Car in there.

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At this point I need to turn to plan B.  I can not nicely shave chocolate around the edges and serve this!  Thankfully, I had some chocolate left over and had to resort to a chocolate ganache

As I cover the edges in Milk Chocolate Chips I start preparing the ganache…

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Ganache

3 1/2 oz semi sweet chocolate
1 tbsp light corn syrup
3 tbsp cream

1. Melt chocolate and corn syrup in a double boiler

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2. Add cream and stir until smooth – I am still flustered at this point and forgot some pictures of the completed ganache

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3. Pour over top of cheesecake to hide the massive cracks!

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Done! Not at all how I had envisioned it, but it looks ok.

I did fill a few people in on the ‘secret crater’, they only laughed at me.  I was seriously stressed wondering how it was going to taste!

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Thankfully, it was delicious!  It got rave reviews.  It was so rich and chocolatey, sinfully delicious.  Now, if I could only figure out what made it crack? The flavour was there, but the presentation was not!

Any suggestions as to what happened????

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Rosette Cake

April 3, 2015

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This year my Gramma’s birthday fell on Easter weekend.  We decided to do her birthday celebration at Easter dinner.  She requested a lemon cake.  I thought I would try to spruce it up a tad with a new icing technique.  My first attempt at a Rosette cake went pretty well.  Everyone loved it!

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It was tasty too! Lemon cake, lemon filling and lemon icing.

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Mom’s Irish Birthday Cake

April 3, 2015

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This year was my Mom’s 60th Birthday.  She loves all things Irish.  Her only request was a carrot cake with cream cheese icing.  I tried a new icing technique, but it didn’t really work out like the photo.  So I tried to cover it with some Irish writing and shamrocks.  Not impressed with this one, but it got rave reviews on taste!

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Mom loved it, and that is what matters.  Love you!!


Batman Cake

March 29, 2015

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Today was my little cousins 3rd Birthday Party!  He wanted a Batman cake.


Daring Bakers Do Tarte Tatin

March 27, 2015

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For the March Daring bakers’ challenge, Korena from Korena in the Kitchen taught us that some treats are best enjoyed upside down. She  challenged us to make a tarte tatin from scratch.

I was very excited to see this months challenge, back to desserts!  The Tarte Tatin looked delicious!

As excited as I was that we were making a dessert this month, I can’t have it, blah!  It is Lent and I give up all junk, (sweets, desserts, chips, pop, fast food, pizza, etc.)  My baking has slowed down quite a bit over Lent, because it is all so tempting!

I didn’t want to miss this months. I decided to make a small one and if the reviews were good I would make a regular size one, when Lent was over.  I cut the recipe in a third of posted recipe.

Tarte Tatin

Rough Puff Pastry

1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsalted butter, cold
¼ tsp fine salt
¼ cup (60 ml) ice cold water

1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt.

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2. Cut the butter into small cubes and add it to the flour. With a pastry blender (or two table knives) cut in the butter until the mixture in crumbly but even, with pea-sized pieces of butter.

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3. Make a well in the middle and pour in the ice cold water.

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4. Toss the flour/butter and water together with a fork until the dough starts to clump together.  Turn the dough out onto your work surface – don’t worry if there are still pockets of dry flour.

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5. Gently knead and squeeze the mixture a few times just enough to bring it together into a square (a bench scraper is helpful for this). Be careful not to overwork the dough: there should be visible bits of butter and it should still look very rough.

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6. Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin, and roll the dough out into a rectangle about 10” (25 cm) long.

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7. Fold the bottom third of the dough up into the middle, and fold the top third down, like you are folding a letter. This is one fold. Turn the dough a one quarter turn so that one of the open edges is facing you, and roll out again into a 10” (25 cm) rectangle. Fold again – this is the second fold. Repeat the rolling and folding 3 more times, for 5 folds total. Your dough will get smoother and neater looking with each fold (the pictures show the first and fifth folds).

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The dough looks lovely, and so easy!

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If your kitchen is very warm and the dough gets too soft/sticky to do all the folds at once, chill it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes between folds. After the fifth fold, use your rolling pin to tap the dough into a neat square. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for a least 1 hour, or overnight.

 Filling

6 large or 7-8 medium-sized apples
Juice of half a lemon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (or use salted and skip the salt)
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
pinch salt
Rough Puff Pastry, above

 

1. Peel the apples and cut them into quarters. Remove the cores in such a way that each apple quarter has a flat inner side: when placed rounded-side-up, it should sit on a flat base.

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2. Place the apples in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice and 1/3 cup (80 ml) (2-1/2 oz) (65 gm) sugar. This will help draw out some of the moisture from the apples and prevent an overly runny caramel. Set aside for 15 minutes.

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3. Preheat the oven to moderately hot 375˚F

4. Melt the butter in a very heavy, 9” or 10” (23 cm or 24 cm) oven-proof saucepan over medium heat

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5. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup sugar.

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6. Stir with a whisk until the sugar melts and becomes a pale, smooth caramel. The sugar will seem dry and chunky at first, then will start to melt and smooth out. If the butter appears to separate out from the caramel, just keep whisking until it is a cohesive sauce. Remove from the heat.

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And this is where the whole thing fell apart!!! 

I followed the directions to the letter.

Mine appeared to ‘foam’?

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Then separate, as it recipe said it might, but keep whisking, so i did!

Looks awful…

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I was excited it finally came together!

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I added the apples and went to stir…

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Something went wrong.  It’s not caramel, it’s rock hard toffee!

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Into the garbage that went….

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Attempt #2 – no better

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Attempt #3 – worse

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I am not sure what happened.  Maybe because I cut the recipe?  Did anyone else half or third the recipe and have success?

I still have the lovely dough in the fridge, I may give it another try in a day or so or try something new with it.

It is frustrating when a recipe does not go as it is supposed to, but oh well!  It is a challenge and I was pushed out of my comfort zone.

Thank you Korena, from Korena in the Kitchen , for the challenge.  I really want to try this, yours looked delicious!  Any suggestions?

 


Daring Bakers Do Siopao

February 27, 2015

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The February Daring Bakers’ challenge is hosted by Julie of One-Wall Kitchen. She challenged us to an easy, simple filled bun using no-knead dough.

I must admit I was not at all thrilled when I saw this months challenge.  To me, making filled buns is not baking, its cooking.  This is the Daring BAKERS not the Daring KITCHEN!  I signed up to make sweets and treats, it has definitely changed over the years, soo much bread!  OK, end of rant.

I had seen Siopao (Asian Filled Buns) on various food truck shows, so I kind of knew what they were.

Siopao (Asian Filled Buns)

1/4 ounce (7 gm) (2 teaspoons) active dry yeast (1 packet )
1-1/2 cups (360 ml) warm water
1 tablespoon (15 ml) sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) melted butter
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
4 to 5 cups  (20 oz to 25 oz) (560 gm to 700 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 egg for egg-wash for the buns

Directions:

1. Mix yeast, water, sugar, melted butter, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

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2. Slowly mix in flour until it’s fully incorporated and you have a shaggy, very tacky dough, but not wet and sticky.

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3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for up to an hour in warm place until doubled. While dough is rising, you can make your filling if you haven’t already pre-made it to let it cool (see recipe below).

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4. Punch down dough and turn out onto a floured surface. Depending on how much flour you added, it will be somewhat tacky to pretty tacky. Fold it over several times and shape it into a smooth ball, then divide into 12 equal pieces.

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5. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten it into a disc about 6 inches (15 cm) wide.

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6. Place a heaping tablespoonful of filling into the center of the disc, wrap the dough around the filling, and firmly pinch it closed over the top of the filling.

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7. Place filled buns on a baking sheet and loosely cover them with plastic wrap. Let them rest for 1 hour. On the top sheet, you can see where a lot of my dough was too thin. (I miss read and didn’t let them rise the second time….oops!)

I only filled 2

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The rest were just plain buns

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8. Bake buns for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.

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These were ok.  Bread was a little dense, but good flavour. I filled them with my Mom’s awesome Hamburger Dish.  I only filled 2 because if I didn’t like them, I didn’t want to waste all the delicious hamburger dish.  The filled ones were alright.  I preferred them just plain.  I may try just the buns again with the second rise, maybe they won’t be as dense.

Thanks Julie for the Challenge.


Cinnamon Raisin Beer Bread

February 12, 2015

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My first attempt at Beer Bread went so well, I decided to be adventurous!  I initially wanted to make cheddar, but I didn’t have cheese in the house.  After a short search through the baking cupboard I decided on Cinnamon Raisin!

When I say I was being adventurous, I mean it.  I never (very rarely) stray from a recipe.  I love how baking is such a precise science, follow a good recipe to a ‘tee’ and it will turn out.  I was a litte nervous about how it would turn out, but hoped for the best

 

Cinnamon Raisin Beer Bread

3 cups self rising flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 can beer
3 tbsp brown sugar + extra for sprinkling
1   tbsp cinnamon- divided
1 cup raisin
1/4 cup melted butter

Directions

1. Combine flour, sugar, brown sugar and 1/2 tbsp cinnamon

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2.  Add raisins

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3. Pour in beer

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4. Stir to combine.  Put half of the batter in a loaf pan

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5. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon

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6. Top with remaining dough and sprinkle more brown sugar and cinnamon

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7.  Top with melted butter – bake at 375º F for approximately 1 hour

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Fresh from the oven

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Success! My goodness this was delicious!

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I think I am onto something with this beer bread.  Next I plan to do one with cheese!  Give it a try, so easy and so tasty!


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