Valentine's Day Dessert

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The perfect way to end your homemade Valentine’s Day dinner is, of course, a homemade dessert! We wanted to again stray from the traditional and bring you a cake that is easy to make, but also takes time and love! This New York Cheesecake with Graham Cracker/Pretzel Crust and Salted Caramel Sour Cream Top is sure to wow and satisfy!


INSTRUCTIONS

Adjust a center rack and preheat the oven to 325℉. Line the bottom of an 8” round spring form pan with parchment paper.

FOR THE CRUST Pulse enough pretzels in a food processor to get 1 cup of course pretzel crumbs and remove the pretzel crumbs. Pulse enough graham crackers in the food processor to get another cup of crumbs. Put the pretzel crumbs back into the food processor along with 12 tbsp. cold butter (chopped in tbsp. sized pieces) and ½ cup granulated sugar. We used vanilla sugar from our leftover crème brûleé recipe! Put on high until combined, about 30 seconds. Pour crust into the pan and push flat (use the bottom of a measuring cup to get the edges!). Slightly toast the crust in the oven for 10 minutes.

FOR THE FILLING While your crust is toasting, make your filling. In the food processor cream 1½ lbs. (3, 8 oz. packages) of room temperature cream cheese on high until smooth. Add ¾ cups granulated sugar and mix until combined. Slowly add your 5 eggs, one at a time, and 1 tsp. vanilla  (or ½ tsp. vanilla if using vanilla sugar) until combined. With the food processor on low, slowly pour in 1½ cups of heavy cream. This will completely fill your food processor so just be careful the lid is on tight!

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Scrape the edges of the processor to make sure there are no lumps and mix for 30 seconds more. If your filling still has lumps, strain through a wire mesh strainer. Pour the filling into the warm pan with the toasted crust. Bake for 1 hour, then turn the oven off and cool in the oven to room temperature with the oven door cracked slightly. This prevents the cheesecake from splitting. Once at room temp store in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

FOR THE TOPPING To make the caramel sauce, heat 1 cup granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until it turns just golden in color. Stir until all the sugar is melted and turns amber in color. Turn the heat to low and add stir in 4 oz. unsalted butter until melted. Add ¾ cup heavy cream 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt and mix until it all comes together, about 8 minutes. Don’t stop stirring! Pour the caramel sauce into a glass jar and let come to room temperature before refrigerating. It can be kept up to two weeks! When the cheesecake is ready to serve, mix ¾ cup sour cream and the salted caramel together and spread on top!

FOR THE GARNISH If you would like to garnish your cheesecake, line the top edge with pretzels! If you feel like you’re missing some color, feel free to serve with a raspberry sauce! Simply combine ½ cup sugar and 6 oz. raspberries in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar has melted and the raspberries are a liquid like consistency. Mix often. Strain the raspberry mixture through a mesh strainer into a small cup or pitcher. Serve warm for a more liquid texture, or refrigerate until cool for a thicker texture!

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Recipe & Image Source: The Kitchy Kitchen


Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

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Need to bring a dessert to Thanksgiving this year? Wow your family with this delicious Pumpkin Cheesecake! It has a spicy gingersnap crust, sweet whipped cream topping, and it is super easy to make! Bake it the night before Thanksgiving so you have one less thing to worry about the day of!

Makes: 1 Cheesecake              

Total Time: 10 hours (includes overnight cooling time!)


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Ingredients:
Crust:
2 cups gingersnap crumbs
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, melted (plus extra to grease pan)
Cheesecake:
4, 8oz packages of full-fat cream cheese, room temp
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. cornstarch (or 2 tbsp. AP flour)
2 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
½ cup sour cream, room temp
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temp
2 large egg yolks, room temp
Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
2 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice for sprinkling, optional

Instructions:
For the Crust:

Preheat the oven to 350℉ and center a rack to the middle of the oven.
Grease the sides and bottom of a 9” springform pan with butter. Fit piece of parchment paper to the bottom of the pan and lightly grease.
In a food processor crush cookies into fine crumbs. Transfer crumbs to a small mixing bowl and add the sugar and melted butter. Mix with a fork to combine.
Place mixture into the greased and lined springform pan. Flatten the crust along the bottom and sides of the pan with a measuring cup, and bake until slightly darkened (8-10 min.).
When crust is done, cover the outside of the pan with aluminum foil tight enough to ensure no water seeps in during the water bath. Set pan on cooling rack while making the filling.
For the Cheesecake Filling:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, both sugars, salt, cornstarch, and pumpkin spice on med-low speed until creamy (about 2 min.).
Add sour cream, pumpkin puree, and vanilla and continue beating on med-low until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
While beating, add the eggs and yolks, one at a time, until just combined. Scrape sides of bowl as needed.
Pour the cheesecake filing into the cooled crust and place into a large roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with boiling water (only a few inches high, NOT to the top of the pan) and bake for 55-60 min. The cheesecake edges should be set and the center should slightly jiggle.
Turn off the oven, crack the door, and let the cheesecake cool for 1 hour (this helps prevents cracking).
Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and aluminum foil. Run a knife around the edge of the pan so it does not stick to the sides, remove the side of the pan, and let cool completely on a rack. Refrigerate until firm and chilled (8 hours or overnight).
For the Whipped Cream:
In a medium bowl with a hand mixer, or in a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until it reaches soft peaks.
Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until the cream hold peaks.
Place the cheesecake onto a serving dish and pipe whipped cream around the top of the chilled cheesecake, or however you desire. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice if desired!

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Recipe Source here.