Recipe: Cookies and Cream Coffee Cheesecake.

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July 30th was National Cheesecake Day. I happened to be off from work, and I was browsing the internet, like ya do, and I came across this bit of wonderful news. I wanted to bake something I hadn’t made in a while, and a cheesecake was one such thing. It was clearly a sign from the universe that I had to make a cheesecake that very day.

I wasn’t sure which kind I wanted to make. My first thought was peanut butter or maybe almond butter….but then I started thinking my fiance really likes coffee and coffee-flavored stuff…and I have all these leftover faux-reos from the Cookies and Cream Cupcakes I just made…so I found a pretty simple recipe for a coffee cheesecake, made a few of my own tweaks and additions, and the Cookies and Cream Coffee Cheesecake with Coffee Whipped Cream and Dark Chocolate Drizzle was born. Pretty long name for a cheesecake, but it earned it.

longest. name. ever.

longest. name. ever.

My fiance loved it, and so did my co-workers (it was too good not to share!). So now, I’ll share the recipe with you, so you can share it with your family and friends. It’s the circle of life (or cheesecake).

Cookies and Cream Coffee Cheesecake.

What you’ll need for the crust:

16 Oreos or faux-reos

2 tblsp butter

What you’ll do for the crust:

Preheat oven to 350. Combine the cookies and butter in a food processor until finely crumbled. Press on the bottom and up the sides of a 9 in disposable pie pan, like so:

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the crust of it.

Bake for 10 minutes Let cool completely. Leave the oven on at 350 for the cheesecake.

What you’ll need for the cheesecake:

2  8 oz packages of cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup of sugar

2 eggs

1/3 cup of very strong freshly brewed coffee at room temperature (I used Gevalia Crème Brulee  flavored)

What you’ll do for the cheesecake:

In a large bowl, cream together the cream cheese and sugar until well mixed. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, and add them, along with the coffee to the cream cheese and sugar. Mix until smooth (this should be less than a minute). Pour into cooled crust and bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until set. You can tell it’s set by lightly touching the center and it not sticking to your finger. It should look something like this:

all set.

all set.

Let it cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

What you’ll need for the coffee whipped cream:

1 cup chilled heavy cream

1/4 cup confectioners sugar

1 tblsp very strong coffee at room temperature (I used the same coffee as in the cheesecake)

What you’ll do for the coffee whipped cream:

In a chilled bowl (cream whips best when the bowl is cold), whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks. Add the sugar and the coffee, and continue to whip until stiff peaks are formed. Using a star tip, pipe a shell border of  whipped cream around the edge of the chilled cheesecake, and a single rosette in the center, like so:

pipe it good.

pipe it good.

Finally, in a small saucepan, combine 2 ounces of GOOD dark chocolate (I used Scharffen Berger Unsweetened Fine Artisan Dark Chocolate) and a tablespoon of butter over low heat, stirring continuously until completely melted. Pour chocolate into a plastic decorating bag BEFORE cutting the tip off. Hold the bag directly over the chilled cheesecake, then snip the tip, and drizzle the chocolate back and forth until you’ve reached drizzling nirvana.

enlightenment.

enlightenment.

Chill it again for about 30 minutes, then cut, serve, and devour….err…I mean, enjoy. 🙂

gone in 60 seconds.

gone in 60 seconds.

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Pumpkin Biscotti: A Matter of Personal Preference.

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I was thinking about biscotti the other day and how I haven’t made it in at least two years – I was definitely still in pastry school the last time. I remembered that it wasn’t the hardest thing to make, but it also wasn’t the simplest. So, I whipped out my old test book, and searched for the recipe.

It was definitely something I could do, but this recipe was for almond biscotti. And I really wanted to try a more seasonal flavor. I’ve been on a pumpkin rampage, and I still am, so I thought I’d give the old internet a search, and see if I could find a pumpkin biscotti recipe that suited my needs. I quickly came across this one on simplyrecipes.com. It was from 2007, but in the world of baking, that really doesn’t matter – a good recipe is a good recipe, pretty much forever. So I went to work.

I followed the recipe pretty closely – except that I tried to cheat and not flour my hands when I went to knead the dough – HUGE mistake. This dough is über sticky – make sure you use plenty o’ flour. It makes rolling it into a large log that much easier.

biscotti log (sort of)

biscotti log (sort of)

The one thing about this recipe I did find momentarily confusing was that it says to roll it into a large log, but that the logs should be relatively flat. Well, in my mind, a log is round, not flat, so I didn’t quite understand at first what this was telling me to do. So, I thought back to the last time I made biscotti, and just did that, which was just make a long flat-ish dough strip (as you can see in the picture), and bake it the first time in that shape.

As biscotti means “twice baked” in Italian, you gotta bake this puppy twice. So, after it baked as a flat log, I removed it from the oven, turned the  heat down, waited for the log to cool slightly, then cut it into strips, and baked it again.

baking twice makes it extra nice.

baking twice makes it extra nice.

So, here’s where my personal preference came into play. I don’t like my biscotti super hard and stale-tasting. I like it crispy on the edges, but still a little soft in the middle. So, I baked it the second time just long enough to achieve my desired results, which was somewhere around 7-8 minutes.

crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside.

crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside.

Someone told me that although it tasted fantastic, it wasn’t biscotti because it wasn’t hard enough. Well, friends, that’s just not true. Biscotti can be as hard as you like it – the only requirement is that you bake it twice. You know, since that’s what it’s named for, and all. 🙂

Celebrate with Eggless Coffee Cake.

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So, around my office, I’m kinda known as the dessert queen – and I’m ok with that. I’m always testing out new creations on my very-willing-to-be-taste-testing coworkers, and they always give me honest feedback, so it’s a win-win. I’m also always making the goodies when someone’s birthday rolls around. Well last week, someone in my office conveniently “forgot” to tell anyone that it was his birthday, until we found out accidentally later that afternoon (when the HR rep delivered his birthday card in front of all of us – ha ha). But no one gets off that easy. I decided that I would whip up a quick better-late-than-never birthday cake that night, and surprise him the next morning.

I flipped through my recipe binder, and decided a small coffee cake would be perfect. I had all the ingredients (so I thought) and I even had some leftover cinnamon chips that would be an excellent addition to the batter. I started going to work. Three ingredients in and I suddenly realized – I was all out of eggs. Yikes. I really didn’t feel like running out and getting them – I already started the whole cake making process!

running on empty.

running on empty.

But then, I had an idea. I’ve made vegan cakes in the past, and they sometimes use white vinegar in place of eggs. I did have white vinegar, so I figured, what the heck, I’ll give it a tray. I guesstimated that two tablespoons of vinegar per egg would be sufficient. I definitely didn’t want to go too heavy on the vinegar and wind up with an overpoweringly gross vinegar cake.

vinegar

my hero.

Well, once again, those two years of pastry school paid off – the cake was delicious – I dare say even better with the vinegar!

eggless and proud of it.

eggless and proud of it.

I guess it’s true what they say – never settle for the same old cake.  (Ok so no one really ever said that. But it does seem to be true.) Change really can be a good thing, my friends. Even good ol’ eggs can be replaced by something better, if you look around a bit. 🙂

Recipe (Super Bowl) Sunday: Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes.

No, I didn’t make a Super Bowl themed dessert. The marketer in me was angry at the rest of me for not taking advantage of this timely social event and making something football-related. The rest of me justified it by saying… “meh.” The Super Bowl just ain’t my scene. Maybe if the Eagles were playing, I’d pay it some attention, but, full disclosure here, I tuned in to watch Madonna, and then went into the kitchen and started baking another un-football-related treat. And now I shall share said treat with you.

For some reason, it seemed like everywhere I went this week, I wound up in a conversation about coffee. A new flavor to try, where to get the best cup, here’s a coffee cheesecake, someone loves coffee ice cream, etc. So, with coffee already on my mind, I figured why not get it on yours, too. What I love most about this recipe, is that it can be made with any type of coffee you desire. I’m a huge fan of the flavored varieties, so I opted for a Creme Brulee coffee. However there are no rules here. Dowhatchalike. 🙂

Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes.

What you’ll need:

1 3/4 cups sugar

2 cups flour

3/4 cups cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

3 eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup strongly brewed and cooled coffee

1/2 cup canola oil

2 tsp vanilla

What you’ll do:

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until blended. Add cream, coffee, oil, and vanilla. Slowly fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture until well incorporated. Grease or line muffin tins, and fill evenly with batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes,  or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 18-24 cupcakes.

Vanilla Coffee Frosting.

What you’ll need:

1 cup shortening

2 ½ tablespoons strongly brewed and cooled coffee

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups confectioners sugar

What you’ll do:

Cream together shortening, coffee, and vanilla. Add confectioners sugar, one cup at a time, mixing well after each.

Sprinkle with dark chocolate shavings. Enjoy with your morning….coffee.