12.20.2010

pumpkin cheesecake

SO DELICIOUS. i am still dreaming about it.
cooks' note: this cheesecake is so very delicious but it also takes a lot of time. it is an all day project (with cooking and cooling time included).
also, i don't have a springform pan, so sister and i used a regular 9" round and had an additional pan of water in the oven under the cheesecake (already in a pan of water) to make sure there was enough moisture.

it turned out REALLY well. totally worth it.

ingredients for crust:

5 oz graham crackers (9 whole crackers), broken into large pieces
3 Tbs granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
6 Tbs unsalted butter , melted

ingredients for filling:
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar (10 1/3 oz)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp table salt
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
1 1/3 pounds cream cheese, cut into 1-inch chunks and left to soften at room temperature, about 30 minutes
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1 Tbs lemon juice from 1 lemon
5 large eggs, left at room temperature, about 30 minutes
1 cup heavy cream

directions:
FOR THE CRUST: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan evenly with nonstick cooking spray. Pulse crackers, sugar, and spices in food processor until evenly and finely ground, about fifteen 2-second pulses. Transfer crumbs to medium bowl, drizzle melted butter over, and mix with rubber spatula until evenly moistened. Turn crumbs into prepared springform pan and, using hand, spread crumbs into even layer. Using flat-bottomed ramekin or drinking glass, press crumbs evenly into pan bottom, then use a soup spoon to press and smooth crumbs into edges of pan. Bake until fragrant and browned about the edges, about 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.

FOR THE FILLING: Bring about 4 quarts water to simmer in stockpot. Whisk sugar, spices, and salt in small bowl; set aside. To dry pumpkin (see illustrations below): Line baking sheet with triple layer of paper towels. Spread pumpkin on paper towels in roughly even layer. Cover pumpkin with second triple layer of paper towels and press firmly until paper towels are saturated. Peel back top layer of towels and discard. Grasp bottom towels and fold pumpkin in half; peel back towels. Repeat and flip pumpkin onto baking sheet; discard towel.

In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat cream cheese at medium speed to break up and soften slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape beater and bottom and sides of bowl well with rubber spatula. Add about one third of sugar mixture and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute; scrape bowl and add remaining sugar in two additions, scraping bowl after each addition. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat at medium speed until combined, about 45 seconds; scrape bowl. Add 3 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 1 minute; scrape bowl. Add remaining 2 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 45 seconds; scrape bowl. Add heavy cream and beat at low speed until combined, about 45 seconds. Using rubber spatula, scrape bottom and sides of bowl and give final stir by hand.

Set springform pan with cooled crust on 18-inch-square doubled layer heavy-duty foil and wrap bottom and sides with foil; set wrapped springform pan in roasting pan. Pour filling into springform pan and smooth surface; set roasting pan in oven and pour enough boiling water to come about halfway up side of springform pan. Bake until center of cake is slightly wobbly when pan is shaken, and center of cake registers 145 to 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1 1/2 hours (see note). Set roasting pan on wire rack and use paring knife to loosen cake from sides of pan. Cool until water is just warm, about 45 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath, discard foil, and set on wire rack; continue to cool until barely warm, about 3 hours. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

TO SERVE: Slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cake onto serving platter. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.

drying the pumpkin

recipe found here. mmm cooks illustrated.

12.17.2010

chocolate peppermint patty cookies

the cookie part is just pure chocolate. it's amazing. and these are just a fun holiday treat. i am loving this bake fest.
see us in action here.
ingredients (makes 40 cookies = 20 sandwiches):
10 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons milk
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
About 2 cups crushed and sifted candy canes

directions:
1. Put chocolates and butter in a medium metal bowl and set bowl over a pan filled with 1 in. of simmering water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until melted, then remove from heat and let cool slightly. Whisk in eggs and sugar, mixing until combined. Then whisk in flour, baking powder, and salt. Chill dough, covered, until firm, about 2 hours.
2. Let dough sit at room temperature 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop 1 tbsp. portions of dough, rolling each into a ball, and put onto sheets 1 in. apart. Using the palm of your hand, press dough balls into rounds 1/4 in. thick.
3. Bake cookies until they no longer look wet on top, about 8 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets.
4. In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar, milk, and peppermint extract until smooth. Spread 1 heaping tsp. peppermint icing onto the flat side of 1 cookie. Top with flat side of a second cookie to form a sandwich, pressing together to squeeze filling to the edge. Roll edge of cookie in candy canes. Repeat with remaining cookies.

Make ahead: Batter up to 1 day; baked cookies up to 2 days, airtight.

recipe from here. so delicious.

12.16.2010

gingerbread cake with homemade caramel sauce

sister and i are having a bake fest this week.

bake fest 2010.

our first attempt turned out really well... ingredients for cake (makes enough for one bundt or 9 x 13 pan):
1 cup dark molasses
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups flour
1 cup boiling water
2 eggs, separated
whipped cream, to garnish if desired

directions for cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix molasses, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Add sugar, butter, flour and boiling water. Stir in beaten egg yolks. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into batter. Pour into a greased Bundt pan (OR 9 x 13” pan). Bake for about 40 minutes (or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean). Cool. Turn gingerbread out onto a platter or cake stand (if you baked it in a Bundt pan; not necessary if baked in a 9 x 13” pan). Serve with hot caramel sauce and whipped cream on top.

hot caramel sauce ingredients:
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
2 heaping Tbs flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup boiling water
dash of salt

directions for caramel sauce:
Melt butter in a medium saucepan; add brown sugar and sugar and stir until sugars are dissolved. Add flour, stirring constantly over medium heat. Add vanilla, salt and nutmeg. Add boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring until sauce thickens. Serve over gingerbread or pool beneath.
as you can see, we used a mini bundt. i love the mini bundt.

recipe from this food blog. yumm.