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Cherry Cheesecake Cups

1 May

I wanted to bake this weekend… but I ended up not having a lot of spare time.  So, I thought I’d still whip something up that’s quick and easy.  This recipe is adapted from a Nestle recipe that uses pre-made cookie dough as a crust.  I already had graham cracker crumbs, so I used that instead.  Though I’m sure these would be amazing with a cookie crust.  I wanted to top these with pecans, caramel, and chocolate (think, turtle cheesecake).  I made one with the turtle topping, but my boyfriend and I agreed it was too rich.  I didn’t want to go to the store tonight, but these definitely needed a sweet/tart topping.  So, I headed to the store, sans makeup (eek!) to get cherry pie filling.  It was the perfect topping.

What You’ll Need:

Crust:

  • 2 Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 2 TBS sugar

Filling:

  • 2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 can (14 oz.) Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Topping:

  • 1 can of Cherry Pie Filling

Method:

Preheat oven to 325° F. Line pan with 24 foil muffin cups.

Melt butter in a bowl, and then add graham cracker crumbs and sugar.  Mix thoroughly.

Spoon a teaspoon of the crust mixture in each muffin cup.  Press down mixture using your fingers.

Bake for 10 minutes.  Allow crusts to cool completely.

Beat cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, eggs and vanilla extract in medium bowl until smooth. Pour about 3 tablespoons cream cheese mixture over prepared crusts in muffin liners.

Bake for additional 15 to 18 minutes or until set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Top each with level tablespoon of pie filling. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

23 Feb

I’ve been on a chocolate/peanut butter kick lately, and my boyfriend has been asking me to bake another cheesecake.  So, I decided to combine both of our cravings into one delicious dessert.  I have decided that I’m an evil genius, because this cheesecake is in-freakin-credible.  You could throw peanut butter cups in the cheesecake batter, or use an Oreo crust, but I decided to keep it simple.  Don’t skimp on the chocolate ganache, because that’s what takes this cheesecake to the next level.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

For the Crust:

2 Tbsp sugar

1 ½ C. Graham Cracker Crumbs

½ C. finely chopped peanuts

½ C. melted butter

Combine the peanuts, sugar, and graham cracker crumbs.  Slowly stir in melted butter, and mix ingredients together until moistened.  Pat mixture into a 9-in’ spring form pan, and place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

For The Filling:

4 eight-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

5 eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Reese’s)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Beat cream cheese in bowl of electric mixer until smooth.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add sugar, peanut butter and cream; mix until smooth.
  • Stir in vanilla
  • Pour filling into prepared crust.
  • Place spring form pan into a larger baking pan.
  • Pour hot water into the larger pan so that the water comes 1 inch up the sides of the spring form pan.
  • Bake at 275°F 2 hours, or until the outside is firm and the middle jiggles
  • Turn the oven off, and leave the cheesecake in the oven to cool for one hour

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

When the cheesecake has completely cooled, prepare chocolate ganache (recipe follows), and top cheesecake.  Place the cooled cheesecake back in the refrigerator for another hour or until the ganache starts to set.

Ganache:

Heat 2/3 C. of Heavy Cream with 1 C. of semi-sweet chocolate chips in a double boiler.  (A glass bowl, over a pot of simmering water.)  Allow the ganache to come to room temperature before pouring it over the top of the cheesecake.  Using a spatula, spread the chocolate over the cheesecake, allowing some to drip down the sides.

Philadelphia Classic Cheesecake

29 Dec

I love cheesecake.  Not that fluffy french nonsense… or that  no-bake stuff… but rich, dense, delicious, cheesecake.  I had never made cheesecake before, because I didn’t have a spring-form pan.  I thought by the time I invested in the pan, plus the ingredients, I’d have a pretty expensive cheesecake on my hands.  On Christmas Eve, a beautifully wrapped package was presented to me by my parents.  Inside were all of the little things that I needed for my kitchen, but wasn’t prepared to purchase for myself.  They got me a bundt pan, a Paula Deen pie board, and a set of 3 spring-form pans.  I knew I was going to have to make a cheesecake before the end of the year.

But, baking cheesecake is a daunting task.  There are many recipes out there, so where do you start?  I thought about trying a recipe from one of my favorite blogs, but she bakes her cheesecake in a water bath, and I don’t even have a pan large enough for a water bath.  So, that was not going to work for me.  So, I thought Kraft (the makers of Philadelphia Cream Cheese) would definitely have a recipe on their website.  Bingo!  Their recipe could not be simpler!  I would have loved to try a complicated cheesecake recipe, but I thought, why not get the basics down first?

This recipe was a success for me.  Out of the four people I presented with a slice, not one complained.  One of those people claimed to not even care for cheesecake, but liked it.  This recipe doesn’t make a super dense cheesecake, but I still enjoyed it.  It’s creamy, and it melts in your mouth.  Plus, it is so easy!  No water bath, no complicated ingredients, and my cheesecake didn’t even crack.  Cracks don’t really matter to me though, and to quote Frank Barron from Everybody Loves Raymond, “The stomach knows not ugly.”  P.S. I actually screwed up on this a little one.  I used an 11 inch spring-form instead of the 9, because I assumed the largest in my set of 3 pans was the 9-inch.  I didn’t adjust the cooking time at all, and it came out just fine.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups HONEY MAID Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp.  sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 4 pkg.  (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp.  vanilla
  • 4 eggs

Directions:

HEAT oven to 325°F.

MIX graham crumbs, 3 Tbsp. sugar and butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan.

BEAT cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.

BAKE 55 min. or until center is almost set. Loosen cake from rim of pan; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours.

*Note:  Reduce oven temperature to 300°F if using a dark nonstick springform pan.