Thursday, June 20, 2013

Birthday New York Cheesecake with Raspberry topping

 Just out of the oven without topping. I like to serve topping on the side, so the cheesecake doesn't get mushy. Also as you can tell I am not really obsessed with not cracking my cheesecake, because it pretty much tastes the same either way!
This is one of my favorite cheesecakes to make. It has a nice lemon flavor that goes well with any berry topping. Also, It always bakes perfectly if you just follow the directions! A side note about springform pans: My favorite is from pampered chef, and is what is pictured here. It has metal sides, but a  tempered glass bottom, so when you cut the cake it doesn't scratch. It is very reasonably priced and my favorite cheesecake-making accessory!

For the crust:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature (5- 8oz squares)
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 whole extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons) and Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbs. Cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the topping:

1 cup red jelly (not jam), such as currant, raspberry, or strawberry
3 half-pints fresh raspberries


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the crust, combine the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter until moistened. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.

To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs and egg yolks, 2 at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.

Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees F and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and open the door wide. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving.

To make the topping, melt the jelly in a small pan over low heat. In a bowl, toss the raspberries and the warm jelly gently until well mixed. Arrange the berries on top of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Note: Measure your springform pan. The bottom of mine measures 9 inches, but it says 9 1/2. I put the springform pan on a sheet pan before putting it in the oven to catch any leaks.
This recipe is adapted from a food network/barefoot Contessa recipe.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Chocolate covered Pretzal sticks or Suckers for an Event

Serena's baby shower


Ingredients: -Pretzel Mold of Your choice (Can be found at Michaels) Washed in soapy water and dried.
You could also use a sucker mold, and make sure to buy the correct size stick it states on the package
                 -Plymouth Pantry Almond Bark (Vanilla and/or Milk Chocolate)
                 -Pretzel Sticks (1 bag has about 20-33 sticks depending on broken ones)
                 -2 Wilton Candy bottles
                 -Favor Bags
                 (Food coloring if you are using it)

Depending on how many you want to make for the event will determine how much Almond Bark (White chocolate or Candy Melts) you will need. I prefer Plymouth Pantry Almond bark because it tastes the best coating pretzels, and it is what I always have in the pantry. The only drawback I found was that it doesn't quite mix with food coloring all the way. It still looks okay, but the look is not as smooth as say frosting. The second time I made the pretzel sticks I used the vanilla almond bar and milk chocolate almond bark to make a two tone mold instead.

To Mold Pretzels:
Break apart Almond bark and melt in microwave. Start at 1min. Mix. 30sec. Mix. 10sec. intervals, Mixing in between until you Almond bark is melted and smooth.
At this point you can separate out some and add food coloring for details, or melt your milk chocolate almond bark in the same fashion.
Fill two Wilton Candy bottles, on with vanilla almond bark, and the other with your colored almond bark (or milk chocolate).
First use colored bottle to squirt gently into detail area of each mold going 1 candy tray at a time.
Once all the detail area is filled, tap mold gently on the counter. Add vanilla almond bark on top, not quite to the top of the mold. Place pretzel rod in mold cavity and turn to evenly coat with almond bark. Tap mold gently one more time to remove air bubbles and add a little more almond bark on top if needed to seal in pretzel. Refrigerate until set. This usually takes about 10-15 min until candy is firm and mold appears frosty.. I have about 3 molds going at once so I can refrigerate while I am making and I just keep rotating which are in the fridge. Turn mold over on flat surface and gently twist to release pretzels.

If you are doing a large quantity, I found that it helps to keep a pan of hot water nearby to set in the bottle of chocolate you are not currently using to keep it from hardening.

Place finished product into favor bags and tie together with Ribbon. Enjoy!