Sunday, December 28, 2014

Peanut Butter Cheesecake







I've been baking cheesecakes quite often recently. And the more cheesecake flavors I try, the more convinced I become that cheesecake is my favorite dessert. My last cheesecake, peanut butter flavored, was truly amazing. Just divine. I love all peanut butter desserts, but this one was probably one of the best desserts I've ever tasted. As always, I made my own peanut butter but you can also use store-bought. Of course, homemade is always better. Aaand I added a full teaspoon of salt to the filling. I wasn't sure if it was a good decision, I thought it might be too salty, but it was just perfect. You know, I love salty peanut butter. And another wonderful thing was the milk chocolate glaze. Yes, I used milk chocolate and it wasn't too sweet. It was totally my kind of dessert. I could probably eat this every day.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Filling:
500g (2 8oz blocks) cream cheese, room temperature
115g (1/2 cup) sour cream, room temperature
150g (2/3 cup) white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature
250g (1 cup) unsalted unsweetened peanut butter (I used homemade)

Crust:
150g (1 1/2 cup) cookies, ground
60g (1/4 cup) butter, melted

Glaze:
23g butter (1 1/2 tbsp)
80g (2.8 ounce) milk chocolate

1) Preheat oven to 180C / 350F. Prepare a 23 cm / 9 inch springform pan. 

2) To make the crust, mix together cookie crumbs and melted butter and press to the bottom of a springform pan. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling. 

3) To make the filling, in a large bowl, mix together cream cheese, sour cream and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla extract, salt and eggs. Mix until incorporated. Finally, add peanut butter and mix just until combined. 

4) Pour the filling onto the crust. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 120C / 250F and bake for another 40 minutes. 

5) Remove from the oven and let cool completely before glazing. 

6) To make the glaze, I simply melt the butter in a small saucepan. Then I turn off the heat, mix in the chopped chocolate, cover and let sit for 1-3 minutes, until the chocolate melts. Then I mix it until it's smooth and immediately pour onto the cheesecake. 

For the best results, refrigerate overnight.

Recipe by collecting memories


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

White Chocolate Lemon Truffles



Christmas is not Christmas without candies, fudge and truffles. If I ever make truffles, I always do it during the holiday period. They are perfect for gifting and sharing. And the best part is that they consist f only a few ingredients and can be prepared very quickly. If you need a good gift idea, I think truffles are always a solution. 
I think I've mentioned before that intensely dark chocolate desserts aren't my favorite. Yup, that's why my truffles are white. I just love white chocolate. So much. Just like I love lemon. And the best thing happens when these two ingredients come together. These truffles are sweet, lemony and fresh. They're very soft and buttery as well, so I suggest keeping them in the fridge, or if you make them for a gift, give them in a little box. You don't want to mash them right? And yes, that happened to me. Don't repeat my mistake. 
Oh, and if you want a smoother consistency, leave the zest out. Of course, they will be less lemony. Personally, I don't mind the zest. Simply feel free to experiment.
And finally - merry Christmas! I wish you all a wonderful time!


White Chocolate Lemon Truffles

160g (1 cup) white chocolate 

70g (5 tbsp) unsalted butter 
45ml (3 tbsp) heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 - 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
zest of 3 lemons (optional)
45g (3 tbsp) icing sugar 
Icing sugar, for rolling

1) In a small saucepan, combine together butter and heavy cream. Heat until the butter is melted. Turn off the heat, add white chocolate chips, cover and let sit for 2-3 minutes until the chocolate has melted. Stir the mixture until smooth.

2) Stir in salt, lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix in powdered sugar. Transfer to a bowl and cool completely.

3) Once cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-4 hours until firm. 

4) Form little balls and roll them in powdered sugar. Store in the fridge.

Recipe slightly adapted from here.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Bake






This oatmeal bake has been my favorite breakfast for a couple of years already. I've been baking it over and over again and I always add something different. It's almost Christmas and cranberries are everywhere, so this time I decided to use cranberries, white chocolate and coconut. That's an amazing combo! Tart cranberries pair perfectly with sweet chocolate and coconut. It actually tastes like a dessert, but it's not too sweet and is quite healthy too so you can definitely have it for breakfast. I usually bake it in the evening and leave it to cool overnight (it's good chilled too!). If you have a sweet tooth like I do, drizzle some Agave syrup on top.. Amazing!

Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Bake

180g (2 cups) quick-cooking oats
50g (1/4 cup) light brown sugar
40g (1/4 cup - 1tbsp) white sugar
100g cranberries (I used frozen)
500ml (2 cups) milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
80g white chocolate chips or chunks
2-3 tbsp dried coconut flakes
Agave syrup, to serve (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 180C / 350F. Prepare a 20x20cm / 8x8inch silicone baking dish.

2) In a bowl, combine together oats, sugars and cranberries. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish.

3) In another bowl, mix together milk and egg. Pour this onto the oat mixture. Don't stir.

4) Sprinkle coconut flakes and white chocolate on top. Don't stir.

5) Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool before serving. Slice and enjoy!

Serves 4.

Recipe by collecting memories

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake






I've been craving chocolate so much recently. I even made two chocolate cakes this week (the first one was the chocolate cheesecake).
At first, I wanted to make a flourless cake (sounds healthier + I have made one before and it was divine), but finally I decided that I want a rich, buttery, deep dark chocolate cake. And I don't regret my decision. At all.
Once you bake it, I suggest trying it at room temperature first (when the frosting is still creamy and soft). But in my opinion, it's so much better chilled. Leave it in the fridge overnight and you won't believe how incredibly fudgy it becomes after a night in the fridge. 
Well, enough said. Pictures speak for themselves.

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

Frosting:
84g (3 oz) butter, room temperature
21g (3 tsp) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
125g (1 cup) powdered sugar
35g sour cream

Cake:
90g (3/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
94g (3/4 cup) flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
170g (3/4 cup) butter, room temperature
225g (1 cup) sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
115g (1/2 cup) sour cream

1) Preheat oven to 180C / 350F. Prepare a 20x20cm / 8x8 inch silicone (or greased metal) baking pan.

2) In a small bowl, combine together cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3) In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until well combined. Add vanilla extract.

4) Mix in one third of the flour mixture, then add half of the sour cream and repeat the process (total - 3 additions; finish with flour).

5) Bake for 25- 30 minutes. Cool completely.

6) To make the frosting, beat all the ingredients until soft and fluffy. The longer you beat, the fluffier frosting you'll have. Don't be lazy.

Cake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart. Frosting recipe by collecting memories


Friday, December 12, 2014

Milk Chocolate Cheesecake





Cheesecake is definitely my favorite dessert. I know, I say that all the time, about every dessert I make, but really, cheesecake is my favorite among all the favorite desserts. 
But, to be honest, I prefer vanilla, caramel, coconut, lemon or any other flavor cheesecake to the chocolate one. I love chocolate, but I'd better make a vanilla cheesecake with a chocolate ganache or a chocolate crust and omit chocolate in the cream cheese filling. Maybe that's why I topped this cheesecake with a thick layer of vanilla whipped cream.
Anyway, this cheesecake came out perfectly creamy, smooth and delicious. For chocolate lovers, it's divine. I used half milk chocolate, half semisweet chocolate (I prefer milk chocolate) so you can definitely use all semisweet chocolate if you want. Just don't skip the whipped cream topping. It pairs perfectly with a rich, chocolatey cake and melts in your mouth.


Milk Chocolate Cheesecake

Crust:

200g vanilla biscuits, ground (You can use graham crackers)
2-3 tsp (14-21g) unsweetened cocoa powder
80g melted butter

Filling:
500g (2 8oz. blocks) cream cheese, room temperature
230g (1 cup) sour cream, room temperature
150g (3/4 cup) white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
12g cornstarch
3 eggs, lightly beaten
100g (3,5oz) milk chocolate
100g (3,5oz) semisweet chocolate

Topping:
400g heavy whipping cream, cold
2-3 tbsp powdered sugar

1) Mix together biscuits, cocoa powder and butter. Press into the bottom of a 23cm (9 inch) baking dish with a removable bottom. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

2) Preheat oven to 180C (350F).

3) Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Place a metal bowl on top of it and add chopped chocolate to the bowl. Make sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the boiling water. Cover the bowl with a lid and let the steam melt the chocolate. Stir occasionally. (You can melt it in the microwave or use any other method.) Once the chocolate has melted, let it cool slightly.

4) In a large mixing bowl, add cream cheese, sour cream and sugar. Mix until well combined. Add vanilla extract and cornstarch. Finally, add eggs and mix until smooth. Gradually add the melted and cooled chocolate, whisking constantly.

5) Pour the filling onto the crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 120C and continue to bake for another 45-60 minutes.

6) Remove from the oven and let cool completely, then refrigerate overnight.

7) For the topping, beat heavy cream with powdered sugar until stiff. Spread over the cheesecake. Refrigerate for another hour. Slice and enjoy!

Recipe by collecting memories


Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Browned Butter Oatmeal Cookies








I have been planning my Christmas baking these days and there's a long long cookie list. These cookies weren't included in that list, but I've been craving oatmeal cookies so much recently that I couldn't resist mixing up a batch of these. They came out large, sweet, thick and slightly chewy in the middle. And if you like oatmeal cookies, you will definitely love these. 


Iced Oatmeal Cookies

113g (1/2 cup) butter
110g (1/2 cup) white sugar
50g (1/4 cup) light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
90g (1 cup) quick-cooking oats, ground
125g (1 cup) flour

Icing:
40g icing sugar
1 tbsp boiling water

1) First, make the browned butter: in a saucepan, melt the butter, stirring frequently. Once it melts, stop stirring and let it brown over medium-low heat. When you start smelling a nutty aroma and it looks lightly browned (you can test the color with a tablespoon). remove from heat. Be careful not to burn it. Don't wait until it gets dark brown. The whole browning process takes just a few minutes.

2) Add both sugars to the butter and stir to combine. Let it cool a few minutes and beat in the egg. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix just until combined. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

3) Preheat oven to 180C (350F) Remove the cookie dough from the fridge and form into balls. Place them on a baking tray lined with a parchment paper (leave some space among the cookies).

4) Bake for 12 minutes. If you want a slightly chewy center, check them after 10-11 minutes and remove from the oven while still a little bit underbaked in the center. If you like them crunchier, bake for 14-15 minutes. Cool completely before icing.

5) To make the icing, mix together icing sugar and boiling water.

Makes 14 large cookies

Recipe by collecting memories



Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Mushroom Lasagna with B├ęchamel Sauce





I haven't posted for a while but after publishing the coconut cheesecake recipe, I decided that it deserves to stay on the first page of my blog a little bit longer. Yes, it was that good.
But now it's time for another "that good" recipe: the creamiest ever lasagna. If you like Bechamel sauce, pasta, mushrooms, cheese and garlic, you're going to love this. It's oozing with cheesy white sauce and it's packed with juicy mushrooms. 
I don't make lasagna very often but when I make it, I eat nothing but lasagna. This lasagna was finished within 2 days just by me. It would've been finished the same day but I had to save one piece for pictures. Blogging is a hard job.


Mushroom Lasagna with B├ęchamel Sauce

2 tbsp oil
2 medium onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
450g mushrooms, sliced
salt

9 lasagna noodles (150g)
120g cheese (1 1/2 cup), grated

Bechamel sauce:
750ml (3 cups) milk
45g butter
24g (3 tbsp) flour
salt

1) Heat oil in a saucepan. Add onions, garlic and cook, until soft and lightly browned. Add mushrooms and cook until they release their liquid and become soft. Cook a few more minutes until the liquid evaporates. Season with salt. Remove from heat and set aside.

2) Make the bechamel sauce: In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter. Add flour and stir for a minute until smooth. Start pouring the milk and stir very quickly so you avoid any lumps. You will have to stir it constantly. Cook, over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. It might take 10-20 minutes. For this lasagna, I like my bechamel sauce thicker than usually, but it's up to you. It must be thick enough to coat the spoon. By the end of cooking, add salt. Remove from heat and set aside.

3) Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Grease a 20x20cm (8x8 inch) baking dish. Now start layering. You can layer it as you wish, but I did it this way: Bechamel sauce (enough to coat the bottom of a baking dish), lasagna noodles, half of the mushroom mixture, half of the shredded cheese, Some bechamel sauce, noodles, remaining mushrooms, noodles, bechamel sauce, noodles, remaining bechamel sauce and cheese. 

4) Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and increase the heat to 200C (400F). Bake for another 20 minutes.

5) Let cool a little bit. Don't serve it right after you remove it from the oven. It's better to cool it for a longer time because the bechamel sauce will be too runny if you serve it immediately.

P.S. It's also very good the next day. I even liked it cold! Or you can always reheat it in your microwave. 

Serves 4.

Recipe by collecting memories

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