Amaretto Cheesecake

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Oh…. yes. This is a real thing, and it is absolutely AMAZING. Almond is another flavour that is so beautifully subtle, but it can stand alone phenomenally. Add in some almond, some alcohol, and some mousse to a cheesecake, and you have this gorgeous Amaretto Cheesecake.

I found this recipe on Pinterest… how I love Pinterest… but it led me back to the wonderful Life, Love and Sugar. She made this cheesecake originally, and it is SO GOOD. Incredible. An amaretto-infused cheesecake, topped with an amaretto spiked mousse, and decorated with slivered almonds. This, my friends, is the almond/amaretto trifecta.
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I don’t make cheesecake very often, for a few reasons. First, Paul is not the biggest cheesecake fan, so I end up being the only one who eats any, and I can only eat so much cheesecake. I usually end up giving a bunch away. Secondly, cheesecake is so rich, I can’t always eat a lot at a time. I mean, I love cheesecake, and I love how rich it is, but you can’t eat a ton of cheesecake without feeling a little sick from all the rich deliciousness.

Either way, though, this cheesecake is AMAZING, and if you are a fan of amaretto or almond, make this cheesecake. If you aren’t much of a booze drinker, you can always substitute the amaretto for a teaspoon or so of almond extract.
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Ingredients

Yield: 1 9-inch cheesecake

For the crust:

1¼ c. graham cracker or nilla wafer crumbs
5 tbsp. sugar
5 tbsp. butter

For the filling:

3 8 oz. packages cream cheese
1 c. sugar
3 tbsp. flour
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp. almond extract
5 tbsp. amaretto

For the mousse:

¾ c. heavy cream
3 tbsp. icing sugar
2 tbsp. amaretto
4 oz. cream cheese (½ package)
Slivered almonds, for garnishing

Place a loaf pan filled with water in the oven and preheat oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of a springform pan with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine the crust ingredients and press into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes, them remove from the oven and let cool while you make the filling. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

For the filling, in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the cream cheese, sugar and flour on a low speed until combined. Use a low speed so that you do not incorporate a lot of air into the batter, which can cause cracks.

Add the eggs into the batter one at a time, beating and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add in the sour cream, almond extract, and amaretto, and beat until smooth and well combined.

Pour filling over crust. Make sure water level is still high in the loaf pan, and if a lot of water has evaporated, add more. Drop the springform pan lightly on the counter once or twice to remove any air bubbles. Place into the oven, and bake for 1 hour and 30-40 minutes.

After at least an hour and a half, turn the oven off, and open the door for a second or so to release some heat. Close the door again, and let the cheesecake cool in the oven for 1 hour. Remove to a cooling rack, then let cool completely to room temperature. Once at room temperature, place in the refrigerator until completely chilled.

When cheesecake has chilled, make the mousse. Combine the cream, icing sugar, and amaretto in the bowl of a mixer and whip until the cream forms stiff peaks. Transfer to a separate bowl, and add the cream cheese to the mixer bowl. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Gently fold whipped cream mixture into the cream cheese. Spread mousse over the top of the cooled cheesecake. This can be done in advance, or right before serving. Sprinkle slivered almonds over top of the cheesecake.

Remove from springform pan, remove parchment paper, slice and serve.

 

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Soft Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Cookies are wonderful. There are so many fantastic kinds and flavours, but sometimes, you just need a good chocolate chip cookie. While Paul has a secret family recipe for some really awesome chocolate chip cookies, I wanted something a little different.

I found the original recipe here, and it is a simple recipe, easy to follow, even though it does take a little bit of time. The dough needs to chill for a little bit, because a warmer cookie dough actually spreads out a little more. Other than that, it is a good cookie to have for a rainy day, or if you have some extra cream cheese lying around not being used.

These cookies have cream cheese and butter, and it does make a difference in the texture. They are soft and gooey, and when served warm, the chocolate oozes all over… basically everything that makes a great chocolate chip cookie.

I’m not going to blather on about these cookies… I’m just going to say that if you want a good, and different chocolate chip cookie recipe, this is a great recipe to try.
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Ingredients

Yield: 2½ dozen cookies

½ c. butter, at room temperature
¼ c. cream cheese, softened
¾ c. brown sugar, lightly packed
¼ c. sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
2¼ c. flour
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1¾ c. chocolate chips or chunks

In the bowl of a mixer fixed with a paddle attachment cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add in the sugars, and cream again. Mix in the egg and vanilla until smooth.

Add in the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt, and mix until dough is cohesive. Add in the chocolate chips, mix until chocolate is evenly distributed, then refrigerate the dough for 1-2 hours until solidified.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking trays with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Shape dough using a tablespoon into flattened rounds and place about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Let cool on pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.

Lemon Squares

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Well. We all know how much I love lemon. (I really just love dessert. Who am I kidding?) Even so, there are so many beautiful flavours to accentuate in gorgeous desserts. Lemon is no exception, and there are so many things to make with lemon. However, one of my all-time favourite desserts to make with lemon are lemon squares.

Why lemon squares? Because of their simplicity. A simple shortbread-type crust with a deliciously tart lemony layer on top, sprinkled with just a touch of icing sugar? Beautiful. I mean, sure, I could make a triple layer lemon cake with a lemon mousse filling and a lemon-loaded frosting (my brain just got really excited… both for the alliteration and of the idea of a cake like that…) but sometimes simple is better.
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I have been making these lemon squares for years now, and they are always a hit. It’s a good thing I have these babies in my arsenal, because they are quick and simple, a no-fuss-no-muss kind of recipe.

Lemon lovers, I’m here for you, and I support you!
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Ingredients

Yield: 1 9 x 13 inch pan, approx. 2 dozen bars

For the crust:

1 c. butter, softened
½ c. sugar
2 c. flour

For the lemon layer:

4 eggs
1½ c. sugar
¼ c. flour
1 tsp. lemon extract
Juice of 2 lemons (fresh or bottled)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and flour. Press into a parchment-lined 9 x 13 pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, until firm and golden.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, flour, and lemon juice and extract until smooth. When crust is done baking, remove from oven and pour lemon mixture over top of crust. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool competely before dusting with icing sugar, slicing and serving.

*Note – You can also substitute lime juice for the lemon juice and make lime squares. Add a drop or two of green food colouring to bring out the lime colour. *

Pecan Pie

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Hello readers! Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful time ringing in the new year. There has been some silence around the blog for the last couple of weeks because of how busy the Christmas season is! I did some baking over the Christmas holidays, but nowhere near as much as I have done in the past.

While I had two weeks away from schools and sub calls, the restaurant industry is always booming in the days before Christmas, Paul and I didn’t even have time to put up a Christmas tree! We were just so busy that it wasn’t even a thought.
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However, Paul did request one Christmas treat. I pinned this Pecan Pie recipe about two months ago, because Paul has been asking for Pecan Pie for a long time. Now, I had never tried Pecan Pie before. To tell the truth, I’m not too sure why. I mean, I like the taste of pecans. I like pie. Why wouldn’t I like them together? I think I had it in my head that a Pecan Pie would be more egg-y than it actually is, and I’m not the biggest fan of plain eggs.

Either way, I rectified the situation with this Pecan Pie recipe that I found. It looked like an incredibly simple recipe, and I was excited to try it. I did copy her fancy pecan decoration on the top of the pie, but the one change I made to her recipe was I did not brown the butter. For me, it just was one thing too much when I just wanted a simple Pecan Pie recipe.

I will say one thing about this pie – it was hard to cut! While the pecans on top added to the beauty of this pie, I was unable to get a nice, clean slice to photograph. Next time I try this pie I may leave the pecans off, just so I can get an inside-the-pie shot.

Still, this pie was devoured quite quickly, and with gusto. I will have to make it again, and soon!
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Ingredients

Yield: 1 9-inch pie

1 single pie crust
1 c. sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cinnamon
4 eggs
½ c. butter, melted
2 c. pecans, coarsely chopped (plus more whole for garnish, if desired)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Partially pre-bake a pie crust for about 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, salt and cinnamon. Add eggs and whisk again until smooth. Add in the butter, stirring to combine, then add the chopped pecans.

Pour the batter into the pre-baked pie crust. If desired, top with additional pecans for a decorative finish.

Bake in the preheated oven 50-60 minutes, or until the center of the pie is just set, and still slightly jiggly in the middle. It may need to cook 10-20 minutes longer than needed to set properly.

Remove the pie from the oven and let cool completely before slicing and serving.