Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Neapolitan Cheesecake

I had a conversation with a student the other day about cheesecake. The poor soul could not believe that in order to make real cheesecake, you had to turn on an oven. So sad. To be honest, I'm not sure when I discovered that cheesecake didn't really come in a box, but that was one of the greatest days of my life.

Add 1 cup of crushed chocolate cookies (Oreos in this house) to 3 tablespoons of melted butter.
Mix this all up and form a crust in the bottom of a pie pan. I know, I know, I need a springform pan. Maybe for Christmas. Bake this at 350 for about 10 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 325.
While that is cooling, whip together 3 blocks of cream cheese, 3/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream. Then gently mix in 3 eggs that have been slightly beaten.
Divide this batter into thirds. This works out to about 1 1/4 cups in each bowl. Yes, I measured. My bowls weren't even close to the same size, so I wanted to at least come close to even amounts.
To the first third, add 1/3 cups melted white chocolate. To the second third add 1/3 cups melted semi-sweet chocolate and to the last third add 1/3 crushed frozen strawberries.
 Mix each well.

 Add a layer of chocolate mixture on top of the cooled crust. Gently spoon the white chocolate mixture on top of the chocolate. Finally, spoon on the strawberry layer. If you are careful here, you will get nice pretty layers.
Bake at 325 in a shallow pan of water for about an hour.

This is amazing. I love that you can taste all three layers in one bite. The Girl has requested it for The Boy's birthday cake. I'm all for this given that the last two years have involved a lot in the way of decorating. We'll see if we can convince him.

For some unknown reason (possibly the speed at which it disappeared), I do not have a picture of the inside of this pie. This is truly depressing since not only is this cheesecake amazingly delicious, it is also very pretty to look at. I guess, difficult as this may be, I will have to make it again.

Click here for Printable Recipe

Neapolitan Cheesecake
1 Cup Chocolate Cookies, crushed
3 Tablespoons Butter, melted

3 Packages (8 oz) Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
3 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 ounces Semisweet Chocolate, melted and cooled
2 ounces White Baking Chocolate, melted and cooled
1/3 Cup Mashed Frozen Sweetened Sliced Strawberries, well-drained
Red Liquid Food Coloring, optional

3 ounces Semisweet Chocolate, chopped
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 teaspoons Shortening, divided
1 ounce White Baking Chocolate

In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and butter. Press onto the bottom of an ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce heat to 325°.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar, vanilla and cream. Add eggs; beat on low just until combined. Divide batter into thirds. Add melted semisweet chocolate to a third. Spread over crust. Add melted white chocolate to another third. Spread over semisweet layer. Stir strawberries and a few drops of food coloring if desired into remaining portion. Spread over white chocolate layer. Place pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan.
Place springform pan in a large baking pan. Fill larger pan with hot water to a depth of 1 inch. Bake at 325° for 70-75 minutes or until center is just set. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove foil. Carefully run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen; cool for 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
For topping, melt semisweet chocolate, butter and 1 teaspoon shortening in a heavy saucepan or microwave; stir until smooth. Cool 5 minutes. Remove sides of pan. Pour melted chocolate mixture over cheesecake. Melt white chocolate and remaining shortening. Drizzle over cheesecake. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm. Refrigerate leftovers.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Banana Whoopie Pies

There are a lot of really amazing things about coaching cross country. The kids. The camaraderie. The competition. The bananas. 

Oh, you didn't know about the bananas? 

Hang around any runner long enough and bananas will become a staple in your diet. Every week, our parents supply snacks and it is a good bet that there will be bananas somewhere in that cooler. They are great for kids to eat before a race, but when they are done every one wants something a little more substantial. This means there are going to be leftover bananas. As coach, I often end up with what is left over at the end of the day.

This year, I was on the ball and mashed up the leftovers and stuck them in the freezer. After I made banana bread. And banana pancakes.

And these.

The Boy loves, and I mean LOVES, whoopie pies. We make them quite a bit, so we have had to try all different kinds.

These turned out to be one of my favorites yet. We had them for a snack. We had them for dessert. We had them for breakfast. They are that good.

Cream together 1/2 cup each of butter, sugar and brown sugar.
 Beat in an egg.
In a separate bowl, mix together 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup mashed banana. Does ANY one else ever start singing the crazy monkey's mashed banana song from the Lion King? Just me? Really?
 Add half the sour cream mixture to the sugar mixture.
 Add in half of a mixture of 2 cups flour and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, baking soda and baking powder. Alternate with the banana mixture.
 I use a large cookie dough scoop to make scoops all roughly the same size. I have seen whoopie pie cookie sheets. I must have one.
For the filling, mix together two packages of cream cheese with a cup of powdered sugar. Spoon about a tablespoon onto one cookie and sandwich with another.
So I was going along, happy as can be, making delicious cookie sandwiches, when I realized that I was going to run out of filling. Instead of making another batch, I added in a half a cup of peanut butter. This turned out to be a stroke of genius.
 Banana. Cream cheese. Peanut butter. Oh my.

These didn't last long. So I made more. Make a double batch right out of the gate. You will thank me.

Click here for Printable Recipe

Banana Whoopie Pies
2 Cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Mashed Ripe Banana
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla
16 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Combine banana and sour cream in another bowl. Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed, until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add banana mixture in 2 additions, alternating with flour mixture. Use a large cookie scoop to spoon batter into 1 1/4-inch rounds on baking sheets, spacing rounds 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. Let cool.
Beat cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla with a mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Spoon 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture onto the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies. Dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve immediately.