White Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Topping and White Chocolate Glaze – disappeared before morning

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Topping and White Chocolate Glaze – disappeared before morning

White Chocolate Rasberry Cheesecake

    

I made this as we were having some friends over for dinner.  I took these before the guests arrived, intending to take some pictures of individual slices later (there were only 5 of us so I assumed there would be plenty left).  However college son had a couple of his friends over later to watch a movie after I had gone to bed and apparently in dire need of “good snacks” they devoured the rest of the cheesecake.  I thought it turned out well, and apparently the boys agreed.  When I walked down in the morning to start working on the photos, there was nothing but a few crumbs left on the plate.This was inspired by a recipe I found on BigOven.com by jkrutherford.  I modified it somewhat, and used my own topping instead of the strawberry glaze it suggested.     

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake    

CRUST    

      

1 1/4      cup         Shortbread Cookie Crumbs    

1/4         cup         Almonds finely ground    

2             tsp          Sugar    

1/2         tsp          Almond Extract    

3             tsp          Butter melted    

                              CHEESECAKE FILLING    

6             oz           White chocolate (chips or chopped)    

32           oz           Cream cheese softened    

5                            large Eggs room temp    

3/4         cup         Sugar    

3             tsp          All purpose flour    

1 1/2      tsp          Almond Extract    

                              TOPPING    

1             cup         Raspberry jam    

12           ounces  white chocolate (chips or chopped)    

1             cup         heavy (whipping) cream    

2             pints      fresh raspberries    

     

Procedure    

CRUST    

1             In the bowl of a food processor, finely grind the almonds, then add the shortbread cookies pulsing until crumbs.  Add the sugar and melted butter pulsing until mixed.    

2             Place the mixture in the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan, using a small cup to press them flatly to the bottom.    

3             Bake at 400 degrees for 5-6 minutes.  Remove from the oven and grease the sides of the pan lightly or spray with vegetable spray.    

FILLING    

1             Melt and cool the chocolate.  Mix together the cream cheese and add eggs one at a time.  Add the sugar, flour and almond extract.    

2             With mixer on low, slowly add the chocolate and mix well.    

3             Pour into the pan and bake at 325 degrees for forty minutes or until the edges are firm but the center is still a little soft.  Allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven with the door open for 15 minutes, then at room temperature for at least one hour.  A sudden temperature change will cause cracking so cool it gradually.    

TOPPING    

1             Microwave the whipping cream to just under a boil, about 1 minute, then pour over the white chocolate, stirring until it forms a smooth sauce.  Set aside, it will thicken as it cools.    

2             Microwave the jam for about 1 minute, just until it warms enough to pour.    

3             Pour the jam over the cheesecake in an even layer.    

4             Arrange the fresh raspberries on top of the jam in whatever design you like.    

5             Pour or drizzle the white chocolate glaze over the top of the berries.  There will be plenty left to put on the serving plate.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries – summer’s special treat

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries – summer’s special treat

 

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries    

  

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

 

  

It’s pool time, so today is short and simple.  I finally found some good strawberries.  This year they have not been great here, those wonderful California berries don’t seem to be making the trip (or maybe they aren’t that great either).  In California we used to be able to get them straight from the field and so are spoiled I guess.  Anyway, I did get some good ones and promptly ate a few but decided to chocolatize the rest.  Very simple – melt the chocolate in a small deep bowl in 30 second increments until it is smooth, then dip the strawberries and place on a foil or wax paper lined cookie sheet to harden.  I use Ghirardelli Candy Making & Dipping Bar (Double Chocolate and White Chocolate) because it has a good quality taste and always melts and then sets up perfectly.   If you hide them, you can use them as a garnish for just about any dessert, although around here they don’t usually last long enough for that.

Father’s Day Cupcakes for almost 73 year old dad riding his bike (not motorcycle – 2 wheels, pedals and legs) coast to coast

Father’s Day Cupcakes for almost 73 year old dad riding his bike (not motorcycle – 2 wheels, pedals and legs) coast to coast

Blueberry Lemonade Cupcakes with Lemon Curd and Lemonade Icing

 

My Dad, “the nutball” as I affectionately refer to him, is amazing and in great shape.  Every day for years he has spent several hours a day, every day, riding his bike, swimming, running on the treadmill and . . . he took up rollerblading in his 60’s.  At 65 he retired for a couple months, then went back to work to keep busy, still working part time on and off. A couple years ago at 69 turning 70 he rode his bike from his home in Tucson, Arizona to where he grew up in Charlevoix, Michigan.  Now he is on his latest adventure, riding solo coast to coast.  He left from Newport Beach, California and intends to go by way of Las Vegas (visited us) on to Michigan again, finally ending up somewhere near Boston to finish.  If you want to follow his progress, you can see his blog at http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=RrzKj&doc_id=6928&v=2H.   

Sadly he wanted to keep to his schedule so he missed the cupcakes by a couple days and had already moved on by Father’s Day.  The rest of the family obligingly ate a few extra cupcakes in his honor and I did feed him well while he was here.  

Chocolate Cupcake filled with Lemon Curd with Lemonade Icing

 

 Here is the recipe for the Blueberry Lemonade cupcakes.   

Blueberry Lemonade Cupcakes with Lemon Curd and Lemonade Icing  

                     Blueberry Lemonade Cupcakes  

2      cup      all-purpose flour  

1      tsp       baking powder  

1/2   tsp       baking soda  

        pinch   salt  

1      cup      granulated sugar  

4      Tbsp    grated lemon zest  

1/2   cup      vegetable oil  

4                   egg whites  

2/3   cup      thawed frozen Lemonade Concentrate  

1/2   cup      buttermilk  

2      cups    frozen blueberries  

                     Lemonade Icing  

3      cup      + 3 Tbsp. confectioner’s sugar  

1                   stick unsalted butter at room temperature  

1/8   tsp       salt  

2      Tbsp    grated lemon zest  

2      Tbs      lemonade concentrate  

                     Lemon Curd  

2                   egg yolks  

3/4   cups    sugar  

4      Tbsp    cornstarch  

3/4   cups    water  

2      Tbs      butter or margarine  

2      tsp       grated lemon peel  

1/3   cup      lemon juice  

Procedure  

Blueberry Lemonade Cupcakes  

1   Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin pan with liners.  

2   In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.  

3   In a large bowl, whisk together lemon zest, sugar, oil, egg whites and lemonade concentrate. Alternately whisk in flour mixture and buttermilk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of buttermilk, beating until just smooth.  Add blueberries and mix gently (using frozen blueberries will keep your batter from turning blue but if you don’t mind you could also use fresh ones.)  

4   Scoop batter into liners (fill about three-fourths full). Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack.  

Lemonade Icing  

1   Add the butter, confectioner’s sugar, salt and lemonade concentrate on low using the paddle attachment until combined. Turn the speed to med-high until the buttercream is fluffy. Pipe a ring around the tops of each cupcake, filling the center with the lemon curd (below) onto cooled cupcakes.  Note that this icing does get a little bit of a hard shell on the outside which makes it keep its shape and hold the lemon curd, but you could use a cream cheese icing if you prefer it to remain soft but still be firm enough to hold the lemon curd.  

Lemon Curd  

1   In small bowl, beat egg yolks with fork. In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch; gradually stir in water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.  Immediately stir at least half of hot mixture into egg yolks, then put that mixture back into the saucepan mixing vigorously so the eggs don’t scramble. Boil and stir 2 minutes; remove from heat. Stir in butter, lemon peel, lemon juice.  Allow the mixture to cool, then pipe into the center of the icing on the cupcakes.  

Three Blueberry Lemonade Cupcakes

 

Blueberry Lemonade Cupcakes

 

I also made an assortment using the chocolate cupcake and ganache recipe from my earlier post http://simplycooking101.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/chocolate-cupcakes-with-peanut-butter-icing-better-than-peanut-butter-cups/  along with these for a gift basket.        

Gift basket Blueberry Lemonade and Chocolate Cupcakes

 

Double Pucker – Limoncello and Lemon Sherbert

Double Pucker – Limoncello and Lemon Sherbert

Limoncello and Lemon Sherbet

 

A couple years ago we took a really great trip to Italy and although I’m not much of a drinker, I did want to try the Limoncello.   I never got around to it though, as pretty much each time I might have tried it, there was a choice between Limoncello and Gelato and Gelato won every time.  So before we left for our recent vacation, I decided to make my own.  Now back, it was time to finish it up as the recipe calls for a long “rest” of 10-40 days to build the lemon flavor.       

The first thing I learned was that to make the Limoncello you need lemons, lots of lemons, and you only use the peel.       

Lots of Lemons

 

Limoncello      

10                  Lemons      

1                    750 ml bottle of vodka      

3 1/2   cups   water      

1 1/2   cups   sugar   

1. Wash the lemons with a mild dish soap using a vegetable brush, then rinse and dry them well. 

   
2   With a vegetable peeler, peel thin strips making sure not to go too deep as you don’t want to have any of the white pith which is bitter.  Save the lemons    for another use – hence the companion recipe for lemon sherbet. 
3   Place the peels in a large glass jug, pour the vodka over it, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest  at room temperature for 10-40 days (the longer, the stronger the lemon flavor will be). 
4   After the desired number of days sitting, stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.  Cool, then pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture, cover and let stand at room temperature over night. 
5   Strain the limoncello and transfer to bottles.

It is best served well chilled (stored in the freezer is best).  The limoncello tasted great to me, just like lemondrop candy.  Of course, I’m not sure I’m the best judge since I’ve never had the “real” stuff to compare it to but it works for me and nobody else has complained so it must be ok.      

Limoncello Ready to Drink

 

Now I had 10 peeled lemons left so I decided to make sherbert.  The first batch of sherbert was so tart it was hard to eat so I had to adjust the sugar and since there was so much juice I had to 5X the original recipe so we had a lot of sherbet.  It was exceptionally refreshing though for summer and actually went pretty quickly.      

 Lemon Sherbet      

2 1/2   cups   lemon juice      

2 1/2   cups   heavy whipping cream      

2 1/2   cups   milk      

4         cups   powdered sugar

1   Juice the lemons left over from the limoncello – you should have about 2 1/2 cups
2   Mix the lemon juice with the cream, milk and sugar.
3   Freeze in batches in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturers directions
4   If you don’t have an ice cream machine, you can put the mix in a large stainless steel pan, cover with plastic wrap and put it in the freezer stirring every half hour.  It won’t be as smooth but still tastes great.  After 4-6 hours when the mixture is firm but not icy hard, transfer to a plastic container making sure you cover it well to prevent ice crystals from forming on the top.

Lemon Sherbet

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing – better than Peanut Butter cups!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing – better than Peanut Butter cups!

Still visiting college daughter who along with her roommates were having a Dungeons and Dragons event last night.  I admit to having pretty much no clue what the game entails, even after several explanations during the event preparations but there were a lot of enthusiastic college students involved.  I was asked to provide a dessert for the festivities.  Since time and daughter’s kitchen were somewhat limited, we decided on cupcakes, choosing The Barefoot Contessa’s Chocolate Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Icing   They were pretty simple to make although I did double the cupcake recipe and triple the icing.  (I was advised that in the event there was any leftover icing it wouldn’t be a problem.)  Using a pastry bag we filled the cupcakes with frosting using a long thin pastry tube.  If I had more time I would have cut small holes to make room for a little more filling, but this worked and it was quick.  Also, for those who don’t like peanut butter – I can’t imagine but there are some, a few of them were left unfilled and topped with a quick chocolate Ganache dip (4 oz of good quality chocolate melted by mixing with 4 oz of  not quite boiling heavy cream).