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Thursday, September 07, 2017

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars


Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are as good as a cookie but so simple to make without the extra step of individually scooping the cookies onto a cookie sheet.  Great for desserts, lunch boxes or snacks.

Who doesn't like Chocolate Chip Cookies?  Even I, who can skip over just about anything chocolate, love Chocolate Chip Cookies. These Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are so easy to make and have the added advantage of not needing to be scooped out individually on a cookie sheet.  Just mix, spread, bake and cut into desired size. Simple as that!  

I am a "nuts in" person when it comes to Chocolate Chip Cookies. My father, who made the absolutely best cookies, always put nuts in his CCCs, so my earliest memories of these delicacies have that nutty flavour mingled with the sweetness of the cookie and chocolate.  Over the years I stopped putting nuts in CCCs because the boys couldn't take them to school with so many people allergic to nuts and peanuts.  But if you can put in the nuts, do so.  They add so much to the flavour of the cookie.  This recipe specifically calls for pecans but walnuts will taste just as good (unless you don't like walnuts).  

I don't know where this recipe came from but wherever or whomever it comes from, I thank you.  

Note: These cookie bars use butter in the batter but because there are no eggs in the recipe it is easy to convert these into vegan cookies if you use a vegan margarine or butter substitute.  



Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
¾ cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  Lightly grease or line with parchment paper, a 15x10-inch jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with sides.

Mix or sift together the flour and salt.  In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the flour into the creamed butter mixture a little at a time. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts, if using. Mix until well blended. Press and press batter into prepared pan.

Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven an place on cooling rack. Immediately score the bars, using the tip of a sharp knife, into the amount of bars you want.  Let cool 5 minutes and cut along the score marks.  I cut mine 6 by 4 to give me 24 bars. Finish cooling in pan on the wire rack.  

When completely cool, store in airtight container.  I suppose they'll last at least 2 weeks but they'll be long gone before that!  The bars can also be frozen.  

Makes about 24-36 bars, depending on the size you want. 



Prepare the pan by lightly greasing and/or lining with parchment paper.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


Mix or sift the flour and salt together.  Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl.  Today I pulled out my trusty hand mixer to beat everything together until fluffy.  This will take about 5 minutes with a hand mixer.  Gradually add the flour.  (No need for a flour shower when gradually adding.)  Stir or mix in the chocolate chips and the nuts.  


Spread and press the batter into the prepared pan.  Smooth out the top and pop it in the preheated 350 degree oven.  Bake 20 minutes or until the top is golden.


Place the hot pan of bars on a cooling rack and immediately score the surface into the amount of bars you want.  I scored mine 4 by 6 to produce 24 bars. You can make them a little smaller if you cut them 6 by 6 for 36 bars.


Let the pan of bars cool 5 minutes then completely cut through the score marks. Let the bars cool completely in the pan.


 Ah. . . the coveted end pieces.  Lucky Don!

If you are serving the bars at a family gathering or party, pile them nicely on a pretty plate.  Store any uneaten bars in an airtight container.  But they won't last long. . . trust me!


You know I'm not a chocolate lover so I had to force myself to try one. . . just so I could tell you they are FABULOUS!


All the great taste of a Chocolate Chip Cookie!
Yum, yum, yum!



Monday, September 04, 2017

Orange Layer Cake with Whipped Orange Frosting



Orange Layer Cake with Whipped Orange Frosting is a homemade, from scratch, lovely fine-crumbed cake.  Orange and lemon zest flavour the cake and the whipped cream frosting for a fresh citrusy family dessert. 

Have I mentioned I like (love) cake.  I don't think I could do a birthday without at least one slice of cake.  Who am I kidding?  Ha, give me the full cake. It had better be big because I do want to share it but I want my seconds and thirds after everyone goes home. This year, as it was a momentous birthday for both Don and me, we had a few people in and I made a really big cake.  



Actually, it was two cakes. The bottom cake is my hot milk sponge cake filled with a strawberry cream (or was it blueberry?) filling and the top cake is an orange cake with an orange cream filling.  I had such a craving for an orange cake but didn't have a recipe in my files.  After some searching I came across this one here that seemed quite promising.  With a few adjustments the cake was a triumph until I cut it open.  It was too heavy and dense.  That's what comes from not trying out a new recipe before hand. But not to fault the recipe.  I was in such a rush getting everything ready I didn't take time to properly cream the butter and sugar and letting the oven door bang shut on the half baked layers didn't do the cake any favours.  Nevertheless, I didn't throw out any of the cake.  It's amazing what a little ice cream or a cold glass of milk does for a less than perfect cake.  



I thought the recipe deserved a second chance as the flavour was very good.  So a couple of months later I made the cake again, taking great care to cream the butter and sugar until fluffy and not bang the oven door while the cake was in the critical stage of rising.  I was well rewarded with two very high layers with a lovely fine crumb.  You'd never say the two cakes were the same recipe.  

The recipe calls for cake flour and that's what I recommend for a nice fine crumbed cake.  Cake flour contains less protein than regular all-purpose flour so it's perfect for cake baking.  If you cannot find cake flour your can remove 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour from every cup used and replace with 2 tablespoons cornstarch.  Sift everything together several times to make sure there are no lumps of cornstarch remaining in the mix.  


Orange Layer Cake
2½ cups sifted cake flour (285 grams if you have a kitchen scale)
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Grated rind of 1 lemon
Grated rind of 1 orange
⅔ cup butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons oil
1½ cups sugar
3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup + 1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottoms with a circle of parchment or waxed paper and grease again.


Sift flour once, measure 2½ cups.  If you have a kitchen scale the flour should weigh 285 grams.   Add baking powder and salt, and sift together. Cake flour needs to be sifted to remove lumps. Sifting also adds air to the mix. Lay aside until needed.


Add the lemon and orange rind to butter and oil; cream thoroughly. Add sugar gradually and cream together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add flour in three additions alternately with the combined orange and lemon juices. Beat or stir after each addition until the flour is combined with the mix but DO NOT over beat.  This should be done on a medium to low speed. I have a "stir" speed on my new mixer which is the lowest speed.


Mix in the vanilla.


Divide the batter between the two layer pans and bake in preheated oven 25-30 minutes or until done. If you are not sure test the centre with a cake tester or toothpick. There should be no wet batter on the tester when removed. Be very careful not to over bake as this will give you a dry cake.


Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes in pan and then invert on wire cake rack to completely cool.


When completely cool, spread Whipped Orange Frosting (see icing recipe below) between layers and on top and sides of layer cake. If you wish to split the layers of the cake into four thin layers, make a double recipe of the Whipped Orange Cream Frosting.


Makes two 9-inch layers.


Whipped Orange Frosting

2 tablespoons flour
⅓ - ½ cup sugar
Juice and grated rind of 1 orange, about ½ cup juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 egg, beaten
1 cup whipping cream

In a small saucepan mix the flour and sugar together. (I find the third cup of sugar to be quite sweet enough.) Combine with the orange and lemon juice, grated rind, and beaten egg. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and there is no flour taste. Let cook 1 minute after mixture starts to boil.  Remove from heat, cover surface with plastic wrap and let cool completely to room temperature. Whip cream until stiff peaks form and carefully fold the cold orange mixture into whipped cream. Spread between layers and top and sides of cake. 


Makes enough to fill and frost a 9-inch layer cake.


Measure and sift the dry ingredients together.  
If you have a baking scale, weigh 285 grams of cake flour.

Beat the butter, oil and grated orange and lemon together until creamed.  Add the sugar a little at a time and beat until fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the fruit juice. Mix until well combined.  Add the vanilla.


Pour the batter into the prepared pans spreading evenly.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 28-30 minutes.  The middle should test clean.

Make the orange filling by mixing the sugar, flour, grated orange rind, juice and egg together.  Cook over medium heat until thick.  Cook a minute longer to make sure the flour is cooked.  Remove from heat and cover with plastic wrap.  Cool to room temperature. Do not chill.  If chilled remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature before folding into the cream.


Beat the cream and fold into the cooled orange filling.  Fill the middle of the cake with about one-third of the cream filling.


Sorry, this isn't a very good photo but you can see I decorated the frosted cake with fresh orange slices.


Have a slice or maybe two!

Refreshingly delicious on a summer day.


Tasty and luscious Orange Layer Cake.  
Try a double filling for an extra treat.

print recipe

Whipped Orange Frosting
Tangy orange cake with a luscious whipped orange filling and frosting.
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups sifted cake flour (285 grams if you have a kitchen scale)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • Grated rind of 1 orange
  • ⅔ cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottoms with a circle of parchment or waxed paper and grease again.

Sift flour once, measure 2½ cups. If you have a kitchen scale the flour should weigh 285 grams. Add baking powder and salt, and sift together. Cake flour needs to be sifted to remove lumps. Sifting also adds air to the mix. Lay aside until needed.

Add the lemon and orange rind to butter and oil; cream thoroughly. Add sugar gradually and cream together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add flour in three additions alternately with the combined orange and lemon juices. Beat or stir after each addition until the flour is combined with the mix but DO NOT over beat. This should be done on a medium to low speed. I have a "stir" speed on my new mixer which is the lowest speed.

Mix in the vanilla.

Divide the batter between the two layer pans and bake in preheated oven 25-30 minutes or until done. If you are not sure test the centre with a cake tester or toothpick. There should be no wet batter on the tester when removed. Be very careful not to over bake as this will give you a dry cake.

Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes in pan and then invert on wire cake rack to completely cool.

When completely cool, spread Whipped Orange Frosting (see icing recipe below) between layers and on top and sides of layer cake. If you wish to split the layers of the cake into four thin layers, make a double recipe of the Whipped Orange Cream Frosting.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 12-16 slices



print recipe
Whipped Orange Frosting
Creamy, pudding-like frosting and filling.
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ⅓ - ½ cup sugar
  • Juice and grated rind of 1 orange, about ½ cup juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup whipping cream
Instructions
In a small saucepan mix the flour and sugar together. (I find the third cup of sugar to be quite sweet enough.) Combine with the orange and lemon juice, grated rind, and beaten egg. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and there is no flour taste. Let cook 1 minute after mixture starts to boil. Remove from heat, cover surface with plastic wrap and let cool completely to room temperature. Whip cream until stiff peaks form and carefully fold the cold orange mixture into whipped cream. Spread between layers and top and sides of cake.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: Enough to fill and frost a 9-inch layer cake

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sweet Potato Salad


Sweet Potato Salad is a nice change from or welcome addition to a classic potato salad.  Cooked sweet potatoes mix well with other salad vegetables and also with fruit and nuts.  Everything is combined with salad dressing or mayonnaise for a pleasing side dish for any family meal or barbecue.  For those of you who follow a vegan diet, just substitute a vegan dressing for the mayonnaise or salad dressing.  

I don't make this Sweet Potato Salad very often as we usually eat our sweet potatoes mashed hot with our dinner or supper but every once in a while I decide to switch up the salads and use the sweet potato instead.  

The other day when I was making this I was hit with a light bulb moment when I thought of adding the curry powder.  I was tasting the salad and chewing down on the raisins and apple and curry just popped into my head.  I rummaged through the cupboard and found a can of the stuff (that should probably be replaced with a fresh can) and added a teaspoon to the mix.  How nice!  Yum!  I asked Don if he liked the curry powder added but his taste buds are not overly developed and he didn't realize I'd changed anything, ha, ha. Curry powder is not particularly strong or hot so it only gives a nice hint of the flavour.  

Although I serve this as a side dish it also makes a nice light lunch or supper served in larger portions with bread or rolls to round out the meal. 

Sweet Potato Salad

3 cups cooked sweet potatoes, diced
2 medium unpeeled red apples, diced
1 cup celery, sliced
¼ cup red or mild onion, finely diced or minced
½ cup raisins
½ cup nuts, chopped (walnuts, pecans or almonds)
Juice of 1 lemon or 2 tablespoons
1 cup salad dressing or mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sugar if using mayonnaise, optional
½-1 teaspoon curry powder, optional
Salt to taste, if needed, optional

Mix all other ingredients together with the sweet potatoes, tossing lightly to combine. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

Makes 6-8 side dish servings.




Peel and dice sweet potatoes.  Measure with cup flowing over as the sweet potatoes shrink when cooked.


 Cook in lightly salted water until just tender. Drain and cool to room temperature.

Prepare the remaining ingredients by dicing the apples, slicing the celery, chopping the nuts and mincing the onions and measuring everything into a large bowl.


 Mix everything together.

 Add any optional ingredients like sugar, salt or curry powder.  

 Chill for a few hours and serve in a pretty bowl.

A delicious addition to your salad bar.




print recipe

Sweet Potato Salad
Sweet potatoes mixed with vegetables, fruit and nuts makes an excellent side dish for your next barbecue or picnic.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups cooked sweet potatoes, diced
  • 2 medium unpeeled red apples, diced
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • ¼ cup red or mild onion, finely diced or minced
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup nuts, chopped (walnuts, pecans or almonds)
  • Juice of 1 lemon or 2 tablespoons
  • 1 cup salad dressing or mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon sugar if using mayonnaise, optional
  • ½-1 teaspoon curry powder, optional
  • Salt to taste, if needed, optional
Instructions
Mix all other ingredients together with the sweet potatoes, tossing lightly to combine. Refrigerate and serve chilled.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6-8 side dish servings

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Creamed Greens



Creamed Greens is a delicious way to get in a serving or two of a leafy green vegetable.  A cream sauce is quick and easy to make and with a package of frozen greens ready in the freezer this dish comes together quite nicely.  

As a child, I was never a lover of greens on my plate.  I had the misfortune of choking on a long stringy mouthful when I was about 6 or 7 years old and it left me dubious about their benefits in my diet.  Don also had a similar experience as a child.  As I grew older and my tastes widened I again tried greens and actually liked them.  But because of childhood memories, I always chop them before serving.  Chopping really cuts down on the choking factor.  

In Newfoundland, when referring to greens, one usually means "turnip greens" or "turnip tops" as I grew up calling them. But this recipe for Creamed Greens can use any favourite green as an ingredient.  This is not a traditional dish in Newfoundland but it should be!  What a great way to serve greens, especially for a vegetarian meal.  Tradition would have the greens cooked with a big chunk of salt beef (or pork) and served along side potatoes, turnip and carrots.  

Today I used the traditional turnip tops for my Creamed Greens but any cooked green will be more than satisfactory.  Remember not to overcook the greens before stirring them in the cream sauce.


Creamed Greens
About 1 pound (454 grams) frozen greens or enough fresh greens to serve at least 6
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, diced
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup full fat milk or for richer sauce use half and half
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
Pinch nutmeg

Cook the frozen or fresh greens in lightly salted water until to desired doneness. (The greens can also be cooked in a little vegetarian chicken or beef bouillon.)  If you are using commercially prepared greens, follow the package directions. The time of cooking depends on the type of greens you use. Spinach will only take a minute or two but heavier greens such as turnip, chard, beet, kale or collards, etc. will take considerably longer–at least 20-25 minutes.  When cooked, drain and press out excess liquid.  You can even squeeze them dry with your hands if you let them cool down. Chop the greens into small pieces.  (This can also be done before cooking.)

In a medium saucepan cook the onions in the butter until translucent and just starting to caramelize. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.  Gradually stir in the milk and bring to a low boil or simmer. Cook until the sauce becomes thick and there is no raw flour taste.  Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.  

Add the well-drained and chopped greens to the hot sauce.  Stir and let the greens heat through before serving.  

Serves 6.



Prepare the greens by cooking them in lightly salted water.  Drain when cooked and press out all the excess liquid.  Chop the greens either before or after cooking.  


If you wish you may start the cream sauce while the greens are cooking.  Cook the onions in the butter until translucent and a little caramelization is starting to happen.   Stir in the flour and  cook for a minute.  


Gradually stir in the milk and bring to a low boil or simmer and cook until thick.


 Add the seasonings.

A little ground nutmeg really brings out the flavour of the greens. Just a pinch will do.

Add the greens to the sauce or add the sauce to the greens. It really doesn't matter.  Which ever pot is larger.  


 Stir everything together and heat through before serving.


Yum, yum! Creamed turnip tops for my dinner.




print recipe

Creamed Greens
Your favourite greens will taste extra good in this well-seasoned cream sauce with onions.
Ingredients
  • About 1 pound (454 grams) frozen greens or enough fresh greens to serve at least 6
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup full fat milk or for richer sauce use half and half
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
Instructions
Cook the frozen or fresh greens in lightly salted water until to desired doneness. (The greens can also be cooked in a little vegetarian chicken or beef bouillon.) If you are using commercially prepared greens, follow the package directions. The time of cooking depends on the type of greens you use. Spinach will only take a minute or two but heavier greens such as turnip, chard, kale or collards, etc. will take considerably longer–at least 20-25 minutes. When cooked, drain and press out excess liquid. You can even squeeze them dry with your hands if you let them cool down. Chop the greens into small pieces. (This can also be done before cooking.)

In a medium saucepan cook the onions in the butter until translucent and just starting to caramelize. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the milk and bring to a low boil or simmer. Cook until the sauce becomes thick and there is no raw flour taste. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Add the well-drained and chopped greens to the hot sauce. Stir and let the greens heat through before serving.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake


Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake is a decadent, rich dessert that begs to be shared with family and friends.  Creamy New York style cheesecake covers your favourite peanut butter cups and a chocolate cookie crumb crust holds everything together.  

Who knew that National Cheesecake Day and our wedding anniversary would coincide in 2017?!  Ha, ha.  I didn't know that when I started out making this cheesecake for our anniversary. We've been married 39 years today. We didn't have cheesecake at our wedding but we had it for our anniversary. Actually, I made a small 6-inch cake for Don's birthday last month and he liked it so much I told him I'd make another one for our anniversary.   
Don's birthday cheesecake.

I decided I'd make a large 9-inch cake to share with family and friends because a 6-inch cake has its limitations in the sharing department.  Ha.  After some planning and looking around I found a good recipe for the filling that was almost the same as the one I'd mixed up for Don's birthday.  I didn't have a recipe for that one and just threw it together by guess.  The filling for the 9-inch cake comes from Better Homes and Gardens. Why reinvent the wheel or the cheesecake?  I made a couple of modifications and the little cake was very successfully replicated.


Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake
2 cups chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs (About 18 Oreo or FudgeeO cookies, etc.)
3 tablespoons melted butter
3 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup cream
3 eggs, slightly beaten
About 300 gram package miniature peanut butter cups (about 3 cups or enough to cover the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan.)


Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce
¼ cup cream
6 caramel candies (like Kraft individually wrapped)
2 tablespoons peanut butter
A few drops vanilla

Chocolate Ganache
2 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

Garnish, Optional
Sweetened Whipped Cream
Extra peanut butter cups


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper.  This will help when removing the cake from the pan to a serving plate.

Crust: Crush the chocolate cookies until fine crumbs are achieved. Do not remove the frosting holding the cookies together.  Use a food processor or roll the crumbs fine using a rolling pin. Combine the crumbs with the melted butter.  Firmly press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared springform pan.  The crumbs should be at least 1½ inches up the sides of the pan. Bake the crust in the preheated oven 8 minutes.  Remove and let cool while making the filling.

Filling:  In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla with an electric mixer until combined. Beat in the cream until smooth. Add beaten eggs, mixing on low speed only until combined.

Scatter the miniature peanut butter cups over the bottom of the crust.  You should have enough cups to fill the bottom without any large gaps between the candy.  Pour the filling over the peanut butter cups and smooth the top.  Place in the 350 degree oven and immediately lower temperature to 300 degrees.  Bake 50 to 60 minutes until the edges are firm but the middle is still a little giggly.  Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake rest 30 minutes in oven.  Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes.  Run a knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan.

Let rest another 30 minutes and then release the spring on the pan.  Remove the pan and let the cheesecake cool completely. You may now add the toppings to the cake. Refrigerate at least 4 hours if you can't wait any longer but it is best to let the cheesecake rest overnight before serving.  

Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce:  In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the caramels and peanut butter in the cream.  Stir until smooth.  Let cool but don't let it get cold.  Can also be made in a microwave.

Chocolate Ganache:  In a small saucepan bring the cream to a near simmer.  Turn off heat and add the chocolate.  Stir until melted and smooth.  Lay aside until cool but not cold.  

Spread the Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce over the surface of the cake. Smooth the top.  Place the ganache in a small sandwich bag and snip the corner to make a small opening.  Pipe the chocolate over the top of the Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce to make a pleasing pattern.  

Return the cheesecake to the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Optional Garnish: Whip about ½ cup whipping cream with 2 teaspoons sugar and vanilla if desired. Pipe or spoon whipped cream on top of cake and top with extra peanut butter cups.  

Makes 12-16 slices.


I used a 290 gram package of Dare Ultimate Fudge cookies.  There were 18 cookies in the pack.  Any chocolate sandwich cookie will be suitable for the crust.  


I used my new food processor to crush the cookies.  The 18 cookies made exactly 2 cups of crumbs. Add the melted butter and press into a 9-inch springform pan.


I used 2 packages of mini peanut butter cups which came to 314 grams or about 3 cups.  


The crust should come up the sides about 1½ inches.  Bake the crust 8 minutes and let cool.  Scatter the mini peanut butter cups over the cooled surface of the crust. If there are any cups left over, save them if you will be using them for garnish.  Don't eat them like I did!


While the crust is baking start preparing the cheesecake filling.  I stock up on cream cheese when it goes on sale. Cream the cheese. Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature before you begin.


Combine the sugar and flour together.  

Add the flour, sugar and vanilla to the creamed cheese.

Beat until well combined but don't over beat.  

Once the mixture is well combined add the cream.

Lightly beat the eggs.

Add the eggs to the cream cheese mixture.  Blend in on low speed until just combined.  Do not over beat.  Air pockets will form if you beat the mixture too much. 


Pour the cheesecake filling over the peanut butter cakes and level off the top.  Bake at 300 degrees for 50-60 minutes.  Turn off the oven and leave the cake in for 30 minutes.  Remove and cool.


Let cake cool 5 minutes and then run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake from the sides.  This will prevent the top from cracking near the edges.  After 30 minutes release the spring on the side of the pan and remove the sides of the pan.  Let sit until cool.  Place in the refrigerator until ready to decorate the top.  The cheesecake should not be served until it has chilled for a minimum of 4 hours but overnight is better.  


While the cheesecake is cooling and chilling prepare the toppings. For the Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce melt caramels and peanut butter in cream over low heat.


Add a few drops of vanilla and stir until smooth. Cool.

 Pour the sauce over the top of the cold cheesecake.

Spread over and smooth the top.  It doesn't have to be perfect as you will be piping chocolate over the top of the sauce.


To make the ganache heat the cream to just below simmering. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. 


Stir the cream and chocolate together until smooth. Cool.

Place the cooled chocolate in a small sandwich bag.  Snip the end and pipe chocolate over the top of the peanut sauce.


If you wish garnish with dollops or rosettes of sweetened whipped cream and extra peanut butter cups.  Because I ate some of the miniature cups I had to buy a couple of bars and cut them up for garnish.  LOL.  


The cheesecake serves 12-16.


Happy Anniversary, Don! 
Happy Cheesecake Day, everyone else!




print recipe

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake
Creamy, rich, vanilla cheesecake covers your favourite peanut butter cups, encased in a chocolate crumb crust.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs (About 18 Oreo or FudgeeO cookies, etc.)
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • About 300 gram package miniature peanut butter cups (About 3 cups or enough to cover the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan.)
Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 6 caramel candies (like Kraft individually wrapped)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • A few drops vanilla
Chocolate Ganache
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 2 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
Garnish, optional
  • Sweetened whipped cream
  • Extra peanut butter cups
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper. This will help when removing the cake from the pan to a serving plate.

Crust: Crush the chocolate cookies until fine crumbs are achieved. Do not remove the frosting holding the cookies together. Use a food processor or roll the crumbs fine using a rolling pin. Combine the crumbs with the melted butter. Firmly press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared springform pan. The crumbs should be at least 1½ inches up the sides of the pan. Bake the crust in the preheated oven 8 minutes. Remove and let cool while making the filling.

Filling: In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla with an electric mixer until combined. Beat in the cream until smooth. Add beaten eggs, mixing on low speed only until combined.

Scatter the miniature peanut butter cups over the bottom of the crust. You should have enough cups to fill the bottom without any large gaps between the candy. Pour the filling over the peanut butter cups and smooth the top. Place in the 350 degree oven and immediately lower temperature to 300 degrees. Bake 50 to 60 minutes until the edges are firm but the middle is still a little giggly. Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake rest 30 minutes in oven. Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan.

Let rest another 30 minutes and then release the spring on the pan. Remove the pan and let the cheesecake cool completely. You may now add the toppings to the cake. Refrigerate at least 4 hours if you can't wait any longer but it is best to let the cheesecake rest overnight before serving.

Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce: In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the caramels and peanut butter in the cream. Stir until smooth. Let cool but don't let it get cold. Can also be made in a microwave.

Chocolate Ganache: In a small saucepan bring the cream to a near simmer. Turn off heat and add the chocolate. Stir until melted and smooth. Lay aside until cool but not cold.

Spread the Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce over the surface of the cake. Smooth the top. Place the ganache in a small sandwich bag and snip the corner to make a small opening. Pipe the chocolate over the top of the Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce to make a pleasing pattern.

Return the cheesecake to the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Optional Garnish: Whip about ½ cup whipping cream with 2 teaspoons sugar and vanilla if desired. Pipe or spoon whipped cream on top of cake and top with extra peanut butter cups.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 12-16 slices