Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

So you go to college, like you’re supposed to, and you get degrees in the artsy things that you love. You don’t have to do any math, and that is super awesome. But then there’s real life, and you have to pay the rent. And you love food, so you definitely want to eat stuff that doesn’t taste like cardboard. In order to get a paycheck, you find yourself having to do math. All the time. Every day. It’s easy, but it still hurts your brain, and your soul rebels a little bit.

That’s why this weekend I had to make this chocolate peanut butter cheesecake. It soothes my soul. Baking math doesn’t count as real math because it ends in completely joyful deliciousness.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

This recipe was the May cookalong at the website of my idol, Nigella Lawson. Have I told you lately how much I love her? Immensely. Not only is she completely mesmerizing to look upon, but I love her whole philosophy. Even with her beauty, talent, and fame, she manages to be humble, approachable, and unapologetically indulgent. Read all her books. Just do it.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake bite

This cheesecake is everything you hoped it would be. It’s rich, dense, and smooth, and absolutely must be accompanied by a tall glass of milk. Chocolate and peanut butter is one of my favorite flavor combinations. My husband’s not really a fan. He finished his piece in about twelve seconds. Even people who think they won’t like will love it.

If I’ve learned anything from Nigella, it’s that life is meant to be enjoyed. You don’t need to apologize or feel guilty about doing the things that make you happy. Like eating cheesecake. It’s super awesome.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Yields 1
Fantastically rich peanut butter chocolate cheesecake heaven
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
for the crust
  1. 1 sleeve graham crackers
  2. 100 grams (1/2 cup) dark chocolate chips
  3. 50 grams (4 Tbsp) butter, melted
for the filling
  1. 500 grams (16 ounces) cream cheese, room temp
  2. 3 eggs
  3. 3 egg yolks (whites can be saved in a zip top bag in the freezer)
  4. 200 grams (1 cup) sugar
  5. 1/2 cup sour cream
  6. 250 grams (1 cup) smooth peanut butter
for the topping
  1. 1 cup sour cream
  2. 100 grams (1 cup) milk chocolate chips
  3. 30 grams (2 Tbsp) brown sugar
for the crust
  1. Give the graham crackers a good smash up before opening the sleeve just to break them up a bit. I just smack them with the heel of my hand.
  2. Dump the graham crackers into your food processor and process until you achieve small crumbs.
  3. Add your dark chocolate chips to the food processor and pulse several times to break up the chips a bit.
  4. With the processor running pour in the melted butter and mix until everything is combined. It only takes a few seconds.
  5. If you don’t have a food processor, just smash up your chocolate and graham crackers in a zip top bag. Anything heavy will work. Rolling pin, sledge hammer. Just be careful.
  6. Press your wet crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. I use a piece of wax paper to keep from getting crumb hands.
  7. Park your crust in the fridge while you proceed with your filling.
for the filling
  1. Preheat your oven to 340.
  2. Rinse out your food processor (you could also use a mixer), then add the cream cheese. Give it a spin for about thirty seconds to make sure it’s all nice and smooth. This will make it easier to combine all your ingredients as you go.
  3. Add the rest of your ingredients, processing for a few seconds after each one. Scrape down your bowl with a spatula, and give it one final spin to make sure everything is smoothly incorporated.
  4. Pour your filling over your crust and smooth the top. Bake for 50 minutes. The top should be just set. Take the cheesecake out of the oven while you work on the topping.
for the topping
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan over low heat.
  2. Stir frequently to incorporate the chocolate and the sour cream.
  3. Once everything is melted and smooth, gently spread the chocolate mixture over the cheesecake.
  4. Return to the oven and bake an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool completely on the counter. (If you put it in the fridge too soon, condensation will develop and you’ll have water spots on your chocolate topping. It’s perfectly edible, just looks a bit different.)
  6. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours, preferably overnight.
  7. Remove from refrigerator. Carefully remove springform ring.
  8. Slice and indulge and try not to think about algebra.
  9. Store in the refrigerator.
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
http://awesomeon20.com/
 

Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes with Bacon Cream Cheese Icing

The way I see it, the four food groups need an overhaul. I know they had that pyramid thing for a while, but I like to keep things classic. How about the four food groups of awesome? Henceforth they shall be: Bacon, Cheese, Sugar, and Liquor!!!!!

Oh, and carbs because duh, how would you live?

I combined two of the essential food groups into one ridiculous cupcake. I mean, you haven’t been able to buy yourself any new clothes in months. You need cupcakes to keep you going. You deserve it.

Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes

I’m not so up on the trends, usually because I can’t afford them. It took a while, but I finally put bacon in a dessert, and it was super awesome. I know I’m not the last one on the planet to give this a try. Let me urge you not to waste another day.

The cupcakes are sticky and rich, with a hint of spice. And the cream cheese icing has bits of bacon throughout. Bacon! What else do I have to say?

This cupcake isn’t overpoweringly bacony. It’s not like putting your breakfast on top of a cake. The bacon just adds an essential chewy, salty, smoky factor that pretty much makes you want to swoon.

Bacon Irish Coffee

You might also like to put some Bailey’s and bacon vodka into your favorite coffee to help wash it down. Bacon Irish Coffee can’t possibly be a bad idea.

Put bacon on your cupcakes. Do it now! You’ll thank me later.

 

Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes
Yields 12
A moist and lightly spiced chocolate cupcake dripping with cream cheese icing studded with crisp bacon
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
18 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
18 min
for the cupcakes
  1. 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  2. 4 Tbsp recently boiled water
  3. 1/2 cup buttermilk
  4. 1 cup flour
  5. 1 tsp baking soda
  6. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 2 shakes of ground cloves
  9. 2 eggs
  10. 1 cup sugar
  11. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
for the icing
  1. 1/2 stick (2 ounces) butter, softened
  2. 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  3. 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  4. 2 Tbsp milk
  5. 6 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped to small pieces (save one piece per cupcake to decorate, it you so choose)
for the cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and put your favorite cupcake papers in your pan.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the cocoa powder and hot water to form a thick paste. Then slowly whisk in the buttermilk.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cloves, and both sugars.
  4. In a larger bowl beat the eggs for about a minute. Mix in half the cocoa mixture, then half the flour mixture. Then repeat the process with the rest of the cocoa and flour. Stir until just combined.
  5. Fill the cups about halfway, then bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Let cool completely.
for the icing
  1. With a mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
  2. Add the sugar, vanilla, and milk, and mix until smooth. It will be halfway between a set frosting and a glaze.
  3. Stir in the bacon.
  4. Spoon the frosting onto your cupcakes. It will drip a bit. Garnish with bacon pieces then store in the refrigerator.
Adapted from My Year in Meals by Rachael Ray
http://awesomeon20.com/
 

Free Entertainment and Scottish Shortbread

Scottish Shortbread

I don’t know how things are in your town, but around here it seems like there’s some kind of festival on every other weekend. You can’t walk through the park on a Saturday without seeing a bunch of tents. The best thing about these festivals is that they’re free! And free is for me.

Scottish Soldiers

When weekends roll around, it usually doesn’t take us long to fall into the vultures from The Jungle Book routine. Going to the movies can be so expensive. I love eating out, but that adds up too, in dollars and calories. And shopping is almost always out of the question. Taking in a free cultural festival is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air, learn something about your community, and support local vendors.

Highland Games

Recently we checked out the Scottish festival in Kapiolani Park. I was hoping it would make my husband a little less homesick. They had everything you’d expect. There were bagpipers, rigidly adorable Celtic dancers, medieval combat, dudes in skirts throwing heavy balls, and, of course, haggis.

haggis

You can usually get yourself a pretty tasty lunch at one of these cultural festivals for a decent price. And it’s fun to try stuff you’ve never had before. We didn’t get to stay for lunch this time, but we did try some crazy sodas at the Latin festival a few months back.

latin sodas

When you live in the middle of the ocean, it can be extremely expensive to get off your island. But the park is only a mile away. Ethnic food and music in a beautiful park across from the beach in Waikiki? I don’t mind if I do.

whole shortbread

Of course, you can also make your own ethnic food anytime you want. I don’t get to take vacations. I have to pretend. Don’t worry, I didn’t make you haggis. By far my favorite thing to come out of Scotland is shortbread. It’s simple, sweet, and oh so buttery. Perhaps it’s not as exciting as other things in your cookie jar, but there’s a reason this stuff has been around for hundreds of years. It’s heavenly.

Scottish Shortbread

Scottish Shortbread
Yields 8
Simple buttery shortbread perfection
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
55 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 240 grams (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  2. 120 grams (1 cup) sugar
  3. 240 grams (1-1/4 cup) flour
  4. 120 grams (1/2 cup) semolina
Instructions
  1. Stir together the softened butter and sugar in a medium mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. You don’t want to work too much air in.
  2. Sift in the flour and semolina then stir that in as well. I used a combination of a cutting and stirring motion.
  3. On a piece of parchment paper, trace a 9 inch circle.
  4. Empty your mixed dough onto the parchment and knead a few times until smooth.
  5. Press the dough to fill the circle. Pat it around the edges to make it smooth and flat.
  6. Use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to cut the circle into 8 equal pieces, but don’t move anything.
  7. Prick the dough with a fork all over to prevent rising.
  8. Put the dough in the fridge for about 20 minutes to let it stiffen up.
  9. Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat it to 325.
  10. Remove the dough from the fridge and place on the preheated baking sheet. Bake for 55 minutes until it is lightly golden.
  11. Remove from the oven and sprinkle evenly with sugar. Recut the shortbread while it’s still warm. Allow to cool on baking sheet.
  12. Try to keep your husband from eating the whole batch in one day. Good luck.
Adapted from Delicious Magazine
http://awesomeon20.com/
 

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