Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’ve been stalling on this post for weeks. For one thing, I have a broken finger, so a lot of my energy has been going in to feeling sorry for myself which I know I shouldn’t do. I haven’t been able to break that spell yet.

I also recently checked a book out from the library on aromatherapy, so I’ve become slightly obsessed with procuring essential oils to make and making magic potions. I’m going to solve all my problems with essential oils and start down the road of becoming a full blown witch. What could go wrong?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’ve shared this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake before. A million years ago when I knew even less what I’m doing than I do now. This cheesecake has a chocolate cookie base, a rich and creamy peanut butter cheesecake layer, and a luscious chocolate sour cream topping. It’s heavenly, and I dare you to stop eating it.

Cheesecake can be a bit fiddly, but this one is very straightforward. Just be sure that all your cheesecake ingredients are at room temperature before you get started, and mix it a few seconds longer than you think is necessary to make sure you have a totally smooth mixture. No water bath needed. And don’t panic if there’s a crack or two because we’re covering the whole thing in chocolate. Everything will be more than fine.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake is absolute magic. Get in your kitchen and create something awesome.

Recipe by Nigella Lawson

34 Awesome Thanksgiving Recipes

34 Awesome Thanksgiving Recipes

34 Awesome Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving always sneaks up on me here in Scotland because I’m basically the only person I know who even cares about its existence. It’s my favorite because the food is the star, and I don’t have to worry about finding the perfect gift or looking a certain way. I just have to put a beautiful meal on the table for people I love, and even though it can get stressful, it’s also so much fun.

I may be a failed blogger and a million years behind the times, but just in case I’m not alone in not yet planning my Thanksgiving menu, here are the 34 absolutely awesome recipes I’m going to choose from for my dinner next Saturday. Enjoy your days off, American friends. I’ll be at work remembering how thankful I am to have a job that allows me to pay for imported cans of pumpkin puree.

Cranberry Mule | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Drinks

Cran-Orange-Apple Juice – for anyone who doesn’t want alcohol, or as a mixer for anyone who does.

Cranberry Mule

Cranberry Margarita

Apple Margarita

Orange & Amaretto Cider

Poinsettia Champagne Cocktail

Pumpkin Spice White Russians

Apple Brandy Punch

Spiced Sparkling Cider Cocktail

Garlic & Thyme Baked Camembert | How To Be Awesome on $20 a Day

To Get Things Started

Garlic & Thyme Baked Camembert

Cranberry Brie Bites

Apple Butter & Sharp Cheddar Grilled Cheese – cut into cute little triangles for snacking

Cranberry Shoyu Sausages

Holiday Brie

Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

The Main Event

Red Currant Glazed Ham – because there’s no law saying you have to serve a big turkey

Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy – for a traditional meal for a small crowd

Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatloaf – our family tradition

Rosemary Potato Rolls from Awesome on 20

Sides (obviously the best part)

Sweet Potato Rolls

Ridiculously Awesome Mashed Potatoes

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Spicy Maple Butter

Rosemary Potato Rolls

Sweet Potato Gratin

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Desserts

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream – to go with all your pie

Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

Maple Cheesecake

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake – this one tastes most like traditional pumpkin pie

Baked Sweet Potato Brulee – simplest “dessert” of all time

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Pumpkin Cake

No-Bake Double-Layer Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Spice Brownies

Pumpkin Spice Gooey Butter Cakes

Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Breakfast (for your overnight guests)

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Pumpkin Scones

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Have we all started permanently wearing our stretchy pants for the Thanksgiving to Christmas holiday party bonanza? I miss the days when I actually had to wear spandex to work. What do you think would happen if I showed up in tights and a leotard at my East End Glasgow school? Can we sit on the floor? Desks are for suckers.

This whole moving debacle is putting a a massive wrench in my plan to cook all the things. I might maybe sort of be co-hosting a waffle party this weekend, but I’m about to put most of the stuff in my kitchen into a box. I may not know who I am for a while.

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Before moving madness hit, I made you a cheesecake. Actually, I made you a White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake that you can serve as your Christmas dessert this year. Prepare to be loved by everyone.

This cheesecake has a chocolate cookie base and creamy white chocolate peppermint cheesecake studded with peppermint bark, then the whole thing is topped off with a white chocolate mousse and scattered with crushed candy canes. Not only is it festive and beautiful, but it’s one of the best cheesecake’s I’ve ever eaten.

If you can’t get peppermint bark where you live, you can make your own. It’s pretty easy. Here’s the peppermint bark recipe I used. Don’t worry about fancy molds. Just spread the chocolate out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Oh, and you only need half of this for the cheesecake. You can only make half or save the other half for snacking.

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I can’t wait until I can invite the world over for dinner in our new place. Until then, please please please make this White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake. It’s so very awesome.

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake
Serves 12
White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake had better be in your face very very soon, like now.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
10 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
10 hr
For the crust
  1. 2 cups (around 20 cookies) chocolate cookie crumbs (like oreos or bourbon biscuits)
  2. 3 tablespoons butter, melted
For the filling
  1. 24 ounces cream cheese, softened
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 4 ounces white chocolate, melted
  4. 1-1/2 tablespoons flour
  5. 1-1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  8. 3 eggs
  9. Approximately 1-1/2 cups pepermint bark pieces
For the mousse
  1. 1/2 cups cool whip, thawed
  2. 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  3. 2 ounces white chocolate, melted
  4. 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
  5. 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  6. Crushed peppermint candies, optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F (175C). Prepare your 9-inch springform pan by wrapping the outside with plastic wrap and then foil to keep any water from seeping in when you put it in a water bath.
  2. Use your food processor to crush up your cookies into fine crumbs. (If you don't have a food processor, you can put the cookies in a zip top bag and and smash them with a rolling pin or other heavy object.)
  3. Add the melted butter to the bread crumbs and pulse until your crumbs resemble wet sand.
  4. Pour your crumb mixture into your springform pan, and press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake your crust for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool while you get on with your cheesecake filling.
  5. Reduce oven heat to 325.
  6. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat your cream cheese until smooth. Next beat in the sugar, then scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  7. Beat in the melted white chocolate, flour, heavy cream, salt, and peppermint extract, and give the bowl another scrape.
  8. Beat the eggs in one at a time. Scrape and beat once more to make sure the mixture is completely smooth.
  9. Scatter your peppermint bark pieces evenly over your crust. Pour your cheesecake mixture over the crust and peppermint bark.
  10. Place your springform pan into a large roasting pan. Place the whole thing in the oven. Pull the rack out a bit so you can reach it easier. Pour hot water into the roasting pan until it's about halfway up the side of the springform pan. Gently push the oven rack back into place, close the door, and bake your cheesecake for an hour.
  11. When the hour is up, turn off the oven, but don't open the door. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for another 45 minutes.
  12. Remove the springform pan from the water bath and allow the cheesecake to cool on the counter for an hour. Transfer the cheesecake to the fridge to cool for at least four hours before adding the mousse.
  13. To make the white chocolate mousse, add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl, and beat together until thick and smooth.
  14. Carefully spread the mousse over the top of the cheesecake, and return it to the fridge for another four hours at least.
  15. To add a bit of festive cheer, crush up a candy cane, and sprinkle the bits over your cheesecake just before serving. They'll be crunchy the first time around, but they'll melt in the fridge. It' fine. They make a cool watercolor effect and still impart peppermint flavor.
Adapted from Baked by Rachel
Adapted from Baked by Rachel
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/

Maple Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Maple Cheesecake

Maple Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I thought I remembered what 48 degrees felt like. You guys, I was wrong. Hawaii has spoiled me forever. But  let’s not talk about the weather Weather is boring.

Let’s talk about staying awesome when the world is hinting that maybe you aren’t. Let’s talk about continuing to put your voice out into the world, even if you feel like no one is listening. Let’s talk about not giving up, even when it would make life much easier. Perseverance, kids. That’s how to be awesome. Then, let’s talk about cheesecake.

Maple Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Not everyone is a pumpkin fan. I don’t quite understand it, but I hear it’s true. There are plenty of other fall and winter flavors to celebrate with, though. Like maple. Sweet, sweet, golden maple. Just close your eyes and put yourself in a Vermont forest. What’s more winter than that?

Maple Cheesecake is slicked with gleaming maple syrup, giving it a shine that makes it pretty enough for your holiday table. You may not believe me, but this cheesecake is actually not that sweet. It is, however, creamy dreamy good and quite simple to make. And it pretty much has to be made ahead of time, so there’s nothing to worry about while you’re getting dinner together.

Maple Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Don’t let anything get you down, and definitely don’t let anything get between you and Maple Cheesecake.

Maple Cheesecake
Serves 10
Smooth, creamy Maple Cheesecake is dripping with golden maple syrup and winter cheer.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 9 graham crackers or digestive biscuits smashed into crumbs
  2. 3 ounces (six tablespoons) butter, melted
  3. 2 drops maple extract (optional)
  4. 24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  5. 1/4 sugar
  6. 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  7. 1/2 cup maple syrup plus more for drizzling
  8. 4 eggs
  9. 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and pull out your nine-inch springform pan.
  2. Stir together your crumbs, melted butter, and maple extract if you have it until the crumbs are moistened. Press this mixture evenly into the bottom of your springform pan and stash it in the fridge while you make your cheesecake batter.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch, and maple syrup until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until smooth after each one. Scrape down the side of your pan. Add in the lemon juice, and give it all one last mix.
  4. Put a kettle of water on to boil. Remove your pan from the fridge and wrap the outside in plastic wrap followed by a double layer of foil to keep out the water from the water bath you're about to create.
  5. Pour your cheesecake batter over your crust. Place the pan inside a roasting pan. Open the oven and pull out the middle rack. Place the roasting pan on the rack and carefully pour the recently boiled water from your kettle into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the outside of your springform pan.
  6. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until your cheesecake is barely wobbly. Turn off the oven, open the door, and let your cheesecake cool in the oven for at least an hour. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and the roasting pan. Peal back the foil, and allow your cheesecake to cool on the counter until it comes to room temperature. Move your cheesecake to the fridge to chill for at least 8 hours.
  7. When you're ready to serve, remove the collar from your springform pan and place your cheesecake onto a plate or pretty platter or cake stand. Generally pour maple syrup over the top to create a shiny shallow lake of sweetness. Slice and serve and smile.
Adapted from Nigella Christmas
Adapted from Nigella Christmas
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I can sometimes be very impatient. When we found out we were moving to Glasgow, but then had to wait five weeks, it drove me nuts. We’ve been in our new apartment three weeks now, and I get twitchy every time I think about all the stuff we don’t have yet. The start date for my new job got pushed back a week and a half. It’s taking every ounce of will not to pace up and down the living room, nervous with anticipation. When I figure out what I want, I want it now! I don’t like to wait. I don’t ask for much. It seems reasonable. It’s probably not.

Impatience can sometimes be a disaster in the kitchen, and I have to say, I’ve been guilty of this on multiple occasions. Especially with cheesecake. Cheesecake requires a lot of patience. You need to allow all your ingredients to come to room temperature. You need to mix everything together until it’s ultra smooth. You have to make a water bath and then let it cook for a long time. Then, and this is where I usually get in trouble, you have to let it cool very slowly to avoid cracks. I almost always fail at this. You can’t just throw that junk in the fridge straight out of the oven. 

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This time I was extremely patient. When the cheesecake was baked, I turned the oven off and opened the door for an hour to let it cool in the oven. Then I set it on the counter for an entire afternoon before putting it in the fridge over night. 24 hours later, I have a crack free Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake. I’m so proud.

I call this Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake because there are none of the typical spices you’d usually find in other pumpkin desserts. It’s got a distinct pumpkin flavor, and it’s not overly sweet. It’s the perfect holiday dessert to please those people in your family who aren’t massive sugar fiends. Oh, and normal people will like it, too. And since it has to be made the day before, it won’t get in the way of the rest of your meal prep.

I know I’ve probably just made cheesecake sound daunting, but I promise, the only special skill you need is patience. Just give it plenty of time to cool off, and you’ll be golden.

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Take a deep breath, relax, and be patient. Good things, especially Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake, will soon be yours.

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake
Not too sweet and packed with pumpkin goodness, this Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake needs a place on your holiday table.
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For the crust
  1. 2 cups graham cracker or digestive biscuit crumbs
  2. 4 ounces butter, melted
For the filling
  1. 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  2. 1-1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
  3. 1 cup sugar
  4. 6 eggs
  5. Juice of half a lemon
For the crust
  1. To make your crumbs, pop your crackers or biscuits into a zip top bag, and bash them to bits with a rolling pin, or blitz them up in a food processor.
  2. Mix the crumbs and butter together until you have a moist, sandy mixture. Press this into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan. Stash it in the fridge while you get on with your filling.
For the filling
  1. Preheat
  2. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the pumpkin and cream cheese until smooth. Add in the sugar and beat to combine.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each one. Scrape down the sides of your bowl with a rubber spatula, then add in the lemon juice and give everything one last mix until everything is smooth.
  4. Put a kettle on to boil. Take your spring form pan out of the fridge and wrap the outside in two layers of foil to make sure no water can leak in. Pour and scrape the filling into the pan, then set it inside a roasting pan.
  5. Once your kettle has boiled, pull out the rack on your oven halfway, place your pans on the rack, and carefully pour your recently boiled water into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the side of your spring form pan. Push the rack in, close the door, and let it bake for an hour and 45 minutes or until your cheesecake has just a slight wobble.
  6. When it's ready, turn off the oven and open the door. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for an hour or so, then let it sit on the counter for several hours until it's come to room temperature. Finally, chill it in the fridge over night.
  7. When you're ready to serve, carefully remove the collar of your spring form pan and slice with a clean knife. Reward yourself for your patience with a dollop of whipped cream.
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/



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