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
http://awesomeon20.com/
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Jalapeno Hush Puppies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
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
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
http://awesomeon20.com/
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