Death by Chocolate Cheesecake

I admit it. I have been obsessed with chocolate lately. I’ve made bourbon brownies, 2 toned chocolate and choco chip cookies, in addition to the usual, standard stuff I make. And I’m not yet done. Still on my list are Kladdkaka, Tableya Cupcakes, Creme de Cacao… and this Chocolate Cheesecake, which has been dubbed Death by Chocolate Cheesecake.

For this one I delved deep into my cookbooks. Both hubby and the kid are chocoholics, and both are very particular when it comes to chocolate – they have discerning tastes! They prefer a deep, complex, nuanced chocolate flavor. I finally hit the jackpot when I found this recipe in a special edition “magazine” of Fine Cooking.

I started with a ready-made, off-the-grocery-shelf Oreo cookie crust. I know I could have made my own chocolate cookie crust but having a ready-made one DOES give me more time to concentrate on the filling, which I believed was more important! The downside though is that the ready made crust could not contain the full recipe for the filling. So I had to polish my math skills and scaled the recipe to about 2/3 – even then I was afraid that the batter would spill over in the oven. But all is well that ends well, the batter puffed up during baking but settled in nicely upon cooling…

The recipe did not specify a topping but I had in my mind a chocolate masterpiece with 6 layers of chocolate! I imagined (1) chocolate cookie crust, (2) double chocolate cheesecake filling, (3) silky ganache topping, (4) dark chocolate curls, (5) chocolate syrup drizzle, and (6) chocolate ice cream on the side!

For the silky ganache topping, I wanted a “softer” consistency, so instead of a 50-50 mix of chocolate and whipping cream, I used a 40-60 proportion, using a bit more cream than chocolate.

For the chocolate curls, I finally used the gourmet dark chocolate bar that my brother-in-law gave as a present.

While I had envisioned the 6 layers, I ended up with just 4 because hubby decided that it was overkill (pun intended!) to go beyond the chocolate curls. (The kid happily doused her slice in chocolate syrup though, but skipped the ice cream so at least for her it was 5 layers!)

The verdict? HEAVENLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And, just like that, I am the kid’s hero again! I just love hearing her proclaim – Mommy you are the best cooker and baker ever, ever! (Her exact words)

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Almond Butter Choco Chip Loaf

I have a list (several lists, actually) of goodies that I want to bake.  The list, or lists, just keep getting longer because it seems like I just want to make everything!!!  And it seems like I don’t have enough time…

But with the crazy weather these days, I got “stuck” at the house a few times when it rained rather heavily.  I decided to shorten my list, at least by one.

I found a recipe for Peanut Butter Quickbread interesting (I am sorry though, because I must have forgotten to write the source of the recipe) but silly me, I discover too late that we had no peanut butter and no buttermilk!!!

What I did have is almond butter (the natural kind) and regular whole milk… so I made substitutions and crossed my fingers that it would work…

1 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup natural, unsweetened almond butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup milk

It kinda worked… The problem was the taste was not appealing to the family or the rest of the household.

I guess next time I will stick to peanut butter!

🙂

Two Toned Cookies

As they say, why mess up a good thing?

Well…

If it is to make it better, then, sure, why not?

My go-to recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies is the good ‘ole Nestle TollHouse recipe, although I always use half a recipe…

Anyway, I had visions in my head of a two-toned cookie – a hybrid of a chocolate chip cookie and a chocolate cookie studded with peanut butter chips!

I wasn’t really sure how I was going to do it… the chocolate chip cookie part was not the problem… the chocolate cookie was the question – and I am actually quite lazy, I mean I love baking so I will bake any chance I get, but I don’t particularly like washing dishes!

Anyway, to solve my issue, I halved the batter (without chocolate chips yet) by placing approximately half in another bowl.  I added half a cup of chocolate chips to one bowl and 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa and half a cup of peanut butter chips to the other bowl.

Drop half a teaspoon of each batter side by side (or top and bottom) then bake.

The little girl saw me baking and requested that the cookies be dipped in chocolate and sprinkles.  I thought it was a bit overkill but then, what they hey, why not?

We ended up with cookie pops that she brought to a playdate… it turned out that one of her playmates was having her birthday celebration that day!

Chilli Crab

Whenever we are lucky to have fresh, live crabs, my favorite dish to cook is crab sotanghon. But this time around, I asked hubby his preference and (I shouldn’t have asked since I know) he wants crabs very spicy, Singaporean style.

For this particular dish, I used the recipe in this book…

found on page 19

As usual, I personalize the recipe so here is what I did –

1.2 kilograms of crab, about 3 pieces
oil, for stir-frying
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 thumb fresh ginger, minced
1 small onion, minced
1 to 2 siling labuyo, minced (small chilis)
1 to 2 cups stock (chicken, shrimp or fish)
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
1/4 cup tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons cornstarch slurry
1 egg, beaten
handful of wansoy
spring onions

To prepare the crab, heat some water with ginger slices and parboil the crabs until they are no longer moving.  Scrub the shells clean then chop into serving pieces.  Set aside.

Saute the garlic, ginger, onion and chilis.  Add the crab pieces and the stock, sweet chili sauce, ketchup and rice wine.  Simmer about 10 minutes, or until the crabs are cooked.  Do not over-cook!  Season with salt and pepper, as per individual taste.  Thicken the dish with cornstarch slurry.  Drizzle in the beaten egg and sir gently until egg is set.

Serve hot.  Garnish with wansoy and spring onions.

It was really spicy but delicious!  Perfect with hot steaming rice!

Hubby’s picture posted on his FB page –

He knows that flattery (ehem, compliment daw) will get him everything!!!

*smile*

Japanese-style Chicken Curry

Curry is no stranger to our table, but we usually have the Thai kind, and our usual local variety… but this time I wanted to try Japanese-style – a thick, sweet-ish curry.

I decided to follow the recipe for the curry base here, from scratch with only 5 ingredients!!!

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

First make a roux – melt the butter then add the flour.  Stir and cook over low heat until the roux is browned.  add the other ingredients.  Set aside while the curry dish is cooked.

400 grams boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into serving pieces (cleaned and patted dry)
4 ginger slices
2 cloves garlic
1 small onion, sliced
2 potatoes, cubed
3 to 4 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup curry roux
2 tablespoons sweetened applesauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 small red bell pepper, cubed

Saute the ginger, garlic and onions until soft.  Add the chicken and stir fry a couple of minutes.  Add the cubed potatoes. Add about 1 cup of the chicken stock; set the heat on low.

Add about a cup of chicken stock to the curry roux, to loosen it a bit and then put it into the pot. Stir to dissolve and mix everything; add remaining stock and applesauce. Let simmer until the chicken and vegetables are cooked through. Add the cubed bell peppers last (to keep them crunchy) Season with salt and pepper.

Serve hot over rice!!!

 

Filipino-style Cheese Cupcake

Even before knowing about (American/Western) cupcakes, we were happily eating cheese cupcakes (we are the ones with cheese ice cream too!).  When I was a young girl, all the neighborhood bakeries had their own version of cheese cupcakes.  Some were crumbly, extremely cheesy, sweet, heavy… there were all kinds of it.  My personal favorite was the soft kind with a lot of cheese flavor and cheese strips on top.

I tried many recipes for cheese cupcake and got a myriad of results – crumbly, heavy, sweet… none were as cheesy as I would like.  I later discovered, when someone revealed a trade “secret”, that commercial bakeries used cheese flavoring (either a concentrate liquid or powder) to enhance the cheesy flavor.  Well, I don’t know where to get cheese flavoring, then again, I preferred to achieve flavor naturally.  I was able to do by using parmesan… not the “real” stuff but the prepared and already grated ones readily available in the supermarkets.

1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter-margarine blend
6 tablespoons sugar
1 cup condensed milk
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup quick-melt cheese, shredded
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Mix the dry ingredients together, then set aside.

Beat butter and sugar together. Add the condensed milk.

Add half the flour mixture and mix. Add the evaporated milk and mix. Add the remaining flour and mix. Fold in the grated Parmesan. Fold in half the quick-melt and cheddar cheeses.

Scoop batter into paper-lined muffin cups. Bake in a preheated 350*F oven for 15 minures. Take the pan out and quickly sprinkle the rest of the cheeses on top of the cupcakes. Return to the oven and bake further, about 10 to 15 minutes. Take care not to over-bake.

Chewy Cheddar Puffs

We recently had a new addition to our family – hubby gave me a new furbaby!  Coincidentally, he shares the same birthday as the kid, although of course, the kid is waaaayyy older…

Nico

Anyway, everyone knows I cook for my family and that includes our furbabies!  We regularly cook their main meals – a low fat, no salt dish made of ground chicken, liver, several kinds of vegetables, oatmeal and usually wheatgerm.  Occasionally I would make bake treats, depending on what the particular flavor the furbabies like at that specific moment.  For this one, I found this treat

As usual I varied the recipe a bit, mainly because (1) our weather is more humid, more so these days, and (2) the furbabies really, really love cheese, the more the happier they are!

And to make things easier for me (as in less stuff to wash), I just used 1/2 cup measure –

1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 egg
1/2 cup water, at a maximum
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup diced cheddar cheese

Mix the flours together, add egg.  Gradually add the water (it is possible that not all will be used, depending on the humidity levels.  Mix in the cheese.  The texture of the batter should be stiff, like cookie dough.

Drop half teaspoonfuls on a greased, lined, re-greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375*F, for about 14 to 18 minutes, until done but take care not to burn the treats.  Let cool completely.

I got about 40 pieces of treats.  But guess what?  It didn’t last long!!!

Chicken Chilindron

Aside from cookbooks, I also collect cooking magazines… but real books and magazines are bulky!  So sometime ago, I began subscribing to electronic versions…

It is in one of these electronic subscriptions that I saw this recipe by Jamie Oliver… I largely followed the recipe except for skipping the olives, using chicken drumsticks, substituting a couple of ingredients, as well as halving the recipe –

about 700g chicken drumsticks, cleaned, rinsed, pat dry
sea salt and pepper

2 pieces Italian garlic sausages, sliced

1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
8 medium tomatoes, skins removed, sliced into halves or quarters
1 small can sliced pimientos, drained
splash of rice wine
200 ml chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
a pinch of saffron, steeped in a little hot water
zest from half a lemon
2 anchovy fillets

Season the chicken legs with salt and pepper and brown in hot oil for a few minutes.  Remove and transfer to a plate.

In the same, stir fry the sausage slices until cooked.  Remove and transfer to the same plate as the chicken.

In the same pan, on low-medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic, until fragrant and soft, taking care not to let them get burned.  Splash the pan with a bit of rice wine to deglaze then add the tomatoes and squish them (!), as well as the sliced pimientos (left them whole largely since they were not big pieces anyway).  Add the chicken stock and rosemary.

When the pan starts simmering/boiling, put back the chicken and sausages.  Cook on low-medium, uncovered, for about an hour, or until sauce is thickened.

After 30 to 40 minutes, add saffron and steeping liquid. Add the lemon zest and anchovies. Season with salt, if necessary (I added a large pinch of sea salt).

Serve hot, with rice!!!!

This stew is so delicious!  According to Jamie Oliver, this stew comes from Aragon in northeastern Spain, and it works with lamb, too.  But lamb is uncommon where I’m from but I think I will try it with pork!!!

Reduced Sugar Oatmeal Chippers

It is no secret that my favorite cookies are Peanut Butter Cookies.  What is not so widely known is my next favorite – nope, still not Chocolate Chip Cookies – it’s oatmeal!  But not with raisins, or chocolate chips… I like my oatmeal cookies with dates!

But… for this baking project, I gave in to a (supposedly) win-win-win situation – win 1 for me – oatmeal, win 2 for the kid – chocolate chips, and win 3 for hubby – calorie reduced… so I went to my cookbook library and pulled out an old favorite cookbook –

bhg_cookie book

(seriously, I have a collection of BHG cookbooks!  I have at least 4 for cookies alone!)

and decided to use the recipe for Oatmeal Chippers…

oatmeal chippers recipe

with (as usual) some modifications.

To be honest, hubby and the kid were not impressed by the cookies.  They said that the cookies were bland, with a particular texture that they did NOT find appealing.

I shared some with BFF, who shared some with her officemates, and according to them, they were delicious!

So I choose to believe BFF!  hahahaha!

For the recipe –

I used a sugar-stevia baking mix (I found in the baking store), in place of the sugar.  Actually, the instructions on the packet directed using only half of the baking mix in place of the whole sugar amount.  I omitted the nuts (the kid and hubby prefer a no-nut cookie).  I also halved the recipe!

3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup butter compound
6 tablespoons sugar-stevia (sugar substitute mix)
(original is 3/4 cup brown and white sugar mix)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup chocolate chips

Combine flour and baking soda.   Beat butter compound and sugar substitute together; add egg and vanilla.  Beat well.  Stir in flour, in 2 additions.  Fold in oats, then chocolate chips.

Using a 1-oz cookie scoop, drop cookie dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in a preheated 375*F oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned.  Cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or so, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

The half recipe made around 30 cookies.

Next time I am going to try the Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chip Cookies by Martha Stewart!

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes is the one by Nestle.  It is a classic after all and it is said that it is the original chocolate chip cookie.

We shouldn’t mess with something that has proven, right?  But I have read online that browning butter in recipes make the end product even better.  So I decided to brown the butter.  The results were fantastic!!!

(Note –  I halved the recipe because 4 to 5 dozen cookies are too much for us)

1/2 cup browned, melted butter, cooled
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1-1/8 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup chocolate chips

(To get 1/2 cup browned butter, start with 3/4 cup butter.  Melt until it is browned.  Pour into a glass liquid measuring cup with the lovely browned bits up to the 1/2 level.  There may be some melted butter left depending on the butter used.  Leave to cool before using.)

Beat the browned butter and sugar together.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.  Add the combined dry ingredients in 3 additions.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop or scoop onto paper-lined cookie sheets.  Bake in a preheated 350F oven for about 8 to 10 minutes.

yum yum yum!!!!!!!!!!!