Saturday, February 13, 2016

Caramel Cheesecake Recipe

I think I have already established my love for cheesecake.

I was thinking of other flavors that reminds me of Valentines aside from red velvet. I think I have way too many red velvet posts for now, so let me add other flavors to my blog.

Chocolate came to my mind - but then again, it's a classic flavor. It can be a special cake like my moist cake, but I'm thinking of something more related to Valentines.

Then I remembered Caramel! I've always loved caramel-filled chocolates, so why not dedicate a whole cake to caramel?

But I don't want to it be super sweet. As much as I love chocolate + buttercream + caramel separately, putting them all together in one cake sounds like a toothache. So the sour taste of cheesecake contrasting to the sweet flavor of caramel sounds perfect.

I admit - this isn't the prettiest cake I've ever made. I used as little graham crust as I can get away with, and I didn't bake it in a water bath (which resulted to a cracked top). But taste wise? It's amazing!

Another confession: I (secretly) call this "poor-man's cheesecake". I didn't use sour cream or heavy whipping cream for this recipe, used as little graham crackers as I can, and used Kraft caramel candies. But in the end, it doesn't taste short on flavor! It's a perfect go-to cheesecake recipe.

For cheesecake and garnish:
  • 12 oz cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Kraft caramel candies, diced into 4 parts/cube
  • 2 pcs eggs
  • approx. 1/4 cup melted caramel*
For crust:
  • 1/2 cup crushed graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter

  1. Preheat oven to 190C
  2. Prepare crust. Mix in crushed graham crackers, sugar, and butter. Press into the bottom of an 8" springform pan.
  3. Beat cream cheese until soft. Mix in sugar, and add eggs one at a time. Mixture should be runny.
  4. Pour mixture into crust. 
  5. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden and showing deep cracks. Cool for 2 hours.
  6. Refrigerate cake for 1 hour to overnight.
  7. Top with melted caramel. If you want to use candy caramels, simply melt 12 pcs of Kraft caramel candies in a double broiler, together with approximately 6 tsps of milk or water. You may add more liquid if you prefer it to be more runny.
Recipe adapted from WikiHow. 

Just like in my Peanut Butter Cheesecake, my brother had a comment about this cake. He said it's "too sweet". But when I tried it myself, the sweetness was just okay. I think there's something wrong with his taste buds!

Tell me what you think if you'll try this cake! ;)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Red Velvet & Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies

It’s the season of love! So what better way to celebrate it than red velvet desserts??

Okay, fine; I make red velvet any time of the year. (Actually, I have an addiction to Red Velvet. So I’m using Valentine’s season as an excuse to make more Red Velvet desserts. #RealTalk) But why limit this amazing dessert to Valentines or Christmas only? Let’s celebrate red velvet all year round!

But seriously, I think there’s something wrong with me: I tend to celebrate the most mondane days vs special occassions. Like Christmas. Here in the Philippines, the festive spirit starts as early as September. But all -ber months long, I wasn’t prepared for Christmas! I only felt the season kick in the day after Christmas. It sucks – getting to feel Christmas when it’s almost over. 

So this year, I made a silent vow to myself to get into the season early. And I’m not just talking about Christmas – it includes Valentines and Summer! Thus, it explains this early Valentines post. ;)

Why cookies? Because it’s easy! I’ve been busy lately with work. Who knew that the retail industry is a busy work place to be in after Christmas season? They should’ve warned me. Nevertheless, I still want to bake. I missed it after (unintentionally) being on hiatus over the season.

I love how these cookies are a bit more special than the classic cookies. I like how the cheesecake  “thumbprint” adds a contrast to the red velvet cookie which looks like a pretty crinkle covered in sanding sugar instead of the classic powdered sugar. Honestly, the cookie itself is a bit dry. I guess it’s because you’ll bake it for a total of 22 minutes (though in lower temp). But I actually like it because it almost resembles the texture of graham cracker crust on a cheesecake. So these technically tastes like bite-size cheesecake in red velvet cookie crust! H-E-A-V-E-N!

I must warn you: these are addictive! I rarely snack on the desserts I bake, but I was already snacking on these even before the 3rd batch were out of the oven! I already stored half away to prevent myself from eating everything. We’re talking about red velvet and cheesecake here, guys. #shameless

Red Velvet Cookies

  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tsp red food coloring
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (for rolling)
Cheesecake Filling
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 150C. 
  2. Beat together butter, brown sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Mix in flour, food coloring, and cocoa powder until well blended. Soft dough will form.
  3. Pour sugar in a flat plate. Scoop a teaspoon of the mixture and roll into sugar until well coated. Place in baking pan topped with silicon mat or parchment paper.Using a rounded 1 tsp measuring spoon, make a small well in the center. 
  4. Bake for 10 minutes.
  5. While baking, prepare the cheesecake filling by beating together cream cheese, egg yolk, sugar, salt, and vanilla until smooth. Transfer mixture in a piping bag snipped at the tip (or place a plain, round piping tip)
  6. Once cookies are done, redo the well to ensure it's still deep enough for the cheesecake filling. Pipe filling just until it's the same level with the cookie.
  7. Bake for an additional 12 minutes, until filling is set.
Recipe from Something Swanky.

Notes for success:
In the original recipe, it says that you can use the extra egg whites to use as egg wash instead of rolling the cookies on sugar. I actually prefer the extra texture (and slight sweetness) the sanding sugar brings!