Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ideas for Mom

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake

  • 1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) dark chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 3 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

PREHEAT oven to 350ยบ F. Tightly wrap outside bottom and side of 9-inch springform pan with 2 pieces of foil to prevent leakage.

MICROWAVE 1 1/4 cups morsels in small, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 1 minute; STIR. Morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

COMBINE crumbs, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and butter in ungreased 9-inch-springform pan. Press onto bottom and 1-inch up side of pan.

BEAT cream cheese, remaining 1 cup sugar, sour cream and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in melted chocolate until blended. Pour onto crust. Place pan in large roasting pan; fill roasting pan with hot water to 1-inch depth.

BAKE for 45 to 50 minutes or until edges are set but center still moves slightly. Remove cheesecake from water bath to wire rack. Run wet knife around edge of cheesecake. Refrigerate for 1 hour and remove side of pan.

MICROWAVE remaining morsels and whipping cream in small, uncovered microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 1 to 2 minutes; STIR. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until smooth; cool for 5 minutes. Spread over cheesecake. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Individual Pineapple Upside-down Cakes
I made these for a youth group fundraiser dinner. They are super easy to make in big quantities (though take time unless you have a million muffin pans)

Brown sugar
Pineapple rings
yellow cake mixes

remove rings from juice. Use pineapple juice to substitute for water in the cake mix directions. If you run out of juice, jut finish up with water. Use a jumbo muffin pan. Grease with cooking spray. crumble a little brown sugar to the bottom of each then insert one pineapple ring. Fill with cake batter and bake following cupcake directions. Check with a toothpick to see if it's done or not. Invert once cooled.

Individual Flourless Chocolate Cakes
This was the other option for dessert at that fundraiser dinner. Both went over really well! This one I adapted to be jumbo muffin size, so you'll want to alter the cooking time, of course.

For Cake:
2/3 c. plus 2 tblsp. sugar
2 tblsp. cocao powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 stick butter
9 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract

For Ganache:
½ c. heavy whipping cream
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped if necessary

For Serving:
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1-2 tblsp. sugar, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the base of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, cut to fit the pan. Butter the parchment and the sides of the pan.

Combine the sugar, cocoa and salt in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs with the vanilla and add to the bowl. Stir to combine. In medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the chocolate and whisk constantly until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add the chocolate to the sugar-egg mixture and whisk until completely combined. Batter should be thick and fairly smooth. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The cake will be firm and pulling away from the sides of the pan. Cool completely in pan.

To prepare the ganache, bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add the chocolate and stir until completely melted and smooth. Pour the ganache over the cake, still inside the springform pan. Shake the pan to even out the ganache. Chill for 2 hours to set the ganache.