Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mini Nutella Cheesecakes

I've been wanting to buy a mini springform pan, maybe a 6 or 7 inch one from amazon but then came across these 4.75 inch springform pans at walmart. They are alot smaller, but they were too cute to pass up. So I made these little nutella cheesecakes with them. The cheesecake came out perfect, so creamy and smooth. I topped each one with a fluffy nutella mousse, which was my sister in law's favorite part. 

Mini Nutella Cheesecakes
Adapted from: The Baker Upstairs
Yield: 4 mini cheesecakes (4.75" springform pans) OR 20 regular sized cupcakes

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (process graham crackers in a blender)
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Mix all ingredients together and press into the bottom of four 4.75 inch springform pans. Or line cupcake tins with 20 paper or foil liners and press about a teaspoon of crumbs into bottom of liners. Set aside.

16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup Nutella (I used 1/2 cup but I would suggest adding alittle more for taste)
Fresh raspberries, optional, to garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, blend sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Then add heavy cream, sour cream, and vanilla, and mix until smooth. Blend in nutella until just combined. 

Divide the filling evenly between the mini springform pans or cupcake liners, filling nearly to the top (about 1/2 inch to the top). Tap lightly on the counter to release any trapped air. Bake 30 minutes for mini spring form pans and 20 minutes for the cupcakes. Cheesecake will be just slightly jiggly in the center. Open oven door and turn off the oven. Allow to slowly cool inside oven. Then remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. When fully cool, cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for several hours. Keep in the refrigerator.

Nutella Mousse
Adapted from: Pretty Simple Sweet

1/2 cup Nutella, soft at room temperature
1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold

In a stand mixer bowl with whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream just until stiff peaks form, do not over beat. Add 2 tablespoons of nutella and whisk. Add the rest of the nutella and gently whisk for a few seconds and then fold with a rubber spatula until combined and smooth.

Chill the mousse to set for at least 2 hours.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

What can I say? There are no words for Nadijah. She's one of the best people I've ever known, and my heart will fill a void when I realize we won't be hanging out on weekends anymore. We are so proud of her, tabarakAllah, and may she feel ease and happiness in this new chapter of her life. Congratulations!!!!

These were everything a good cookie cake should be. Chewy, soft, alittle under-baked in the middle, and golden brown crispy on top..

You can't have cookie cake without frosting. But better than artificial, sickeningly sweet canned frosting is this homemade chocolate buttercream. It was smooth and luscious and a perfect crown to this celebratory cake.

I'm planning to make this again for Yusif and Naven, thats how good it was. They love cookies so I'm sure they will enjoy this. And this was one the easiest recipes out there. I like how there's no extra wait for these. You don't have to wait to chill the cookie dough and you don't have to make them a day early.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
Adapted from: Sally's Baking Addiction

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk, room temperature*
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour (careful not to over measure)
2 teaspoons cornstarch (cornflour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks (reserve 1/4 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Grease with shortening a 9-inch pie dish or cake pan or use a nonstick spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the sugars and beat on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Mix in eggs and vanilla on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be quite thick. Add 1 and 1/4 cups chocolate chips and mix for about 5 seconds until evenly disbursed.

Press the cookie dough evenly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle reserved 1/4 cup of chocolate chips on top and lightly press in. Cover with aluminum foil to avoid heavy browning of the cookie cake. Bake for 20 minutes. Then, remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the cake is lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and set the pan on a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, use a sharp knife or metal spatula to loosen the sides of the cookie cake from the pan and transfer to a serving dish. (Or use can serve directly from the pan.)

Milk Chocolate Buttercream
1 and 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 Tablespoons heavy cream or half-and-half*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Sift or whisk together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder to assure there are no lumps. Set aside. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy - about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sifted sugar/cocoa powder alternately with the heavy cream and vanilla. Beat on low speed after each addition. Once all added, beat on high speed until creamy and combined for at least 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt.

Decorate the cooled cookie cake with frosting with a Wilton 1M piping tip. Cookie cake remains fresh covered tightly at room temperature for up to 3 days.

*I prefer room temperature eggs for my cookie cake. Room temperature eggs incorporate evenly into your cookie dough – guaranteeing a uniform texture in each bite of the cookie cake. Simply set out the eggs when you set out the butter to come to room temperature. If you forget to set out your eggs, no worries. Place them into a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes, then use.

*For the frosting, heavy cream or half-and-half will give the creamiest texture. You may use milk instead, keeping in mind the frosting won't be as creamy or whipped.
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