Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pineapple Upside Down Cheesecake

I got pineapple upside down cheesecake a few weeks ago at the cheesecake factory (one of my favorites) and I really wanted to recreate it. I notice they use crushed pineapple so I did too, but I also added pineapple rings so the top looks pretty.

I wanted the cheesecake to be just as creamy as their's. In the center of the cheesecake, it was. But the outer edges (where it bakes more) were more dense. I think I need to buy these. But anyway, this cake is caramelized sugared pineapple heaven. 

So, I haven't nailed the Cheesecake Factory recipe quite yet. I think I need to use more sweetened condensed milk and less cream cheese. Also, I believe they use maraschino cherry juice in the cheesecake but I thought that would be a disaster so I skipped it. Not the time to experiment with cherry juice business.

It took 5 spatulas and 6 hands to transfer that soft buttery pineapple upside down cake on top of the cheesecake. Whew! It didn't fall apart.  

This was so good the next day, I wanted to make some more. I did not bake the cheesecake with a crust because I initially thought I was going to sandwich it between two layers of cake (just like the Cheesecake Factory does) but then decided to go the lazy route and just put one cake layer on top. So, if you want to bake your cheesecake with a crust, no problem! I must say though, it doesn't need it!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Adapted from Betty Crocker

1/4 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
7 slices pineapple in juice (from 14-oz can), drained
1/3 cup crushed pineapple in juice, drained
7 maraschino cherries without stems
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whole milk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon rum extract

Heat oven to 350°F. In a 8.5-inch or 9-inch round pan, melt butter in oven. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over melted butter. Arrange pineapple slices over brown sugar. Place cherry in center of each pineapple slice. Sprinkle crushed pineapple to fill in all the gaps, including inside the center of the pineapple rings.

In medium bowl, beat remaining ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour batter over pineapple and cherries, you may have about 1/4 cup left over batter that does not fit into pan.

Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately place heatproof serving plate upside down over pan; turn plate and pan over. Leave pan over cake a few minutes so brown sugar mixture can drizzle over cake; remove pan. Serve warm (would be wonderful with vanilla ice cream) or allow to cool to place on top of cheesecake. 

Adapted from... me!

3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
2 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon rum extract

Heat oven to 350ºF.  

Beat cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, and extract; mix well. Place an 8.5-inch or 9-inch springform pan on top of cookie sheet, incase a small amount of batter leaks. Pour batter into pan. Place in oven, with the pan still on top of cookie sheet.  

Bake 45-50 minutes or until center is set. The center should jiggle around but not look wet. Remove from oven. Cool 1 hour. Chill at least 4 hours. 

Finish by using 5 spatulas (and some friends) to help you lift pineapple upside down cake on top of cheesecake.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I made these last week when Yusif and Naven came over to barbeque with us. 
Wow, I can't believe it's almost been a year since I first made these in brownie form

I really like the sea salt in these, of course, because it's paired with caramel! 
Layered desserts are always my favorite to make.

I used softened butter instead of melting it.

Make the cookies and spread half onto the bottom of a buttered 9x9 dish. I used a bit more than 2 cups of chocolate chips. Extra chocolate chips is always a good thing when making regular cookies. But actually, don't do that with these bars. There is plenty of gooey-ness going on with the caramel that I actually over did it. Please stick to a 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips!

These were my favorite candies as a kid. The recipe says to use 10 ounces caramel candy squares, which has to be a typo. I used alittle under 2 ounces (50 candies). I would say to use 45 candies for a better cookie to caramel ratio.  

Melt with 3 tablespoons heavy cream and

spread on top of the cookie layer and then sprinkle with sea salt.

Add the top layer of cookie and again sprinkle with sea salt.

Look at all that caramel!

Bake until golden brown and allow to cool. Don't even try to cut into it right now! It will be a huge mess! Allow me to quote from the last time I made these (with brownies),  

"When they came out of the oven we thought they were still under baked because after cooling for 10 minutes, they were still gooey, so we put it back in the oven. When they came out again, they were still runny, and I couldn't cut a piece without it squishing all over the place. When they were completely cooled, we could see they were baked. It was just that gooey caramel and the chocolate chips that were hot and messy."

So this recipe needs to cool before you can handle and serve them. But luckily, you can put them in the fridge for 30 minutes to speed the process up and they come out just fine.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Adapted from: Brown Eyed Baker

2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips
10 ounces caramel candy squares, unwrapped
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Fleur de sel (or other sea salt), for sprinkling over caramel and bars

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square pan; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer, mix together the melted butter and sugars on medium speed until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix on low, just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

4. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the caramels and heavy cream. Microwave on high until the caramels are melted, stirring every 20 seconds. This will take about 2 minutes.

5. Press half of the cookie dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Pour the hot caramel over the dough cookie dough and spread into an even layer, leaving some empty space around the edges. Sprinkle the caramel with the sea salt. Drop the remaining cookie dough in spoonfuls over the caramel and gently spread the dough with a spatula until the caramel is covered. Sprinkle the bars with additional sea salt.

6. Bake the cookie bars for 30 minutes, or until the top of the bars are light golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan. Completely cool the bars on a wire rack to room temperature, then refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow the caramel layer to set. Cut into squares and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.
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