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Monday, July 16, 2007

Cheesecake Experiment

We had had the idea to make this for a while, and last night we finally got around to executing it since Daniel's family was coming over for dinner and we had an excuse to make it. Are you curious what it is? Ok, I'll give you a hint, it is quite possibly the most indulgent dessert in history (and maybe one of the tastiest). Still can't figure it out? Another hint? Fine. Ok, what is better than cheesecake? Chocolate covered cheesecake, you say? Yes, you'd be right. And how can you make THAT even BETTER? Put it on a stick, of course!! Yes, we made chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick, with the help of Dan's sister.
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First, we had to start with the cheesecake. We made a very very simple cheesecake recipe with a yummy sugary nilla wafer crust.

Crust Ingredients:
3/4 of a box of nilla wafers
1/4 c sugar
a little more than half a stick of butter.

1. Preheat to 350.
2. Lay parchment paper in the bottom of a springform pan, and butter the top of the paper and the sides of the pan.
3. Combine all ingredients together until fully incorporated, and has a crumbly texture.
4. Press firmly into the bottom of the springform pan, and bake for 10 minutes, until slightly golden around the edge.

Simple Cheesecake Ingredients:
2 eight oz packages of cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1/2 c sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract

1. Beat all ingredients together (yes, its that easy).

2. Add to crust, and bake about 35 minutes.

3. Leave it in the springform pan until it has cooled, then pop open the springform, and drag the parchment paper onto a cutting board.

4. Cut small slices, and then either lay them on a parchment lined cookie sheet,
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or take the slices and roll it into a ball, and lay on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
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5. Stick sticks into them (as far as you can go so it won't slide off your stick when you're chocolate dippin' em)
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6. Let them set in the freezer for at least an hour
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7. If you're not as lucky as us to get to have a candy store at your disposal, melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler.

8. When your slices/ballies have frozen, hold the slices by the stick, and dip into the melted chocolate. After dipping, return to the parchment paper to go back in the freezer to set the chocolate.
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9. Swizzle & garnish as desired, and Enjoy!!
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It makes quite a pretty presentation, too
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So, in conclusion, cheesecake is good, but chocolate covered cheesecake is better.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

OOPS! Brownies

Sorry it has been so long since the last post, but I have been busy cruising around the Mediterranean, & training our new beautiful puppy. Ok that sounded boasty… and it was. I had an amazing time cruising from Spain to France, to various places around Italy, and back to Spain with my dad, sister and Daniel.
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After the cruise, we flew back to NY to spend a few days there getting over jetlag and hanging out with the family before coming home to Florida. And we spent that time wisely… by eating great NY food (you cannot find a canola in Florida, nor an Eggplant parmigiana like Domenico’s has…not that we hadn’t eaten more than enough on our trip) and also buying a little shih tzu puppy named Sadie.
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I’m pretty sure everyone is sick of me talking about her since that is all I do, so I’ll get on with it.

This is the first baking we’ve done since returning home because with puppy-face around, we’ve been too tired to stay up past 10 oclock. It took us 3 days to watch the first Godfather movie, that’s how quickly we fall asleep. But a few days ago me and Daniel were acting like our old selves and decided that we were going to have a ridiculously extravagant dessert later on. Generally that results in freshly made brownies, served warm, and smothered in icecream, whipped cream, chocolate syrup, sprinkles, etc.. (you name it, we’ve had it on a sundae!) I’ve been calling these our OOPS! Brownies since we had to stray from the recipe a few times because… well…oops. I blame it on the fact that we were both so exhausted. This time, we used a different recipe than usual. Jenn had sent this to me months ago, and I finally got around to making it: you can find it here. So we set out to make our brownies, and we were getting all of the ingredients out and measured when we realized, OOPS, we’re out of the chocolate we normally use in brownies. Ok, no biggie. We had a few Dove 71% dark chocolate bars from Dad that we could melt down, these would have to be dark chocolate brownies instead of the usual. Then, OOPS, we only have light brown, no dark brown sugar. Oh well, fine. Then, we had everything all mixed and prepared, and in the buttered pan when OOPS! I realized I never put the vanilla extract in. I quickly went to get it when I realized OOPS AGAIN! We used the last of it right before vacation. So, we used almond extract instead. So, our brownies turned out to be dark chocolate almond brownies. But HEY, upon trying them we realized they were pretty darn good. You could taste the almond, and the dark chocolate definitely gave them a much deeper richer chocolate flavor. Daniel doesn’t usually like almond, and he really doesn’t like dark chocolate, and even he ate almost the whole thing (plus tons the days after we made them, since they really do taste best the day after) So, anyway, here is the recipe, with the OOPS ingredients, not the real ones.

2 sticks unsalted butter
8 ounces dark chocolate
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour

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Don't you just love that brownie in paradise picture?

1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Melt the butter and the chocolate together on low power in a microwave, stirring after every thirty seconds to make sure it doesn’t burn.
3. Whisk eggs together in a large bowl. Then whisk in the salt, followed by the sugars and finally the almond extract (ya, don’t forget that part like I did). Once the chocolate-butter-ganachey type mixture is smooth, stir that into the egg mixture.
4. Fold in the flour.
5. When there are no more clumps in the batter and the flour is fully incorporated, spread evenly in the prepared pan.
6. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack. For yummiest results, try your hardest to wait til tomorrow until eating!


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