Pumpkin Spice Latte (#PSL) Cheesecake

espresso_pumpkin

I make some variation of pumpkin cheesecake every year for Thanksgiving. This year, my friend suggested making a cheesecake version of a Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte. I loved the idea and headed straight to Pinterest. Of course, it had been done before (as all good ideas have) and the recipe I selected is from Sprinkle Bakes. This cheesecake was super easy to make, and turned out delicious!

Crust
Vanilla wafers
4 tbsp. butter melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Crush up vanilla wafers. I do this in a big ziplock bag using a random jar or bottle to smash the cookies. I cannot tell you how many vanilla wafers to use, because I just eyeball it. Just go crazy! Mix with the melted butter.  Press into the bottom (not up sides) of a 9-inch spring-form pan.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Cool completely.

Filling:
2- 8oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup white sugar divided
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup of canned pumpkin
2  tsp. ground allspice
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
3 tsp. espresso powder, or Starbucks VIA instant coffee (if you like to waste money on fancy instant coffee…I mean, for “authenticity.”)

Using an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, 1/2 cup of sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl and mix until smooth. Mix eggs in one at a time, blending well after each addition.

Remove one cup of the mixture and transfer to another bowl.  Dissolve espresso powder in a very small amount of hot water and stir (just enough water so it dissolves and isn’t grainy). Add the espresso  to the 1 cup of filling and mix until batter is uniform in color.  Set aside.

Blend 1/4 cup of sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon and allspice into the remaining filling.  Pour the pumpkin mixture on top of the crust in the spring-form pan.  Top pumpkin mixture with the 1 cup coffee filling mixture.

Bake for 55 minutes or until filling is set. The cheesecake will puff up in the middle a little bit as it bakes and then relax back down as it cools. I let it sit in an open, turned off oven for about 20ish minutes before taking it out. This helps it transition from temperatures and not crack on top. Run a knife around the edge of the pan for easy un-molding.  Allow the cheesecake to cool before removing rim of spring-form pan.  Chill until ready to serve.

You can get all fancy with the garnish–powdered sugar, dollops of whipped cream, cinnamon sticks–whatever screams “Pumpkin Spice Latte” to you! I was feeling a little lazy at this point on Thanksgiving, so I just sprinkled some powdered sugar on it and called it good.

cheesecake

Yield: 9″ cake, serves 8-10

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

slice of cheesecake

I apologize for not having a better photo of this. We ate it too fast for me to get any good photos. It was just that delicious.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Ingredients

Crust:
    • 1 1/2 cups crushed Oreo cookies (about 15 cookies)
Cheesecake:
    • 4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
Chocolate Ganache:
    • 1/2 cup whipping cream
    • 1 cup milk chocolate chocolate chips
Garnish:
  • Reese Peanut Butter cups, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Press crushed Oreo cookies into bottom of 10-inch spring-form pan. Bake 5-6 minutes or until set. Do not burn! Cool on wire rack while preparing cake. Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees.
  3. Beat softened cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy; add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Divide batter equally between two bowls.
  4. Melt 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips; stir into one of the bowls of cheesecake batter; pour batter into crust prepared pan. Microwave peanut butter until soft, about 20-25 seconds; stir into other bowl of cheesecake batter and pour on top of the chocolate layer.
  5. Bake cheesecake at 300 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until center is almost set (not jiggly). Do not overbake. Don’t worry if there are a couple of cracks. They will come together when refrigerated and we’re covering it in chocolate anyway.
  6. Place pan on cooling rack; cool approximately 1 hour. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan and remove sides of pan. Place cream in a microwave safe bowl and heat for one minute or boiling. Pour chocolate chips into cream and let sit until soft. Stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth and creamy. Pour chocolate over top and sides of cheesecake. You may want to place your cheesecake on a cookie sheet to catch the run off. Refrigerate overnight; cut optional Reese Peanut Butter cups into quarters and garnish top of cheesecake. Refrigerate leftovers.

NOM. NOM.

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake

A few weeks ago, I went home to visit my parents for their birthday. Yup, they have the same birthday – two years apart. It’s cute. They’re cute.

I told my dad I would make him cheesecake for his birthday and asked him what kind he wanted. His response was “ribbons of decadent caramel in a cheesecake platform.” Whatever that means, right? After some Googling, I selected the recipe below, and it was AMAZING. Although I was informed I didn’t make “decadent enough ribbons” of caramel. We had to drizzle some extra on top when we served it. So make sure you ribbon the caramel with a heavy hand!

caramel swirl cheesecake

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake

From Taste of Home

Prep: 40 min. Bake: 40 min. + chilling

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup flaked coconut, lightly toasted
  • FILLING:
  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup caramel ice cream topping

Directions

  • In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour and coconut; gradually beat into creamed mixture.
  • Press into a lightly greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
  • For filling, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and ricotta until blended. Add sugar and flour and mix well. Combine cream and vanilla; gradually beat into cream cheese mixture. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined.
  • Spread filling over crust. Drizzle with caramel topping; gently cut through filling with a knife to swirl.
  • Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 1-1/2 hours. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving. Yield: 12-15 servings.

Mom’s Peach Cobbler (Upside-Down Cobbler)

I emailed my mom this week and requested the peach cobbler recipe that she used to make when I was “small and cute and still living at home.”

Not much to go on, right? She made a lot of different cobblers throughout my life. But there was a specific cobbler recipe I was thinking of.

I received this response: “Just made this last week.  yum.  hope you can read it.  from a vintage cookbook that was falling apart, so I cut out the recipes that I used.  Of course, this was one of them,” along with a scanned recipe.

Of course it was the exact recipe I was thinking of. She’s so good 🙂

And because I’m nice, I typed it up for you.

Mom’s Peach Cobbler (Upside-Down Cobbler)

You can make this pie with various kinds of fruits or berries, either canned or fresh. If you use fresh ones, poach them in water first, with sugar to taste.

To make the pie, you need about 11/2 to 2 cups fruit (drained) cut in small pieces, or berries – and about 2/3 to 1 cup sweetened liquid. A 1-pound can will contain the proper proportions.

When you sprinkle on sugar just before baking the pie, use some judgment about the amount. Use as much as ½ cup for very tart fruit or berries. Canned berries need about ¼ cup. Canned fruit (such as peaches or pears) or fruit cocktail needs only 1 or 2 tablespoons.

 

¼ cup soft butter or margarine

½ cup sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

½ cup milk

1 ½ to 2 cups fruit, liquid

Sugar to taste

Whipping cream

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9-inch square baking pan.

Cream butter and sugar until smooth and well-blended. Sift the flour with baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture a little at a time, alternating with the milk, beating just until thick batter is smooth.

Spread the batter evenly in the pan (it will rise to the top while baking). Pour berries/fruit and their liquid over batter. Sprinkle with sugar suggested (based on sweetness of fruit and liquid).

Bake about 1 hour, or until crust is golden brown. Serve warm – plain or with whipped cream. Serves 6.

 

 

Creative exercise: (Thrifty) Black and Pink Table Set Challenge

One of my college roommates is getting married this summer. The bachelorette party is in a couple weeks and I’ve offered my place up for pre-gaming fun before we head to the bars. Because I’m such a good friend, right? …It would be entirely accurate for you to detect an ulterior motive -> me wanting to throw a party/decorate.

The Maid of Honor and I agree on a color scheme of black and pink. And then I thought, “Shit, I don’t have anything black and pink. But I don’t want to go buy a ton of stuff. But I want this to be cute.” DILEMMA.

So tonight I challenged myself to come up with a cute idea for the appetizer/dessert bar table set, using only black and pink things that I already had. And then I would determine what I needed to buy to round it out.

I had a ton of fun!  Seriously, I don’t know why I don’t make practice table sets all the time. I love a good creative challenge. (Read: I am a total loser).

This side of the table I’m really liking.

Materials from back to front:

  • Silver shoe box
  • Margarita bottle and fake flowers (usually on my bookshelf lol)
  • Vase and heart garland (leftover from Valentine’s day decor)
  • Pink plastic cups and pink/black plastic silverware (this is just an idea based on shit from my drawers, I would need to purchase a full set of pink and black plastic silverware)
  • Polka dot ribbon (purloined from an event I went to….the napkins were tied with pieces of ribbon and I may have snitched several and hoarded until now)
  • Paper plate with folded up pink shopping bag from Charlotte Russe (this is to represent that there would be a pile of plates and napkins here – probably pink and black)

You can see a tiered dessert stand cut off on the side of the photo. That got nixed in my final arrangement – it just wasn’t going with all the black.

The next photo shows that it still needs a lot of work. For starters, definitely going to need to pick up a tablecloth. And it needs some sort of banner or backdrop behind the table. I have crepe paper streamers for that, but the SassCat would just tear them down, so I’ll wait until the actual event for that.

Try to visualize a black/white tray on top of that black square in the center. There will be cupcakes on that. The piece of black construction paper is also marking the location of a tray of food. I need to get me some serving platters.

The silvery things on the right are actually baking sheets/cake pans. Those represent the height layering I would like to do with whatever food we put there. The menu isn’t really set, so this is all conjecture at this point. Some more polka dot ribbon, and then the back corner would hold cups. Pink, of course.

It’s a start. Something to think about and help me narrow my shopping list as I plan the rest of the party.