Hello! Yes, it’s been a while. Wedding planning, house hunting, Christmas break, and life in general just kind of got in the way of me and my kitchen. But this valentine’s day definitely called for something a little special. My fiance and I celebrated on Saturday instead of Tuesday, since we wouldn’t have eaten till midnight if I had to come home and cook after work. This way, I was able to take the whole day to JUST PREP AND COOK. It was so relaxing and wonderful!
Here was the table setting…
My housemate’s china and silver flatware which she very generously lent to us…
Dried flowers that he got me from last year cause I’m sentimental like that
I think the whole meal was a bit too awesome to fit into one post; each thing I made kind of deserves it’s own space. So, let’s start with the dessert, since even the Bible says that the last shall be first…
This beauty is a cappuccino rum cheesecake with strawberries and cream. I know the pictures aren’t the best, but the last thing I wanted to do while this was just sitting in front of me was try over and over again to get a good picture in a poorly lighted kitchen. Pretty much to die for.
I got the original recipe from THIS site and followed it pretty much word for word. I didn’t have espresso powder, so I just used two tablespoons of espresso. The coffee flavor wasn’t very strong, so I’d recommend going with what the recipe calls for. I also sprinkled cocoa powder on the top for some added bitter contrast.
A couple important tips:
– Make sure the cream cheese is room temperature. If it’s too cold, it won’t blend easily and you might get lumps.
– Mix on low-medium speed. The more air you get into the cream, the more likely you are to get spaces and bubbles in the final product.
– Scrape the edges frequently to help get a good consistent batter.
– Mix thoroughly after and in between each addition (ie each egg, liquid, etc)
– Cut a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom of the springform pan for easy cleanup and removal.
– Don’t overcook it; it should still be jiggly in the center when you take it out; it will set when it cools.
– If you are trying to lose weight, eat one piece, save a second, and give the rest of the cheesecake away; that’s the only reason I didn’t eat the whole thing.
9 ounce package (about 41 cookies) chocolate wafer cookies
cup semisweet chocolate pieces
cup packed brown sugar
teaspoon ground cinnamon
tablespoons butter, melted
cup whipping cream
ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
tablespoons coffee liqueur
8 ounces packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/3
cups granulated sugar
tablespoons all purpose flour
tablespoons instant espresso coffee powder
tablespoons dark rum
eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2
cups dairy sour cream
cup granulated sugar
1.For crust: In a food processor, combine chocolate cookies, semisweet chocolate pieces, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cover and process until finely ground. Add melted butter; cover and process until combined. Press mixture onto the bottom and 2-1/2 inches up the side of an ungreased 10×3-inch springform pan. Set aside.
2.For ganache: In a medium saucepan, bring whipping cream just to boiling over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add bittersweet chocolate; do not stir. Let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in coffee liqueur. Pour 2 cups of the ganache into crust, spreading evenly. Cover and freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer the remaining ganache to a small bowl; cover and chill until ready to serve.
3.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a very large bowl, combine cream cheese, the 1-1/3 cups granulated sugar, and the flour. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth. In a small bowl, combine coffee powder, rum, the 1 tablespoon vanilla, and the molasses; stir to dissolve coffee powder. Add to cream cheese mixture; beat until combined. Stir in eggs. Pour over ganache layer in pan, spreading evenly.
4.Place cheesecake on a foil-lined large baking sheet. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a 3-inch area around the outside edge appears set and the center appears nearly set when gently shaken.
5.For topping: Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together sour cream, the 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and the 2 teaspoons vanilla. Pour over hot cheesecake, spreading to cover filling. Bake about 10 minutes more or until topping is set. Cool cheesecake in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a small sharp knife, loosen the crust from side of pan. Cool completely (about 1-3/4 hours). Remove side of pan. Cover and chill overnight.
6.Let cheesecake stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Heat the remaining ganache. Spoon ganache over each serving of cheesecake. Makes 12 to 16 servings.