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  • Best Recipes of 2016
  • Black Forest Cheesecake

    How to make Black Forest Cheesecake

    Yield: One 9 inch cake

    Prep Time: 45 minutes

    Cook: 45 minutes

    Ingredients

    Cookie crust

    30 Oreo cookies (300 grams)
    1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter

    Chocolate cheesecake

    2 and 1/2 cups (500 grams) full fat cream cheese, room temperature
    1/2 cup (100 grams) caster or granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3 large eggs, room temperature
    1/2 cup (120 ml) full fat sour cream, room temperature
    1 cup (150 grams) dark or semi-sweet chocolate

    Cherries and chocolate cream

    1 cup (150 grams) dark or semi-sweet chocolate
    2 cups (250 grams) fresh cherries with stem
    1 cup (240 ml) thickened or heavy cream
    2 tablespoons cocoa powder
    2 tablespoons icing or powdered sugar

    Directions

    Preheat your oven to 320 F (160 C).  Lightly grease a 9 inch (23 cm) springform baking tin with a little butter and set aside. Add your Oreo biscuits (cream and all) to a food processor and blend until they resemble fine crumbs. Melt your butter in the microwave and then pour over your crushed Oreos and whiz again until the mixture resembles wet sand. Pour your Oreo crumbs into your prepared tin and press down gently using the back of a spoon to form an even layer. Pop in the fridge.

    Add your cream cheese to a large mixing bowl and beat well until smooth and creamy. Add your sugar and beat again. Melt your chocolate in the microwave and set aside to cool slightly. Then add your eggs to your cream cheese mixture, one at a time, until incorporated. Add vanilla extract and gently beat. Then stir in your sour cream and your melted chocolate. Stir until smooth but try not to over mix.

    Pour your cheesecake filling over your crust and smooth over the top. Bake in the oven for approximately 40-45 minutes or until it no longer wobbles in the middle. Try not to over bake it as it will continue to cook as it cools. Leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door ajar for at least one hour. Then remove and leave to cool slightly on a cooling rack before transferring to the fridge. The cheesecake is best left in the fridge for 3-4 hours (or overnight) until it cools completely and becomes nice and firm before slicing.

    To decorate, melt your chocolate in the microwave, stirring in-between 15 second bursts. Place a sheet of baking or parchment paper on a plate. Then dip your cherries using the stem and place them onto your prepared plate. Once you have done all the cherries, pop them into the fridge for at least 15 minutes to set.

    To make your chocolate cream, beat your cream until whipped, sift in the cocoa powder and sugar and stir until smooth. Add your chocolate cream to a piping bag with a large round tip and pipe clouds of cream around the edge of your cheesecake. Place the chocolate-dipped cherries in the middle. Enjoy!

  • Mini Gingerbread Cheesecakes with Candied Walnuts

    How to make Mini Gingerbread Cheesecakes with Candied Walnuts

    Yield: 12 mini cheesecakes

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 20 minutes

    If you can’t find Speculoos cookies, feel free to use 20 gingersnap cookies or 9 whole graham crackers.

    Ingredients

    For the crust:

    17 (133 grams) Speculoos cookies
    1/4 cup (20 grams) California walnuts
    3 tablespoons (43 grams) unsalted butter, melted

    For the filling:

    12 ounces (340 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
    1/2 cup (100 grams) packed light brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
    2 tablespoons heavy cream
    1/4 teaspoon fine salt
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    1 large egg

    For the candied walnuts:

    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    1 cup (115 grams) California walnut pieces
    1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

    Melted white chocolate, for drizzling

    Directions

    Make the crust:

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 12 cup mini cheesecake pan with nonstick spray.

    Place the graham crackers and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add in the melted butter and pulse until moistened. Divide the mixture among the cavities of the cheesecake pan, about 1 heaping tablespoon in each. Firmly press into the bottom of each cavity (a shot glass or other small object makes easy work of this).

    Bake the crusts for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 325°F.

    Make the filling:

    In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy. Add the vanilla, molasses, cream, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves and beat until smooth. Add the egg and beat until just combined. Divide the mixture among each cavity.

    Bake for about 18 minutes, or until set. Let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill for at least 3 hours or overnight. At this point the cheesecakes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

    Make the candied walnuts:

    Heat the butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon. Heat over medium for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved and the nuts are evenly coated.

    Transfer immediately to a parchment lined baking sheet and separate the walnuts with two spatulas. Allow to cool and harden for 10 minutes, then divide among the top of each cheesecake. Drizzle with melted white chocolate. Allow to set before serving.

  • Red Velvet Cheesecake Bites

    How to make Red Velvet Cheesecake Bites

    Yield: 36 bites

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 50 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the crust:

    12 (185 grams) whole chocolate graham crackers
    1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted

    For the filling:

    16 ounces (454 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
    1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
    1/4 cup (57 grams) sour cream
    2 large eggs
    2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon red gel food coloring
    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

    For the chocolate coating:

    16 ounces (453 grams) white chocolate
    3 tablespoons coconut oil or shortening

    Directions

    To make crust:

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8 by 8-inch square baking dish with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

    In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until moistened. Press mixture evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes, or until light golden and fragrant. Reduce heat to 325°F.

    To make filling:

    Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, add in the sour cream, eggs, cocoa powder, food coloring, vanilla, flour, and salt and beat until just combined. Be careful not to overmix. Pour the batter over the crust and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cheesecake is slightly puffed and center is set. If the center is slightly jiggly, that’s fine.

    Let cool completely on a wire rack. Freeze for 3 hours, or until very cold and firm, or overnight.

    To coat in chocolate:

    Once frozen, lift cheesecake out of pan and gently peel away foil. Using a sharp knife, cut cheesecake into 36 bite-size squares. If squares become too soft, freeze until chilled again.

    Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth.

    Place parchment paper or a silicone baking mat on a baking sheet. Dip cheesecake squares, one at a time, in the melted chocolate. Let the excess drip off and place on prepared sheet. Immediately garnish with sprinkles, if using.

    Repeat for all the squares then refrigerate until the chocolate is set. Serve or store the squares in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

  • How to Make Easy Snowflake Sugar Cookies

    How to make Easy Snowflake Sugar Cookies

    Yield: about 40 cookies

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 10 minutes

    If you don’t have almond extract, feel free to omit. It simply adds an extra element of sweet flavor to the recipe.

    Ingredients

    For the cookies:

    3 sticks (339 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
    2 large eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    4 1/2 cups (572 grams) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder

    For the icing:

    2 cups (250 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    4 tablespoons water or milk

    Directions

    Make the cookies:

    In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until well-combined and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract and beat until combined. On low speed, slowly add in the flour and baking powder and beat until incorporated.

    Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Place one dough portion between two sheets of parchment and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Repeat with the remaining portion of dough. Place the two sheets of dough on a baking sheet and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day. You can also freeze for 30 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

    Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter, rerolling any scraps and cutting more shapes. Transfer the shapes to the prepared baking sheets.

    If the dough is warm, freeze for 15 minutes or until firmed again.

    Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cookies are set and begin to brown. Be careful not to over-bake. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Baked un-iced sugar cookies can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

    Make the icing:

    In a small bowl, use a fork to beat together all the ingredients except the food coloring. The mixture should be very thick but still pourable.

    Transfer the icing to a squeeze bottle using a funnel. You can also scoop into a pastry bag fitted with a very small plain tip. Before you begin icing any cookies, take a few moments to practice on a piece of parchment paper to get the feel of the icing.

    Holding the bottle or bag tip directly over one corner of a cookie, create lines and dots to enhance the snowflake shape as seen in the photos. If desired, garnish with edible dragees, glitter, or sprinkles. Let the icing set before serving.

  • Apple Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

    How to make Apple Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

    Yield: about 30 cookies

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 15 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the cookies:

    1 1/2 cups (150 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
    1 2/3 cups (212 grams) all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon fine salt
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted
    3/4 cup (150 grams) packed light-brown sugar
    1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
    1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
    1/2 cup (118 ml) applesauce
    1 cup (100 grams) peeled and chopped Granny Smith apple
    3/4 cup (90 grams) chopped California walnuts

    For the glaze:

    3/4 cup (94 grams) powdered sugar
    1 to 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
    1 tablespoon apple juice or water

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

    Make the cookies:

    In a medium bowl combine the oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

    In a large bowl stir together the melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Add the egg, egg yolk, and applesauce and stir until well combined. Gradually stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the chopped apple and walnuts.

    Drop 1 1/2 tablespoon sized balls of dough onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.

    Bake cookies until golden and just set, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack set over parchment paper to cool completely.

    Make the glaze:

    Whisk the powdered sugar, syrup, and juice until a thick yet pourable glaze forms. Add more sugar to make thicker, and more juice to make thinner if needed. Drizzle over cookies. Let stand at room temperature until the glaze is set before serving.

    Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

  • Maple Walnut Coffee Cake

    How to make Maple Walnut Coffee Cake

    Yield: 6 servings

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 35 minutes

    This recipe can be easily doubled and baked in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan for 45 minutes. The maple extract is optional, but adds a more intense maple flavor to this cake.

    Ingredients

    Streusel:

    1/2 cup (100 grams) light brown sugar
    1/4 cup (32 grams) all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup (27 grams) finely chopped California walnuts
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    3 tablespoons (43 grams) unsalted butter, melted

    Coffee Cake:

    2 cups (254 grams) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon fine salt
    1/2 cup (100 grams) light brown sugar
    1/2 cup (54 grams) chopped California walnuts
    1/2 cup (170 grams) maple syrup
    1/2 cup (100 grams) vegetable oil
    1/4 cup whole milk
    2 large eggs, beaten
    1 teaspoon maple extract (optional)
    8 ounces (227 grams) sour cream, at room temperature

    Topping:

    1/2 cup (63 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
    2 tablespoons maple syrup

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray the bottom of an 8-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray.

    Make the streusel:

    In a small bowl, combine all of the streusel ingredients with a fork until crumbly.

    Make the cake:

    In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, and walnuts. In a small bowl, stir together the maple syrup, oil, milk, eggs, and maple extract. Stir in the sour cream. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then pour in the wet ingredients. Gently stir until just combined.

    Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of the streusel. Spread the remaining batter over the streusel. Sprinkle with the remaining streusel.

    Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes.

    Make the topping:

    In a small bowl combine the sugar and maple syrup until a thick, pourable icing forms. Drizzle over the warm cake. Cut into squares and serve. Store leftovers, covered, at room temperature for up to 4 days.

  • Leftover Halloween Candy Cheesecake

    How to make Leftover Halloween Candy Cheesecake

    Yield: 12 servings

    Prep Time: 30 mins

    Cook: 1 hour

    Do NOT use double-stuff Oreos for the crust. Make the crust with Oreo filling intact.

    Ingredients

    For the crust:

    36 Oreo cookies (1-14.3 ounce or 405 gram package)
    4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted

    For the filling:

    32 ounces (907 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
    1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
    1/2 cup (118 ml) heavy cream
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    5 large eggs, at room temperature
    1 1/2 cups chopped Halloween candy (see above)

    For the topping:

    1 cup (170 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
    1/2 cup (118 ml) heavy cream
    Chopped Halloween candy, for garnish

    Directions

    Make the crust:

    Preheat the oven to 325°F. In the bowl of a food processor, process the cookies until they are finely ground crumbs. Add the butter and pulse until moistened. Press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool.

    Make the filling:

    In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add in the sugar, cream, and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Be careful not to overbeat. Stir in the chopped candy.

    Pour the batter into the cooled crust. Bake for about 1 hour, or until set and the top looks slightly dry. If the middle is slightly wobbly, that’s fine. Err on the side of underbaking rather than overbaking. Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake cool inside for 10 minutes.

    Remove the cheesecake and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 6 hours. Release the cheesecake from the pan onto a cake stand or serving plate.

    Make the topping:

    Place the chocolate chips in a medium heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan heat the cream just until simmering. Pour over the chocolate chips. Let sit for 3 minutes before stirring until the mixture is melted and smooth. Pour over the cheesecake.

    Sprinkle the chopped candy over the cheesecake. Serve or cover and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.

  • Salted Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake

    How to make Salted Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake

    Yield: 12 servings

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 1 hour

    For a fun twist, feel free to use Speculoos or Gingersnap cookies in place of the graham crackers! You’ll need 1 3/4 cups (230 grams) of crumbs.

    Ingredients

    For the crust:

    15 whole graham crackers (230 grams)
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted

    For the filling:

    24 ounces (680 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
    1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
    15 ounces (425 grams) pureed pumpkin
    1/4 cup (77 grams) salted caramel sauce, homemade or store-bought
    1/4 cup (57 grams) sour cream
    3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    For the topping:

    Whipped cream
    Salted caramel sauce, homemade or store-bought

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.

    Make the crust:

    In the bowl of a food processor, combine the graham crackers and cinnamon. Pulse until finely ground. You should have 1 3/4 cups (230 grams) graham cracker crumbs. Add the butter and pulse until moistened. Press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool. Maintain oven at 325°F.

    Make the cheesecake:

    In the bowl of a food processor or electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, pumpkin puree, caramel, and sour cream until smooth. Add the eggs and yolk, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, flour, and vanilla and puree until just combined. Pour over crust and spread evenly. Bake for 1 hour, or until set and dry at the edges but slightly jiggly in the center. Turn off the oven and allow to cool inside for 15 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool to room temperature (this helps prevent cracks). Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight. The cheesecake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Top with whipped cream and caramel sauce before serving.

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