• Ultimate Cheesecake

    How to make Ultimate Cheesecake

    Yield: about 12 servings

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 1 1/2 hours

    Ingredients

    For the crust:

    1 3/4 cups (230 grams) graham crackers crumbs (about 15 whole graham crackers)
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

    For the filling:

    2 pounds (907 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
    1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
    1/2 cup (130 grams) sour cream
    1 lemon, zested
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    4 large eggs

    Boiling water, for the water bath

    For the topping:

    12 ounces (340 grams) fresh raspberries
    2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon lemon juice

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 325°F.

    Prepare a 9-inch springform pan for a water bath. Place a large square of heavy duty aluminum foil underneath the pan. Gently fold the edges up and around the pan. Repeat twice so there’s three sheets of foil to ensure a waterproof seal. Gently fold the top of the foil around the edge of the pan.

    Make the crust:

    In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, and butter until the mixture is moistened. Press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9-inch nonstick springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool. Maintain oven temperature.

    Make the filling:

    In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese on medium speed until completely smooth and free of lumps. Add the sugar and beat until combined. Add in the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.

    Pour the batter into the foiled-wrapped springform pan. Place the pan in a large roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake at 325°F for 1 1/2 hours, 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 heat and crack the oven door open just by 1-inch. Let the cheesecake cool inside the oven for 1 hour.

    Remove the cheesecake from the oven and from the water bath, unwrap the foil, and transfer it to a cooling rack. Run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the cake to make sure it’s not sticking to the sides (which can cause cracks as it cools). Let the cheesecake cool completely on the rack.

    Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. Store the cheesecake uncovered to avoid creating condensation, which will create a mushy texture.

    Make the topping:

    In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the filling ingredients. Heat, stirring and breaking up the raspberries often, until the raspberries release their juices and begin to form a sauce, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and press through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl to remove the seeds. Let cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before using.

    Release the cheesecake from the pan onto a cake stand or serving plate and top with the raspberry sauce. Serve.

  • Peach Pie Milkshakes

    How to make Peach Pie Milkshakes

    Yield: 2 milkshakes

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Note: I like the color and texture that the peach skins provide, so I don’t bother peeling the skin. If you want a smoother texture feel free to peel the skin.

    Ingredients

    For the milkshakes:

    1 1/2 cups REAL® Seal vanilla ice cream (store-bought or homemade)
    1/2 cup REAL® Seal cold whole milk
    2 large ripe clean peaches, chopped
    2 tablespoons REAL® Seal sweetened condensed milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 tablespoon light brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    For garnish:

    Whipped cream
    Ground cinnamon
    Gingersnap or Speculoos cookies, crushed
    Peach slices

    Directions

    Place all milkshake ingredients in a blender and blender until smooth. Pour into two milkshake glasses and top with whipped cream, crushed gingersnap cookies, and peach slices for garnish. Serve immediately.

  • Ultimate Nutella Cupcakes

    How to make Ultimate Nutella Cupcakes

    Yield: 12 cupcakes

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 20 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the chocolate cupcakes:

    4 ounces (113 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
    1/3 cup (30 grams) Dutch-process cocoa
    1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
    1/2 cup boiling water
    3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (113 grams) all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
    1/4 cup (50 grams) packed light brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 cup (114 grams) sour cream, at room temperature
    1/4 cup (50 grams) vegetable oil
    2 large eggs plus one egg yolk, at room temperature
    2 teaspoons white vinegar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    For the filling:

    1/2 cup (150 grams) Nutella

    For the Nutella buttercream:

    2 cups (250 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
    8 ounces (227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    2/3 cup (200 grams) Nutella
    1/4 teaspoon fine salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Ferrero rocher candies, for topping

    Directions

    Make the cupcakes:

    In a medium heatproof bowl add the chocolate, cocoa powder, and espresso powder. Pour hot water over mixture. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk mixture gently until smooth then set aside to cool.

    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with foil or paper liners.

    In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, salt, and baking soda.

    Whisk sour cream, oil, eggs, egg yolk, vinegar, and vanilla into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until smooth, being careful not to overmix.

    Using a spring-loaded scoop, divide the batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Bake until cupcakes are set and firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Let cupcakes cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan to cool completely, about 1 hour. Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.

    Fill the cupcakes:

    Use an apple corer or small paring knife to remove the center of each cupcake, being careful not to remove the bottom.

    Place the Nutella in a ziptop bag and snip a hole in one corner. Gently squeeze 2 teaspoons of Nutella into each cupcake.

    Make the frosting:

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the Nutella, salt, and vanilla and beat on medium for 1 minute, or until well combined.

    Fit a piping bag with a decorative tip and frost all the cupcakes. Top with a Ferrero Rocher candy, if desired. Serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, or in the fridge for up to 3 days.

  • Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

    How to make Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

    Yield: about 15 cupcakes

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 20 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the cupcakes:

    1 3/4 cups (222 grams) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
    1/4 cup (50 grams) lightly packed brown sugar
    2 large eggs plus one egg yolk, at room temperature
    1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
    2 lemons, zested and juiced
    3/4 cup (115 grams) fresh blueberries
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

    For the buttercream:

    3/4 cup (115 grams) fresh blueberries
    3 cups (306 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
    2 sticks (227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/4 teaspoon fine salt
    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    1 to 2 tablespoons heavy or whipping cream
    Lemon zest, for garnish

    Directions

    Make the cupcakes:

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two standard muffin tins with 15 paper liners.

    In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

    In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to beat the butter and sugars until fluffy and very well combined, about 3 minutes. On medium-low speed , add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, until combined. Add the buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until combined.

    In a small bowl toss the blueberries with the 2 tablespoons of flour. Add into the batter and fold with a spatula until combined. Be careful not to overmix.

    Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tins, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

    Make the buttercream:

    Using a blender, immersion blender or food processor, puree the blueberries. Pass the pureed blueberries through a fine mesh strainer and into a medium bowl to remove the skins. Set aside.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the salt and vanilla and beat on medium for 1 minute.

    Remove half of the buttercream to the bowl with the blueberry puree and stir until well combined. If the buttercream is too thin, add more powdered sugar to thicken. If desired, add a few drops of purple food coloring to enhance the blueberry color.

    To the plain buttercream, add the cream and beat until well combined.

    Swirled Piping

    In a large piping bag fitted with a decorative tip (such as the Ateco #846), use a spoon to scoop the plain frosting into one section of the bag, using your finger on the outside of the bag to help scrape it off. Repeat with the blueberry frosting. Ensure you’re aligning the frosting so it starts at the same place in the bag. Don’t worry if the colors touch each other.

    Squeeze the bag to slightly blur the colors together for a watercolor type effect. Twist the bag and squeeze out a test pipe to ensure the colors are coming out evenly before piping onto your cupcakes. Garnish frosted cupcakes with lemon zest.

    Serve or store at room temperature for up to 1 day, or in the fridge for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature before serving.

  • Monkey Bread

    How to make Monkey Bread

    Yield: 8 servings

    Prep Time: 2 hours

    Cook: 30 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the dough:
    1 package quick rise active yeast
    1 1/2 cup milk, warm (120 degrees F)
    1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
    5 tablespoons butter, melted (no hotter than 120 degrees F)
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon salt
    4 1/2 cups flour
    For the sugar coating:
    10 tablespoons butter
    2/3 cup brown sugar
    2/3 cup granulated sugar
    2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
    For the glaze:
    1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
    2 tablespoons butter
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1 1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar

    Directions

    For the dough:
    Mix together warm milk, yeast, and 1 tablespoons sugar in a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook (you can also just do this by hand) and let it dissolve for 5 minutes. Mix in the 1/4 cup sugar, butter, egg, and salt. Start adding in the flour while mixing, adding 1 cup at a time until you’ve added 4 cups (scrape sides of bowl as needed). Mix on low for 5 minutes, adding a couple tablespoons of flour at a time if the dough gets too sticky. Place dough in a large greased bowl and turn the dough over so the top is greased. Cover with a towel and let it rise for an hour.
    Grease a bundt pan and set aside.
    Melt the 10 tablespoons butter in a bowl. In another bowl, mix brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon.
    Pinch or cut off dough into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Roll into balls (use flour as needed), dip in the melted butter, and roll in the sugar mixture. Place the coated balls of dough into the greased pan. Mix any remaining butter and sugar mixture together and pour over the balls. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise for 30-45 minutes.
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden. Let cool for 5 minutes and then remove onto a platter.
    For the glaze:
    Heat cream and butter together in the microwave until melted. Beat in vanilla and powdered sugar until desired consistency. Pour over the warm Monkey Bread. Serve.

  • Strawberry Baked Donuts

    How to make Strawberry Baked Donuts

    Yield: 11 to 12 donuts

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook: 10 minutes

    *Freeze-fried strawberries are available at most grocery stores near the other dried fruits like raisins.

    Ingredients

    For the donuts:

    1 cup (127 grams) all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon fine salt
    1 large egg
    7 ounces (198 grams) unsweetened nonfat Greek yogurt
    1 tablespoon canola oil
    1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    1/2 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries

    For the strawberry glaze:

    1 1/2 cups (188 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
    3/4 teaspoon light corn syrup or golden syrup
    *1/2 cup (6 grams) freeze dried strawberries, finely crushed
    2 tablespoons hot water

    Directions

    Make the donuts:

    Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray two 6-cup donut pans with nonstick cooking spray.

    In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl whisk together the egg, yogurt, oil, and lemon juice. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in. Add in the chopped strawberries. Gently fold everything together until just combined. The batter will be thick, do not overmix.

    Scoop the batter into a piping bag or freezer bag and snip a bottom corner with scissors. Squeeze out the batter evenly into each cavity of the prepared donut pan. You may only have enough for 11 donuts.

    Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes and then flip over onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

    Make the glaze:

    Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a whisk until smooth. Immerse each doughnut into the glaze. Place glazed doughnuts on a wire rack above a lined sheet pan to catch any excess glaze. Let set for 15 minutes before serving.

  • Funfetti Cookie Dough Chocolate Brownies

    How to make Funfetti Cookie Dough Chocolate Brownies

    Yield: 9-12 brownies

    Prep Time: 45 minutes

    Cook: 45 minutes

    Ingredients

    Chocolate brownie

    1/2 cup or 1 stick (115 grams) unsalted butter, chopped
    1 and 1/3 cup (200 grams) good quality semi-sweet or dark chocolate, pieces
    1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated or caster sugar
    1/2 cup (90 grams) brown sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3 large eggs
    2/3 cup (85 grams) all-purpose or plain flour

    Funfetti cookie dough

    1/2 cup or 1 stick (115 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
    1/2 cup (90 grams) brown sugar
    1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated or caster sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose or plain flour
    2-3 tablespoon milk
    1/2 cup (75 grams) milk chocolate chips
    1/2 cup (70 grams) funfetti sprinkles, plus extra for decorating
    2/3 cups (100 grams) semi-sweet or dark chocolate, pieces

    Directions

    Grease and line a square 8 inch baking tin with parchment paper, ensuring two sides of the paper overhang. Put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place on top of a medium saucepan that is filled with a small amount of water. You need to ensure the bottom of the bowl will not touch the water below. Place the saucepan on the stove on a medium heat and stir while the chocolate and butter melt. Once the mixture is lovely and smooth, remove the bowl from the heat and leave to cool slightly.

    Preheat the oven to 320 F (160 C). Next, add the sugar and vanilla to the chocolate mixture and beat with an electric mixer until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat again. Sift in the flour and stir until the mixture is smooth. Pour the brownie batter into your prepared tin and place in the oven. Bake the brownie for approximately 35-40 minutes. The brownie should have a nice cracked top and no longer wobble in the middle. Leave to cool completely.

    To make the cookie dough, add the softened butter and sugars to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add the vanilla and beat again. Sift in the flour and add the milk and stir until a soft cookie dough forms. Add in your chocolate chips and sprinkles and stir through. Then place the cookie dough on top of your brownie and spread it out as evenly as possible.

    Finally, melt your chocolate in the microwave, stirring in-between 20 second bursts, until just melted and pour oven the top. Add extra sprinkles. Pop into the fridge for 15 minutes to set, then cut and serve.

  • Salted Honey Caramel

    How to make Salted Honey Caramel

    Yield: Depending on size, about two dozen squares

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook: 20 minutes

    Ingredients

    3/4 cup sugar

    1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

    1 tablespoon local honey

    4 tablespoons salted butter butter

    1 tsp cinnamon

    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

    1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel, small coarse pieces

    Directions

    1. Trace around an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving about an inch on all sides. Generously butter the parchment paper and place it as securely as possible inside the pan.
    2. In a small saucepan, heat the condensed milk, butter, honey and cinnamon. Keep an eye on this mixture: once the butter has melted, turn off the heat. At the same time, insert your kitchen thermometer (optional) into a medium saucepan, combine sugar with 2 1/2 tablespoons of water. Place over medium-high heat and let the sugar dissolve. Stir gently to be sure that the sugar melts smoothly. From this point on, stir only as necessary. Cook until the sugar reaches 300 degrees, or for 5-7 minutes.
    3. Remove from heat and add the cinnamony milk and butter to the sugar mixture. Cook the caramel over medium heat until it reaches 245 degrees, or for 3-5 minutes.
    4. Remove the medium saucepan from the heat. Add vanilla extract.
    5. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan, carefully as to not scrape the hard bits on the bottom and sides. While letting the caramel cool for up to 15 minutes, melt chocolate chips over low heat. Spread the chocolate over cooled caramel. Sprinkle fleur de sel as a garnish.
    6. Once completely cool, lift out of the pan and onto a countertop. Slice the bar of caramel with a long, sharp knife.
  • Homemade Nutella

    How to make Homemade Nutella

    Yield: About 2 cups

    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    Cook: 10 minutes

    Ingredients

    1 cup hazelnuts
    12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
    2 tablespoons canola oil
    3 tablespoons powdered sugar
    1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3/4 teaspoon salt

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast the hazelnuts until they’re slightly browned and the skin is slightly blistered, about 10 minutes. Wrap the hazelnuts in a kitchen towel and rub vigorously to remove as much loose skin as possible (some skin may not remove, that’s fine). Let cool completely.

    Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each burst, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Let cool completely.

    In a high-powered blender or in a food processor, grind the hazelnuts until they form a paste. Add the oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt and continue to process until the mixture is as smooth as possible. Add the melted chocolate and blend until smooth. Press the mixture through a fine strainer to remove any chunks of hazelnuts that might be left behind. Allow the mixture to cool (will be warm from blending or processing). Store the mixture in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

    From Cake Simple via Leite's Culinaria

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