Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ménage à trois of Caramel, Chocolate and Walnuts

Having to work Monday through Saturday, Sunday becomes literally the holy day. On Sunday, I do whatever I please and no one can stop me. However, just like any other weekend of my summer, it's more of a countdown until Monday arrives than a day off. With that in mind, my sights were set to make Monday not as dreadful by any means possible. For someone who thinks a stack of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies can cure anything, baking an extravagant dessert for work is the answer to the Monday blues. :p

It has become a little tradition where whenever my boyfriend and I are in a candy store, if there are Turtles, we have to buy them - white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, with pecans, walnuts or almonds. It doesn't matter - we just HAVE to have them. While we were down at the Cape, we saw what may be his favorite dessert of all time - turtle cheesecake at the The Hot Chocolate Sparrow in Orleans, MA. Ever since then, I've been thinking of that turtle cheesecake, which is why I decided to try to create it!

Cheesecake is a challenge to bake. It is very delicate and can easily turn out a mess. From the numerous times I've made a cheesecake, here are some tips that I've picked up:
  • All the ingredients HAVE to be room temperature. This is extremely important because it ensures that the batter won't be lumpy.
  • Do NOT over mix. Over mixing can cause a cheesecake to crack, causing too many air bubbles in the batter.
  • After baking the cake, extreme temperature change to the cheesecake can cause it to crack too.
  • Bake the cake in a water bath. The water bath basically helps maintain the overall temperature in the oven, making sure the cake bakes evenly. There are two ways to go about it. 
    • Wrap the bottom of the pan with foil twice and place on a cookie sheet filled with water.
    • Place a cookie sheet filled with water on the bottom rack of the oven (I normally do this as it's heck of a lot easier.)
  • The cheesecake is over baked when the whole cake is firm when you jiggle it. It is done baking when only the center moves when you jiggle it. 

    An interpretation of Chantal's New York Cheesecake

    • 15 graham crackers, crushed
    • 5 tbsp of butter, melted (I might even add more next time)
    • 32 oz cream cheese, room temp
    • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
    • 3/4 cup milk, room temp
    • 4 eggs, room temp
    • 1 cup sour cream, room temp
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 6 oz of milk chocolate
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts
    • Caramel Sauce (I just bought Smuckers Caramel topping)

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch springform pan.
    2. In a bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of springform pan. Bake in oven for 5 minutes. Spread a layer of caramel and then, sprinkle 1/3 of the chopped walnuts. Chill in the freezer until ready, so that the caramel will harden. 

    1. Mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in milk, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.
    2. Bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off. Take the cheesecake out and slowly run a hot knife around the sides, loosening the cake. Let cake cool in oven with the door cracked open for 2 hours. 
    3. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Take the cake out and spread a layer of caramel and sprinkle the remaining walnuts. 
    4. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and spoon into a piping bag. Simply drizzle the chocolate all over the cheesecake. Chill the cheesecake overnight. 


    Anonymous said...

    Best cake I have ever tried in my life! No exaggeration! Heavenly:) Feeling lucky to be working just a desk away from you.. mm mmm

    Anonymous said...

    Can't wait to try it!!! Doesn't look that complicated either...Is there any way you can do a version of the Red Velvet?

    Neysa said...

    Hi! You mean, do a red velvet cheesecake combo cake?? It's on my to do list!

    Anonymous said...

    I can't wait to make it!

    Anonymous said...

    Love that picture of the chocolate drizzled on top of the cheesecake. Wow.