Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chocolate & Vanilla Layer Cheesecake

I got this recipe from my aunt about 15 years ago. I don't know the original source. You will need a 10" springform pan (I like this one), a stand or hand mixer, a few silicone spatulas, some pots or steel bowls for double boiling, and a 350 degree oven. you will also need:

100g dark chocolate (melted)

24 crushed chocolate wafers (the Nabisco kind that come in the yellow package)
1/4 C butter

32 oz cream cheese (that's 4 standard packs of Philly)
3 eggs
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C sour cream
1 tsp vanilla

Slowly melt the chocolate in a double-boiler and set aside.

Crush the chocolate wafers and (go pretty fine) and mix them by hand with the butter in the bottom of a 10" springform pan. When well mixed, spread evenly and press to the bottom of the pan. I find this do be the most time consuming part, so I throw the rest of the ingredients (except the chocolate) into a stand mixer and let it mix while I'm doing this. Bits will want to stick to your fingers when you press them down, but the finer the crush, the less of a problem this is.

Mix the cream cheese, eggs, sugar, sour cream, and vanilla in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until smooth. Divide in half and separate. Return half to the mixer and drizzle in the melted chocolate while mixing. Mix it until it's a nice even color.

Now you should have a bowl full of chocolate batter and a bowl full of vanilla batter. Take half of the chocolate batter and pour it into the middle of your springform pan (on top of the crust you have so diligently prepared). Slowly spread it with a spatula in arcing motions from the middle of the pan to the edge. Try to keep an even thickness. Gently pour half of the vanilla batter on top of this and spread in the same way, being careful not to dip your spatula through the vanilla into the chocolate. When the vanilla layer is spread to the edges, repeat with another chocolate layer, then the rest of the vanilla. I gently drop the pan a few times between each layer to even things out and shake out any bubbles.

When all four layers are down, put it in the oven at 350 for about an hour. It could probably do with less. If the surface starts to crack, it's pretty much done. Turn the oven off and let it sit inside for another 30 minutes. Pull it out and let it cool for 4 hours.

Mine are usually imperfect, so I make a glaze out of raspberries. You can use fresh or frozen. I dump about a cup and a half of raspberries into a small sauce pan and cook them down with sugar into a sticky glaze. Don't add water unless you have to. When the glaze has cooled a bit, I spread it over the entire cheesecake, filling in any cracks or holes. Then I grab another chocolate bar and grate it over the top. The presentation is a bit 80's I'll admit. Just spray a little Paul Mitchell Spritz in your hair, get a little Howard Jones going on the iPod, and enjoy.

Today I used Ghirardelli 72% (neither Lindt nor Valrhona
were available). I think that the Venchi 75 would work really well with this because it has a less acidic flavor, and the cheesecake has that acid bite already.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chocolate Depression Cake

I love the name of this, puns abound. That this type of recipe was common during the depression, that it may be a balm for depression, and that you make three depressions in the dry ingredients to add the wet.

Anyway, this recipe was recently handed down from my great-grandmother on my mom's side. I haven't made it yet, but it's nearly identical to another depression cake recipe I have. My recipe calls for oil instead of butter, but we all know butter makes you batter better. I also note that there's no salt in this recipe. I'm going to experiment at some point with adding 1/2 tsp of salt.

If you're feeling decadent, doubling the recipe (and the pan size) is encouraged.

In a 9 x 9 ungreased baking pan sift 1 1/2C flour
1 C Sugar
3 heaping teaspoons cocoa
1-teaspoon soda

Make three indents in the sifted ingredients
Place 1 teaspoon Vanilla in one
1 Tablespoon Vinegar in the second
5 Table spoons Melted butter in the third

Pour 1 cup of cold water over the top and mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. It’s heavy, but really tasty.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chocolate for a Down Economy

When money is tight sometimes you have to make sacrifices. In my case, I can't get as much super-expensive high voltage chocolate that I want. In times like these I look to alternative sources (and ways of consumption) to fulfill my chocolate habit.

Hence comes the CFDE (Chocolate for a Down Economy) report. I will make occasional tweets/blog entries about cheap chocolate, or creative (or not) ways to stretch your chocolate budget. I hope it helps.

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