Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016
It’s time to be thankful and celebrate America’s favorite food holiday. We’re combining America’s favorite cheesecake-based dessert with America’s favorite holiday pie and white chocolate. There are a lot of ingredients to keep track of (well worth the effort), but the good news is it’s super-easy to do. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of toasted, cinnamon pumpkin seeds. Happy Thanksgiving!
Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Cool down time: 1 hour
Chill time: 2 to 3 hours
Refrigerate time: at least 5 hours, preferably overnight
For the crust:
2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg yolk
Non-stick cooking spray
For the cheesecake filling:
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 (15 ounce) cans pure pumpkin puree
1/4 cup Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon American bourbon whiskey
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 cup sour cream
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
For the sour cream topping:
1 pint sour cream, room temperature
2 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
For the crust:
- Move a rack to the center position in oven. Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Spray a 10-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Stir the gingersnap crumbs, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, and melted butter together in a bowl until mixture resembles sand. Stir 1 egg yolk into crumbs until thoroughly combined until the crust mixture holds its shape when pressed.
- Evenly spread the crumbs into pan and press the crust mixture into a firm crust going about 1 inch or more up the sides of the pan.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes and cool on a rack.
- Place the pan on a heavy sheet of aluminum foil and bring the foil up the sides of the pan to the rim, crumpling it close to the pan and making a barrier to prevent water from leaking into the cheesecake.
- Place the foil-wrapped springform pan into a large roasting pan.
- Place the cream cheese, 1 cup brown sugar, and granulated sugar into the work bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment (do not use a whisk attachment); mix on low speed until smooth, about 3 minute. Raise speed to high and mix until light and silky, about 3 or 4 more minutes.
- Place the pumpkin puree in a separate large mixing bowl; stir in the melted white chocolate, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, salt, vanilla extract, and bourbon whiskey until combined.
- Whisk 1/4 cup of cornstarch into pumpkin mixture, followed by the sour cream, eggs and egg yolks.
- Whisk the cream cheese mixture into the pumpkin mixture until the filling is completely smooth and free of lumps.
- Pour the filling into the crust; use a spatula to lightly and rapidly jiggle the filling in the center of the cheesecake to smooth off the top and shake out any bubbles.
- Carefully place the filled springform pan in the roasting pan on the center rack of the oven and fill the roasting pan with enough very hot (almost boiling) water to reach halfway up the side of springform pan.
- Bake the cheesecake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the filling reads 160°F; about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Check the temperature after 1-1/2 hours. The filling will still be slightly jiggly in the center.
- Open the oven door for a few seconds to let out most of the hot air. Use a thin knife to separate cheesecake edge from inside of pan to help prevent cracking.
- Pour the sour cream topping over the cheese cake and bake for another 8 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and leave the oven door a jar (about 1 inch) to release additional heat. Let the cheesecake cool down in the warm oven for 1 hour to finish setting.
- Carefully remove the cheesecake from the water bath and let it cool to room temperature on a rack for 2 to 3 hours.
- Cover the cheesecake with aluminum foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 5 hours but preferably overnight.
For the Sour Cream topping:
- Whisk together sour cream, granulated sugar, vanilla and almond extracts.
ChefSecret: Most spice companies make a reasonable pumpkin pie spice. You can substitute the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice with 2 to 2-1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.
Use a folded paper towel to remove any moisture that has formed on top of the cheesecake before releasing and carefully lifting the springform pan from the cheesecake.
Friday, September 2nd, 2016
Labor Day is here marking the end of summer-time treats. But here’s “One for the Gipper.” You hardly see them offered any more, but at the beginning of the 20th century ice cream sodas were the rage. That’s when you could visit the counter of your favorite drug store that served malts, shakes, sundaes, cold effervescent fountain drinks and ice cream sodas. The fountain was truly a treasure and you owe it to yourself to step back in time and enjoy one of these wonderful old time treats.
Ice cream sodas were all prepared-to-order by well-trained soda jerks. Before you get upset and politically correct with me, he wasn’t stupid and he was a HE—girls need not apply. Here he made a delicious dark, rich chocolate soda… ahhh… the light bite of the fizzy soda water, the smoothness of the ice cream, the pleasure of the soft whipped cream, and of course, the cherry on the top.
After we made this recipe in the test kitchen it was even better than we were all told or remembered. So, when you’re in Los Angeles try getting a taste of yesteryear at:
At The Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California
Adjacent to the Santa Monica Carousel at the foot of the pier
Farmer’s Market, Los Angeles, California
Right next to Bob’s Doughnuts (where you can wash a doughnut down with a chocolate soda)
Better yet, make your Old-Fashioned Chocolate Soda. It only takes a few minutes.
Yield: 1 Old-Fashioned Chocolate Soda
You’re going to need:
1 frosted 16 ounce thick-walled soda glass or beer mug (stick it in the freezer until it’s very cold and frosty)
1 long iced tea spoon
1 long straw
1 small plate (it keeps the spill over under control)
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons Choclatique Dark Chocolate Ganache Sauce
3 large scoops of vanilla ice cream (I use chocolate ice cream)
1 cup cold club soda to fill the glass (old timers will remember the soda jerk used seltzer water)
A big squirt of whipped cream (store bought Reddi-wip is perfect)
1 red maraschino, cherry stem on
- Pour the milk and vanilla extract into a tall 16-ounce frosty glass.
- Stir in the chocolate ganache sauce.
- Add in 2 scoops of ice cream and lightly mix.
- Carefully add enough soda water almost to the top of glass (it may run over, that’s okay).
- Place the last scoop of ice cream straddling the rim of the glass.
- Top with whipped cream and a cherry.
- Serve with a long spoon and a big straw.
Thursday, February 11th, 2016
Sunday, February 14th is Valentine’s Day. Make your sweetie a sweet breakfast worthy of being served in bed—Sunday Only Pancakes. As you the place each pancake on the stack, drizzle with hot chocolate syrup. Artfully encase the whole stack in meringue robe and then pop it into a very hot oven to brown. It comes out of the oven looking like giant, puffed Baked Alaska. It is a beautiful plate presentation, not to take anything away from the taste of the pancakes… they are delicious on their own. So, here I present to you our naked Sunday Only treat (no meringue). If you can afford the extra calories and want to dress it up with meringue, knock yourself out (see recipe below).
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings (12 4-inch pancakes)
For the hot chocolate syrup:
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Choclatique Hot Chocolate mix (or cocoa mix)
For the pancakes:
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Choclatique Hot Chocolate mix (or cocoa mix)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1-1/4 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, plus 4 to 5 tablespoons for the skillet
2 large eggs plus
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg white, whipped
Whipped cream, for serving (if naked)
For the hot chocolate syrup:
- In a small saucepan over medium heat bring the maple syrup, honey and hot chocolate mix to a simmer, whisking constantly. Continue to simmer until the syrup is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
For the pancakes:
- Preheat an oven to 200°F. The oven will be used to keep cooked pancakes warm while the rest are being cooked.
- Whisk together the flour, hot chocolate mix, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.
- Whisk together the milk, butter, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl. Pour the milk-egg mixture into the flour mixture, and gently fold just to combine (it’s OK if there are some lumps).
- Gently fold in the egg white until there are no white streaks.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter; when it melts and the foam subsides, pour 1/4-cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, evenly spaced.
- Cook until the surface of the pancakes begins to bubble and the bottoms have darkened by a few shades, about 4 minutes. Flip the pancakes, and continue to cook until the bottoms have darkened by a few shades and the pancakes are springy when touched in the center, about 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining butter and batter.
- Keep cooked pancakes warm in a low oven.
- Serve with the warm chocolate syrup and whipped cream.
ChefSecret: Make it a triple chocolate threat—add 1/2 up of Choclatique, Milk, Dark or White Chocolate Chips to the batter before cooking.
Go for the full Monty—Go for the Meringue
- Make the meringue to pipe onto the outside of the stack of pancakes.
- Whip 4 large egg whites in a clean bowl on medium speed.
- While the egg whites are whipping, put the 1 cup of sugar in a pot, and wet with just enough water to make the sugar look like wet sand. Boil the sugar until it reaches the “soft ball” stage, or 230°F.
- Bring the mixer up to the highest speed and slowly and carefully pour the hot sugar into the egg whites, streaming it down the side of the bowl. Continue to whip on high until the bowl is cool to the touch, then reduce the mixer to medium-low speed for a minute to even out the air bubbles in the meringue. This make for a smoother finish on the pancake stack.
- Place the warm pancakes on a heat resistant serving plate. Using a piping bag with your round tip, pipe concentric circles to cover the entire stack of pancakes.
- If you have one available, use a kitchen torch to lightly toast the finished meringue, or return finished meringue pancake stack to the oven and bake until light the meringue light brown.