New York Cheesecake

Cheesecake. It never lets me down. Creamy, smooth and decadent in any form, and most importantly – my all-time favorite dessert.

I must say that I’m vanilla (aka boring) when it comes to my favorite flavour of cheesecake. I of course love a good chocolate, pumpkin, or any other flavour really, but what speaks to me is a good old New York Cheesecake. I could scream my love of this from the mountaintops!..and I’m in Switzerland too, so it’s quite possible. I chose this recipe from my America’s Test Kitchen New Best Recipe book. Those guys rock my world. This recipe was the best cheesecake I’ve ever had, let alone made, and I highly suggest it. Enjoy my fav!!

For the crust: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar in medium bowl; add 5 tablespoons melted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened.

Brush bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan with most of remaining melted butter, making sure to leave enough to brush pan later. Empty crumbs into springform pan and press evenly into pan bottom.

I usually press the extra crumbs that catch on the sides with a spoon. It’s a great trick!

Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown around edges, about 13 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.

For the filling: Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium-low speed to break up and soften slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape beater and bottom and sides of bowl well with rubber spatula; add salt and about half of sugar and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute.

Scrape bowl; beat in remaining sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla, and beat at low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add yolks and beat at medium-low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add whole eggs two at a time, beating until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute, and scraping bowl between additions.

Brush sides of springform pan with remaining melted butter. Set springform pan on rimmed baking sheet (to catch any spills if springform pan leaks). Pour filling into cooled crust and bake 10 minutes; without opening oven door, reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue to bake until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of cheesecake registers about 150 degrees, about 11/2 hours.

Transfer cake to wire rack and cool 5 minutes; run paring knife between cake and side of springform pan. Cool until barely warm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours. (Cake can be refrigerated up to 4 days.)

Slice and enjoy! You can top this with any of your favorite fruit toppings. I personally like a cherry sauce, but for this particular cake I made a nice raspberry dressing. DE-VINE!



New York Cheesecake
Recipe taken from the America’s Test Kitchen New Best Recipe Cookbook
Makes one 9-inch cheesecake, serves 12-16.

Note from America’s Test Kitchen: The flavour and texture of the cheesecake is best if the cake is allowed to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. When cutting the cake, have a pitcher of hot tap water nearby; dipping the blade of the knife into the water and wiping it clean with a kitchen towel after each cut helps make neat slices.

Ingredients:
Graham Cracker Crust
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (4 ounces, 8 whole crackers, broken into rough pieces and processed in food processor until uniformly fine)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted, plus additional 1 tablespoon melted butter for greasing pan

Cheesecake Filling
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese , cut into rough 1-inch chunks and left to stand at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (10 1/2 ounces)
1/3 cup sour cream (2 1/2 ounces)
2 teaspoons lemon juice from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
6 large eggs

Instructions:
1. For the crust: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar in medium bowl; add 5 tablespoons melted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened. Brush bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan with most of remaining melted butter, making sure to leave enough to brush pan in step 3. Empty crumbs into springform pan and press evenly into pan bottom. Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown around edges, about 13 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.
2. For the cheesecake filling: Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium-low speed to break up and soften slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape beater and bottom and sides of bowl well with rubber spatula; add salt and about half of sugar and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; beat in remaining sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla, and beat at low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add yolks and beat at medium-low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add whole eggs two at a time, beating until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute, and scraping bowl between additions.
3. Brush sides of springform pan with remaining melted butter. Set springform pan on rimmed baking sheet (to catch any spills if springform pan leaks). Pour filling into cooled crust and bake 10 minutes; without opening oven door, reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue to bake until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of cheesecake registers about 150 degrees, about 11/2 hours. Transfer cake to wire rack and cool 5 minutes; run paring knife between cake and side of springform pan. Cool until barely warm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours. (Cake can be refrigerated up to 4 days.)
4. To unmold cheesecake, remove sides of pan. Slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cake onto serving plate. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.

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Freaking Awesome Apple Dumplings

Dear healthy lifestyle,
For the most part I think we get along great. I always follow our fitness schedule, I eat the right amount of carbs, dairy, protein, fruits and vegetables, and I go to our regular doctor, optometrist, and dentist appointments. But other times I plain and simply do not like you, and sometimes cheat on you with your two arch enemies – Tonsa Sugar and Lotsa Butter. They know what I really want.

Sometimes in life we come across little specialties that warm the soul. Like snuggling under the covers on a weekend when it’s raining, reading on a sunny front porch, or dipping our toes into the water for the first time and realizing it’s warm!

For me a big comfort food is warm apples. Warm apples with cinnamon, butter, and sugar specifically. I’m such a big fan of apple crisp, apple pie, baked apples…anything really. This recipe is my boyfriends favorite thing that I make. FAVORITE! That’s hard work for a girl with a baking blog. I continue to try and top this recipe over and over again and fail. But alas, it’s hard to live up to these warm, baked, deliciously sweet rolls of goodness. You should make them.

To begin, peel and core apples.

Cut each apple into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll.

Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan.

Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir.

Add vanilla, stir, and pour entire mixture over apples.

Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan.

Sprinkle with cinnamon

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.

Apple Dumplings
Makes 16 dumplings
Recipe taken from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients
2 whole Granny Smith Apples
2 cans (8 Oz. Cans) Crescent Rolls
2 sticks Butter
1-½ cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Cinnamon, To Taste
1 can (12 Oz.) Mountain Dew Soda

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9 x 13-inch pan.

Peel and core apples. Cut each apple into 8 slices.

Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in the buttered pan.

Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir a little, and pour entire mixture over apples.

Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan, and through the middle.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the dumplings are nice and brown on top.

Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.

Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies

Ever since I first saw these brownies I knew I had to make them. And make them I did…within hours of spotting them.

These beauties begin with a layer of chewy, fudgy brownie, are topped with peanuts and chopped peanut butter cups, and then are topped off with a melted chocolate, peanut butter, and Rice Krispies mixture. Heavenly and sinful all in one.

I’ve made these a couple of times and they are a true favorite of mine. My boyfriend loves them, I love them, and they’re a great pot-luck dessert for adults and kids alike. They disappear fast, and I’m always asked for the recipe.

To begin, prepare the brownies according to the directions and bake for about 5 minutes less than the recipe states.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle the top with the peanuts and chopped peanut butter cups. Return to the oven and bake for 5 additional minutes.

While they are finishing baking, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.

Stir in the cereal to evenly coat.

Remove the brownies from the oven and evenly pour the chocolate and peanut butter mixture over top. Spread to cover evenly.

Refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting and serving. The waiting part is hard.

Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies
Makes 12 brownies
Recipe slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is’s Better-Than-Crack Brownies

Ingredients:
1 batch of Fudgy Chocolate Brownies
½ cup salted peanuts
1 cup Reese’s peanut butter cups, chopped
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup creamy peanut butter
½ tablespoon unsalted butter
1 ½ cup Rice Krispies cereal

Directions:
1. Prepare the brownies according to the directions and bake for about 5 minutes less than the recipe states. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the top with the peanuts and chopped peanut butter cups. Return to the oven and bake for 5 additional minutes.

2. While they are finishing baking, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the cereal to evenly coat. Remove the brownies from the oven and evenly pour the chocolate and peanut butter mixture over top. Spread to cover evenly. Refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting and serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.