Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars

Recipe inspired by Paula Deen.  WARNING: BUTTER AHEAD.

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Reviews

“It’s hot…can I put it in the fridge?”
– Leandro (10 minutes after it came out of the oven)

“Muy rico”
– Leandro’s mom (after it had chilled)

Ingredients

3 eggs
8 oz cream cheese
4 oz plain yogurt (Greek, if you can get it)
2 tsp vanilla
2/3 c powdered sugar
200 g butter (1.75 sticks) – room temperature
1 package yellow cake mix
1 c dulce de leche repostero (do not use clasico or you will regret it)

  1. Preheat oven to “medium-low.”  Maybe 300°?
  2. Mix together TWO (just two) of the eggs with the cream cheese, yogurt, vanilla, and powered sugar with a handheld mixer.
  3. Butter your cake pan and coat it with flour (or a spoonful of cake mix).
  4. In another bowl, cream together the butter and remaining egg.  Add the cake mix.  It should resemble cookie dough.
  5. Press the cookie dough-esque mixture into the bottom of the pan.  Spread the dulce de leche on top, and then pour the cheesecake mixture overtop of that.
  6. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the center looks mostly set.
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Do not eat warm.  Unless it’s 11pm and you really want sugar.
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars

Chocolate Lava Cheesecake Brownies in a Loaf Pan

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Baked at 10:30pm when none of the chocolate bars or cookies in my fridge looked satisfying enough.  Sometimes, only chocolate lava will do.

Reviews:
“I’m not really hungry…I don’t want any”
– Leandro

Ingredients:
4 tbsp melted butter
2 eggs
1/2 c sugar
1/2 mashed banana
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 oz melted semisweet chocolate
1/2 c cocoa powder
1/4 c flour
1/4 tsp salt

Cheesecake layer:
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/4 c cream cheese
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Mix butter, egg, sugar, banana, and vanilla.  Then add melted chocolate and mix again.  Add in the dry ingredients and whisk it really well – at least 2-3 minutes.

Mix the cheesecake layer ingredients in a separate bowl.  Pour the chocolate batter into your greased loaf pan (these are supposed to be thick, okay?).

Then pour the cheesecake mixture on top, and swirl it a bit with a knife.

Bake 20-22 minutes at 300°.  Eat in a bowl while watching Making a Murderer.

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Verdict: next time, needs more butter.
Chocolate Lava Cheesecake Brownies in a Loaf Pan

Apple Pie Cheesecake

From Pinterest to your table.

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Reviews:
“Mmmm, it smells good”
– Lara

“Why does it smell like apples”
– Mom

“Fabulous and cracked”
– Dad

“Can I have another piece”
– Katrina

Ingredients:
1 block neufchatel
1 block cream cheese
1/4 c sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 c maple syrup
1/3 c brown sugar
1/4 c white sugar
3 tbsp green bottle lemon juice
heavy pinch salt
5 eggs

Crust:
1 1/4 c graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp white sugar
1 stick butter

Apple topping:
3 chopped apples
3 tablespoons brown sugar
big squirt fresh lime juice
cinnamon
nutmeg
10 cloves
handful of chopped pecans
2 tbsp white wine
1-2 tsp corn starch (if you’re in a rush)
2 tsp vanilla extract

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Tip: count how many cloves you put in the apple topping, because you’ll have to pick them out before you put it on the cake.

Apple Pie Cheesecake

Chocolate Blueberry Cheesecake (Crappy)

competitors
The winner: apple-blueberry crumble with ice cream (lower right)

Third chocolate dish in a row.  This was for a baking competition at work, which was held in honor of someone’s birthday.  The requirements:
a) “Jared doesn’t like dulce de leche”
b) “Jared likes blueberries”

I am not fond of blueberry desserts, and dulce de leche is my secret weapon for making any dessert more awesome.  So I’m justifying my defeat by suggesting that this was a battle I just wasn’t meant to win.

It could also be karma.  I may have tried to “cheat” a bit by giving Jared of survey of my potential dessert ideas.  It looked like this:

Chocolate – yes or no?  (yes)
Cheesecake – yes or no?  (yes)
Coffee cake – yes or no?  (yes)
Cinnamon – yes or no?  (“meh”)
Lemon – yes or no?  (“meh”)
Danish – yes or no?  (“meh”)
Favorite Argentine supermarket cookie?  Toddy.

So thus my idea for a blueberry-lemon cheesecake danish went out the window and was replaced with a repulsively disgusting terrible idea: mix all the positive responses together in one dessert!  AND…to avoid the risk of overcooking the cheesecake, let’s make it no-bake!

blueberry cheesecake
Barfberry cheesecake

WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT!

I did it anyway.  What was I thinking.

Reviews
“What’s in the crust?”
– Archer from client management

“What’s in the marquise?”
– Kortney from HR

“What’s in the blueberry sauce?”
– Helen from sales

(**I think I got a lot of questions about what was in this because no one could figure out what the hell kind of weird creation they were eating)

The Horrifying Recipe

It’s this famous cheesecake recipe, with the following additions/substitutions:

Crust
Replace graham cracker crumbs with crushed Toddy cookies and graham-cracker-esque cookies

Filling
Add ~2/3 cup sifted cocoa powder plus 150g (like 1/2 cup?) of cooled chocolate ganache.  The result will be a filling that tastes like cocoa powder and not much else.

Blueberry Topping
Cook a pint of blueberries in a saucepan until they’re soft, then add about 1/4 cup of sugar and several tablespoons of lemon juice plus a pinch of lemon zest.  Then taste it and pucker because you added way too much lemon juice.  So balance out the lemon with some frozen emergency berries from the freezer (lucky save) and extra sugar.  It will taste weird but passable.

wrapped-up cheesecake
We’re all wrapped up and ready to travel!

Lesson learned: a recipe that works because of it’s simplicity will cease to impress if you try to make it more complicated.

Chocolate Blueberry Cheesecake (Crappy)

Road House Kick Lemon Ricotta Cake

Inspired by the abandoned lemons and nearly-expired ricotta cheese in my fridge.

Inspired by the 1989 Patrick Swayze classic in name only because I just watched it.

lemon ricotta cake

Reviews
“It kick you in your private parts with lemon.”
– Leandro

“I liked it”
– Caco

Ingredients
1 1/4 c softened butter
2 c sugar
1/2 c lemon juice
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
14 oz whole-milk ricotta (no idea how many cups this is…sorry)
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour

Glaze
1/2 c powdered sugar
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
dash of vanilla extract

Cream the butter and sugar together until it looks tasty.  Add the lemon juice, zest, ginger, vanilla, eggs, and ricotta and beat it until it’s all incorporated.

Do not do what I did.  Do not use low-fat ricotta.  Actually, what I was using – “ricotta magra” – ended up being fat-free low-sodium ricotta.  It was nasty.

Then add the flour and beat for a few minutes.  Bake it around 325 for 40 minutes or until it looks almost done (but not done yet).

To make the glaze: mix the three ingredients together.  Wait until the cake is completely cooled before glazing it.

Adapted from this.  The photos don’t show the glaze because…I ate some before glazing it.

glaze
#nofilter

 

Road House Kick Lemon Ricotta Cake

No-Bake Cheesecake with Charred Summer Berry Compote

I wasn’t going to share this on the blog, but so many things went wrong that I figured you would like to read about it.

blending the cheese
Blendy blendy

Reviews
“How did you get it to solidify?”
– Dad

Ingredients
2 8-oz blocks of solid cream cheese, not the spreadable kind (neufchatel will work too)
just under 1/2 cup of lemon juice
1 can sweetened condensed milk

For the berry topping:
2/3 c strawberries (frozen is ok)
1/2 c raspberries (frozen is ok here too)
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tbsp white wine
3-4 tbsp sugar

Put the cream cheese in the bowl of your stand mixer.  If you don’t have one, a hand mixer or even a food processor will work.  Just don’t try to mix this by hand.

Mess #1 no lemons.  Luckily, in the freezer I found some lemon juice cubes (i.e. leftover lemon juice frozen into ice cube trays for future use).  Convenient little one-ounce blocks waiting for me.  So I put four cubes into a mug to defrost in the microwave, and when I took them out, it became apparent that not all of those yellow cubes were lemon juice.

lemon egg whites
Gross

Yep.  That is a mixture of egg whites and lemon juice.

So I tried again with the remaining four cubes – maybe there had only been one egg white in the bag?  Besides, the rest all looked pretty yellow.

Wrong.  This one had an egg white too.  Lemony egg white delight.

I ended up using lemon juice concentrate from the fridge, which actually turned out just fine.

Back to the recipe.  Dump just under 1/2 cup of whatever lemon juice you choose into the cream cheese bowl along with the can of sweetened condensed milk.

Mess #2 do not drizzle in the milk while the mixer is running.  It will not help create a smooth, homogenous mixture.  It will launch sticky crap at your face and neck.

Let the mixer run until it’s smooth as butter.

Mess #3 I forgot to make a crust.  Dammit.  Make sure you bought a store-bought graham cracker crust (like this one), or you can make your own with graham crackers or any other kind of crunchy cookie that you like:

Crust ingredients (for 2 pie crusts)
2 1/4 cups graham cracker or cookie crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup melted butter

Mix all that stuff together in a bowl and then press it into the bottom of two 8″ or 9″ round pie pans.  Put it in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes because you are in a hurry.

Once the crusts are chilled, pour half of the cream cheese mixture into each (you might want to rewhip a few seconds if the cheese has started to set).  Smooth it out and put the cheesecakes in the fridge.

While the cheesecakes are chilling and setting, make the berry topping.  Put the strawberries, raspberries, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat.

Mess #4 do not start the berries on medium-high in a hot pan because they will burn and you will have charred bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Luckily, those black bits were so charred that even constant stirring didn’t dislodge them from the pan…so, onward!  With no lasting damage.

Once the berries start bubbling, add in the sugar and white wine.  Let it cook for about 7 more minutes until it’s thick and syrupy.  Take it off the heat and let it come to room temperature before you top the cheesecakes.

finished cheesecakes
I made one overfilled 9″ cheesecake, three baby ones, and licked the spatula many times

Let the cheesecakes set in the fridge for at least 6 hours before you eat them, but longer would be better.

Verdict: not crappy.  Delicous.  It all worked out in the end.

No-Bake Cheesecake with Charred Summer Berry Compote