Posts Tagged ‘alcohol’

Strawberry-Coconut Cheesecake

The other morning I woke up and decided that I needed to have cheesecake. I’d recently been to a party that had mini cheesecakes baked in cupcake wrappers but it didn’t quite do the trick for me. So I woke up and craved, needed a proper¬† cheesecake. I needed gobs of serious cream cheese laced with sugar. I need it to be fruity because fruity means “guilt-free” but chocolatey means “get on the treadmill.” And since I cancelled my gym membership for my impending room, treadmilling was not an option.

Is my thinking delusional? Nahh.

So with reckless abandon I forgot all the errands I had planned to run, did a quick scan of the world wide web, ran to the supermarket (because who keeps 3 blocks of cream cheese around?), ran to fetch my springform pan 20 minutes away, room temperaturized my cream cheese in record time (cheese in ziploc, ziploc in cold water, cold water in bowl), and made a cheesecake!

Run-on sentences are the bomb diggity.

 

This cheesecake was everything I wanted it to be. It was reminiscent of summer with the fresh strawberry topping and delicious coconut crust. The filling itself was not too dense, just how I love it. (Is it blasphemous not to love thick dense cheesecakes if I’m moving to NY?) All in all, a win.

Strawberry-Coconut Cheesecake
adapted from epicurious

Ingredients

For crust:

  • 6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted, divided
  • 1/2 c sweetened shredded coconut, toasted, cooled (toast on foil at 400F for 5-10 minutes until browned – be careful not to burn it!)
  • 3/4 c graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/8 c sugar

For filling:

  • 24 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 c (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 c sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 c sweetened cream of coconut (ie Coco Lopez)
  • 1/4 c coconut rum (ie Malibu)

For topping:

  • 2 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 c strawberry jam (seedless preferred)
  • 2 tbsp water

Instructions
For crust: Preheat oven to 350F. Brush springform pan with approximately 1 tbsp melted butter. If needed, line with parchment and brush parchment with extra butter. In a medium bowl, mix together remaining butter, coconut, graham cracker crumbs, and sugar until well moistened. Press into bottom of the springform pan and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned at the edges. Cool and reduce oven temperature to 300F.

For filling: Using an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, butter, cornstarch, and sugar until well combined. Add eggs in one at a time, scraping and mixing completely. Beat in cream of coconut and coconut rum. Strain mixture through a sieve and pour into cooled crust. Bake in a water bath at 300F for 1 hr 40 min (epicurious had all these instructions for covering with foil etc but I omitted and had no issues). The cake should jiggle a bit when done and be browned on the edges. Once done, turn oven off, crack oven door open, and let sit in the oven for 30 minutes before taking out to cool completely in the refrigerator (5 hours or more, preferably overnight).

For topping: Simmer jam and water in a saucepan until combined. Layer strawberries atop cheesecake and brush with glaze. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. Can be assembled 8 hours in advance.

Do you ever crave?

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Bailey’s Cheesecake

My brother’s birthday was last week and when I asked him what kind of cake he wanted for it, he had two words.

“Cheesecake” and “Alcohol.”

The alcohol part I understood. He’s young (23 years to be exact), hip, and just beginning the 3-year road on the way to being a lawyer. Of course he’d want alcohol for his birthday! But cheesecake? Even my mom was surprised. My brother has never enjoyed cheesecake, has never asked for a slice of cheesecake even when we, as a family, have one in the house. He always passes.

So why the change of heart this time?

We celebrated his birthday on Sunday and his finalized request for cake was delivered to me Saturday evening at 5pm so I didn’t really have time to argue with him about whether or not he’d even like his birthday cake. I needed to grocery shop, bring ingredients to room temperature, and bake and chill a whole cheesecake for lunchtime Sunday!

But when we sat down to scarf down this wonderful cheesecake, he told us that two nights before (Friday) he had gone out to dinner and tried out a Bailey’s cheesecake (coincidental that I picked the same alcohol) and realized that he didn’t mind cheesecake so much. He liked dense, rich cheesecakes.

Uh oh.

This was not a dense cheesecake. And the one he tried on Friday was by a friend of a friend who owned a bakery. Could mine live up to it?

Oh blog world friends it did! It carried the flavor of Bailey’s without tasting like hard alcohol, beautifully balanced by the sweet mini chocolate chips and Oreo crust. It was light and airy, owing to my beating the filling like no one’s business and my straining of it at the end, and my brother liked it! The texture was silky smooth and the crust crunchy. Every bite was the perfect bite.

My brother who doesn’t like cheesecakes liked it, going so far to say that it topped the one he had tried two days ago. I don’t think he could have hoped for better.

Even my 93-year-old grandmother who I’ve never seen drink even a drop of alcohol liked it. That’s gotta say something!

Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake
adapted from yumsugar

Ingredients
For crust:

  • 1/2 c pecans, toasted, cooled, and crushed (400F for 15 minutes or until fragrant)
  • 2 c Oreo crumbs (scrape out the filling)
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted

For filling:

  • 2 1/4 lb cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 2/3 c sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 c Bailey’s Original Irish Cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c mini chocolate chips

For topping:

  • 1 c heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 1 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1/3 c confectioner’s sugar

Instructions
For crust, Preheat oven to 325F. Mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl until moistened. Press into the bottom and up the sides (as much as you can) of a 10″ spring form pan. Don’t pack it down too hard or it will be impossible to cut the finished crust. Bake 7-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the filling, Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed 3-5 minutes or until very smooth. Gradually add in the sugar followed by the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition. Add in the Bailey’s and vanilla and beat another minute or two. At this point, my filling was still a bit lumpy so I strained it quickly before moving on.

Sprinkle half of the chocolate chips over the baked crust. Spoon in filling then sprinkle with remaining chips. Place onto a baking sheet or roasting pan filled partially with warm water. Bake at 325F for 1 hour 20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Turn off oven and crack the oven door open, allowing the cake to cool in the oven a bit for 20-30 minutes before removing and chilling in the refrigerator overnight.

For serving, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the coffee and sugar and beat until stiff peaks. Taste and adjust accordingly.

You can garnish the cake with chocolate curls or toffee bits but I was pretty happy as it was already.

The aftermath. Not so pretty but definitely yummy!

Are you a fan of alcohol and baking?

Pina Colada Cupcakes

A change of pace.

It’s not always welcome but it’s often appreciated.

This past weekend Boy and I traveled to Washington DC to “escape” for a couple days. We had been planning the mini-trip for a month or so. I had been meticulous in picking out the best hotel we could afford and finding restaurant options and he had smiled and nodded as I blabbed on and on about all of it. We’ve done this a few times, gone away for a night or two to nearby cities and give ourselves the option to do nothing at all but also the chance to have a nice dinner at the very least. It’s always been a great experience. We catch up in a way. We leave our books behind for the most part (sitting on a bus for 4+ hours seems like a good time to study in theory but we usually end up playing Scrabble on my iTouch) and we mostly just enjoy the company. We don’t bicker per our usual state and we don’t stress. It’s a change of pace. It’s a reminder that we have other things in common besides spending more time in a hospital than we do at home and that we don’t need the excuse of being in the same school to know we can be good together. Sometimes you start to think you’re just together for the convenience of it all, you know?

This weekend was a bit hectic because we unknowingly squeezed it in between rough weeks at work. I was on call on Friday and got out around 7.30. For some reason we really wanted to see Robin Hood (two thumbs up, by the way) so I rushed to pack to make the 9.30ish showing (I live a good 30-45 minutes from the hospital in the first place and 20 minutes from the theater so that left me about 45 minutes to shower and pack), we got home past midnight and woke up at 6.00 the next morning to make our bus. And then after the fabulous weekend in DC, we got stuck in traffic on the way home Sunday night, hadn’t eaten all day, and ended up going to bed around midnight after stopping at the Rutgers grease trucks (can I get an AAAAAAAA-MEN?!) only to wake up at 6.00 the next morning for work.

Sound exhausting? It was. I don’t even think I’m caught up with sleep yet!

But it was perfect. Hit the spot. Made me feel refreshed (in our relationship. In life, I was a dead woman walking). It’s always nice to escape the familiar and explore what else is out there in the world. Even thought I’ve been to the Lincoln Memorial at least a dozen times, being there with a different person on a different day still gives me the same high.

These cupcakes are just as refreshing and high-giving. They take a LITTLE more time than other cupcakes because of the filling process but they’re well worth it. Every component has something pineapple and/or coconut so the flavors really come through. It’s exactly what I imagined such a cupcake to taste like if not better than I imagined. They’re a lovely change of pace from the traditional cupcake.

Pina Colada Cupcakes
adapted from iheartcuppycakes with frosting from Simply Recipes

Makes 24.

Ingredients
For pineapple & coconut cupcake

2 2/3 c all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 c granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
16 oz crushed pineapple in juice, well drained, juice reserved
2/3 c of the reserved pineapple juice
2/3 c sweetened coconut

For coconut creme filling
1 pkg (3-1/2oz) Jello instant vanilla pudding
1 tsp coconut extract

For cream cheese frosting
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 – 3 c powdered sugar
1-3 tsp pineapple rum [I use Cruzan]

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

With a stand or hand mixer, combine butter and sugar and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Add in the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the pineapple juice in 2 additions. Fold in the pineapple and coconut.

Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-3/4 full. Bake for about 20-22 mins or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

While the cupcakes are baking, make the filling and topping.

For the filling, make pudding as directed on the box and add coconut extract.

For the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese together approximately 3 minutes on medium speed. Add rum and then slowly add powdered sugar, mixing well until desired thickness.

To assemble
Cut out a cone from the top of each cupcake. Fill with as much creme as possible and replace cone (if you aren’t lazy like me, you can trim off a bit of the cone so it sits better but really, once you frost it you can’t tell). Frost. Garnish with toasted coconut (over the stove or at 350 for 5-10 minutes.. watch it closely to prevent burning!).

Rave reviews are sure to come your way if you set these out on the table!

– Sharlene