Friday, April 27, 2012

Dessert: Ree's Knock Naked Brownies

We were watching The Pioneer Woman on Food Network and saw these brownies. They sounded fantastic. So I tried them.

  • 1 stick butter, melted, plus more for greasing
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1/3 plus 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • One 18.5-ounce box German chocolate cake mix (I use Duncan Hines)
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 60 caramels, unwrapped
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-by-9-inch baking pan.
  2. Begin by pouring 1/3 cup evaporated milk into a bowl with the cake mix. Add the melted butter and the chopped pecans. Mix the ingredients together; it'll be pretty thick!
  3. Divide the dough in half down the middle. Press half of it into the bottom of the prepared pan to make the first brownie layer. Bake until slightly set, 8 to 10 minutes. Then remove from the oven and set aside.
  4. While the brownie layer is baking, in a double boiler (or glass bowl set over a bowl of simmering water) combine the caramels and the remaining 1/2 cup evaporated milk. Stir occasionally until the caramels are totally melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour the caramel mixture over the first baked layer, spreading so it's evenly distributed. Sprinkle the chocolate chips all over the top.
  5. Next, on a clean surface or a sheet of waxed paper, press the remaining dough into a square shape slightly smaller than the baking pan. Carefully set it on top of the chocolate chips. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the brownies cool to room temperature. Cover the pan and refrigerate the brownies for several hours to allow them to set.
  6. When you're ready to serve them sprinkle generously with the powdered sugar and cut them into large rectangles before removing from the pan.
Other Details

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dessert: In Katrina's Kitchen Peanut Butter Truffle Mousse Cheesecake

Let's be honest, I will never make this cheesecake again so it really doesn't deserve to go in the Codex. However, it was a smashing cheesecake, a lot of effort, and completely deserves to show up on the blog. I (and my family) absolutely <3 In Katrina's Kitchen. I could make desserts from there every weekend, or even every day. 
I made the Peanut Butter Truffle Mousse Cheesecake for Christmas dessert 2011. It is totally worth the effort to make at least once, especially if your family is a fan of chocolate, peanut butter, and cheesecake the way my family is. 

Peanut Butter Truffle Mousse Cheesecake


2 cups crushed peanut butter Oreos (approx. half a pack)
¼ cup butter, melted

4 (8oz) sticks of cream cheese, room temperature
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Truffle Mousse
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon milk
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tubs (or 1 large tub) Cool Whip
Reese’s Cups (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap a 9 inch springform pan in heavy duty foil.
  2. Mix together crushed Oreos and melted butter and press into the bottom of your pan and up the sides. Bake for 7 minutes and cool on a wire rack.
  3. Boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
  4. In the bowl of your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar and cream cheese and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time making sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream and vanilla and mix until creamy and smooth.
  5. Pour batter into prepared crust. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan.
  6. Bake 45 to 55 minutes until the edges appear to be set. The center will still have some jiggle to it. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for 1 hour.
  7. After 1 hour has passed, remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Once the cake is completely cooled, chill for at least 5 hours (overnight is better).
The next morning…
  1. In the bowl of your mixer combine cream cheese, peanut butter and milk until smooth.
  2. Slowly beat in powdered sugar then fold in the Cool Whip.
  3. Spoon over the cheesecake then chill at least 3 hours. Garnish with peanut butter cups.

Other Details:

Friday, April 13, 2012

Dessert: New York Style Cheesecake

First, I apologize that it has been a month since I have posted anything. Work and home life got very busy and I have not been cooking nor baking much and even posting an old recipe and photo here quick was more than I could do. But I'm back. And here's a great coming back post:

I first made Cook's Illustrated New York-Style Cheesecake for a Christmas dessert. This is a great one to make. While not easy, the tips are very helpful so that it comes out just right. I forgot to take a picture when I served it with sauce and whipped cream.

Graham Cracker Crust
1cup 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 1/2pounds 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


  1. For the crust
  2. : 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.
  1. For the cheesecake filling
  2. : 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.
  1. 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.)
  1. 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.

Other details:

  • Makes one 9-inch cheesecake, serving 12 to 16. 
  • For the crust, chocolate wafers (Nabisco Famous) can be substituted for graham crackers; you will need about 14 wafers. The flavor 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.