St. Valentine’s Day Cheesecakes

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I altered an old but yummy recipe to yield these sweet, addicting cupcakes. A while back, I made some little cheesecakes topped with apricot jam. They were, oh, so good!  Today, needing something rich and red, I made those same cheesecakes, but they had the same fate as the good Saint himself. They’re bleeding….. Just kidding y’all! It’s raspberry sauce. Well, they were tasty. For the crust, since I didn’t have any chocolate cookies, I used vanilla wafers and added a generous tablespoon of cocoa. That worked out nicely. In case I don’t get back before then, have a happy V-day!

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Apricot cup-cheese-cakes

I had an urge to bake cupcakes today. So I was flipping through my Martha Stewart cupcake book, trying to decide if I wanted something new, or one of the oldies. I came across this one which I have refused to make for years because its picture is similar to that of a raw egg. But today, it caught my eye, because my mom just canned a whole batch of apricot jam which I am always looking for an opportunity to eat. The chocolate, cheesecake, and apricot flavors seemed like odd amigos, but they complement eachother better than you would imagine. I love them! They were pretty quick and easy; and no icing is involved, an encouragement to me! If you don’t happen to be an apricot fan (you’re crazy if you’re not ; ), I think it would be good with raspberry or cherry jam, too.

Makes 18

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup crumbled chocolate-wafer cookies (about 18 cookies)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Mix cookies and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar in a bowl. Stir in butter. Press 1 tablespoon of mixture in bottom of each cup. Bake until set, about 7 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks.
  2. Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees. Beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, then vanilla. With mixer running, add eggs slowly, scraping down side of bowl. Add sour cream and salt. Pour batter into muffin cups, filling almost to the tops.
  3. Bake until sides are set but centers are wobbly, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks. Wrap tins tightly with plastic, and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
  4. Warm jam in a small saucepan until liquidy. Strain through a sieve. Spoon 1 teaspoon jam on top of each cake.

 

Chocolate Cheesecake

I had a sudden urge to cook today. What could be a better recipe than chocolate cheesecake?!?! Though I’ve made mini cheesecakes, I’m not sure if I’ve ever made an actual single cheesecake, much less a chocolate one. I always feel guilty for getting Food Network magazines and oooh-ing and drooling over every picture, but never actually making the stuff in there. The March magazine was the ultimate chocolate issue, and, having already gotten the April issue, I almost missed cooking anything ultra-chocolate. That problem has been sitting in the back of my brain, so in my spare time today, my little brother and I flipped through the pages until we found Nigella’s chocolate cheesecake. We made it. It’s a keeper.

Chocolate Cheesecake

Prep Time:
35 min
Cook Time:
1 hr
Serves:
10 to 12 servings

Ingredients

For the base:

  • 1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

For the filling:

  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped small
  • 2 1/2 cups cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Bird’s custard powder (available at baking supply stores)
  • 3 large eggs plus 3 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

For the glaze:

  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon dark corn syrup

Directions

To make the base, process the graham cracker crumbs, butter and cocoa powder in a food processor until it makes damp, clumping crumbs. Tip them into a 9-inch pie pan. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan to make an even base and put into the freezer while you make the filling.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the chocolate either in a microwave or double boiler, and set aside to cool slightly.

To make the filling, beat the cream cheese to soften it, and then add the sugar and custard powder, beating again to combine. Beat in the whole eggs and then the yolks and the sour cream. Finally, add the cocoa dissolved in hot water and the melted chocolate and mix to make a smooth batter.

Take the pie pan out of the freezer and pour the cheesecake filling into the pan. Bake in the oven 50 minutes to 1 hour. The top of the cheesecake should be set, but the underneath should still have a wobble to it.

Let it slightly cool. Put in the fridge once it is no longer hot and leave to set, covered with plastic, overnight. Let it lose its chill before unspringing the cheesecake to serve.

To make the glaze, very gently melt the chopped chocolate, cream and corn syrup. When the chocolate has nearly melted, take it off the heat and whisk until smooth. Let it cool a little, then Jackson Pollock it over the cheesecake. Use the remaining glaze as an accompanying sauce.