Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Yesterday afternoon, I set out to make a cheesecake. It was my husband’s birthday and he requested my world famous strawberry cheesecake (and by world famous I mean famous among the five of us and a few friends).

The only problem was, I couldn’t find the bottom of my springform pan. We searched everywhere — the cupboard where it was supposed to be (and where the main part of the pan was), drawers, other cupboards, the insides of other baking pans — it was nowhere to be found. We’re a full 24 hours past and we still can’t figure out where on earth it walked off to. Read More


Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Growing up, I had always thought that making cheesecake was hard and time-consuming. So when I started doing my own cooking I’d use a box of the no-bake Jello crud and call it dessert. It wasn’t until I was married and decided to devote a little more time to figuring out the “hard” things (lasagna, stuffed shells, etc) that I realized cheesecake is a piece of cake.

My standard cheesecake recipe is really easy, but because I make it with sour cream and strawberries I consider it more of a summer recipe, so this weekend I decided to hunt down a fall cheesecake, and found a yummy pumpkin one from a magazine.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake
originally from spreadphilly.com

38 ginger snaps
1/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup melted butter

4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
1 Tbs pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs

Heat oven to 325°. In a food processor, pulse the pecans until finely chopped, and add ginger snaps. Process until fine and drizzle butter in. Pulse a few times until mixture is crumbly but not sticking together. Press onto the bottom and one inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan.

Beat cream cheese and sugar in mixer until blended, be sure to scrap down the sides of the bowl. Add pumpkin, spice and vanilla, mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, until each is blended. Pour into crust.

Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until center is almost set (use a clean knife into the center to check). Remove from oven and let cool on a rack before removing pan rim. Refrigerate for at least four hours before serving.

Serve with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

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Layered Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

Layered Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

I think I’ve found the most decadent chocolate dessert ever. Over a lazy weekend last fall I was doing a search over at Food Network and this was on the front page. On a whim I decided to give it a shot because wow, that’s a lot of chocolate and I needed to try it!

So they were originally called Chocolate Cheesecake Candy Cane Bars. But here’s the thing: I’m not terribly crazy about hard candy — and especially candy canes — crunched up on top of softer desserts. I like them on their own if I’m in the mood, but otherwise no, leave my desserts alone!

So I substituted chopped walnuts instead and I can’t imagine these with anything else. I really don’t think the candy cane would have worked as well unless you added a touch of peppermint extract to the top layer, but honestly even that I think would be overdoing it.

I think I’d also add just a touch more melted butter to the crushed Oreo crust because it crumbled more than I’d like after it was baked.

My two nine-year-olds helped me with the pictures (as you can imagine, it was nearly a fight to the death over who would get to take which shots, but as you can see it all worked out in the end. 🙂 ) Read More