Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chocolatey Goodness

My husband is one of those people who can just take a look into the pantry and fridge and come up with an idea for some wonderful dish that he just whips up out of nowhere.  As for me, I've never been much of a good cook.  I'm just not as familiar with different flavors to be able to easily combine various items without having a recipe to follow.

I do have my place in the kitchen though.  I love playing with my wonderful stand mixer and whipping up sweets!  The hubby loves that I enjoy baking and am somewhat decent at it.  For this last Christmas, we actually decided to give edible gifts to all of our families, which had me in the kitchen every night for an entire week, as well as all day on Christmas Eve, making up goodies like cookie dough truffles, mocha truffles, oatmeal cranberry white chocolate chip cookies, marshmallows (shaped like stars and trees to accompany mugs of hot chocolate), peanut butter fudge, meringue candy canes, and chocolate covered Oreos.

About two weeks after the hubby left for basic, he started bringing up in his letters a triple chocolate cheesecake that I made once a few months earlier that he fell in love with.  I could tell he was craving it and had decided that I might make it as a surprise gift for him when I go to visit him for his graduation from BCT.  He then finally came right out and said that I needed to bring it with me, making sure to bring enough for him as well as some of his friends there to whom he's been bragging about me and my baking abilities.

In order to make transportation, as well as eating it, easier for my trip to see him next week, I decided to make the cheesecake into foil cupcake liners in muffin tins rather than a usual springform pan.  Adjusting the recipe in this manner made me nervous since I didn't know how much of the crust to line each with, or how to reduce the baking time, but I still went forward to make it today.

The cheesecake has an Oreo cookie crust (chocolate layer #1).  I opted to experiment a little and do two versions of the crust for the mini versions of the cake.  For half of them I followed the recipe (halved) and crushed up cookies with the food processor, mixed the crumbs with some melted butter, and then I pressed about 1 tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each of the liners.  For the other half of the cheesecakes I just placed a whole cookie at the bottom of the foil.

The batter for the cheesecake (chocolate layer #2) is easy to whip up, combining softened cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, melted white chocolate, and eggs into creamy goodness.  The white chocolate adds a nice but milder chocolate taste to the cake.

Cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and white chocolate mixture

I scooped the batter on top of the crusts and then baked the cheesecakes for 25 minutes.

Fresh from the oven -- the cracks disappeared after the cakes settled

Once cooled, the cheesecake is then topped with a rich mouse like layer (chocolate layer #3) made of whipped cream cheese, sugar, melted semi-sweet chocolate, and cool whip.  I decided to pipe the topping onto my cheesecakes in an attempt to get a more uniform look.

Now I just have to hope they hold up well on the trip!  I'm freezing them over the weekend so they should still be fairly cold during my flight and make until until I can get to my hotel room and place them in the fridge.  Wish me luck!

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