Tag Archives: graham crackers

Salted caramel cheesecake cupcakes

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One of my favourite things to bake is cheesecake. I’m not really sure why. I guess it happened to be one of the first things I learned how to bake once I graduated on from cupcakes. I have a classic New York Cheesecake recipe that I tend to make at least once every few months because it is unbelievable. And don’t they say that by the time you’re in your thirties you’re supposed to know how to cook a couple things really really well? Not that I’m thinking much of being in my thirties but I do like the idea of being the master of a handful of dishes.

Cheesecake can be a bit tricky- if you don’t have the temperatures right or if you overcook the cake the top will begin to crack or the sides will burn and you’ll ruin the texture and the taste of the entire dessert. Not only is it important to follow the recipe, it’s also pretty important to get to know your oven. In the past few years I’ve had to deal with a gas-lit oven that you had to basically throw a burning match into to turn on, a fan-forced oven in a brand new apartment that liked to shut itself off every once in a while, and an oven in a much older apartment that seems to be changing temperatures from minute to minute. But once you get used to the quirks you can handle pretty much anything.

Luckily I was at home when I made these cute little treats and I know that oven extremely well. This is a great recipe for party treats as you can make heaps of little cupcakes very easily. They keep well for a few days and taste amaaaazing.

Salted caramel cheesecake cupcakes
Makes 24 normal sized cupcakes
Recipe from Cooking Classy

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups finely crushed graham crackers (from 18 sheets)
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
7 Tbsp salted butter, melted
4 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salted Caramel Sauce, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together crushed graham crackers with 3 Tbsp granulated sugar. Pour in melted butter and stir mixture until evenly coated. Divide graham cracker mixture among 24 paper lined muffin cups, adding about a heaping Tbsp to each. Press mixture into an even layer. Bake in preheated oven 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool while preparing filling.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar with 3 Tbsp flour until well blended. Add softened cream cheese to a separate mixing bowl and pour sugar mixture over top. Blend mixture on low speed until smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time and blend on low speed, while scrapping sides and bottom of bowl and mixing just until combined after each addition. Add vanilla, sour cream and heavy cream and mix just until combined. Tap mixing bowl against counter top about 30 times to release some of the air bubbles. Divide mixture among muffin cups filling each cup nearly full. Bake in preheated oven 20 – 23 minutes, centers should still jiggle slightly, don’t overbake (if they begin to crack they are starting to become overbaked). Remove from oven and allow to cool 1 hour. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator and chill 2 hours. Serve chilled with a spoonful of Salted Caramel Sauce  (note: for best results spoon topping on just before serving). Store in an airtight container in refrigerator or freeze.

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Salted caramel sauce

Ingredients:
1 1 /2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp water
6 Tbsp salted butter
3/4 cup heavy cream*
Maldon or coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions
Gather all of your ingredients and have them nearby ready to add to the mixture as needed. In a heavy-bottomed 3 quart saucepan, heat sugar and water over moderately high heat whisking constantly to dissolve sugar. Once mixture reaches a boil, stop whisking and allow mixture to boil until it reaches a dark amber color, carefully swirling pan occasionally. Once mixture reaches a dark amber color, immediately add butter and whisk until butter has melted then immediately remove from heat. Wait 3 seconds then carefully pour in cream and immediately whisk to combine (it will bubble vigorously). Whisk until mixture is smooth. Allow caramel to cool several minutes then pour into a glass jar to cool. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt after spooning caramel over cheesecakes.

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Filed under Cakes and cupcakes, Desserts, Recipes

Banoffee pie

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I’ve always wondered about banoffee pie. The only time I had ever really heard about it is in that scene in Love Actually where Keira Knightley’s character shows up at her husband’s friends house looking for a wedding tape and offers him a slice of banoffee pie or ‘munchies.’ Many people probably don’t remember the scene in this much detail but as it’s my favourite movie I could probably recite the whole thing backwards.

Anyways, I always wondered what banoffee pie is, I also wondered exactly what ‘munchies’ are but in America they cover a pretty broad range so I didn’t spend as much time contemplating that. I finally had the chance to try banoffee pie earlier this year when my roommate made it for a going away party. And it was show stopping amazing. This recipe is a little untraditional since there are pretzels in the crust but they provide a great salty balance to the sweet caramel. There is also crème fraîche in the topping which offsets the sweetness of the pouring cream as well.

Albeit an amazing dish, it’s not the easiest. It’s mostly straight-forward but this recipe doesn’t spend a lot of time explaining just how to caramelise the sugar. And it turns out caramelised sugar is a bitch.

Maybe it’s just my ineptitude in the kitchen but it took me three times to get it right. On my first attempt it burnt- filling up my kitchen with the smell of gross black caramel. The next time the sugar seemed to dissolve and then somehow magically turned back into sugar from liquid. To be honest, I almost scrapped the whole thing after that. But I was not about to let caramel best me. It seemed to be finding all sorts of different ways to laugh at me. I think the problem was that I had the heat too high so the sugar didn’t have time to fully dissolve before the mixture started bubbling. 

I used this tutorial after the first two attempts and the photos are really helpful.

No matter how tricksy caramel may be, this recipe is perfect for any special occasion.

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Banoffee pie
Serves 10

  • 3 ripe bananas, thinly sliced
  • 300 ml pouring cream
  • 400 gm crème fraîche
  • Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • To serve: shaved dark chocolate
  • Pretzel crumb base
  • 240 gm digestive biscuits, coarsely broken
  • 90 gm salted pretzels
  • 75 gm caster sugar
  • 200 gm butter, melted
  • Salted toffee
  • 200 gm caster sugar
  • 80 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 125 ml pouring cream

Method

  • For pretzel crumb base, process biscuits, pretzels and sugar in a food processor until fine crumbs form, add butter, pulse to just combine, press into base and up sides of a 5cm-deep, 24cm-diameter pie dish and refrigerate until set.
  • Meanwhile, for salted toffee, stir sugar and 50ml water in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, bring to the boil and cook until caramel (6-8 minutes). Add butter, cream and ½ tsp sea salt flakes (be careful as hot caramel will spit), stir until combined, then pour over crumb base and refrigerate until chilled.
  • Arrange banana on top of caramel and set aside. Whisk cream, crème fraîche and vanilla seeds in an electric mixer until firm peaks form. Spoon on top of banana, scatter with chocolate shavings and serve.
This recipe is from the June 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
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