Eat dessert first, well that may not be the recommended way, but most of us plan to reserve a sweet spot for those special tempting treats we love to savor at the end of a meal. Dessert can be as trendy as fashion week—cake pops, cupcakes, pies and savory ice cream.
Cheesecake is a classic. When I was on the Kraft Kitchens team, I learned a lot about cheesecakes and that they can come in just about any and every flavor. These recipes are from a series of cheesecakes I developed a few years ago and they are some of my faves. Sweet Potato Swirl Cheesecake says holiday and for the chocoholic, Chocolate Decadence Cheesecake is back by popular demand. They can be baked ahead and chilled overnight. The day you’re serving them, simply put them on the serving dish and garnish. They’re impressive, adding WOW to your dessert bar.
SWEET POTATO SWIRL CHEESECAKE
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup sour cream
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1-1/2 cups pureed sweet potatoes*
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Heat oven to 325°F. In medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar and butter; mix until blended. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch springform pan. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven; cool.
In mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons of the flour; beat at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in 1/2 cup sour cream and vanilla. Remove approximately 3 cups batter, set aside.
In medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup brown sugar, remaining 1 tablespoon flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves; mix to blend. Mix sweet potatoes, brown sugar mixture and maple syrup to remaining batter, mixing until blended. Spoon 1/2 of sweet potato mixture into crust. Gently spoon 1/2 of plain batter over sweet potato batter. Continue alternating layers of batter until pan is full. With metal spatula or knife, gently swirl spatula through batters for marbled effect. Bake at 325°F, 1 hour and 20 minutes or until center is set. Remove from oven; loosen cake from rim of pan. Cool completely before removing rim of pan. Chill several hours or overnight.
In small bowl, combine 1 cup sour cream and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Spread on top of cooled cheesecake. Top with pecans. Store in refrigerator. Makes: One 9-inch cheesecake, 10 to 12 servings.
*TIP: Drain canned sweet potatoes. Using food processor or electric blender puree drained potatoes until smooth.
Substitute: For Pumpkin Cheesecake, substitute 1-1/2 cups pumpkin puree for sweet potatoes.
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CHOCOLATE DECADENCE CHEESECAKE
1-1/2 cups creme-filled chocolate cookie crumbs*
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
3/4 cup whipping cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs, separated
1/8 teaspoon cream of tarter
1/4 cup whipping cream, whipped
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup whipped cream
Preheat oven to 325°F. In a medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and butter, mixing until well blended. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and sides of 9-inch spring form pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven; cool.
In small saucepan, over low heat, scald whipping cream, heating to just below simmering. Remove from heat. Combine 4 oz. chocolate and scalded whipping cream, mixing with wire whisk until blended. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup sugar, cocoa and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon mixing at medium speed on electric mixer until blended. Add egg yolks, one at a time mixing well after each addition. Blend in 1 teaspoon vanilla and reserved whipping cream mixture; set aside.
In clean mixing bowl, combine cream of tartar and egg whites, beating at high speed until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into cream cheese mixture. Pour over rust; bake 45 to 50 minutes or until center is almost set.
Remove from oven; loosen cake from sides of pan. Cool completely before removing rim of pan. Chill 4 at least hours or overnight.
In small saucepan, over low heat, scald 1/4 cup whipping cream, heating to just below simmering. Remove from heat. In large mixing bowl, combine chocolate, scalded whipping cream, and 1 teaspoon vanilla, mixing with wire whisk until blended.
Cover; chill until firm, but not hard. Using electric mixer beat chocolate mixture until light and fluffy. Fold in whipped cream. Spread on top of chilled cheesecake and garnish with chocolate curls, toasted slivered almonds or strawberries, if desired. Makes: One 9-inch cheesecake, 10 to 12 servings
*TIP: Oreo cookie crumbs