For the crust:
1 1/2 cups finely ground Maria cookies, vanilla wafers or graham crackers
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
For the cream cheese filling:
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1 14-ounce can La Lechera sweetened condensed milk
3 large eggs, at room temperature
For the dulce de leche topping:
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 14-ounce can La Lechera dulce de leche
1 cup chopped pecans
Dulce de Leche (Milk Caramel)I know that most of the world makes this by boiling the milk inside a closed can, but honestly, that scares the bejesus out of me and according to the Carnation can label I pulled this technique from, is not recommended by them (likely because they do not want to get sued, but still). This method works just as well.Pour one can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk into top of double-boiler pan; cover. Place over boiling water. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 40 to 50 minutes, or until thick and light caramel-colored.Remove from heat. Whisk until smooth.
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares
Adapted from Gourmet, December 2003
If you’re looking for a strong dulce de leche flavor in a baked good, this unfortunately isn’t it. Oh, it’s there, but it’s not front and center. It has to share the spotlight with cream cheese, and, well, I’m not sure that it wants to. But, it lingers subtly in the background and, honestly, if there was ever a way to make cheesecake more heavenly, this would have to be it.
I’m sure you’ll notice that there is some gelatin in this recipe, and think it’s odd. Heck, even Alex did, which really just made me beam with pride that he knows so much about baking right now that he knows that gelatin is atypical in (baked) cheesecakes. But, if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. The reason why most cheesecake recipes don’t fare well as squares is that they’re too soft to easily pick up; the gelatin fixes addresses this perfectly.
Makes 64 (1-inch) cheesecake squares
3 1/2 ounces (100 grams or 1 cup) graham crackers, crumbled
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-ounce or 7-gram envelope, will be just about half an envelope)
1/4 cup (60 ml) whole milk
8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup dulce de leche (12 1/2-ounce or 355-gram can) (recipe follows)
3 ounces (85 grams) fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), coarsely chopped
1/2 stick (2 ounces or 55 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
Make crust: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with 2 sheets of foil (crisscrossed), leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides.
Finely grind crackers with sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor. With motor running, add butter, blending until combined. Press mixture evenly onto bottom of baking pan. Bake 10 minutes, then cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes.
Make filling: Sprinkle gelatin over milk in a small bowl and let stand 2 minutes to soften. Beat together cream cheese, eggs, salt, and gelatin mixture in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until well combined, about 2 minutes, then stir in dulce de leche gently but thoroughly. Pour filling over crust, smoothing top, then bake in a hot water bath (I was able to fit mine in a 9×13-inch baking pan) in oven until center is just set, about 45 minutes. Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 2 hours. Chill, covered, at least 6 hours.
Glaze cake within 2 hours of serving: Heat all glaze ingredients in a double boiler or a small metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth, then pour over cheesecake, tilting baking pan to coat top evenly. Chill, uncovered, 30 minutes.
Lift cheesecake from pan using foil overhang and cut into 1-inch squares with a thin knife, wiping off knife after each cut. (Don’t skip this step! A clean knife is essential for uber-neat squares.)
Note: Cheesecake (without glaze) can be chilled up to 3 days.
1. Prepare Cheesecake Layers: Preheat oven to 300°. Line bottom and sides of 2 disposable cake pans with aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides; lightly grease foil.
2. Microwave white chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl according to package directions; cool 10 minutes.
3. Beat cream cheese and melted chocolate at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating well. Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears after each addition. Stir in 1 Tbsp. vanilla. Pour into prepared pans.
4. Bake at 300° for 30 to 35 minutes or until almost set. Turn oven off. Let cheesecakes stand in oven, with door closed, 30 minutes. Remove from oven to wire racks; cool completely (about 1 1/2 hours). Cover and chill 8 hours, or freeze 24 hours to 2 days.
5. Prepare Red Velvet Layers: Preheat oven to 350°. Beat 1 cup butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add 2 1/2 cups sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add 6 eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
6. Stir together flour and next 2 ingredients; add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in 2 tsp. vanilla; stir in food coloring. Spoon batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch disposable cake pans.
7. Bake at 350° for 20 to 24 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks; cool completely (about 1 hour).
8. Prepare Frosting: Whisk together chocolate and 1/2 cup boiling water until chocolate melts. Cool 20 minutes; chill 30 minutes.
9. Beat 1 cup butter and chilled chocolate mixture at low speed until blended. Beat at medium speed 1 minute. Increase speed to high; beat 2 to 3 minutes or until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar and salt, beating at low speed until blended. Increase speed to high; beat 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth and fluffy.
10. Assemble Cake: Place 1 layer Red Velvet on a serving platter. Top with 1 layer Cheesecake. Repeat with remaining layers of Red Velvet and Cheesecake, alternating and ending with Red Velvet on top. Spread top and sides of cake with White Chocolate Frosting. Store in refrigerator.
Lofty Buttermilk Pancakes
Makes 18 to 20 3-inch pancakes. Serves 4 to 6
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, separated
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Canola or peanut oil for frying
Heat the oven to 225°F and prepare a large baking sheet by setting a cooling rack inside. Place both in the oven.
Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a large bowl. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk the egg yolks, buttermilk, and milk. Add the melted, cooled butter and whisk until well combined.
Pour the yolk and milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until barely combined. Add the egg whites and stir just until a thick batter is formed. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, film with 1/2 teaspoon of neutral oil such as canola or peanut oil. After about 30 seconds, when the oil shimmers but is not smoking, lower the heat to medium-low and use a soup spoon to drop in heaping spoonfuls of pancake batter.
The batter will spread into a pancake about 3 inches wide. Cook for about 2 1/2 minutes. (If the pancake scorches or the oil smokes, lower the heat.) When the bubbles that form on the edges of the pancakes look dry and airy, use a thin spatula to gently lift one side and peek underneath. If the pancake is golden brown, flip and cook on the other side for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, or until the bottom of the pancake is golden brown.
Remove from the skillet to the baking sheet in the oven. Scrape any stray crumbs or scraps out of the skillet, add a little more oil, and continue to cook the remaining batter.
Serve as soon as possible, with butter and warm maple syrup.
If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can use plain yogurt instead. Just use about 2/3 cup and thin it with some milk until it reaches the 1 cup mark. You can also quickly make a buttermilk substitute by mixing 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or white vinegar with 2 cups of milk.
These picnic-ready, personalized pies are a fun food take-away for your guests (now say that 10 times quickly).
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4¼ cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup raisins or pecans
1 pie crust, rolled to ½” thickness
8 – 125ml jam jars, washed and buttered
Prep and Cook
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Combine the butter and sugar and place in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Add the vanilla and raisins or pecans, and cook until the butter has melted. (This is the filling.)
Beat the eggs and whisk into the sugar mixture, cooking over medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until the mixtures thickens and can coat the back of a spoon. Be very careful not to overcook the filling.
Roll out the piecrust and cut circles of dough with the mouth of the jam jar—2 per jar. Press one into the bottom of the buttered jar, top with filling and cover with the second piece of dough.
Cut a steam vent (small slit) into the top piece of dough, and place all of the pies on a large baking sheet.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before placing the lid on the jar.
Decorate with the O Canada Patriotic Pie label and baker’s twine or ribbon.
16 oz. cream cheese/ 2 blocks, room temperature
8 tbsn./ 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
To make the cream cheese frosting, cream together the cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer until creamy and smooth. Turn the mixer on low and add the vanilla and salt. Then add the powdered sugar slowly. Once mostly incorporated, turn back to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy. To assemble the cake, place your bottom layer of cake on the dish/ plate you will be serving it on with the leveled side facing up. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese frosting on top – it doesn’t matter how messy it looks since it will be covered. Transfer the cheesecake to the top of the cake, then spread another thin layer of cream cheese frosting on top of the cheesecake. Top with the remaining layer of cake – leveled side down so that you have a clean surface. Use the rest of the cream cheese frosting to frost the entire cake. Enjoy!