Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

Key lime, key lime, key lime….oh how I love thee, let me count the ways…

But seriously we don’t have time for me to wax philosophically about my love for Key Lime, instead let’s focus on a really simple, yet fabulous dessert!

This dish takes cheesecake and crosses it with a bar and then throws in a little Key Lime to make an all-in-one fun little treat that is perfect on a hot summer day, or even nice in the middle of winter for a reminder of summers past. Cheesecake and Key Lime all in a handy, dandy bar form? You can’t go wrong with that!

What You’ll Need for the Crust:
1 sleeve of graham crackers, crushed
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1/4 cup of organic cane sugar

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Crush graham crackers and stir in melted butter and sugar to mix. Press mixture into a 13 X 9 inch baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.

Set aside.

What You’ll Need for the Bar Filling:
2 – 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1/2 cup of unbleached, all purpose flour
1/2 cup of key lime juice

Cream together cream cheese, eggs and sugar until smooth. Slowly add the flour and mix until incorporated. Last add the key lime juice and mix for 1 minute on medium.

Pour filling mixture over the crust in your baking dish (see above) and bake in a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until bars are set.

Let bars come to room temperature and then chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Store uneaten portions in the fridge.

Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

Notes: If you can’t find Key Lime juice you can use regular lime as well, but it won’t be as good. You can also use lemon juice for a lemon bar alternative.

Chocolate Covered Cheesecake

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust

Cheesecake…..

Even the name makes me daydream. There is just something about a creamy, cold cheesecake that makes it the ultimate dessert for me. Give me cheesecake, Mexican food, goat cheese, Vodka and some good bread and I’d be perfectly happy on a deserted island. Oh and a cute cabana boy to wait on me hand and foot…Sounds like my kind of life! ;oP

What? Never mind! Where was I?

Those of you who have been readers of Dianne’s Dishes know I have somewhat of an obsession with Cheesecake. I mean cheesecake has an entire category on my blog all to itself! Cheesecake should be a food group, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again!

This cheesecake takes the best of two worlds, cheesecake and chocolate chip cookies and marries them together to make a fabulous overall dessert. Top the cake with some chocolate ganache and you have rich sin on a plate! A little slice of this cheesecake is more than enough at one sitting, but oh what a slice it is!

What You’ll Need for the Crust:
10-12 Back to Nature Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4 stick of butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 F with the rack in the middle of the oven.

Now let’s talk about the chocolate chip cookie crust. For this crust you need a hard variety of chocolate chip cookie. A soft cookie will not work. I like the Back to Nature cookies because they are natural.

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chop the cookies until roughly the size of peas:

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: Chocolate Chip Cookies Crumbled

Stir in butter until mixed:

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: Crust Ready to be Pressed in to the Springform Pan

Press cookie mixture in to an 8 inch spring form pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray:

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: Crust

Set aside.

Notes for the Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: When I make a graham cracker crust from scratch I usually add a little bit of sugar to the crust. When using the chocolate chip cookies that isn’t necessary unless you really just like things sweet. You could add in 1/4 to 1/3 cup of sugar if you wanted.

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: Baked

What You’ll Need for the Cheesecake Batter:
2 – 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups of organic cane sugar
3 eggs
2 tablespoons of vanilla
1/2 cup of unbleached all purpose flour

When making a cheesecake it is ESSENTIAL to make sure that your oven is preheated BEFORE you begin baking your cake so make sure your oven has preheated before you put in the cheesecake.

I like to bake my cheesecakes in a water bath, which helps keep the cheesecake from cracking that much (if at all) as it bakes. I usually just fill up my tea kettle with water and set it to boil as I’m making the crust and the filling of the cheesecake. You want enough water to come up the pan about half way when you place it in a baking dish.

In a large bowl beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and beat until incorporated.

Next add eggs and vanilla and beat on medium for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes slowly add flour and mix until smooth.

Wrap the outside of your spring form pan that has the crust pressed in to the bottom with aluminum foil to keep water from seeping in to your cheesecake as you bake.

Pour batter in to prepared pan:

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: Ready to Bake

Place pan in a deep baking dish and pour boiling water in to the dish being sure not to get any water in the cheesecake itself.

Bake for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and crack the door of your oven (Some call this the broil position) and let the cheesecake sit untouched for another hour.

Take the cheesecake from the water bath and set on a towel to absorb moisture. Next remove the aluminum foil:

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: Baked

As you can see as the cake baked it pulled away from the sides of the pan a bit. Doesn’t it look great already?

Store cheesecake covered in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Notes on the Cheesecake Batter: At this point, once it’s chilled you could dig in to the cheesecake right then as is, but who wouldn’t want a bit more chocolate? There’s no such thing as too much chocolate despite what Jamison might say! ;oP

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: Ganache

What You’ll Need for the Chocolate Ganache:
1 cup of heavy cream
1 tablespoon of butter
1 package of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Remove the ring of the springform pan and place chilled cheesecake on a plate that is big enough to catch any overflow of the ganache. Place back in the fridge until ganache is ready.

In a medium sized sauce pan melt butter in heavy cream and then bring to a simmer. Stir in chocolate chips and stir constantly until they are melted and the mixture is smooth. This takes 1-3 minutes to melt.

Once the ganache is smooth pour the mixture over the chilled cheesecake:

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: With Ganache

Chill cake for at least another hour before serving.

Notes for the Ganache: You could use milk chocolate or dark chocolate instead of the semi-sweet chips.

And as always this cheesecake is sous chef approved!

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: Sous Chef Approved!

Notes Overall: This a very versatile cheesecake and you can change things here or there to your liking. Adding mini chocolate chips to the batter would be a great addition, or adding in 1/3 to 1/2 cup of cocoa to make a chocolate cheesecake would be fabulous too!

Blueberry Cheesecake Pie

Blueberry Cheesecake Pie

I love blueberries. I also love cheesecake. If you’ve been around Dianne’s Dishes for a while you’ve seen those phrases played out here before. What happens when you have blueberries you need to use, a pie crust that needs to be used as well, along with a block of cream cheese? You make Blueberry Cheesecake Pie!

This is an extremely simple pie to make, though it looks like it might not be. Remember though that look can be deceiving! A few simple steps, a nice bake in the oven and voila…The perfect dessert for the blueberry and/or cheesecake lover in your midst!

Blueberry Cheesecake Pie

What You’ll Need:
1 unbaked pie crust (Note: You can make one yourself, or buy one at the store.)
18 ounces of fresh blueberries
1/3 cup of organic can sugar
The zest of one lemon
The juice of one lemon
1/3 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
1 – 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup of organic cane sugar
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Press pie shell in to an ungreased pie dish:

Blueberry Cheesecake Pie: Pie Shell

Set aside.

Add blueberries, 1/3 cup of organic cane sugar, lemon zest and juice to a medium sized pot. Cook over medium heat stirring frequently until blueberry sauce forms. This usually takes 5-8 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for an additional minute until slightly thickened:

Blueberry Cheesecake Pie: Blueberries

Set aside and let cool.

In a mixing bowl blend together cream cheese, 1/2 cup of organic cane sugar and eggs until smooth. Pour into your prepared pie shell:

Blueberry Cheesecake Pie: Cheesecake Batter

Pour cooled blueberry mixture into the center of the cream cheese mixture:

Blueberry Cheesecake Pie: Ready to Bake

Place pie dish on to a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until crust is lightly golden and the cheesecake layer is set:

Blueberry Cheesecake Pie: Baked

Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature (at least 4 hours) and then serve.

Notes: No notes for this one.

Blueberry Cheesecake

Blueberry Cheesecake

On Saturday a dear friend of mine (Hi Cookie!) came over for lunch/the day. We ate lunch, talked, played Scene It Harry Potter and just generally enjoyed spending time with one another! Earlier in the week I had e-mailed Cookie and asked if she liked blueberries as I had a bunch of blueberries in the freezer that I froze when they were in season and I’ve been wanting to make something with them ever since! It turns out Cookie likes blueberries too so we were in business!

So now I knew we were dealing with blueberries, but what to make? I could have made some sort of blueberry pie or blueberry cobbler or something with a blue berry sauce or a cake or blueberry muffins or even one my all time favorites Blueberry Ice Cream! But I’ve done all those already…I wanted something new…Something different! But what?

Then it hit me…Cheesecake! Yes I had already made a cheesecake for our dinner guests earlier in the week, but I had always wanted to see if you could make a cheesecake with actual blueberries in the cake and not just as a topping and this was the perfect chance! And I must say I really loved how this turned out! The flavor was really fabulous and the color was just marvelous! Topped with a little whipped cream this was the perfect, cool, creamy, summery dessert!

Now if you’ll excuse me I think I need to go get myself upon the treadmill and/or elliptical machine! ;oP

Blueberry Cheesecake: Crust

What You’ll Need for the Crust:
1 sleeve graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1 stick of butter, melted

(Note: I like to leave my graham crackers a bit chunky instead of processing them to complete crumbs, but which ever version you prefer will work fine.)

Crush graham crackers and place in a medium sized bowl. Add sugar and stir to mix. Pour in melted butter and stir until it all comes together. Press into a 9-inch spring form pan that has been generously sprayed with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Note: As I’ve mentioned before in terms of cheesecake the most important part of making a cheesecake is making sure that you preheat your oven first! Preheat your oven to 325 F and don’t try to skip this step. It’s essential! Do NOT skip the preheat stage!

Blueberry Cheesecake: Blueberries

What You’ll Need for the Blueberry Portion:
2 cups of blueberries (Note: I used some I had frozen earlier this summer)
The zest of 1 lemon
The juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of organic cane sugar

In a medium sized pot add blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar and cook over medium heat stirring often until blueberries form sauce and become soft. This takes roughly 3-8 minutes depending on the heat.

Remove from heat and set aside and let cool to at least lukewarm or cool completely.

Blueberry Cheesecake: Ready to Bake

What You’ll Need for the Cheesecake:
Blueberries as prepared above
4 – 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened (Note: I used regular cream cheese, but I’ve used low-fat and fat free in the past when making cheesecake and they both have worked.)
1 cup ricotta (Note: I used part skim this time because the store was out of fat free, but any variety will work.)
4 eggs
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour

As I mentioned above preheat your oven to 325 F.

In the bowl of your mixer cream together cream cheese, eggs, ricotta and sugar until completely smooth. Add cooked blueberry mixture and mix until the blueberries are completely incorporated into the batter. You may need to scrape down the bowl several times. Add flour and mix until just incorporated. The batter will be a lovely purple color:

Blueberry Cheesecake: Up Close Before Baking

I mean how gorgeous is that color??

Pour batter into the pan with the crust and spread it out evenly. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to make sure there are no air pockets. Wrap the bottom of the pan in aluminum foil and place the pan into a baking dish. Pour warm water into the dish until it comes at least half of the way up the side of the pan. (Note: The aluminum foil keeps the water from ruining the cheesecake, while allowing you to bake it in a water bath.)

Blueberry Cheesecake: Ready to Bake

Bake for 1 hour.

At the end of 1 hour turn the oven off, but leave the cheesecake where it is. Open the oven door to the broil position and let the cheesecake sit in the turned off oven for an additional hour. Once that hour is over remove from oven and place in the fridge. You want to chill the cheesecake for at least 8 hours. Overnight is best.

Blueberry Cheesecake

Once the cheesecake has cooled completely, just before serving, remove the outer ring of the springform pan, slice and serve.

Trust me if you’re a blueberry lover you are going to LOVE this one!

Blueberry Cheesecake

Notes: I’m going to go out on a limb here and say if this worked for blueberries, any berry would work with this same method. Or perhaps peaches…Oh my…I may just have to make that one day! 😉

Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Peanut Butter Cheesecake

I adore cheesecake and if you’ve been around Dianne’s Dishes for a while you’ve probably heard me say that before! Seriously a cheesecake food group? Anyone??

Essentially I have a basic cheesecake recipe base that I tweak to make different varieties. The base is the most important part of a cheesecake to begin with. You want something that is creamy, yet firm, but not so firm that you have to really push your fork through it to eat it. You want firm, yet soft…Confused yet? 😉 But trust me this cake base never fails! You get a perfect cheese cake every time and after all that’s exactly what you want!

A peanut butter cheesecake has been on my list of things to play around with for a while. So when we had dinner guests on Tuesday night (With whom we had a fabulous time I might add!) I decided it was the perfect time to see what I could come with! I must say I was really pleased. The peanut butter is there, but not overpowering and the chocolate crust, along with the hot fudge drizzle and whipped cream just all came together so well! I even made Jamison a crustless, gluten-free version (see below) that was pretty good too! What’s not to like about that?

Peanut Butter Cheesecake: Crust

What You’ll Need for the Crust:
1 sleeve chocolate graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1 stick of butter, melted

Crush graham crackers and place in a medium sized bowl. Add sugar and stir to mix. Pour in melted butter and stir until it all comes together. Press into a 9-inch spring form pan that has been generously sprayed with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Note: The most important part of making a cheesecake, other than getting everything blended well, is making sure that you preheat your oven first! Preheat your oven to 325 F and don’t try to skip this step. It’s essential!

Peanut Butter Cheesecake: Baked and Ready to Serve

What You’ll Need for the Cheesecake:
4 – 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened (Note: This go around I used regular cream cheese, but I’ve used low-fat and fat free in the past when making cheesecake and they both have worked.)
1 cup ricotta (Note: I use fat free, but any variety will work.)
4 eggs
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 cup peanut butter powder
1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour

As I mentioned above preheat your oven to 325 F.

In the bowl of your mixer cream together cream cheese, eggs, ricotta and sugar until completely smooth. Add peanut butter powder and beat until completely mixed. On low speed add flour and mix until just incorporated.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake:Ready to Bake

Pour batter into the pan with the crust and spread it out evenly. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to make sure there are no air pockets. Wrap the bottom of the pan in aluminum foil and place the pan into a baking dish. Pour warm water into the dish until it comes at least half of the way up the side of the pan. (Note: The aluminum foil keeps the water from ruining the cheesecake, while allowing you to bake it in a water bath.) Bake for 1 hour.

At the end of 1 hour turn the oven off, but leave the cheesecake where it is. Open the oven door to the broil position and let the cheesecake sit in the turned off oven for an additional hour. Once that hour is over remove from oven and place in the fridge. You want to chill the cheesecake for at least 8 hours. Overnight is best.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cheesecake

What You’ll Need for a Gluten Free Alternative:
1 – 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup of organic cane sugar
1/3 cup ricotta (Note: Again I used fat free, but any variety will work fine.)
2/3 cup peanut butter powder
1/3 cup sweet potato flour

Cream together cream cheese, eggs, ricotta and sugar until smooth. Add peanut butter powder and beat until it is completely mixed. Add sweet potato flour on low and mix until just incorporated. Pour into two small 6 inch glass dishes that have been sprayed with non-stick spray. Follow the same directions for baking as above.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cheesecakes: Ready to Bake

(Note: With the glass dishes you don’t need to wrap the bottoms of the dishes in aluminum foil since the water can not penetrate them.)

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cheesecake

After the hour of sitting in the oven that is turned off turn cheesecake out of their dish and put in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 8 hours before serving.

Now let’s talk a little hot fudge shall we?

Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Hot Fudge Sauce and Whipped Cream

What You’ll Need for the Hot Fudge Sauce:
8 ounces of baking chocolate (Note: I used 60%.)
1 cup of sugar
1 stick of butter
2 cups of half and half
1 tablespoon of vanilla

Melt everything together in a medium sized pot. Bring to a quick boil. Boil for three minutes and then remove from heat. Add vanilla and stir to mix. Let cool and serve.

Note: You can store the hot fudge in the fridge when you’re done. When you put the hot fudge in the fridge it turns to a fudge like consistency. Simply take out a few scoops, put it into a glass dish and microwave for 20-30 seconds to melt again.

Cheesecake Brownies

Cheesecake Brownie

Cheesecake and brownies…Who doesn’t like those? Why not combine the two and see what you come up with? This is it! These brownies are rich, decadent and oh so delicious! These most definitely are sometimes food, but oh what a sometimes food they are! In fact they were so good I kept a couple and sent the rest off to work with Jamison for a treat day this morning! They were just that tempting! 😉 Of course I haven’t sent anything for a treat day at Jamison’s office in a while, so this was the perfect excuse!

Cheesecake Brownies: Baked

Seriously these were heavenly, but they’d cause me to have to spend way too much time on the treadmill and in case you didn’t know I despise the treadmill even though I drag myself upon it anyway, but why have to drag myself upon it longer than I have to?!!?!? ;oP

What You’ll Need for the Brownie Layer:
2 sticks of butter
6 ounces of baking chocolate
2 cups of organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl melt butter and baking chocolate in the microwave on 30 second intervals until completely melted and smooth. Stir in sugar. (Note: It may be a little grainy one you add the sugar, but don’t worry.)

Stir in baking powder and vanilla and stir to incorporate into the chocolate mixture. Add eggs and stir until well mixed. Next slowly stir in flour until completely incorporated.

Pour mixture into a 13 X 9 inch dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Set aside.

What You’ll Need for the Cheesecake Layer:
2- 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of organic cane sugar
2 eggs

Cheesecake Brownies: Ready to Swirl

In the bowl of your mixer mix together cream cheese, sugar and eggs until completely smooth. Drop cream cheese mixture by large dollops on top of the brownie mixture. With a spoon swirl cheesecake into the brownie mixture. (Don’t worry it’s not going to be pretty at this point. It blends more into a swirl once you bake.)

Cheesecake Brownies: Swirled and Ready to Bake

Bake for 30-40 minutes until edges are done and cheesecake center is set. (Note: It may still be a little wiggly. Don’t worry.) Remove from oven and let cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container.

Cheesecake Brownie

Notes: As I mentioned these are very rich, so smaller is better. :o)

No Bake Key Lime Cheesecake

No Bake Key Lime Cheesecake

Last week was a long week! Seriously it was jam packed busy. I had planned to make a Tart on Friday to serve on Saturday when our friends came over for an early dinner/ play date, but my sister called me to come help her out so she could pack for their trip to Tennessee and well baby cuddles won out! I mean seriously how cool and creamy does this look?

No Bake Key Lime Cheesecake: Jumping In

This really hit the spot on Saturday when the temperature topped out somewhere in the hundreds with a heat index of who knows what and humidity in the twelvety two billion range! Let’s get a little closer look at that shall we?

No Bake Key Lime Cheesecake: A Bite

Doesn’t that just look cool and creamy? Yum!

What You’ll Need:
1 sleeve of graham crackers
1/4 cup of sugar
1 stick of butter, melted
1 – 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1 – 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk (Note: I used fat free.)
1/2 cup Nellie and Joe’s Double Strength Key Lime Juice

(Note: This recipe involves “cooking” your crust in the microwave oven so you must use a glass pie dish. If you want to use metal or use a springform pan you’ll have to bake the crust in the oven until golden. If you wanted to you could buy a pre-made crust.)

Crush graham crackers and a medium sized bowl. Add sugar and butter and stir to mix. Set aside.

Spray a glass pie dish with non-stick spray and press the crust into the dish. Place in the microwave for 1 – 1 1/2 minutes until the crust hardens slightly. Set aside to cool while making the filling.

In the bowl of your mixer cream together cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk until completely smooth. Add key lime juice and mix until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pie shell an spread out to cover the entire crust.

No Bake Key Lime Cheesecake: Ready For The Fridge

Place pie dish in the fridge for at least 3 hours (overnight is better). When ready to serve cut into slices (sometimes the first slice is a bit of a mess) and serve with whipped cream if desired.

No Bake Key Lime Cheesecake: Sliced

Note: You could do this with either lemon or orange juice instead if Key Lime isn’t your thing.

Key Lime Cheesecake

Mini Key Lime Cheesecake

I’m a big fan of key lime. I like key lime yogurt, pie, ice cream, pound cake, muffins and of course key lime cheesecake! The key lime flavor is so versatile and fresh. It’s fun to play around with new ideas and see what you can come up with. This treat was another creation for Jamison to share with his coworkers. Key Lime Cheesecake is creamy and cool with just the right hint of key lime. Top it with some candied lime peel and/or whipped cream and you’ve got a fantastic dessert!

What You’ll Need for the Crust:
1 sleeve of graham crackers (Note: Any type will work, even the chocolate version. Sometimes I use regular, sometimes I use the chocolate. The chocolate really makes the key lime flavor pop, though the regular graham crackers have their own charm as well.)
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1/4 cup of organic cane sugar

Spray a 9 inch springform pan with non-stick spray and set aside. Crush graham crackers (the food processor is a very good way to do this), add in butter and sugar and mix or process until sticky crumbs form.

Press into the bottom of the prepared spring form pan. Use the sides and bottom of a glass or measuring cup to ensure that the crust is really presses into the corners and the bottom. Set aside.

Key Lime Cheesecake

What You’ll Need for the Cheesecake:
4 – 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup of ricotta cheese (Note: Whole milk, part skim or fat free will work. I used part skim.)
1 cup of organic cane sugar
4 eggs
1/2-1 cup of key lime juice (Note: Use more if you want a really limey taste. Use less if you just want a hint. If you use the full cup increase flour by 1/4 a cup.)
1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325 F. (Note: This is very important in making cheesecakes. You MUST preheat your oven!)

In a mixing bowl beat cream cheese until creamy and smooth. Add ricotta, sugar and eggs and beat until smooth. Add lime juice and mix until incorporated. Slowly add flour until just mixed.

Pour batter into the prepared shell and wrap the bottom of the springform pan securely with aluminum foil.

Place cheesecake with foil into a large baking dish and pour hot water into the dish until it reaches 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up the pan. Be careful not to get any water into the cheesecake itself.

Bake for 60 minutes.

Turn off oven and place the oven door in the broil position and let the cheesecake sit for an additional 60 minutes in the oven after it has been turned off without moving the cake.

Once it has cooled store in the fridge for at least 3 or 4 hours before serving.

Mini Key Lime Cheesecake

To Make Mini Cheesecakes:

Preheat oven to 325 F. Mix batter as you would for the big cheesecake.

Line muffin pans with cupcake liners and place a vanilla wafer in the bottom of each cup. Add enough batter to fill the cup 3/4 of the way.

Bake for 15-30 minutes until cheesecakes have set.

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.

To Make Candied Citrus Peel:

Remove strips of citrus peel (orange, lemon, lime, etc.) from the fruit with as little pith as possible.

Boil the strips until tender in 1-2 cups of water. Remove from water.

Add in sugar. (Use equal amounts sugar and water. If you started out with one cup of water, then use one cup of sugar.) Let sugar dissolve and then add peels back into the pot. Bring to a slow boil and cook until peels are transparent.

Drain in a single layer with peels not touching. Once dried use as a garnish.

Notes: If you leave out the key lime juice you have a basic cheesecake. You could substitute lemon juice for the key lime juice if key lime isn’t your thing. If you want a green key lime you can add in a few drops of green food color, but key lime juice doesn’t really turn anything green and most likely the best key lime you’ve had in the past was not colored. Also even when using a water bath cracks sometimes happen in making a cheesecake. If they do, don’t sweat it…The cheesecake still tastes delicious and that’s what whipped cream is there for…To cover up those cracks! 😉

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Within my circle of friends and family I’m somewhat known for my cheesecakes. I’ve got a ton of different scrumptious variations and people ask for them often! Key Lime, Chocolate, Peppermint, Caramel Irish Cream, Turtle, Peanut Butter, Regular, among many others and one of my favorites is my Pumpkin Cheesecake! Most every Thanksgiving I whip one of these gems up and I look forward to it all year! It’s a different twist on the standard pumpkin pie, but it will draw raves! Try is and see.

What You’ll Need for the Crust:
2 1/2 cups of gingersnap cookies
1/4 cup of sugar 1 stick of butter, melted

Add ginger snap cookies and process them in the food processor until smooth. (Note: If you don’t have a food processor then place them in a plastic bag and have fun smashing them! ;o)

Process in sugar and melted butter until a crumbly mixture forms.

Press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch spring form pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Wrap the outside of the pan with aluminum foil to the very edges of the pan, without covering the opening. Set aside.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Gingersnap Crust

What You’ll Need for the Filling:
3 – 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1 – 15 ounce can of mashed pumpkin
1 cup of ricotta cheese (Note: You can use the whole milk, part skim or fat free version.)
1 cup of natural brown sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325 F. (Note: This is very important when baking a cheesecake! The oven must be preheated! Do NOT skip this step!!)

Put a pot or kettle on to boil with enough water to cover 1/2-3/4 of the cheesecake pan with water.

Cream together cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, ricotta and eggs until well blended.

Mix in pumpkin pie spice and flour until just blended.

Pour into prepared crust.

Pumpkin Cheesecake "Help"

Place cheesecake pan into a baking dish. Pour hot water into the dish or pan being careful not to get any water on or in the cake itself. The water depth should be at least 1/2 the way up the side of the spring form pan, but no more than 3/4ths of the way up the side.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Ready to Bake

Bake for 1 hour.

Turn oven off and open oven door to the broil position and let the cake sit unmoved for 1 more hour.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Resting

After the cheesecake sits for 1 hour carefully remove from the oven and take out of its water bath. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Notes: The water bath helps the cheesecake top to not split as much. If you’re making this on a cold day (like today for example), you might have trouble getting the cream cheese to cream completely smooth. Don’t worry about this as it will not affect the taste of the cheesecake. You can also use graham cracker crumbs instead of gingersnaps, though I think the gingersnaps give it that extra omph. If you want you can decorate the top of the cheesecake with seasonal shaped cookies (such as leaves, acorns, pumpkins, etc.) and I recommend serving it with a dollop of fresh whipped cream on top.

Mini Caramel Irish Cream Cheesecakes

Caramel Irish Cream Mini Cheesecake

When I sent Jamison to get me a bottle of Irish Cream on Friday he called me with the wonderful news that there was a Bailey’s Irish Cream with a hint of caramel flavor. I hadn’t bought any Irish Cream in years and given I love both caramel and Irish Cream, I just had to try the new Bailey’s!

It’s delicious to drink (every good cook worth their salt knows that tasting is essential to the final product! 😉 ) and it made a scrumptious cheesecake to boot! That’s win win as far as I’m concerned!

Irish Spirits

What You’ll Need For The Crust:
3/4 of a sleeve of chocolate graham crackers
1/2 a stick of butter melted
1/4 a cup of sugar

Crush graham crackers. (I use my food processor.)

Stir in butter and sugar.

Line a muffin pan with muffin liners (14-15) and place crust in the bottom of each liner and press firmly into place. Set aside.

What You’ll Need For The Cheesecake:
2 – 8 ounce packages of light cream cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of Bailey’s Irish Cream with a hint of caramel (or just plain Bailey’s…It’s completely up to you)
1/2 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
Shaved chocolate (optional)
Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Cream together cream cheese, eggs, ricotta, sugar and Bailey’s.

Add flour and mix until just blended.

Fill each muffin liner 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 25-30 minutes until cheesecake are set.

Once cooled top with shaved chocolate and homemade whipped cream if desired. Store in the refrigerator.

Makes 14-15 mini cheesecakes.