January 10, 2010
Caramel and pecan cheesecake – how can you go wrong!? This cheesecake is light and creamy, features a wonderful texture due to the addition of pecans and is perfectly caramel-topped.
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
- 1 cup Graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
- 4 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 2 – 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir in Graham cracker crumbs, chopped pecans and tbsp brown sugar. Press the cracker mixture onto the bottom of an ungreased 9 inch springform pan.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar and the cream cheese together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one, until blended (do not overmix).
- Hand stir in almond extract, vanilla, sour cream, and chopped pecans until well combined. Pour filling into pan over crust.
- Bake for 55 minutes, until set. Remove pan from the oven while the topping is being prepared.
- In a small bowl, combine sour cream, brown sugar, almond extract, and vanilla extract. Cover the cheesecake with topping mixture. Return the cheesecake to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and run a small knife along the pan to ensure the cheesecake isn’t attached to the pan wall. Unlatch the pan wall. Cool until room temperature, then remove the pan wall and refrigerate.
- In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat the Dulce de Leche for 30 seconds, until it’s in a liquid state.
- Using a small fork, drizzle Dulce de Leche on the surface of the cheesecake.
December 28, 2009
Maple Taffee on Snow 2
As my family began getting ready for the food frenzy my visit to Quebec would bring on, one thing that my oldest niece, Maude, wanted to be sure my sister would fix for us is Tire sur la Neige, or Maple Taffee on Snow. This treat is one most popular at sugar shacks during maple syrup season, but great anytime there’s snow outside.
- 2 – 3 cups maple syrup
- Freshly gathered snow packed tightly into a wide, low container
Maple Taffee on Snow
Pour the maple syrup into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil on high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until it reaches 240°F on a candy thermometer, approximately 4-5 minutes.
- Using a ladle, drizzle some of the hot syrup onto the snow, making certain not to cover the entire surface (you can re-pour additional syrup after the first round of taffee is gone).
- Let the taffee set for a minute then pick up by rolling on a fork or wooden chopstick.
Notes: Don’t have snow where you live? Finely-crushed ice from a blender would work!
December 28, 2009
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Treats
These treats come straight from my childhood as my Grandma made them for the holidays as far back as I can remember. She’d make a double batch and freeze the finished treats so we’d have them well into the new year.
- 1/3 cup grated paraffin wax
- 8 ounces milk chocolate chips
- 1 cup smooth peanut butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 cups puffed rice cereal
- Melt paraffin and chocolate in a glass or metal bowl placed over a pot of simmering water over medium-low heat. Don’t allow the bowl to touch the simmering water.
- Add peanut butter to the melted chocolate and blend well until fully incorporated.
- Stir the powdered sugar into the mixture. Remove from heat and add the puffed rice cereal, making certain that the cereal is fully coated with the chocolate mixture.
- Drop spoonful of the mixture on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet and cool. Refrigerate cooled treats.
Makes approximately 24 treats.
Notes: Paraffin wax can be found at most grocery stores in the canning section where Mason Jars are found. Only use consumable wax such as Gulf Paraffin Wax. Grate the paraffin using a box grater or microplane.
December 15, 2009
I’m Canadian and one of the candy bars I loved as a kid was the Cherry Blossom. This treat features a thick chocolate, peanut butter and coconut shell with a tasty cherry syrup and maraschino cherry center. The Cherry Blossom is a treat I always look forward to having when I go visit my folks in Quebec, and my mother shared the recipe we’d made when I was a kid.
For the chocolate treat:
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup grated paraffin wax
- 1 cup confectioner sugar
- 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
- 1/3 cup grated coconut
- 12 whole, red maraschino cherries
Chocolate treat directions:
Combine all the chocolate treat ingredients in a microwaveable dish and microwave in 1 minute increments, stirring after each minute, until the mixture is nearly completely melted, 2-4 minutes. Stir mixture thoroughly to ensure any un-melted bits are completely melted.
- 1/2 cup cherry liquid from a red maraschino cherry jar
- 1 cup confectioner sugar
Cherry syrup directions:
In a small bowl, combine the liquid and the confectioner sugar, stirring until a thick syrup is created.
- Wash and dry a Styrofoam egg container, cut off the lid with scissors then oil each egg compartment well.
- Take melted chocolate mixture and cover each egg compartment with a thick coating using a spoon. Work fast as the mixture will harden quickly. If the mixture gets too hard, microwave it for 30 seconds.
- Add a cherry and about 1 tablespoon of cherry syrup to each egg compartment, then use additional chocolate to create a ‘lid’ for each treat. Ensure the chocolate ‘lids’ seal in the syrup completely to avoid leaks. Cover the egg container with cling wrap.
- Refrigerate overnight or at least 12 hours. Unmold each treat carefully, then wrap each treat with aluminum foil. Keep refrigerated.
Yields 12 treats.
Notes: You could use a cardboard egg container, but you’d need to line it with cling wrap that you’d then oil thoroughly. Paraffin wax can be found at most grocery stores in the canning section where Mason Jars are found. Only use consumable wax such as Gulf Paraffin Wax. Instead of using oil on the egg container, you could also use cooking spray.
November 7, 2009
Not many dishes exemplify true Canadian goodness like the Maple Syrup Pie. Served around the holidays, or for special occasions, this simply-made pie is both beautiful and delicious. My Grand-Mother probably would not approve of this microwaveable version, but those of us who have a limited amount of time to bake will be thankful. The pie dough leaves are optional but create an Autumnal flair.
Maply Syrup Pie
- 1 3/4 cups pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 9-inch Press-In Shortbread Pie Crust, baked
Decorative Leaves Ingredients (Optional):
- 1 store-bought, refrigerated rolled pie crust
- 1 large egg
- 3 tbsp whole milk
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Place all pie ingredients, except for the crust, in a large, microwaveable bowl. Whisk well to incorporate all the ingredients. Note that there will initially be lumps due to the butter.
- Microwave on high for 9 minutes, whisking every 2 minutes to smooth out the mixture.
- Pour mixture into the baked pie crust and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Roll out the pie crust, cut 5-6 leaves using a cookie cutter. Place the leaves on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Whisk the egg with the milk. Using a pastry brush, brush the leaves with the egg mixture, then sprinkle a bit of sugar on the surface of each leaf.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
If using leaves, place on the surface of the finished pie.
Notes: Pie can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 4 days. If doubled or tripled, the pies can easily be frozen wrapped in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil.
October 29, 2009
As someone who grew up with a sister addicted to Nutella, I find interesting the idea of being able to whip up a batch of the decadent chocolate-hazelnut spread within just a few minutes.
- 2 cups raw hazelnuts
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Scharffen Berger or Ghirardelli
- 3 tbs hazelnut oil, more as needed (could be vegetable oil, but flavor will be less intense)
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 1/8 tsp salt
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts evenly over a cookie sheet; roast until they become aromatic, 8-10 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a damp towel; rub to remove the skins. Grind the hazelnuts to a smooth butter in a food processor, scraping the sides as needed, about 5 minutes.
Add the sugar, cocoa, oil, vanilla and salt to the food processor; process until blended to the consistency of creamy peanut butter, about 1 minute. If it is too dry, process in a little extra hazelnut oil. Remove to a container; cover. Refrigerate until needed. Let come to room temperature before using. It will keep for at least a week.
Makes: 1 ½ cups
Source: Chicago Tribune