VEGAN BLUEBERRY-LEMON CHEESECAKE

This post makes me thrilled and sad at the same time. Thrilled because I cannot believe that a vegan dessert could taste so good… and sad because I won’t be able to share the full recipe. I did my best to try and get permission from the author, but no luck. If you are truly interested in making this cute dessert your best option is buying her book: Incredible Plant Desserts, by Anthea Cheng. I modified the whipped topping, and will share that component of my version with you.

VEGAN WHIPPED CREAM
(from Berrybaker.com)

375g unsweetened soy milk
50g granulated sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract or paste
110g cacao butter, finely chopped
76g coconut oil
1/8 tsp xanthan gum, optional but recommended

Simmer 250g (or 1 cup) of soy milk, and sugar until almost boiling. Place the coconut oil and cocoa butter in a Vitamix type blender, add the vanilla, and the hot soy milk over it. Let it all sit together for a minute, then run the blender at high speed for 2 minutes.

Add the rest of the soy milk and blend until incorporated. Refrigerate for 6 hours to be firm enough to whip. When ready to use, sprinkle the xanthan gum on the surface, and then whip with a handheld mixer. It will be ready to pipe or spoon on any dessert you like.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

In the recipe devised by Anthea, the topping is the exact same component as the top layer, but whipped into piping consistency. I decided to change it by using a vegan whipped “cream” alternative, and the recipe I found with a quick internet search was a complete winner. Excellent texture, and a taste that mimics real whipped cream surprisingly well. I highly recommend you give it a try. I like the way the topping has a contrasting color with the layer of blueberry mousse below. Everything worked very well together.

This cheesecake is not baked, the bottom layer is made of almonds and dates. Both the lemon and the blueberry mousse are based on cashew cream, coconut oil and cocoa butter. With a bit of maple syrup to sweeten it all up. Truly delicious! Anthea has a very enticing Instagram page, which you can follow with a click here.

ONE YEAR AGO: Green Tea Rice with Edamame and Butternut Squash

TWO YEARS AGO: Santa Hat Mini-Mousse Cakes

THREE YEARS AGO: Fun with Sourdough

FOUR YEARS AGO: Pasteis de Nata

FIVE YEARS AGO: New Mexico Pork Chile, Crockpot Version

SIX YEARS AGO: Chocolate on Chocolate

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Double Chocolate and Mint Cookies

EIGHT YEARS AGO: The Story of my first Creme Brulle’

NINE YEARS AGO: Sourdough Mini-rolls

TEN YEARS AGO: Focaccia with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Gorgonzola

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Mediterranean Skewers

TWELVE YEARS AGO Fettuccine with Shrimp, Swiss Chard, and Tomatoes


ONE GIFT, ONE DOUGH, TWO RECIPES

Last month my dear friend Louise sent me a wonderful gift: a box with many (and by many I mean more than 50!) little tartlet tins in several different shapes and sizes. I was speechless, and so touched by her generosity! It is now time to share my first adventure with this special gift. A single dual-purpose dough was used to make little tarts and a modernized version of Linzer cookies. The recipe for the dough comes from Haniela’s blog. She is one of the cookie artists I follow and try to learn from. I suspect it will become my default dough for sweet tarts. The texture is perfect, and I loved the way it is intensely flavored with vanilla.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE MINI-TARTLETS
(dough recipe from Haniela’s)

for the dough:
430g all-purpose-flour
1/8 tsp salt
160g powdered sugar
3 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
226 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

for the filling:
6oz dark chocolate, cut in small pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/8 tsp orange oil
sprinkles to decorate (optional)

Sift flour and salt. Set aside. In a mixer fitted with a paddle beater, mix butter and powdered sugar until smooth. In a small dish whisk together egg yolks and vanilla. Gradually beat egg yolk mixture into the creamed butter. Scrape the bowl a few times as needed.

On low-speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture. Mix until it starts to come together. If the dough is too crumbly, add 1tsp milk. Do not overwork the dough. Invert the dough onto a clean work surface or into a large bowl and gather dough together with your hands into a ball. Then form the dough into a disk, wrap it in the foil and chill for 1 to 2 hours.

Heat oven to 350F. Place mini tart shell molds onto a baking sheet. Spray with a non-stick spray, set aside. Take out the chilled dough, cut it in half. Let if soften for 5 minutes. Roll it to 1/8 inch rolling. Cut out as many rounds as you can. Gather scraps and re-roll. Shape the tarts and use a fork to prick the bottom of the shells. Bake at 350F for 12-14 minutes until golden around the edges.

Let cool for 10-15 minutes before removing tarts from the molds. Turn the mold upside down and tap it firmly onto your work surface to release the shell. Let the tarts cool before adding a filling.

Make the filling: place the chocolate in a bowl, heat the heavy cream to almost boiling, and pour over the chocolate. Wait a few minutes, add the orange oil, and gently stir until fully smooth. Let the ganache cool for about 5 minutes, then place in a piping bag and fill the tartlets, smoothing the top. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Place in the fridge to set the ganache for about 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Check Hani’s site for detailed step-by-step instructions. As she shows, the best way to shape the dough is using an empty tin of the same format to press it in, with a Saran wrap type plastic over the dough to protect it. Works like a charm (check top right picture in composite above). You can make many tartlets and store them in the freezer for a mini-tartlet emergency…

The same exact dough can be rolled and cut into any shape you like to make a Linzer version. I went with a teardrop and cut-out small flower shapes for the top layer.

Simply bake the cookies, let them cool, and spread a thin layer of the jam of your choice. I used seedless raspberry jam for this batch.

A little shower with powdered sugar is optional, but in my opinion, a nice finishing touch.

The dough is wonderful to work with, and as a cutout cookie, it held the shape well. The tartlets puffed up a bit, but midway through baking I pressed them down gently. Perfect texture.

A big thank you to Louise and Haniela!

ONE YEAR AGO: Rocking the Zucchini Boat

TWO YEARS AGO: Polenta Bites with Spicy Tomato Sauce

THREE YEAR AGO: Vague Mousse Cake

FOUR YEARS AGO: Cottage Loaf, my very own technical challenge

FIVE YEARS AGO: Pork Ribs: Sticky, Spicy and Awesome

SIX YEARS AGO: Sobering Peach Sorbet

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Buttermilk-Blueberry Breakfast Cake

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Silky Cauliflower Puree with Almond Milk

NINE YEARS AGO: Beef and Broccoli Stir-fr

TEN YEARS AGO:Wheat Germ and Sage Sourdough Bread

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:Popeye-Pleasing Salad

TWELVE YEARS AGO:Summer’s Finale

OMG PEANUT BUTTER BARS

I cannot stand the texture of peanut butter and its ability to glue to gums and teeth. The idea of grabbing a spoon of peanut butter and licking it leaves me paralyzed with terror. These peanut bars? Seriously addictive. In her original post, Lauren called them “World’s Best Peanut Butter Bars.” I have not tried that many – full disclosure, this is my second – so I share the recipe with you, and if you are a peanut butter bar connoisseur, let me know what you think.

PEANUT BUTTER BARS
(from Tastes Better from Scratch)

for the bars:
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (plus more for spreading over baked bars)
2 + 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 + 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

for the chocolate frosting:
1/4 cup butter
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 + 1/2 Tablespoons milk
1 + 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter with both types of sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla, and peanut butter and mix well.

In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to creamy mixture.

Press firmly into a greased 9×13” pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes. It will look just barely set in the center, and will harden as it cools. Allow to cool completely, then spread a thin layer of peanut butter over the bars.

To make the chocolate frosting: Add butter to a small skillet over medium heat. Once melted, stir in cocoa. Remove from heat and add milk, powdered sugar and vanilla. Whisk until smooth, using electric beaters to get out any lumps, if needed. .

Spread chocolate frosting over the top of the bars. Cut into squares once the topping is fully set. Using a knife moistened with very hot water from the faucet helps to get neat slices.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: These bars were donated, but I “sampled” a little of the trimmings. It’s a good thing I had planned to donate them, because just like a certain cauliflower of my recent past, portion control with this baby would require Herculean efforts. If you make it, consider cutting in even smaller squares if you can, because they are rich. Decadent. I love the inclusion of oats in the base. I am thinking of incorporating oats in sugar cookies in the near future.

ONE YEAR AGO: Kansas Sunflower Seed and Black Walnut Macarons

TWO YEARS AGO: Curry Turmeric Sourdough

THREE YEARS AGO: Black Olive Tapenade and Deviled Eggs

FOUR YEARS AGO: Blueberry Crumble Coffee Cake

FIVE YEARS AGO: Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Bundt Cake

SIX YEAR AGO: Quinoa Salad with Red Grapes and Avocado

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Strawberry Coffee Cake

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins

NINE YEARS AGO: Mascarpone Brownies

TEN YEARS AGO: Salmon Tacos

ELEVEN YEARS AGOCinnamon Turban Bread

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Summertime Gratin

RASPBERRY BRIGADEIROS

A departure on the Brazilian classic, I love the way these turned out. The raspberry cuts through the sweetness and gives them a little sharp bite I find quite pleasant. If brigadeiros are new to you, I urge you to make a batch. You can start from the traditional version, or go straight for this dressed up variation.

RASPBERRY BRIGADEIROS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 can (14 oz) condensed milk
1 tablespoon butter
100g white chocolate, cut in pieces
dash of salt
1/4 cup raspberry jam, seedless
1 tsp Amorettti raspberry flavor (optional)
nonpareils, white and pink
gold air-brush color (optional)

Grease a small baking dish with butter and set aside.

In a medium non-stick pan, combine the butter, sweetened condensed milk, and salt over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Once the brigadeiro mix is warm, add the chocolate pieces, the jam and continue stirring.


The mixture thickens after about 8-10 minutes, and once you can run your spoon through the middle of it without it running back together for 2-3 seconds, it is done. When it starts to thicken, add the raspberry flavor, if using.

Pour the mixture into the greased plate, and let it chill until you can handle it with your bare hands. Form little balls and roll on nonpareils to coat. If desired, add a little gold color with an air-brush. Place them in small candy cups.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Brigadeiros are very sweet by nature (reducing condensed milk leaves you no way out of it), but even those who are against overly sweet goodies will enjoy this version. The raspberry does its magic.

I went with two colors, pink and white, and added a touch of gold because these brigadeiros had to be dressed for a special party. Have you heard that a certain food blog will turn 12 years old very soon? I say no more for the time being…

ONE YEAR AGO: Kale and Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Breasts

TWO YEARS AGO: Memories of Pasteis

THREE YEARS AGO: And now for Something Completely Different

FOUR YEARS AGO: Parsnip, Coconut, and Lemongrass Soup

FIVE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2016

SIX YEARS AGO: Paleo Moussaka

SEVEN YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2014

EIGHT YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2013

NINE YEARS AGO: Crimson and Cream Turkey Chili

TEN YEARS AGO: Taking a break from the nano-kitchen

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Chocolate Chip Cookies


PASSION FRUIT MILLIONAIRE’S SHORTBREAD

Millionaire’s Bars are undoubtedly a classic. This version brings a bright tropical twist that works quite well. Very rich, a small piece will satisfy even those with a super sweet tooth.

PASSION FRUIT MILLIONAIRE’S SHORTBREAD
(inspired by this article)

for the shortbread base:
2½ cups (312g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (226g) unsalted butter, melted

for the caramel:
1 can (396g)sweetened condensed milk
1 cup (210g) brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup passion fruit pulp
1-2 tsp passionfruit flavor from Amoretti (optional)
8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter
½ teaspoon salt

for the topping:
225g dark chocolate
1/4 cup Candy Melts, white dyed orange with food gel

Heat oven to 350F. Butter a 9 x 13 baking pan and line it with foil, leaving pieces hanging on both the long and short sides of the pan, for easy lifting of the bar later. Make the shortbread by combining flour, sugar, and salt in medium bowl. Add melted butter and stir with a silicone spatula until no dry crumbs of flour remain. Crumble the dough evenly over the pan, and pat into even thickness with your fingers. Pierce with a fork many times all over the surface. Bake until light golden brown and firm to touch, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack. Let crust cool for 20 to 30 minutes.

Make the caramel: Stir all ingredients together in large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture reaches 238 F. This will take around 20 minutes. Pour over crust and spread to even thickness. Let cool completely, a couple of hours.

Once set, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30-second bursts until glossy and smooth. Place the dyed candy melt in a piping bag and make a small hole. Smooth the chocolate over the caramel shortbread, then quickly add lines of the dyed candy melts. Do a feathering effect with a toothpick or a needle. Leave it set, then cut into squares.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I made this quite some time ago, March 2020 to be precise. It was one of the last items I was able to share with our department before Covid-19 hit. I hoped to have intense passion fruit flavor in the caramel, and that was not very easy to achieve. By mixing fruit pulp with a touch of Amoretti flavor, I think I got it as intense as it could possibly be without affecting the caramel texture. If you don’t have Amoretti products hanging around, just omit it. The passion fruit by itself will be a nice touch, taming the sweetness of the caramel layer. But, as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, this is rich. They call it Millionaire’s Shortbread for good reason!

ONE YEAR AGO: Chai-Mango Rosette Macarons

TWO YEARS AGO: Common Table, Something New in My Life

THREE YEAR AGO: The Daisy, a Bread with Brioche Alter-Ego

FOUR YEARS AGO: Pork Tenderloin, Braciole Style

FIVE YEARS AGO: Raspberry Buckle

SIX YEARS AGO: Seafood Gratin for a Special Dinner

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Cooking Sous-Vide: Sweet and Spicy Asian Pork Loin

EIGHT YEARS AGO:  Farewell to a Bewitching Kitchen

NINE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen. June 2012

TEN YEARS AGO: Goodbye L.A.

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: 7-6-5 Pork Tenderloin