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Archive for February 1, 2017

RECIPE: Super-Easy Brownie Cheesecake

Brownie Cheesecake

Blondies

Cheesecake With Lemon Curd

[1] Top any cheesecake with brownie cubes and drizzle with caramel sauce (photo courtesy iGourmet). [2] Want cake without all the chocolate? Go for blondies instead (photo courtesy Valrhona). [3] Key lime or lemon bars also do the trick, although more jiggly than brownies and blondies (photo courtesy Baking Obsession).

 

If you don’t have the time or inclination to bake from scratch, the easiest specialty cheesecake starts with a purchased cheesecake base.

In the case of this Brownie Caramel Cheesecake (photo #1), you can purchase the brownies, too; or make a quick batch from a mix.

RECIPE: BROWNIE CARAMEL CHEESECAKE

Ingredients

  • 1 cheesecake
  • Brownies to taste (top the cake with as many or as few cubes as you like)
  • Caramel sauce
  •  
    Topping Variations

  • Blondies (blonde brownies—photo #2) with chocolate sauce
  • Linzer shortbread bars with raspberry sauce
  • Pecan pie bars with chocolate sauce
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUBE the brownies/bars. Place as desired atop the cheesecake. We made concentric circles and covered the whole top.

    2. WARM the sauce as needed to drizzling consistency, and drizzle over the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
     
    OTHER CHEESECAKE TOPPINGS

    Fruit Curds

    Spread the top of the cheesecake with fruit curd (photo #3).

    Commonly available choices are cranberry, Key lime, lemon, orange or passionfruit.

    It’s easy to make fruit curd from scratch; but it takes a bit of time and clean-up.
     
    Cookies & Candy

  • Cookies: Top with gingersnaps, Oreos or other favorite cookies. Place them flat or standing up around the rim.
  • Candy: The celebrant’s candy of choice will look great atop the cake. After Eight Mint Chocolate Thins, chocolate bark, M&Ms, mini peanut butter cups, pecan pralines, smashed toffee, etc.
  •  
    For fruit curd, cookies or candy, no sauce is necessary. Instead, you can serve the cake with an optional dab of whipped cream.
     
    There are many other ways to dress up a store-bought cheesecake, from pie filling to shaved chocolate.

    We love a cheesecake iced with chocolate ganache.

    Here’s a tip on top of that:

     
    THE GRIMBLETORTE: GRAND MARNIER CHEESECAKE COVERED IN GANACHE

    Long before there were “foodies,”* those who a decade later would bear the mantle sought out the famous Grimbletorte.

    This spectacular cheesecake from Miss Grimble’s, one of the early gourmet cheesecake bakers in New York City. Its point of differentiation was simple: liqueur in the batter and ganache on the top and sides.

    Miss Grimble (Sylvia Balser Hirsch, 2019-2006) sold the business around 1989 and retired. The subsequent owner discontinued the Grimbletorte.

    Here’s more about the original Miss Grimble.

    To approximate the Grimbletorte:

  • If baking a New York-style cream cheese cheesecake from scratch (2 pounds cream cheese, 5 jumbo eggs), add 1/4 cup Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur to the cheesecake batter.
  • If you have a ready-made cake, you can still get a bit of the flavor. Brush the cake with the liqueur before adding the ganache.
  • In theory, you can add the liqueur to the ganache, but we’ve always loved the great chocolate flavor against the orange-accented cheesecake.
  •  
    Mrs. Hirsch’s cake decorators wrote “Grimbletorte” across the top of the iced cheesecake, also in ganache. Proust may keep his madeleines; we want our Grimbletorte.

    ________________

    *What’s the difference between a foodie, connoisseur, gourmet, gourmand, gastronome, epicure and glutton? Check it out.
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Taco & Wing Bar For Easy Entertaining

    DIY Taco & Wing Bar

    DIY Taco Bar

    Just walking up to a spread like this is exciting! [1] DIY taco and wing bar from Burlap + Blue. [2] Taco bar fixings from Ebay.

     

    The weeks prior to the Super Bowl, we get dozens of pitches from PR firms presenting their clients’ products and recipes: for platters of wings, tacos and other crowd-pleasing game foods.

    So we decided to combine the ideas into what morphed from the help-yourself buffet into the DIY food bar.

    All the food can be easily prepared in advance and served at room temperature. Proteins, rice and beans can be kept on a warming tray, in a slow cooker, or whatever you have (or can borrow).
     
    FOR DIETARY PREFERENCES

  • If your group includes vegetarians or vegans, include Morningstar MorningStar Farms Grillers Crumbles for the tacos, and MorningStar Farms Buffalo Wings for the wings. These vegetarian products are delicious, and after you’ve included all the toppings it’s tough to tell the difference. (Can you tell that the sofritas at Chipotle aren’t meat?)
  • Provide a large bowl of lettuce and have refills available, so those who prefer a big salad can make one, with plenty of choice of toppings). Add oil and vinegar to the table.
  •  
    To drink:

  • Beer
  • Bloody Marys
  • Micheladas (beer, lime juice and hot sauce in a salt-rimmed glass
  • Selter with lime and jalapeños (alas, Polar Seltzer’s Jalapeno Grapefruit Margarita Seltzer was a limited edition)
  •  
    INGREDIENTS FOR A TACO BAR

    Make a selection from these ingredients. If we’ve left out any of your favorites, please let us know!

  • Tortillas: corn tortillas, flour tortillas, taco shells, tostadas
  • Fillings: ground cooked beef*, sliced chicken, fish fillets
  • Toppings: chopped tomato, guacamole, shredded iceberg lettuce or romaine, sour cream, salsa
  • Garnishes: salsa, shredded cheese (cotija, cheddar, Mexican blend, pepperjack
  • Extras: cilantro, corn and bean salad, diced avocado, diced onions, hot sauce, lime wedges, sliced jalapeños, sliced olives
  •  
    Plus: rice and beans.

  • Check out this recipe for Cilantro Lime Rice.
  • If you have enough guests, serve both black beans and pinto beans.
  • ________________

    *If you’ve never made taco beef, it couldn’t be easier. Just cook and crumble the ground beef over medium high heat, sprinkling with taco seasoning as it cooks. Drain the grease; that’s it.

     

    INGREDIENTS FOR A WING BAR

    This is a lot simpler, since wings are a DIY dish in the first place: a platter of wings, celery sticks, hot sauce and blue cheese dressing†.

    There are many ways to make wings. By varying the seasonings on the wings and the types of sauces, Food Network came up with 50 wing recipe variations.

    You’re probably not up for making two, much less 50, variations; but here’s what you can do to make your wings special:

  • Homemade dressings. Make your own blue cheese and ranch dressings, check out the recipes from Burlap + Blue.
  • Different dressings/sauces. In addition to the traditional blue cheese and ranch: aïoli: (garlic mayonnaise—or other flavored mayo)Asian chili sauce, horseradish sauce, mole sauce, peanut sauce, pesto, marinara, steak sauce, teriyaki or ponzu sauce, whatever you have.
  • Different hot sauces: Sriracha, Tabasco, Garlic Tabasco, etc.
  • Spices: Set out black pepper, cayenne or red chili flakes, celery salt, chipotle, cumin, curry, Italian seasoning, jerk seasoning, Old Bay seasoning, whatever you have that makes sense
  • Something sweet: barbecue sauce, honey, maple syrup, peach preserves, pineapple slices/chunks, sliced mango, etc.
  • More veggies: In addition to celery sticks†: bell pepper strips, carrot sticks, fennel sticks, kimchi, pickles, scallions, sliced radishes, sugar snap peas.
  • ________________

    †Buffalo wings were invented in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, as an impromptu, thrown-together midnight snack. Co-owner Teressa Bellissimo fried the wings, covered them in hot sauce and served them with a side of blue cheese and celery—because that’s what she had available. Here’s a longer history of buffalo wings.
     
    MORE DIY FOOD BARS

    Cocktails, Hors D’Oeuvre & Appetizers

  • Antipasto Bar
  • Apple Cider Party Bar
  • Bacon Party Bar
  • Bloody Mary Bar
  • Bruschetta Bar
  • Flavored Shots Party Bar
  • Gazpacho Bar
  • Guacamole Bar
  • Shandy Bar
  • Stuffed Avocado Bar
  •  
    Main Meals

  • Breakfast Or Brunch Bar
  • Coconut Bowl Bar
  • Lunch Or Dinner Bar
  • Tapas Bar
  • Temaki Bar (Sushi Hand Rolls)
  •  
    Desserts & Snacks

  • Assorted Desserts Bar
  • Brownie Bar
  • Frozen Yogurt Bar
  • Ice Cream Bar
  • Pudding Party Bar
  • S’mores Bar
  • Popcorn Bar
  •  

    Buffalo Wings

    Buffalo Wings

    Buffalo Wings With Chiles

    Thai Buffalo Wings

    [1] Classic, casual Buffalo wings became such a favorite—rolling out across America—that chefs at all types of restaurants created their own versions of wings. Previously, plates of wings had not been a restaurant menu item. Here’s a classic take from Bon Appetit. [2] An elegant take from Distilled NY. [3] Italian spices and hot chiles (photo courtesy Carrabba’s Italian Grill). [4] Thai-spiced wings with fresh mango (photo courtesy Spice Market | NYC).

      

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