Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake






I've been craving chocolate so much recently. I even made two chocolate cakes this week (the first one was the chocolate cheesecake).
At first, I wanted to make a flourless cake (sounds healthier + I have made one before and it was divine), but finally I decided that I want a rich, buttery, deep dark chocolate cake. And I don't regret my decision. At all.
Once you bake it, I suggest trying it at room temperature first (when the frosting is still creamy and soft). But in my opinion, it's so much better chilled. Leave it in the fridge overnight and you won't believe how incredibly fudgy it becomes after a night in the fridge. 
Well, enough said. Pictures speak for themselves.
Just be careful with this cake. It doesn't look innocent and it isn't innocent. A small piece of it will be enough to satisfy your chocolate cravings!

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

Frosting:
84g (3/4 cup) butter, room temperature
21g (3 tsp) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
125g (1 cup) powdered sugar
35g sour cream

Cake:
90g (3/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
94g (3/4 cup) flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
170g (3/4 cup) butter, room temperature
225g (1 cup) sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
115g (1/2 cup) sour cream

1) Preheat oven to 180C / 350F. Prepare a 20x20cm / 8x8 inch silicone (or greased metal) baking pan.

2) In a small bowl, combine together cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3) In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until well combined. Add vanilla extract.

4) Mix in one third of the flour mixture, then add half of the sour cream and repeat the process (total - 3 additions; finish with flour).

5) Bake for 25- 30 minutes. Cool completely.

6) To make the frosting, beat all the ingredients until soft and fluffy. The longer you beat, the fluffier frosting you'll have. Don't be lazy.

Cake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart. Frosting recipe by collecting memories


Friday, December 12, 2014

Milk Chocolate Cheesecake





Cheesecake is definitely my favorite dessert. I know, I say that all the time, about every dessert I make, but really, cheesecake is my favorite among all the favorite desserts. Okay, that's too complicated.
But, to be honest, I prefer vanilla, caramel, coconut, lemon or any other flavor cheesecake to the chocolate one. I love chocolate, but I'd better make a vanilla cheesecake with a chocolate ganache or a chocolate crust and omit chocolate in the cream cheese filling. Maybe that's why I topped this cheesecake with a thick layer of vanilla whipped cream.
Anyway, this cheesecake came out perfectly creamy, smooth and delicious. For chocolate lovers, it's divine. I used half milk chocolate, half semisweet chocolate (I prefer milk chocolate) so you can definitely use all semisweet chocolate if you want. Just don't skip the whipped cream topping. It pairs perfectly with a rich, chocolatey cake and melts in your mouth.
And it looks quite festive, too. This would definitely look good on your Christmas table :)

Milk Chocolate Cheesecake

Crust:

200g vanilla biscuits, ground (You can use graham crackers)
2-3 tsp (14-21g) unsweetened cocoa powder
80g melted butter

Filling:
500g (2 8oz. blocks) cream cheese, room temperature
230g (1 cup) sour cream, room temperature
150g (3/4 cup) white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
12g cornstarch
3 eggs, lightly beaten
100g (3,5oz) milk chocolate
100g (3,5oz) semisweet chocolate

Topping:
400g heavy whipping cream, cold
2-3 tbsp powdered sugar

1) Mix together biscuits, cocoa powder and butter. Press into the bottom of a 23cm (9 inch) baking dish with a removable bottom. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

2) Preheat oven to 180C (350F).

3) Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Place a metal bowl on top of it and add chopped chocolate to the bowl. Make sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the boiling water. Cover the bowl with a lid and let the steam melt the chocolate. Stir occasionally. (You can melt it in the microwave or use any other method.) Once the chocolate has melted, let it cool slightly.

4) In a large mixing bowl, add cream cheese, sour cream and sugar. Mix until well combined. Add vanilla extract and cornstarch. Finally, add eggs and mix until smooth. Gradually add the melted and cooled chocolate, whisking constantly.

5) Pour the filling onto the crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 120C and continue to bake for another 45-60 minutes.

6) Remove from the oven and let cool completely, then refrigerate overnight.

7) For the topping, beat heavy cream with powdered sugar until stiff. Spread over the cheesecake. Refrigerate for another hour. Slice and enjoy!

Recipe by collecting memories


Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Browned Butter Oatmeal Cookies








I have been planning my Christmas baking these days and there's a long long cookie list. These cookies weren't included in that list, but I've been craving oatmeal cookies so much recently that I couldn't resist mixing up a batch of these. And then I thought that these could also be great for Christmas. If you decorate them with icing, they look quite festive. And most importantly, they were absolutely delicious. Large, sweet, thick and slightly chewy in the middle. And if you like oatmeal cookies, you will definitely love these. 


Iced Oatmeal Cookies

113g (1/2 cup) butter
110g (1/2 cup) white sugar
50g (1/4 cup) light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
90g (1 cup) quick-cooking oats, ground
125g (1 cup) flour

Icing:
40g icing sugar
1 tbsp boiling water

1) First, make the browned butter: in a saucepan, melt the butter, stirring frequently. Once it melts, stop stirring and let it brown over medium-low heat. When you start smelling a nutty aroma and it looks lightly browned (you can test the color with a tablespoon). remove from heat. Be careful not to burn it. Don't wait until it gets dark brown. The whole browning process takes just a few minutes.

2) Add both sugars to the butter and stir to combine. Let it cool a few minutes and beat in the egg. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix just until combined. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

3) Preheat oven to 180C (350F) Remove the cookie dough from the fridge and form into balls. Place them on a baking tray lined with a parchment paper (leave some space among the cookies).

4) Bake for 12 minutes. If you want a slightly chewy center, check them after 10-11 minutes and remove from the oven while still a little bit underbaked in the center. If you like them crunchier, bake for 14-15 minutes. Cool completely before icing.

5) To make the icing, mix together icing sugar and boiling water.

Makes 14 large cookies

Recipe by collecting memories



Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Mushroom Lasagna with B├ęchamel Sauce





I haven't posted for a while but after publishing the coconut cheesecake recipe, I decided that it deserves to stay on the first page of my blog a little bit longer. Yes, it was that good.
But now it's time for another "that good" recipe: the creamiest ever lasagna. If you like Bechamel sauce, pasta, mushrooms, cheese and garlic, you're going to love this. It's oozing with cheesy white sauce and it's packed with juicy mushrooms. 
I don't make lasagna very often but when I make it, I eat nothing but lasagna. This lasagna was finished within 2 days just by me. It would've been finished the same day but I had to save one piece for pictures. Blogging is such a hard job!


Mushroom Lasagna with B├ęchamel Sauce

2 tbsp oil
2 medium onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
450g mushrooms, sliced
salt

9 lasagna noodles (150g)
120g cheese (1 1/2 cup), grated

Bechamel sauce:
750ml (3 cups) milk
45g butter
24g (3 tbsp) flour
salt

1) Heat oil in a saucepan. Add onions, garlic and cook, until soft and lightly browned. Add mushrooms and cook until they release their liquid and become soft. Cook a few more minutes until the liquid evaporates. Season with salt. Remove from heat and set aside.

2) Make the bechamel sauce: In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter. Add flour and stir for a minute until smooth. Start pouring the milk and stir very quickly so you avoid any lumps. You will have to stir it constantly. Cook, over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. It might take 10-20 minutes. For this lasagna, I like my bechamel sauce thicker than usually, but it's up to you. It must be thick enough to coat the spoon. By the end of cooking, add salt. Remove from heat and set aside.

3) Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Grease a 20x20cm (8x8 inch) baking dish. Now start layering. You can layer it as you wish, but I did it this way: Bechamel sauce (enough to coat the bottom of a baking dish), lasagna noodles, half of the mushroom mixture, half of the shredded cheese, Some bechamel sauce, noodles, remaining mushrooms, noodles, bechamel sauce, noodles, remaining bechamel sauce and cheese. 

4) Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and increase the heat to 200C (400F). Bake for another 20 minutes.

5) Let cool a little bit. Don't serve it right after you remove it from the oven. It's better to cool it for a longer time because the bechamel sauce will be too runny if you serve it immediately.

P.S. It's also very good the next day. I even liked it cold! Or you can always reheat it in your microwave. 

Serves 4.

Recipe by collecting memories

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Coconut Cheesecake








Enough of pumpkin, it's time for coconut! Okay, I have nothing against pumpkin, but it's time to include other ingredients in my meals. Seriously. I've been eating pumpkin almost everyday. 
I haven't made cheesecake for a long time and when I saw a lonely can of cream of coconut in my counter, I realized that it's time to bake a coconut cheesecake. And I wasn't wrong. It was a perfect time. In fact, it's always a perfect time for a cheesecake. 
And the result? Absolutely perfect. Creamy, smooth, not too sweet, light and without a single crack on top. But the best part... was the frosting. It was TO DIE FOR. Really, it was the most delicious coconut frosting ever. You must try this cheesecake. And you MUST try this coconut frosting. That's all you need.


Coconut Cheesecake

Crust:
150g (~1 1/2 cup) graham cracker crumbs (any other cookies work as well)
60g (2oz) butter, melted

Filling:
1 kg (4 8oz packages) cream cheese
200g (1/2 can) coconut cream (unsweetened)
225g (1 cup) sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
15g (1 tbsp) cornstarch

Frosting:
200g (1/2 can) coconut cream (unsweetened)
60g (2oz) powdered sugar

1) Mix together graham cracker crumbs with butter and press into the bottom of a springform pan. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

2) In a bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar. Add coconut cream, eggs, vanilla extract and cornstarch. Mix just until smooth.

3) Pour onto the crust and bake in a 180C / 350F preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 120C / 250F and bake for another 60-90 minutes. 

4) Let cool completely, preferably overnight. 

5) For the frosting, beat together coconut cream and powdered sugar until creamy. Spread over the cooled cake. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Slice and enjoy!

Recipe by collecting memories




Monday, November 24, 2014

Apple Crisp Pie







I think I've never told you before how much I like warm desserts served with ice cream. And if it has a crunchy topping, a fruity filling and if it is an apple pie, it's a perfection. There's something magical about melting ice cream over a warm pie. Don't you agree?? This one's packed with juicy apples, cinnamon and tastes very similar to an apple crisp. If you like apple crisp - you're going to like this pie too. Just don't forget to drizzle the topping with some maple syrup, agave syrup or caramel sauce. I used agave syrup but, I must confess, I prefer caramel sauce. Guilty!

Apple Crisp Pie

Crust:
1 1/4 cup (155g) flour
1 tbsp (15g) sugar
1/2 stick (56g) butter, cold
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp ice water

Topping:
3/4 cup (95g) flour
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 stick (56g) butter, cold

Filling:
625g apples
2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest

Maple syrup, Agave syrup, caramel sauce, to serve
Vanilla ice cream, to serve

1) To make the crust, combine together flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the cold butter and mix with your fingertips until crumbs form. Add ice water (add 2 at first, you might not need the third one) and knead just until the dough forms into a ball. Roll out the dough into a circle and press into the bottom of a 18cm greased baking dish. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling and the crumb topping.

2) To make the crumb topping, combine together all the ingredients and mix using your fingertips until crumbly. Place in a refrigerator.

3) To make the filling, peel and cut the apples into thin slices. Add into a large bowl and squeeze in the lemon juice. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix to coat the apples.

4) Add the apples into the pie shell. Press down a little bit. Top with the crumbs.

5) Bake in a 200C (400F) preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180C (350F) and continue baking for another 20 minutes.

6) Serve warm with some vanilla ice cream and maple syrup, agave syrup or caramel sauce. I used agave but caramel sauce sounds even better, doesn't it?

Recipe by collecting memories



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