I’ve been having a lot of fun in the kitchen lately. First of all, I’m reviewing a product from CSN Stores, a fabulous Boston-based company with over 200 online shops. They have everything you need for your house, from a vanity to a grill, so stay tuned for that! Secondly, I made a cake for my good friend Geeti’s surprise baby shower this weekend! Her expression was priceless when she saw the room full of people and I already can’t wait to meet her little one!
I iced a tall triple layer strawberry cake with a classic vanilla buttercream and then covered it in white fondant and decorated it with a pastel green border at the bottom and blue and yellow circles everywhere else. It was my first time covering a cake in fondant, so I was a bit nervous, but thankfully it worked beautifully on my first try.
Then I rolled the dice and decided to see if my eggless sugar cookie dough decorations would work well on a cake. I was inspired by this cake and so happy with how my cute jungle animals turned out – they really spruced up the front of the cake! Since the dough has butter in it, it’s a bit shiner than fondant, but it also doesn’t dry out as easily. It’s also a bit more fragile than fondant and the finish isn’t quite as clean and crisp, but boy is it a lot more tasty! I will definitely be decorating with it again.
Anyway, when I saw 30 people were attending the shower I got nervous that the cake wouldn’t be enough, so I decided to whip up a cheesecake as well. This is the third time I’ve made this cheesecake and I finally nailed it. I topped a crust of pecan shortbread cookies with a layer of classic creamy cheesecake, and added a layer of eggless chocolate chip cookie dough on top. Then I crowned the dessert with a layer of homemade caramel, pecans, and chocolate! It was so rich and sinful and the perfect treat to bring to a celebration! Congrats Geeti and Puneet!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Turtle Cheesecake
8 ounces pecan shortbread cookies, pulsed in the food processor until finely ground (1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cookie Dough Layer:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Heat the oven to 350˚F. To make the crust, mix the pecan shortbread cookie crumbs and butter in a large bowl until well blended, transfer the mixture to a greased 9-inch springform pan, and press into a uniform layer over the bottom of the pan.
To make the cheesecake, combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl and beat on medium-high speed with a mixer for 3 minutes or until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the vanilla. Pour into prepared crust and bake at 350˚F for 32 to 35 minutes or until edges are set and middle is slightly wobbly. Cool to room temperature, about one hour.
To make the caramel, place apple juice and sugar in a medium saucepan, stir well, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Boil for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently, or until mixture is a caramel color. Monitor closely so the sugar does not burn! Remove pan from the heat and slowly stir in cream and vanilla. The mixture will boil up. Return pan to the heat and boil an additional 2 to 5 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow caramel to cool to room temperature.
To prepare the eggless cookie dough, mix butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl until creamy; add milk and vanilla and mix until well blended. Gradually mix in flour and salt; stir in chocolate chips. Spread cookie dough evenly over cooled cheesecake layer and top evenly with caramel. Sprinkle toasted pecans and chocolate chips on top. Refrigerate for several hours or until cheesecake is chilled. Allow cheesecake to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before cutting into wedges. Makes 16 servings.
Nutrition: 427 calories, 25.0g fat, 1.4g fiber, 5.7g protein per serving
Cost: $0.69 per serving