Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake


A puppy quietly snoring in my lap, excited laughter as Liv and her grandfather win another round of Sequence and a belly full of holiday treats are providing a beautiful sense of contentedness on this day after Thanksgiving.  This day is always one of my favorites... today leftover treats from our baking and cooking marathon gave endless options after a quick trip to the Apple Store where we unfortunately came home empty handed (but not without a whole new wish list!). 

Thanksgiving once again provided a wonderful day with family and friends.  Our house guests were up early with Fran helping me in the kitchen from 7 AM until the last dish was washed at 9 PM.  She and her husband Tom brought several bottles of absolutely divine wine that they bottled themselves.  An impressive '08 Zin was my favorite of the evening, beating out our 92 point Cab with its beautifully balanced fruity flavors, lovely long legs and gorgeous garnet color.  WhoDog is not available on the market and we feel extremely lucky to be on the receiving end of the bottle!

Mom and Dad arrived early with big smiles and appetizers in hand.  Neighbors from up the street visited for a bit and then my husband's parents arrived to complete our guest list.

Liv, my Dad and Kona

Mom has made our Thanksgiving gravy ever since I can remember.  I have never mastered her technique, and I'm not sure I ever will, but luckily, Liv was paying attention.  She got her first gravy-making lesson this year and says that she has it down.  The recipe and technique are in safe hands and appear to have made it to another generation.


Gravy making techniques passed through the generations!
My husband says that the half hour before we sit down to the Thanksgiving table is his favorite.  Not that he's much help, but he loves watching the bustle of the kitchen and the stress as we worry about getting all the dishes on the table warm and at the same time, Mom grumbling that the gravy is not working out, me yelling at him to get to cutting the turkey, then him casually pointing out that the water glasses have yet to be filled.  He talks about it all year long, always with a slight smirk and a chuckle.


Dessert is always something to look forward to with one never being enough.  Mom supplied the popular Pumpkin and Pecan Pies this year and I fulfilled my husband's special request of his favorite Cappuccino-Fudge Cheesecake, once again with help from Liv.  As our master decorator, she provided us with a gorgeous array of beautifully adorned mini cheesecakes bringing smiles not only to the cakes but to everyone's faces as well.

Cappuccino-Fudge Cheesecake is a pleasure that one doesn't easily forget.  Its luscious, creamy texture combines with the coffee enhanced flavors layered with Kahlua laced ganache and a crunchy chocolaty crust to produce a dessert worthy of any and all special occasions.  Oft requested by not only my husband, but other friends and family for special occasions, this exquisite indulgence will be the hit of your event.


Decorated with reserved ganache and topped with chocolate covered espresso beans the cheesecake is visually appealing as well as scrumptious.  For years I used a 10 inch springform pan for the cake, but recently switched to using mini Panettone paper molds for individual servings.  Far easier than making those perfect cuts while everyone is eagerly waiting for their piece!


Luckily we have leftovers... and I've come to the conclusion that cheesecake for breakfast is not all bad!




Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake
adapted from Epicurious


Crust
1 9-ounce box Trader Joes Chocolate Joe Joe's

1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
, generous
5 Tbs melted unsalted butter


Ganache

1 1/4 cups whipping cream

16 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup Kahlúa or other coffee-flavored liqueur


Filling

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/3 cups sugar

2 Tbs all purpose flour

2 Tbs dark rum
1 shot of espresso or 2 Tbs instant espresso powder or coffee crystals
2 tablespoons ground whole espresso coffee beans (medium-coarse grind)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons mild-flavored (light) molasses

3 large eggs


Chocolate covered espresso coffee beans (optional)

For crust:
Finely chop cookies in a food processor. Add butter and brown sugar and process.  Transfer crumbs to 10-inch-diameter springform pan with 3-inch-high sides. Wrap plastic wrap around fingers and press crumb mixture firmly up sides to within 1/2 inch of top edge, then over bottom of pan.

Alternatively, spoon a few Tbs of the crumb mixture into the bottom of a mini Panettone paper mold.  Press down.

For ganache:

Bring whipping cream to simmer in large saucepan. Remove from heat; add chocolate and Kahlúa. Whisk until chocolate is melted and ganache is smooth.  Pour a generous 1 cup ganache over bottom of crust. Freeze until ganache layer is firm, about 30 minutes. Reserve remaining ganache; cover and let stand at room temperature to use later for decorating.

For filling
Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°F. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until blended. Beat in flour. Stir rum, espresso powder (or pulled espresso), ground coffee, vanilla, and molasses in small bowl until instant coffee dissolves; beat into cream cheese mixture. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl.

Pour filling over cold ganache in crust. Place cheesecake on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until top is brown, puffed and cracked at edges, and center 2 inches moves only slightly when pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour 5 minutes (or about 40 minutes for minis). Transfer cheesecake to rack.
Cool cheesecake on the rack until room temp.  Cheesecake may be refrigerated and decorated later, or decorated now.

Run small sharp knife between crust and pan sides to loosen cake; release pan sides. Transfer cheesecake to platter. Spoon reserved ganache into pastry bag fitted with a tip. and decorate as desired.  Garnish with coffee beans.  Chill until ganache decorations are firm, at least 6 hours. (Can be made 4 days ahead. Wrap loosely in foil, forming dome over decorations; keep chilled.)

One worn out puppy!!

32 comments:

  1. It looks like you had a great Thanksgiving full of good food and family! Those paper molds are adorable...perfect for those yummy cheesecakes!

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  2. The cheesecake sounds and looks absolutely delightful! What a great family day. Liz looks so happy. Please tell her that my love most definitely had an Infinity and beyond time this Thanksgiving. (=

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  3. What a wonderful Thanksgiving you had! Your cheesecake is over the top. Liv's mini cheesecakes are so cute. What kind of puppy do you have? We have a Cock-a-poo, which looks similar to your puppy!

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  4. that looks luscious! definitely gonna say i'd want one for breakfast :P lovely fudge cheesecake!

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  5. I can't think of anything better for breakfast! It looks insanely good and I love the mini sizes. Your puppy is adorable!

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  6. Count me in...This looks scrumtions, great job:)

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  7. Wow...I would love a big bite of your cheesecake! Beautiful!!!

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  8. deliciously decorated cake can keep on eating :)

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  9. It seems you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. everyone looks so happy. no wonder with that delicious cupcake which, if you ask me, is good not just after dinner or as breakfast but for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
    thanks for sharing it with us, hope you're having a wonderful weekend

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  10. I would love to squeeze that cute doggy and I totally would love one of those mini (not so mini) cheesecakes. The "cappuccino" in the name just got me drooling and then seeing the pictures did the rest!

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  11. Oh my goodness...this looks so delicious! I would eat this up in a heartbeat.
    Your tuckerd out puppy is so cute! He looks like a baby seal :)

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  12. I totally messed up on the gravy this year. Fail!
    Share your mom's recipe please.

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  13. You have the cutest puppy!! Interesting, Ive never used paper molds, but have you tried mini spring foam pans? I just got a pair recently. I've only used them once, but am planning to use them for a cheesecake soon =)

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  14. Thank God there are these festivities and families get together and make beautiful things in the kitchen. I love your little cheesecakes.

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  15. Ohh I love reading post-Thanksgiving blog entries and sounds like you have a lovely Thanksgiving!!

    Love the cheesecakes, the big one and the little ones!! They look so beautiful and amazingly delicious!!

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  16. Cappuccino and cheesecake - is there anything better?? Great pictures!

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  17. Yummy!!!! Love those molds!!!

    Your family looks so happy and sweet! Love that Liv is so interested in being in the kitchen. Hope my little ones are the same when they are older!

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  18. Cheesecake for breakfast sounds divine!

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  19. What a fun gathering, cute dog, and amazing looking recipe. Anything with a coffee flavor wins in my book!

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  20. Thank you for sharing your wonderful day with us, Kim! TJ's Chocolate Joe Joe's! I've never had them but this looks like a great use for them :-) I've not made cheesecake in a few years but, this seems like a calling for me to go make some :-)

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  21. Looks like a great thanksgiving day holiday was had by all. I adore your little puppy - so cute. Coffee and cheesecake combo is a perfect dessert in my book. Happy Sunday!

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  22. Sounds you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. :-)

    This post made smile because my mother is the gravy expert, too. Each year I seek her help because I just can't get it right. My sister and I tried, pretending we knew what we were doing while our mother smiled, waiting, before she stepped in to save us from ourselves. :-)

    Your cheesecakes is gorgeous--I can see why this would be oft requested. :-)

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  23. Oh, it's so pretty! I am already scheming to make a low carb version. I've been indulging in my pumpkin bourbon cheesecake for brekkie, so why not add one with caffeine and forego my morning coffee?

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  24. May I just say, WOW! This is a dream of a dessert, I understand the request;)
    My mother was the gravy expert for many years now she has moved on to the gravy consultant level. Thanks for sharing such warm and special family photos and stories, nice getting to know you better:)

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  25. Of course those cheesecakes are adorable, but I love your family pictures, and your personal Thanksgiving thoughts the most.

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  26. Oh my! That just sounds like heaven. Cappuccino...fudge...cheesecake... ::faints::

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  27. Cheesecake is BEST for breakfast, especially with coffee! I'd have hidden a few pieces to make sure there was some left.

    I can't believe y'all play Sequence. Only table game I really enjoy. :)

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  28. I've seen cheesecake but I don't really see cappuccino cheesecake! This sounds really good and makes me want to have it at this momment.

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