Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chocolate Cheesecake with Strawberries, also Gluten-Free!

This is adapted from The Canadian Living Cookbook. I made it gluten-free. It was delicious and despite its good looks, really easy to make.


1-1/2 cups ground pecans
1 cup gluten-free gingersnaps, crushed to crumbs (or other plain cookie)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup melted butter


3 oz. (90g) semisweet chocolate
1-1/2 lbs (750g) cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
5 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
pinch salt

2 cups strawberries
3 oz or more semisweet chocolate

For the crust, in a small bowl, stir together pecans, crushed gingersnaps, sugar and butter. Pour into a well greased 10" (25cm) springform pan. With fingers or the bottom of a glass, press into the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

For the filling, melt chocolate in the microwave or over simmering water. Let cool slightly and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese at the lowest speed until smooth.Gradually beat in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one. Stir in sour cream, vanilla and salt. Transfer 1-1/2 cups of the batter to a small bowl. Fold in the cooled, melted chocolate.

Starting with the light coloured batter, alternately layer large spoonfuls of the two batters over the crust. Using a table knife, cut down through the batter and swirl into large spirals. Be careful not to hit the crust and DO NOT OVERMIX. A very light touch is needed here or the contrast will be lost.

Bake in a 325F oven for 40 minutes or until firm around the edge but still shiny and soft in the middle. Remove from oven, and immediately run a knife around the edge to prevent cracking as it cools. Let cool completely on a rack. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Remove sides of pan.

Wash and dry the strawberries. (Make sure they're completely dry or the chocolate won't stick.) Dip each one in melted chocolate and place around the edge of the cheesecake.. The smaller the berry, the smaller each slice will be because everyone wants a strawberry with their piece.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Caramel Cheesecake topped with Butterscotch and Toffee? Yes please.

I made two cheesecakes for Easter brunch last weekend. The chocolate cheesecake (at the bottom of the page) I've made before, but the caramel toffee one was a new recipe and unlike many of my experiments, it turned out great. I made them both gluten-free and you would never have known the difference.

Here is the caramel one, if you be wanting the recipe.

Caramel Cheesecake with Crunchy Toffee Topping

(adapted from Allrecipes Toblerone Topped Caramel Cheesecake)

1 1/4 cups gluten-free ginger snaps, crushed to crumbs
1/4 cup butter

3 (250g) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 TBSP good vanilla
3 eggs

1/2 cup or more caramel ice cream topping (I used PC Old Fashioned Butterscotch)
200g crushed dark chocolate covered toffee (I used gluten-free but you can try Skor bars, or Toblerone)

Heat oven to 350.


Crush the gingersnaps using a food processor, or in a plastic bag with a rolling pin if you need to work out your ya yas, as a friend used to say. (I pounded mine with the rolling pin. Make what you will of that.) Place in a small bowl. Melt the butter, and mix it into the crumbs. Pat the crust into a Teflon 9" springform pan, pressing it flat with the bottom of a glass. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
* If your pan isn't Teflon, you might want to spray it with a little Pam. (Seriously, who thought that product name was a good idea?)


Soften the cream cheese in the microwave if necessary. In a large bowl, just beat it, just beat it, (sorry) with the sugar and vanilla until well blended. Add eggs one at a time at low speed, just until blended. Pour over crust. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the centre is almost cooked. I had to add another 10 minutes because my gas oven is the son of Satan.

Immediately and carefully run a knife around the edge to prevent it from cracking as it cools, but don't remove the rim until you're ready to serve it. Cool, then refrigerate it for at least 4 hours.

Just before serving, spread the caramel topping on the top in a thin layer, almost to the edge, but not quite. You don't want it oozing down the sides. Sprinkle the top with the chopped toffee bits. Remove the rim and cut yourself a slice before the boys discover it because it's game over after that.

Here's the chocolate one I made. Let me know if you want the recipe for that one. It ain't hard, honest. It just looks impressive.

Monday, April 7, 2014

On gratitude

My brother-in-law sent this reminder.

We should, we must open our hearts to the many gifts and blessings, big and small, which are available to us every day.

It could be something as simple as a smile.

And when you do this, "then it will really be a good day."