Sopaipilla Cheesecake

Sopaipilla Cheesecake

July 30: National Cheesecake Day

Sopaipillas are the official state pastry of Texas, where we currently live. Those puffy pieces of bread are sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and taste muy delicioso on their own. When made into a cheesecake, it becomes a doubly delightful dessert!

We got the recipe for sopaipilla cheesecake squares from una amiga at a fiesta and, in turn, we baked it for another gathering and got rave reviews! This crowd-pleasing confection is easy to make, especially when using ready-made refrigerated crescent dinner rolls, which puff up like sopaipillas.

Try a Tex-Mex creation for National Cheesecake Day and make sopaipilla cheesecake.

Recipe

(Adapted from Brooke H.)

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, granulated white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (we used Mexican vainilla)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon sugar* (we used McCormick brand)

Directions

Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil and mist with cooking spray. Unroll one package of the refrigerated crescent dinner rolls and flatten the seams together to make the dessert base in the prepared pan. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, stir the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth.

Sopaipilla Cheesecake

Add the vanilla extract and continue to blend well. Spread over the dessert base.

Sopaipilla Cheesecake

Unroll the other package of refrigerated crescent dinner rolls and pinch- flatten the seams together and place over the cream cheese mixture. Pour the melted butter or margarine over the top and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely to let the filling set (otherwise it will be runny). Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice into squares and arrange on a platter or tray.

Sopaipilla Cheesecake

Notes

  • Cinnamon sugar may be made by mixing 1 cup sugar to 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon.
  • Muchas gracias to Brooke H. for sharing the recipe for sopaipilla cheesecake with us.

Elmo Cheesecake Pops

Elmo Cheesecake Pops

February 3: Elmo’s Birthday

The news of Elmo’s puppeteer, Kevin Clash, is distressing, unfortunate and scandalous for Sesame Street and its fans and followers. Despite the negative circumstances, we are reminded that God loves the sinner but not the sin. Elmo still represents happiness, fun, optimism and goodness. But there are haters and pessimists who will always find fault and promote perversion. We pray there is healing, repentence, forgiveness and righteousness in this sad Sesame Street situation.

On a happier note, cheers to Elmo with cheesecake pops on his birthday! Elmo loves you and so does God!

“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.’” (Zechariah 7:9)

Recipe

Ingredients

  • Leftover cheesecake (such as our white chocolate cheesecake or 1 small cheesecake, like Sara Lee brand, thawed)
  • Red candy melts
  • Mini Oreo cookies
  • Chocolate tube frosting
  • White tube frosting
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Orange tube frosting

Directions

In a large bowl, crumble the cheesecake, crust and all, and mash together with a spoon or spatula until well blended. Roll into 1 ½ inch balls. Place on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Elmo Cheesecake Pops

In a microwave safe bowl or double boiler, melt the red candy and stir until smooth. Dip one end of a lollipop stick into the red candy melts and then stick halfway into a cheesecake ball. Stand the pops in a styrofoam base and refrigerate to set the candy melts.

Elmo Cheesecake Pops

Quickly dip and coat the cheesecake balls in the red candy melts to cover the surface. Put them back on the styrofoam base and refrigerate to set. Meanwhile, twist apart a mini Oreo cookie and scrape off the white filling with a knife. Cut the cookie in half to form Elmo’s mouth.

Elmo Cheesecake Pops

Use chocolate frosting from the tube to “glue” the mouth to a cheesecake pop. Continue assembling the rest of the mouths, refrigerating frequently. Use white frosting from the tube to pipe two round eyes.

Elmo Cheesecake Pops

Place a mini chocolate chip into the eyeballs to make pupils. Pipe Elmo’s nose with the orange frosting from the tube. Refrigerate all to set. When ready to serve, place on a decorative lollipop or dessert stand.

Elmo Cheesecake Pops

Notes

  • Cheesecake tends to hold its shape better than brownie or cake pops.
  • Keep the cheesecake balls cool at all times so they are firm and do not slide down the lollipop stick (see our Food Flops for an example).

Bittersweet Chocolate

Cheesecake Cups

Bittersweet Chocolate Cheesecake Cups

January 10: Bittersweet Chocolate Day

How much is too bitter in bittersweet chocolate for your tastes? When we sampled chocolates at a store a long time ago, we tried white chocolate (0%)* to unsweetened chocolate (100%) and others in between. The percentages reflect how much cocoa mass is included in the chocolate. The higher the percentage, the more intense and darker the chocolate. That percentage is lowered by the amount of sugar and dried milk solids added to the chocolate. Also, different manufacturers classify the percentages differently and label their chocolates as bittersweet, semi-sweet or extra-dark.

Highlander can tolerate up to 85% in his chocolate but that tastes too bitter for Islander. She prefers hers no more than 70%. So that is the chocolate percentage she used when baking bittersweet chocolate cheesecake cups (although she did drizzle the tops with a 54% chocolate to add a little sweetness and color contrast).

Try sampling the variations of chocolate percentages and see how high you prefer your bittersweet tooth. Then use that percentage to prepare bittersweet chocolate cheesecakes cups in celebration of Bittersweet Chocolate Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Cookstr)

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate (choose your percentage preference), melted
  • 8-ounce block of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar, granulated white
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ounce/square of semi-sweet or milk chocolate, melted

Directions

In a microwave-safe bowl, break the bittersweet chocolate into small pieces. Melt according to the manufacturer’s directions. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with the sugar.

Bittersweet Chocolate Cheesecake Cups

Stir in the melted chocolate until well-incorporated. Add the egg to the batter. Scoop into a muffin tin lined with six cupcake papers.

Bittersweet Chocolate Cheesecake Cups

Bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees F for 15-18 minutes. The bittersweet chocolate cheesecake cups will bake up smooth and shiny with a soft-set center. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator to set. Melt the chocolate square according to the manufacturer’s directions. Use a spoon to drizzle back and forth over the cheesecake cups. Or place melted chocolate in a pastry/plastic bag with a small round tip/opening to decorate with drizzles.  Yield: 6 bittersweet chocolate cheesecake cups.

Bittersweet Chocolate Cheesecake Cups

Notes

  • *White chocolate is technically not included in the traditional percentage ratings because it does not have cocoa solids. However, it has a cacao percentage from cocoa butter ranging from 38%-41%.
  • A variation of this recipe includes adding an Oreo cookie or chocolate wafer in the bottom of the muffin cups before pouring in the batter as a textured base for a mini pie or tartlet-like deesert.
  • Chow down on more chocolate and cheesecake!!! Search our blog for other chocolate and cheesecake recipes.

White Chocolate Cheesecake

White Chocolate Cheesecake

September 23:
National White Chocolate Day

We prefer dark chocolate over milk and white. But once in a while, we would indulge in white chocolate when chips are baked into cookies or melted and made into decadent desserts.

White chocolate is derived from chocolate but is mostly cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids and salt. The color is actually ivory or pale (butter) yellow. Most are made into candy bars and often used in recipes as a sweetening ingredient, coating or decoration.

We added white chocolate to a basic batter for cheesecake and it was a delicious, rich and creamy confection! White chocolate cheesecake is an appropriate sweet treat for celebrating National White Chocolate Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Kraft Foods)

For the base crust

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugar. Stir in the vanilla. Gradually add the flour and blend well until smooth.

White Chocolate Cheesecake

In a 10-inch round springform pan, press the dough onto the bottom, using wax paper to even it out, if necessary. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 20 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven. While the base crust is cooling, prepare the filling.

White Chocolate Cheesecake

For the white chocolate cheesecake filling

  • 12 ounces white chocolate, melted (we used 2 boxes of Baker’s brand white chocolate squares)
  • 4 blocks (8 ounces) cream cheese
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 eggs

Directions

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the white chocolate squares. Remove from the microwave and set aside to cool slightly. In another larger bowl, mix the cream cheese with the sugar. Avoid overbeating. Stir in the vanilla.

White Chocolate Cheesecake

Mix in the melted white chocolate and blend until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Pour over the base crust. Spread evenly with a spatula.

White Chocolate Cheesecake

Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for an hour or until the center of the cheesecake is almost set. The cheesecake will inflate when baking in the oven but will eventually deflate when cooling. Remove from the oven. Loosen the edges of the cheesecake with a knife or spatula. Place on a wire rack to cool completely. Remove the rim of the springform pan. Transfer to a cake plate or board. Brush off any crumbs and trim any uneven edges. Moisten fingers with a little water and press on the cracks to smooth the surface and sides, if necessary. Cover and refrigerate to set for at least four hours. Slice the cheesecake while it is still cold and firm, wiping clean the blade of the knife for each cut. Serve with a garnish of fresh raspberries and mint leaves (optional).

White Chocolate Cheesecake

Notes

  • Learn more about white chocolate from The Nibble.
  • Check out other chocolate recipes by searching our blog.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

October 21: National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day

We always enjoyed fall at the farms when we lived in northern Illinois for five years. During the harvest season, the farmers would host festivals and open houses to showcase their bounty of vegetables. We had fun sampling the ciders and hot cocoa, buying fresh-baked pies and other goodies at the country-style marketplace, watching people get lost in the corn maze and purchasing a pumpkin for Halloween.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Highlander would carve jack-o-lanterns out of it instead of pureeing the pumkin for pies, soups and cakes (although once in a while, he would roast the seeds for a snack). We just use the convenient canned pumpkin in recipes, such as cheesecake. We make them mini-sized to share at social gatherings during the season. Mini pumpkin cheesecakes are perfect for Halloween and Thanksgiving and especially on National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Karo Syrup)

Ingredients

  • 24 gingersnap cookies
  • 1 ½ (12 ounces) blocks of cream cheese
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup (we used Karo brand)
  • whipped cream (we used Cool Whip brand)

Directions

Place a gingersnap cookie on the bottom of 24 cupcake liners. In a large bowl, cream the cheese with the sugar and corn starch until smooth. Mix in the pumpkin pie spice. Beat in the eggs. Stir in the pumpkin.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Blend in the corn syrup. Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners. Tap the bottom of the muffin tins to let the batter settle smoothly.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until just set. Remove from the oven. Let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until firm or for at least an hour. Garnish with whipped cream (optional).

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Notes

  • Illinois is among the top pumpkin-producing states in America. The town of Morton, home to the Nestle brand pumpkin packing plant (and where more than 90% of canned pumpkins eaten in the country are processed), is known as the “Pumpkin Capital of the World.”
  • The pumpkins pictured above are from Randy’s Vegetables. We have also visited Kuiper’s Family Farm and other pumpkin patches in the past while living in Illinois.
  • Search our blog for other pumpkin recipes.

Kona Coffee Cheesecake

Kona Coffee Cheesecake

July 30: National Cheesecake Day

On a family trip to the Big Island, we went on a tour of a Kona coffee estate and picked peaberries and nibbled on coffee cherries right from the trees. We had been to other coffee farms on Kauai and Molokai before, but coffee from the island of Hawaii is rated among the world’s best!

When we bake Kona coffee cheesecake with a mocha crust and swirl topping, we make it with the best ingredients from the islands—100% Kona coffee, Big Island vanilla and Kauai coffee cookies. It is pricey and tastes rich but it is definitely worth the splurge on National Cheesecake Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Holiday Coffee Recipes)

For the mocha crust

  • 1 ½ – 2 cups finely crushed cookies (we used a combination of Kauai Kookie brand Kona coffee macadamia nut cookies and Oreo Double Stuff—just the dark chocolate cookies without the “stuff”)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) melted butter

Directions

Place cookies in a zipper-top plastic bag. Crush carefully into crumbs using a rolling pin. Melt the butter in a medium bowl. Mix in the cookie crumbs, adding more if it is too buttery. Press mixture into a greased 9-inch springform pan. Set aside to cool while making the filling.

Kona Coffee Cheesecake

For the Kona coffee filling

  • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
  • ½ cup sugar (we used C&H brand, granulated white)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (we used Hawaiian Vanilla Company brand)
  • ¼ teaspoon coffee extract or flavoring
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup 100% Kona coffee, brewed and cooled

Directions

Cream the cheese with the sugar. Add the vanilla and coffee extracts. Beat in the eggs. Stir in the Kona coffee. Mix until the batter is smooth. Pour over the cooled crust. Make the mocha swirl topping.

Kona Coffee Cheesecake

For the mocha swirl topping

  • 1 tablespoon instant Kona coffee crystals (we used Mulvadi brand)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 squares (1/4 cup) semi-sweet chocolate (we used Baker’s brand)
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter

Directions

Dissolve the instant Kona coffee crystals in water. Mix in the cornstarch until blended well.  Melt the chocolate. In a saucepan, stir the coffee mixture with the melted chocolate over low heat until thickened. Add the butter and stir until melted. Drizzle decoratively over the top of the cheesecake batter.

Kona Coffee Cheesecake

Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Cover the pan and refrigerate at least six hours or overnight until the cheesecake is set. Run a butter knife or spatula around the edges to loosen, remove from the pan, brush off the crumbs and transfer the cheesecake to a round board or platter. Slice and serve chilled.

Kona Coffee Cheesecake

Notes

  • Beware of the blends! Only coffee grown on Kona can be legally labeled as such. Coffee grown on the other Hawaiian islands must be labeled otherwise. Also, check the package for whether it is 100% or a blend (which might only contain 10% Kona coffee). Prices are set high for premium products!
  • Some similar recipes recommend baking the crust in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 5-10 minutes. But we skipped this step and the cheesecake still turned out fine.
  • If necessary, cover the outside bottom and sides of the springform pan with foil to prevent leaks. Then bake the cheesecake as usual.
  • Thanks to our friend Lisa L. for the expensive bottle of Big Island vanilla from Hawaii and for the springform pan from Germany.

Mini Blueberry Cheesecakes

Mini Blueberry Cheesecakes

May 26: National Blueberry Cheesecake Day

This blog recipe post is an adaptation of the mini cherry cheesecakes that we featured on April 23 for National Cherry Cheesecake Day. In this version, instead of topping the mini cheesecakes with canned blueberry pie filling, the drained blueberries are sandwiched between layers of cheesecake batter. Fresh blueberries enhance the taste as well as the presentation of these mini blueberry cheesecakes. The double dose of canned and fresh blueberries is a “berry” good combination for National Blueberry Cheesecake Day.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
  • ¾ cup sugar (granulated white)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • box of vanilla wafers
  • can of blueberry pie filling
  • ½ cup of fresh blueberries

Directions

Line a muffin tin with cupcake papers and place one vanilla wafer in each cup.  Drain the can of blueberry pie filling in a colander, separating the berries from the thickened liquid; reserve the liquid. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and eggs until smooth. Cover the vanilla wafers with a small amount of cheesecake batter.

Mini Blueberry Cheesecakes

Add a teaspoonful of drained blueberry pie filling on top of the first layer of cheesecake batter.  Cover the top of the pie filling with a second layer of cheesecake batter, being careful not to mix the colors, about 2/3 full. Tap the bottom of the muffin tin until the batter lies smoothly. Bake the mini cheesecakes in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes.

Mini Blueberry Cheesecakes

Remove the mini cheesecakes from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes in the muffin tins. Transfer the mini cheesecakes to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate for at least one hour to set. Rinse and dry the fresh blueberries. Dip a blueberry in the reserved liquid drained from the canned pie filling and stick it the middle of the cheesecake well. Repeat with two more blueberries and arrange the decoration on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Yield: About 1 ½ dozen.

Mini Blueberry Cheesecakes

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