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.

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.