Tag Archives: cheesecake

Brownie Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Let’s start the first week of the new year in style!  Despite all the healthy eating that is about to ensue, it’s important to have a classy, spectacular dessert on the ready.  This is that dessert.  I don’t do a lot of “dinner party” desserts like cakes or pies or full cheesecakes because they can be difficult to serve and are not very portable.

Also, they are a lot of work and not always worth the effort.  This cheesecake is simple, stunning, and totally worth the effort.  Trust me on this one – a show-stopping dessert in three easy steps!

First we start with my favorite brownie recipe as a base.  It’s rich, full of chocolate flavor, and ease when made in a saucepan on the stove.  Next, the no-bake cheesecake portion whips up in a flash in the stand mixer and is smooth and creamy.  Mini chocolate chips add a bit of crunch.  Obviously the cheesecake needs a topping and it’s ganache to the rescue; a soft and decadent treat on top.

This brownie cheesecake was shared with college friends at our annual holiday gathering and was a hit!  A little slice goes a long way.  I personally enjoyed the cheesecake cold, for breakfast, throughout the week.  But who doesn’t enjoy cheesecake for breakfast, lol!

One Year Ago – What I Learned This Week #13

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Brownie Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

adapted from Bake or Break

Yield – 12-16 servings

Brownie Base

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon instant coffee

1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cheesecake Layer

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup mini chocolate chips


1/2 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup chocolate chips

pinch of salt

  1. Brownie Base – Preheat the oven to 325 ˚F.  Grease a 9 or 10” circular pan a removable bottom.
  2. In a medium saucepan melt the butter, 1/2 cup sugar, water, and instant coffee.  When melted add in 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and stir until combined and melted.
  3. Add in the eggs and vanilla one at a time and stir to combine.  Add in the flour, soda, and salt mixing until just combined.
  4. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and bake for 18-20 minutes until the top is shiny    and a toothpick comes out almost clean.  DO NOT OVER BAKE!
  5. Let cool completely.
  6. Cheesecake Layer – In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream until you reach stiff peaks.  Transfer to another bowl.
  7. Add the cream cheese and 1 cup sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, no need to clean the whipped cream out of the bowl.  Beat together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the vanilla.
  8. Fold in the whipped cream and the chocolate chips.
  9. Spread evenly over the brownie base.
  10. Ganache – Bring 1/2 cup cream to scalding and then pour over the 3/4 cup chocolate chips.  Let sit 5 minutes.
  11. Stir until the chocolate chips are completely melted and then spread evenly over the cheesecake layer.
  12. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight before cutting and serving.

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Vegan Key Lime Cheesecakes

vegan key lime cheesecake | pale yellowThis week should be called vegan week; all the recipes just happen to be vegan.  This wasn’t intentional, but fun never the less.  No worries, the recipes become exponentially less healthy as the week progresses.

vegan key lime cheesecake | pale yellowMonday was super healthful and a part of my daily life; Friday’s dessert is full of Oreo’s and vegan butter.  This is my life.  These little cheesecakes were my sweet treat when I was eating dairy free for a few weeks.  I stocked up on raw cashews and coconut oil to vegan bake my heart out.

vegan key lime cheesecake | pale yellowIt’s amazing what you can do with nuts and coconut milk – plant based eating can be quite spectacular!  Even though I’ve returned to dairy, I have visions of these dancing in head!  Vegan cheesecakes are best as a frozen treat to maintain their integrity, they become melty outside the freezer.  Just imagine, something like this on a stick, like a popsicle!

vegan key lime cheesecake | pale yellowI adore the graham cracker crust and the filling is so delightfully creamy.  These babies are tart with capital T!  I ran out of honey, so if I were you, I’d add a bit more honey or agave if that floats your boat.  Definitely taste and adjust.  However tart, vegan key lime cheesecakes are refreshing and lovely.

vegan key lime cheesecake | pale yellowTwo Years Ago – Margarita Whoopie Pies

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Vegan Key Lime Cheesecakes
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Yield – 12 mini cheesecakes

1 sleeve of graham crackers
1/4 cup vegan butter (or regular)
1 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 4-6 hours or overnight in water
3/4 cup full fat coconut milk, shaken
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup key lime juice
1 tablespoon lime zest
1/3 cup honey (agave is you want to be completely vegan)
squirt of electric green food coloring, optional
Coconut whipped cream and lime slices for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F and line 12 cupcake tins with liners.
  2. Crush the graham crackers into fine crumbs.  Melt the butter and mix the two together.  Divide evenly between the cupcake tins. Use a small glass to press the crust down.  Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. Drain the cashews and add to a blender with the coconut milk, melted coconut oil, lime juice, zest, and honey.  Blend until smooth.  Add the food coloring if desired.
  4. Pour evenly over the crusts and freeze for at least four hours.  Pull out of the freezer for 10-15 minutes before serving.  Top with whipped cream if desired.  Store in the freezer.

Coconut Whipped Cream
1 can full fat coconut milk, Thai Kitchens Organic
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
splash of vanilla

  1. Separate the solid coconut cream from the liquid.  Add the coconut cream to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and beat until fluffy.  Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla until well combined.
  2. Add the whipped cream the a pastry bag with a star tip and pipe a dollop on each tart.

vegan key lime cheesecake | pale yellow


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Bailey’s Cheesecake Brownies

bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellowI’m not a fan of this whole Daylight’s Saving Time.  One nice things about winter is the ability to hunker down earlier and hide in my apartment.  Now that the sun is shining bright at 6 p.m. I feel like I should be outside or at least be productive.  All I want to do is stay in and watch TV: a co-worker gave me the first two seasons of Game of Thrones and I can’t stop.

bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellowSince October I’ve been reading the book version; I’m half way through the third book.  The books are phenomenal, but long; I am very much invested.  I wanted to watch the show to see what the characters look like and I’m quite displeased.  Everyone kept telling me the show was just like the books – not true!  The show has the same plot, but so many minor changes.  And so much more sex, everyone is having sex with everyone else.  Except for Arya, she’s my favorite!  Winter is coming, put your clothes back on.

bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellowBetween episodes I try to be productive, but that’s not going well.  My dishes keep piling up and my floors are filthy, as usual.  I also spend plenty of time looking up robot vacuums.  Unfortunately I cannot afford one, if anyone wants to help me out and buy me one, that would be greatly appreciated.

bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellowThere are few things better in this world than a cheesecake bar: a rich chocolate base plus a creamy, flavored topping.  The brownie base is rich and chocolatey with a hint of Bailey’s flavor.  The cheesecake layer is even better because it is so creamy and even boozier.  Obviously, this a perfect dessert for a St. Patrick’s Day party!

bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellowPrint the Recipe!

Bailey’s Cheesecake Brownies
Adapted from Cozy Country Living
Yield – 24 pieces

Brownie Layer
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup dark chocolate cocoa
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 1/2 tablespoons Bailey’s
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cheesecake Layer
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 1/2 tablespoons Bailey’s
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon flour

  1. Brownie Layer – Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and grease a 9×13” pan.  Line the bottom of the pan with piece of parchment paper.  Grease the paper and dust with cocoa powder.
  2. In a medium saucepan melt the butter.  Whisk in the chocolate chips to melt them.  Whisk in the cocoa powder and sugars.
  3. Whisk in the eggs one at a time and then stir in the Bailey’s.  Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined.
  4. Cheesecake Layer – Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and beat together until smooth and creamy.
  5. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the brownies and swirl to combine the layers with a knife.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out almost clean.
  7. Let cool completely on a wire rack and then refrigerate before cutting into squares.bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellow


Filed under Brownies/Bars

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellowAs you all know, it’s winter.  And here in New York it’s been one hell of a winter.  Frankly, I’m tired of it all.  I like the snow as much as anyone, I’m just sick of scrapping it off my car every morning and worrying out getting stuck.

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellowI just want to enjoy being outside again without getting cold and wet.  I also want to wear flip-flops and Toms.  My boots are great, but my feet want to be free!  In other words, I’m ready for some warm spring days and I’m especially ready for hot summer days.  I just moved to the beach, let’s get this beach party started!  I haven’t even walked to the ocean yet.  Yes, a large part of that is laziness; but a bigger part is a my fear of slipping on the ice.  It’s treacherous out there; safety first.

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellowEnough whining, let’s discuss something happy, babies!  These delightful treats were made for John and Irene.  Clearly the babies aren’t ready for chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars, but until they are, their daddy can eat the treats for them!  I can’t think of a better way to survive this winter than staying inside holding little babies.  Of course when I was there Gavin and Kait slept and were perfectly happy; apparently having twin 3-week olds is a piece of cake!  Obviously, I’ve never cared for newborns 🙂

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellowNew parents need lots of sustenance.  What I lack in baby-caring skills I make up for in sugar, butter, chocolate, and peanut butter.  This is one of the best recipes I’ve posted to the blog, seriously.  I couldn’t stop eating them so I had to take the four remaining bars to Jackie’s; I want to fit through doorways.  The chocolate cookie/brownie bottom is rich and chocolatey with a creamy peanut butter layer on top.  The extra crust and chocolate drizzle keep the bars together and make it a complete package.  I wish I had some more bars, they were just so perfectly perfect; everything you could ever dream of wanting from a chocolate-peanut butter pairing.  Whether you have a little baby or not, you need to start shoving these bars in your face!chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellow

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Inside BruCrew Life
Yield – 24 bars

Chocolate Base
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Cheesecake Layer
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
8 regular size Reese’s cups, frozen

3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and grease a 9×13” pan with shortening and then dust with cocoa powder.  Set aside.
  2. Base – In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment add the butter, shortening, sugar, and brown sugar.  Beat until creamy.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  3. Sift together the flour, salt, soda, cocoa powder onto parchment paper.  Add slowly to the creamed butter and mix on low until just combined.  Mix in the chocolate chips.
  4. Wet your hands with cold water and dry.  Press two-thirds of the dough on the bottom of the greased pan as evenly as possible.  The dough will be sticky.  Save the remaining dough for topping.
  5. Filling – In a clean bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Beat in the egg and peanut butter.  Chop the peanut butter cups and stir into the mixture.  Spread evenly over the base.
  6. Take the leftover dough and make round, flat disks.  Spread the disks over the top of the peanut butter filling.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until the filling is set.  Let cool for 1-2 hours on a wire rack and then overnight in the fridge.
  8. Topping – Melt the chocolate chips and and shortening together.  Add to a disposable piping bag.
  9. Cut the bars into 24 pieces.  Drizzle the melted chocolate over each bar.
  10. Let the chocolate harden before packaging.  Store in the fridge.chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellow


Filed under Brownies/Bars

Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes

Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes | Pale YellowI was not joking about making 2014 the year of the mini cheesecakes.  Maybe it’ll be the year of mini things.  That way I can cut all recipes in half and just make a few of everything.  I don’t know what I’m going to do when I live alone and no one to share my treats with…

Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes | Pale YellowThis weekend the roommates and I sorted and divided all of the kitchen stuff; things were a little chaotic as we spread out everything from the kitchen into different piles.  We have a lot of kitchen supplies have been royally spoiled with a giant NYC kitchen these last four years; I do not know where everything is going to go!  Despite the great quantity of kitchen supplies, I have little practical items like non-prop plates and forks.  Luckily Ruth gave me some of her extra mixing bowls!

Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes | Pale YellowOur kitchen seems sad and empty, I already moved out my baking ingredients so there won’t be any baking for the next few weeks.  Luckily I have several recipes saved for this purpose!  I don’t want to leave my regular stranded!

Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes | Pale YellowLet’s talk cheesecakes – second cheesecake home run.  The crust is an appropriate lady finger base with a creamy, Kahula filled cheesecake on top.  A little Kahlua in the whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder makes the perfect topping.  Decadent, but tiny, these little tiramisu cheesecakes make a perfect dessert!

Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes | Pale YellowPrint the Recipe!

Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Yield – 36

2/3 cup dried ladyfinger crumbs
4 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
pinch of salt
16 ounces (2 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon Kahlua
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 cup whipping cream
splash of Kahlua
dusting of cocoa powder

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 ˚F and line 36 mini cupcake tins with paper liners.
  2. Crush the ladyfingers and add 2/3 cup to 2 tablespoons of melted butter with the 4 teaspoons of sugar.  Toss with a fork until the crumbs are well moistened.
  3. Add about 1 teaspoon of crust into each paper liner and press firmly; I used a rolling pin.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy.
  5. Beat in the sugar and the eggs one at a time.  Beat in the Kahlua and espresso powder.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  6. Place 2-tablespoons of filling on each crust.  Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are just set.  Let cool completely on a wire rack and then cool for at least two hours in the fridge.
  7. Make the whipped cream by adding it to the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and beating until the cream reaches thick peaks.  Beat in the Kahlua.
  8. Use a piping bag with a plain tip to pipe a dollop on each cheesecake.  Dust the tops with cocoa powder.Mini Tiramisu Cheesecakes | Pale Yellow

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Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream

lemon cheesecake ice cream | pale yellowIt’s getting a little cold outside, so cold I finally closed my window.  But then it gets warm outside, or I get warm from walking fast and open all the windows.  I love snuggling down into my covers at night.  It feels so lovely to be warm and cozy.  Getting up in the morning is tough when my whole room is cold but my bed is warm.  Oh #firstworldproblems!

lemon cheesecake ice cream | pale yellowWith that being said, it’s never too cold for ice cream, especially cream cheese cheesecake ice cream.  I’ve been thinking about making lemon cheesecake ice cream since I made these bars.  While cutting the bars into square-ish shapes, I had end pieces that I didn’t want to waste.  Sure, I ate a few, but what to do with the rest?  So I did what I usually do: chop the scrapes into pieces and toss into the freezer to be used later.  After some thinking, I decided on lemon cheesecake ice cream with lemon cheesecake pieces!  Too much?  Never!!

lemon cheesecake ice cream | pale yellowI’m a huge fan of custard-based ice cream and rarely deviate from that model and am very apprehensive about homemade ice made with sweetened condensed milk.  My choices are limited.  I have read plenty of ice cream recipes with cream cheese but still wondered about the final taste and texture.  After researching the best recipe and making a batch of cream cheese ice, I no longer wonder or question!

lemon cheesecake ice cream | pale yellowCheesecake ice cream is fantastic!  You can really taste the tangy-ness of the cream cheese and it balances so well with the sweetness of the ice cream.  The texture is lovely and creamy without being icy.  Although I brought you lemon flavor here, I’m sure you can add any flavoring to the delicious cream cheese base with wonderful results!  Plus, this recipe is super easy, you’re just whipping up ingredients and not cooking/cooling eggs.  Whether you have leftover lemon cheesecake bars or not, you should definitely make this ice cream at home.

lemon cheesecake ice cream | pale yellowOne Year Ago – Pumpkin Pie Jello Shots

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Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream
Adapted from Epicurious
Yield – 1 quart

8 ounces cream cheese, 1/3 fat & softened
1 cup 2% milk
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon citron vodka
lemon cheesecake bar trimmings, optional

  1. Place the bowl of the ice cream maker in the freezer.
  2. Add the first eight ingredients into a blender.  Blend until smooth.
  3. Let the mixture marry overnight in the fridge.
  4. Add the mix to the ice cream maker and churn according to your manufacturer’s directions.  Fold in the lemon cheesecake bar trimmings.
  5. Freeze for a few hours to harden completely.lemon cheesecake ice cream | pale yellow

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Lemon Cheesecake Bars

lemon cheesecake bars | pale yellow Every fall one of my favorite days of the year is Lobster Day.  Ruth, Dean, Nicole, Matt, (used to be & Stacey), and I get together to cook and eat lobster.  It started because I had never eaten lobster and now continues because we all love lobster and its a fun yearly tradition.  On Friday you can read about my recent trip to Maine and my LOVE for lobster.  Seriously, I ate it three times in one week!

lemon cheesecake bars | pale yellowSeveral months ago Nicole sent me this recipe and said I should make it.  I bookmarked the recipe and pulled it out just in time for Lobster Day.  This recipe was a great find!  All of the flavors of lemon pie and cheesecake are together in an easy to serve and eat bar.  I let Nicole and Matt keep the leftovers and I was seriously regretting that generosity the next day.

lemon cheesecake bars | pale yellowAs much as I enjoy lemon desserts and cheesecake desserts, neither is my go-to choice or something I crave.  However, when put together, something magical happened!  It was amazing to pour the cheesecake layer over the lemon layer and have it separate into three distinct layers upon baking.

lemon cheesecake bars | pale yellowThis recipe requires a few messy  bowls, but it is easy to mix up and ends with a lot of servings!  The crust is crispy and buttery and the perfect vehicle to hold all the lemon goodness.  The lemon layer is tart, but sweet, and the cheesecake layer is gloriously tangy and creamy.  All the textures and flavor notes are present to make you happy.  I’m serious when I say these bars are fantastic and you need to put them on your to-bake list now!

lemon cheesecake bars | pale yellowOne Year Ago – Dark chocolate and pistachio cookies

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Lemon Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Allrecipes
Yield – 18 bars

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 cup (1 1/2) sticks unsalted butter, cold
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
2 8-ounces blocks of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
splash of vanilla
pinch of salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line a 9×13” pan with foil making sure there is excess foil on all sides.  Grease the foil liberally.  Set aside.
  2. Crust – Whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, powdered sugar, and cornstarch.  Cut the butter into small cubes and use a pastry blender to work the butter into the dry ingredients.  Work the crust until it clumps together.  Press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan evenly and firmly.  Bake for 18 minutes until the crust begins to brown slightly.
  3. Lemon Layer – Whisk together 4 eggs, 1 1/2 cups sugar, salt, 1 tablespoon flour, lemon zest, and lemon juice until smooth.  Set aside.
  4. Cheesecake Layer – In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat together the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, vanilla, and salt until well combined and smooth.
  5. Assembly – When the crust comes out of the oven pour the lemon layer on top.  Pour the cheesecake layer on top of that.  It will look like the layers are mixing, but they will settle out in the oven.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes until the middle is no longer jiggly and the top just begins to brown.  Let cool completely and then refrigerate overnight before cutting and serving.lemon cheesecake bars | pale yellow


Filed under Brownies/Bars