Eat Your Sweetheart Out: Snickers Cheesecake

Eeeeeeeee! It’s the season of sugar! (You really can’t make weight loss resolutions until after Easter, seriously). Valentine’s Day is today, and I sure hope your pancreas is ready for what I’m about to dish up. 🙂

It started with the urge to make a decadent cheesecake for my mom’s birthday.

When I googled snickers cheesecake, I came up with results that showed cheesecakes with swamps of Snickers bar chunks on top. This seemed like a good idea (and it’s not bad, I’ve had it at the Cheesecake Factory before), but not quite what I was hoping for, as far as great flavor and texture are concerned. Instead, I decided to pay tribute to the spirit of a Snickers bar, with roasted, salted peanuts, hot fudge, caramel, and whipped cream on top. I think I’ve created a winner! Snickers Cheesecake

If you’re looking to make dessert this Valentine’s Day (or any celebration, for that matter), you’ll appreciate this cheesecake recipe. It’s not too hard (considering) and it tastes way better than shoving mutilated candy bars in your cheesecake batter. 🙂

Ditch the box of chocolates, Forrest Gump… you and your Valentine will die and go to candy heaven with this recipe.

Ode to Snickers Cheesecake
(Heavily adapted from a recipe for Irish cream cheesecake from Favorite Old-Fashioned Desserts by Pat Dailey)
By Brenna Arnesen

CRUST
1 – 9 oz. box Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers
4 T unsalted butter, melted

FILLING
1 c. plus 2 T granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 lbs. (4 – 8 oz. packages) cream cheese, softened
1 T cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla extract

TOPPING
Hot fudge sauce
Caramel sauce (I used jarred for both, quick & easy)
Roasted salted peanuts, coarsely crushed
Whipped cream (from a can)

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Crush the cookies into fine crumbs in a food processor or blender. Add the butter and mix well. Transfer crumbs to a 10-inch springform pan and press them into an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Bake until the crumbs are set, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

For the filling, mix the sugar and eggs in a food processor or with an electric mixer for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese in batches and mix until thoroughly smooth. Add the cornstarch and vanilla and mix well.

Pour the filling into the crust. Bake until the cake is just set in the center, about 35 – 40 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and cool for 5 minutes, but leave the oven on.

Take your crushed peanuts, approximately 1 – 1.5 cups worth, and sprinkle on top of cheesecake. Return cheesecake to oven and bake for 6 minutes or so, until peanuts set and get slightly toasted. Cool to room temperature. Drizzle with room temp hot fudge sauce and caramel sauce to your liking. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours before serving, and then serve with whipped cream.

And snicker at how easy this dessert was to make! 🙂

Have a sweet Valentine’s Day! What are you eating and drinking tonight?

Love,
The Rambling Vine

© Brenna Arnesen and The Rambling Vine, 2012 – Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Brenna Arnesen and The Rambling Vine with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

Indulge in a port that tastes exactly like concord grapes. Photo by Brenna Arnesen.

Tefft Cellars Concordia Port is a Portal to the Past

Peanut butter & jelly is one of those timeless flavor combos of childhood. We might get really sick of it after years of it in our school lunches every day, but after a while, we come back to it because it’s just so good! For some reason, we can’t escape its classic appeal.

Here is a nostalgic spin on pb & j for grownups that gives the ol’ smooshed sandwich from your crumpled brown bag a run for its money.

Instructions:
1) Buy some dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Trader Joe’s has some very tasty ones. Or if you’re fancy go to a chocolate shop like See’s Candies and just get a couple so they don’t linger in your home too long.

2) Buy a bottle of Tefft Cellars Concordia Port. Puget Sounders can make a drive out to Woodinville and buy some at Tefft Cellars. The nice thing about this winery is they are open daily from 11:00 am – 7:00 pm so you can have a productive trip.

From the tasting notes: “This fine wine is made from the Concord grape and was barrel aged for 10 months. The Concord grape adds a very fruity edge to this wine.”

3) Eat them together and be happy. You might not be 6 anymore, but you can feel that way when you taste these two lovelies together.

© Brenna Arnesen and The Rambling Vine, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Brenna Arnesen and The Rambling Vine with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Put the Wine in the Cho-Co-Late and Drink Them Both Up

A Fine Chocolate Wine For Your Consideration

Red wine and dark chocolate: clichĂ© Valentine’s Day trappings, or greatest palate-pleasing pairing in history? That is the question….

Enough pondering already. I don’t know about you, but most of my attempts to pair red wine with dark chocolate have not gone so well. They usually result in face scrunching and gagging. You have to consider the cacao and sugar percentages in your chocolate and how those will interplay with the grape type and sugar/alcohol content of the wine you select. With so many factors to consider, who has time to figure it all out?

Well, whoever thought of combining red wine and dark chocolate in the glass was a genius! And he who pulled it off successfully is my hero! You will be surprised how red wine and dark chocolate pair so seamlessly together in a dessert wine when you sip on Chocolate Shop, The Chocolate Lover’s Wine. You can find it for $9.99 at Cost Plus World Market, and for a similar price at Fred Meyer, Bartell Drug, and other stores.

What a find! Not sure whether I should be glad I found this or unhappy that I am now addicted to this, but I’m sure excited to tell you about it! This red wine behaves like any other red wine in the glass but with the added twist that it is a SWEET wine; in essence, it is a dessert wine, but without behaving like viscous, syrupy Dimetapp in the glass. Let’s call it a dessert wine for non-dessert wine drinkers.

The first sip is like a mouthful of cherry tootsie pop but better! Real dark chocolate flavoring is added to drinkable and balanced Walla Walla red wine. The fact that there is a good quality wine as the base helps, so the consistency won’t remind you of Aunt Jemima.

Here is what the label reads: “… a deep, ruby red wine blended with rich, velvety chocolate. Inviting aromas of black cherry and chocolate combine in the glass and continue on the palate surrounded by hints of cocoa powder. Nuances of sweet red wine lingers [sic] on the smooth finish. Chocolate Shop provides you with an indulgent wine experience like no other.”

Whether you’re a coldhearted cynic, a hopeless romantic, or just craving a sweet wine, this will win you over.

For further reading on pairing wine with chocolate: http://wine.about.com/od/winerecommendations/a/winechocolate.htm

(Sidenote: Use an expert to make your life easier. When you do want to have a wine & chocolate pairing party, ask your local wine merchant for a red that pairs well with chocolates. There is usually chocolate available for sale, and they are more than happy to give you a great recommendation.)

© Brenna Arnesen and The Rambling Vine, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Brenna Arnesen and The Rambling Vine with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.