Monday, May 30, 2011

cheesecake bars with chocolate ganache

Confession: I don't own a springform pan.

I know, I know.

Confession: I don't like cheesecake.

Yeah, I know. No, really, I know. I am like the only one. Ever. And while we're at it and you are all up in arms about my dislike for a universally loved dessert, I might as well tell you that I don't like Italian food. Yeah, yeah, yeah - I know.

This weekend, I took a road trip with a few of my friends to go see our mutual friend (and classmate) get married. The wedding was wonderful, the bride was beyond beautiful, and there were about 5 different types of dessert. All in all, my definition of perfection.

This road trip was of the 7-hour-round-trip variety. You know, one of those. Where it is long, but not too long. Where you can still talk the entire way and not necessarily run out of things to say. Right? People talk for 7 hours straight? Other than middle school girls on the phone with their long-distance boyfriends?

Yeah, so as you might have guessed, I basically talked the whole way there. And back. What can I say? I have the gift of gab.(Though my use of the word "gift" is debatable. But remember, I will out-gab you in said debate. So it's probably better that you don't even start. Thanks.)

Like I said, I don't like cheesecake and I don't even own a springform pan. So why make my first baking post on cheesecake bars?

Well, these cheesecake bars were originally intended as a gratuitous baking adventure, requested by the lovely driver of our wedding excursion. And then I realized that I talked for 7 hours straight; so now these cheesecake bars are more like "thanks for being my friend" cheesecake bars, combined with a little "you're hella awesome for not kicking my overly-conversational bum out of the car"  chocolate ganache.

Despite not being fond of cheesecake, these bars are actually delicious. And I don't know of anything that isn't improved by chocolate ganache.

Additional bonuses: No water bath required, and any infamous cheesecake cracks are covered up by ganache. Win. 

Recipe [very slightly adapted] from Bakerella's Chocolate Biscoff Cheesecake Bars:

Cheesecake Bars with Chocolate Ganache

1 1/2 cups crushed cinnamon graham crackers
3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
6 Tablespoons melted butter
  • Mix cookies and sugar together.
  • Add butter and stir until combined.
  • Press mixture into a 13 X 9 pan.
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
3 eggs
8 oz. sour cream
1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Cream the sugar, cream cheese, and flour with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy.
  • On medium low, add eggs one at a time, mixing well with each addition.
  • Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until just combined.
  • Pour on prepared crust and bake for about 40 minutes.
  • Remove and cool completely.  
  • Prepare ganache.
Chocolate Ganache
8 oz. heavy whipping cream
4 tablespoons butter
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar (sifted)
  • Heat cream and butter on stove until just before boiling.
  • Remove from stove and pour over chocolate. Stir until completely combined.
  • Add confectioners’ sugar and beat with a wire whisk until combined and smooth.
  • Pour over cooled cheesecake.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Cut into bars and serve.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

and so it begins

Let's bake. All summer.

For those of you who don't already know, I am in law school and, while I am currently in a summer session, I still have that pesky reading to do. While my summer is technically being postponed until mid-July, I am not letting tiny details like school, or endless reading, or, hell, even the obnoxious limitation of twenty-four hours in a day prevent me from reaching personal glory and satisfaction. I will become a legend. And by legend, I mean someone with an active hobby. Yeah, law school is that bleak.

Therefore, my conscious object this summer is to bake as much as possible. My guilty pleasure during the normal school year is to bookmark endless recipes. While I do not anticipate that past time ending any time soon, I would like to make some progress and actually make some of those tasty treats.

Oh, did I mention I don't actually want to eat 5 dozen cookies in one sitting or a whole cake by myself? Okay, fine, you caught me - that is a bold faced lie. So sue me. I do want to eat all of that and more. But something called my metabolism (yawn) refuses to let me do so without dire consequences. So I plan on forcing my treats on to unsuspecting friends. And strangers. The latter should be even more interesting. But just know that taking cookies from a stranger is different than candy from strangers, as a general rule. Any run of the mill creep can go to the corner store and pick up some Hot Tamales or Skittles; it takes a really special person to make cookies to lure in strangers. Or just a creep with a plan. Should I clarify that I am not a creep? You knew that. Moving on.

Well, now that you have the general idea, let me know what I should make. Or if you want me to send you some baked goods. For real. This isn't one of those ploys where I say its free and then I send you a bill if you don't return the baked goods within 30 days. You are free to consume them with joy and merriment, without repeatedly glancing over your shoulder. Unless you have some sort of tick, in which case I am sorry for bringing it up. Maybe some brownies will help you forget. Let me know. Let's not get off on the wrong foot.

Oh and I am also open to bartering. I think I should start acquiring the barter skill now, before the impending zombie apocalypse, so that I will have a better idea of what things are worth beforehand. Because there is nothing worse than getting ripped off in a barter exchange. Scratch that - being eaten by a zombie is totally worse. But getting ripped off sucks, too.

Wow - this post has gone on for quite some time. Let's promise that I won't do this next time in exchange for you reading my post next time. Deal?

(I never said it was a good deal on your part. Unless I sweeten the deal with cobbler; see above)

Oh, and you probably are wondering about the blog name. My theory is that lots of things don't always make sense (see law school). Additionally, I am pretty sure that the world is going mad. But, you know what? Cake is pretty much as sane and sensible as it gets. Unless that cake starts talking to you about being a pie. Then I would definitely be forced to question that cake's sanity (and yours, as well. Stop talking to cakes, you wierdo.)