I've been able to try some fun recipes lately, and I've been pleased with the results. First up, another recipe that might be a potential contender for the Harlow Auction. I personally liked this taste better, but, when it comes to cheesecake, I'd always opt for something with a fruit accent versus the richness of chocolate.
So, this came from my new favorite source of recipes (because they have yet to fail), "Our Best Bites". This is the Lime Coconut Cheesecake, and it required putting the cheesecake in a water bath. It sounded a lot scarier than it was. I used a hint that they suggested that instead of wrapping the springform pan heavily in foil to keep the water from leaking in, to use an "oven bag" instead (the kind you'd use to make a roast or a turkey in the oven). It worked like a charm. (The water bath prevents cracking in the center)
And, then, this is the finished product:
In my humble opinion, SOOOOOO yummy!
Lime Coconut Cheesecake
Recipe by Our Best Bites
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2 Tbs sugar
6 Tbs butter, melted
3 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs at room temperature
3 Tbs lime zest
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 4-5 medium limes)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 - 2 tsp coconut extract (I only used a 1/2 tsp and that was plenty for us)
1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover the bottom of a 9 inch spring-form pan with a double layer of foil. Set aside.
Combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup coconut, and melted butter and mix well. Press evenly into the bottom of the pan and about 1" up the sides. Place pan in oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside until ready to use.
In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, one a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla, lime zest, and lime juice and beat to combine. Pour batter into prepared crust. Place spring-form pan into a larger pan, such as a roasting pan and place in center rack of oven. Carefully pour hot water into the larger pan until it reaches about half way up the spring form pan. Bake cheesecake for 75-85 minutes or until center is set and the edges just barely begin to brown. Leave cheesecake in oven, but turn heat off and crack oven door. Let sit for 30 minutes and then remove and cool completely on a rack. When cool to room temp, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.
When ready to serve, place cheesecake on serving dish. Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form and then add powdered sugar and extracts. Beat until medium peaks form. Spread whipping cream evenly over cheesecake and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Garnish with sliced limes if desired. Slice and serve.
The next recipe was slightly modified to accommodate a food item I found at the grocery store. The yummy bag of "Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips" just begged for me to purchase them, so then, the hunt was on to find a recipe worthy of their goodness.
I found one that I slightly modified - and it was "easy-peasy". There have been some suggestions to keep the chocolate chips in the recipe provided along with these peppermint chips, or maybe add some more candy canes for more crunch, but I'm partial to how they turned out just the way they are:
Candy Cane Kiss Cookies (I renamed mine to Cocoa Candy Cane Cookies)
Recipe by Our Best Bites
1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening
1/2 cup real butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour, lightly spooned into measuring cups and leveled with a knife
1/4 cups & 2 Tb unsweetened cocoa powder
(This is where I change things up~
I add 1 bag Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips instead of:
1 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
48 Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses, unwrapped)
Preheat oven to 350. Cream together softened butter, shortening, brown sugar and white sugar for 1-2 minutes on medium high speed or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla. Meanwhile, combine the baking powder, baking soda, salt, flour, and cocoa powder. Add to the butter/sugar mixture and mix until combined. Mix in the chocolate chips.
Drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the centers are set but still soft. (I bake for 7 minutes in a convection oven, so I can do three cookie pans simultaneously). If you are going with the original recipe: top each cookie with an unwrapped Candy Cane Kiss. Allow to cool completely, long enough for the Kiss to harden. If necessary, after the cookies have cooled, they can be placed in the refrigerator or freezer to re-solidify the Kiss.