Friday, May 22, 2009

Cooking with friends all things chocolate

Today's baking evening was to be based around chocolate of all strengths ranging from pure white to 5% cocao. We weren't limited to pure chocolate either and wanted to make these dishes that bit richer by adding chocolate biscuits....oreos, and then just to make them even more richer one dish had numerous packets of cream cheese, and the other a fudge sauce. If we were going to go all out, we were going to do it right.

My gorgeous friend Annabel wanted to cook with me and since our friendship started over a simple container of nutella, I though it was only appropriate to have a cook up based on such a glorious ingredient.

We sifted through numerous recipes and decided on two: a peanut butter cheesecake with a chocolate glaze, and an Oreo fudge bar.

I went at lunch to buy the ingredients but only left Coles with three things and none of those were chocolate. I have noticed recently that Coles has a much more limited selection of products to Woolworths or Franklins, especially when it comes to chocolate. I am quite particular with which brands I use for cooking as certain brands can taste bitter and make a ganache terrible. So I had to go again to Franklins after work to buy the remaining (nearly all) ingredients, and I arrived home happy that I got my Whittakers Dark Ghana (72%) and Lindt (85%).

The night started with the cheesecakes, something I had never name before, so it was lucky that Annabel was there as she, only a couple of weeks ago, made a white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake. She started making the base by crushing the biscuits with a rolling pin, adding the butter and then pushing them into the ramekins. I didn't do very much at all as the rest of the ingredients we just threw into the blender, including the jar of peanut butter so they would be strong and nutty.

Also gathered around was Phillip, my brother, and Tim, my Graphic Designer. At each stage of the cooking I got out teaspoons so we could all analyze the mixture. So far so good. It was ridiculously rich and creamy, but hey it's a cheesecake so it is supposed to be like that.


We spooned the mixture over the bases and then baked them during which we prepped the Oreo Fudge Bars. Again, Annabel the Queen of bases crushed the Oreos, leaving them a bit chunkier than the previous biscuits giving it a nice texture and making you feel like you are eating a huge Oreo.

We made the fudge sauce, which is similar to a ganache, although you use condensed milk rather than cream and it is a lot thicker. We poured it over the base and then decorated with milk chocolate Whitakers then baked.....so so far there are three layers of chocolate, only one more to go.

The cheesecakes came out and in went the oreo fudge bars. Eager as would be expected, we wanted to get straight into the cheesecakes but it was quite obvious they were too warm and should really cool completely. I quickly put one in the freezer to cheat a bit as we wanted to try it that night, not the next day, and within half an hour it was cooler and slightly more firm. Ok to flip out......so we thought.......

It turned out to be a moon crater, cracked all the way over too. I will admit I was a bit disappointed, even though it was abstract and did not matter in the slightest whether it was broken or not. I tried to make it look a bit prettier by plating it and drizzling with some dark chocolate ganache.


Lucky I did though as it was a necessary component to break down the richness of the cheesecake and strength of the peanut butter.

We only had a few spoonfuls each as it was so rich, but also because we HAD to leave room to try the Oreo fudge bar which I had just taken out of the oven. I cut it up and we drizzled it with the fourth and final type of pure chocolate.....white. It was pure gluttony. This is a chocoholic's dream and perfect comfort food. I think as it is so rich it would be fantastic with ice cream.....as crushed oreo's are. We all gave it the thumbs up and though it was the better dessert out of the two.



The next day when I visited Annabel at Cafe Giulia, she had brought a large cheesecake and I asked her if she brought the Oreo bar too. This was her response "When I got home I couldn't help myself........and ate half of it that night :P" I laughed and applauded her as that is a mighty effort. She would have to be the bigger chocoholic out of the two of us I think, but something I am happy to test out in the future.

Peanut Butter Cheesecakes

Ingredients

Base

1 packet Arnotts Shredded Wheatmeal biscuits
125g butter
2 tbsps sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence

Cheesecake Filling
3 packets Philadelphia cream cheese
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsps lemon juice
1 tbsps vanilla essence
1 tub (375g) peanut butter, crunchy

Ganache
100mL Pure cream
200g Dark chocolate, at least 70%

Method

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees in a fan forced oven.
2. Melt butter and mix with crushed biscuits and sugar to form the crust.
3. Line pan or ramekins, whichever you are using, with baking paper, or if using a spring form pan, grease.
4. Press base mixture into pans so it is about 1.5cm thick.
5. Mix Philadelphia and sugar in a bowl until smooth then add each egg one at a time.
6. Finally mix in cream, vanilla, lemon juice and then lastly add peanut butter.
7. Spoon mixture over base and then put the tins or ramekins in a large deep pan filled with boiling water (a water bath), which goes at least 3/4 of the way up the tins or ramekins.
8. Depending on what tin you are using and its size, the baking time will vary. The small ramekins only took 25 mins but then a larger tin would take up to 40 mins. You will have to monitor this as everyone's oven acts differently. You do not want them to brown on top. Just set enough.
9. Cool completely or fridge overnight. Once cool make the chocolate ganache topping by warming the cream and then stirring in the chocolate.
10. If you want to serve with warm sauce falling down the sides, use a knife to go around the edges and release the cheesecake from its tin, then plate up and pour sauce over the top. Otherwise pour sauce over the cheesecake and then refrigerate again until chocolate is cool. Then serve.


Oreo Fudge Bars

Ingredients

2 sleeves Oreos
125g butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
1 condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
250g Whittakers Dark Ghana, 72%
100g, 85% Lindt chocolate
About 3 rows of Whittakers Milk chocolate
1/3 block White chocolate

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. Melt butter and mix with crushed oreos and salt. (Do not crush too finely, you want them to be a bit chunky)
3. Line a square tin with baking paper and press down oreo crust.
4. Heat condensed milk in a pot with vanilla, then mix in dark chocolates. Pour over base.
5. Decorate with individual blocks of milk chocolate and then bake for 20 minutes.
6. Allow to cool and then when ready to serve drizzle with melted white chocolate.

5 comments:

thumbbook said...

Now that is just so sinfully delicious!Yum!

Peter G said...

Well done! I love rich, decadent, desserts...no better way than to enjoy with friends!

Ivy said...

Oooh, a killer combination! looks wonderful! I'll have to try these :-)

---trish--- said...

Thank you, yes it is a nice way to spend time with friends before I depart on my big trip overseas and leave them all for 6 weeks.

I know on my return though I will have many new ideas of food to cook them.

Justin said...

both of these recipes sound amazing