“You know, Lee I think of my life as a kind of music, not always good music but still having form and melody.”
East of Eden, John Steinbeck
Cooking and baking is live performance art. If you never thought you were an artist, I’m taking this opportunity to say that yes you are! We create and share and then it all disappears. Each individual act of cooking and baking is never repeated. Like a long running Broadway show, the more practice, the more consistent the performance. There are so many variables—timing, ingredients, attention to detail, experience, technique, equipment. Some performances are better than others, its real theatre. There are days when my performance is dismal. Even when I’m totally submerged in the process, it can fail. It’s a smooth performance in my kitchen theatre when a new recipe comes together easily. Little Biscoff Cheesecakes are from one such performance.
This year I’m skipping the traditional chocolate for Valentine’s Day. I’m making little Biscoff Cheesecakes. New York style cheesecake with Biscoff swirled in every bite. The Biscoff cookie crust is sprinkled with the warming spices of winter, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. A decadent, creamy cheesecake is laced with Bicoff spread and then topped with a swirl of sweetened sour cream. Each bite is made for sharing with your Valentine.
This is the perfect make ahead dessert. Chilling overnight brings better texture to the cheesecake and easier slicing. Warm the knife before cutting the cheesecake and make sure the knife is clean before the taking another slice. Even with a warm water bath (bain marie) the cheesecakes can develop tiny cracks. After cooling and sinking back down inside the pans, the cracks disappear. Besides the sour cream topping hides all imperfections and tastes wonderful too. In a nod to Valentine’s Day I used a heart shaped cookie cutter as a stencil, filling the space with Biscoff crumbs. The recipe yields 6 little cheesecakes, made in 4” springform pans.
|1 pkg/8.8oz||Biscoff cookies|
|1/3C||unsalted butter, melted and cooled|
|3-pkgs/8oz each||full fat cream cheese|
|1/4t||fine grain sea salt|
|Sour Cream topping|
|1C||full fat sour cream|
- Heat the oven to 350°. In the bowl of a food processor, process the cookies until they are fine crumbs. Reserve 2 tablespoons of crumbs for garnishing the cheesecakes. Add the spices and sugar and mix together. Open the top of the processor and pour the butter on top of the crumbs. Replace the top and process until the butter is throughly mixed into the crumbs. Divide the crumbs evenly among the 6 springform pans. Use the back of a spoon or bottom of a glass to compact the crumbs to form the crust. Keep the crumbs in an even layer, pushing some up the sides of the pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the crust is firm and just begins to brown along the top edges. Keep the oven on at 350°. Cool completely and then wrap the bottoms of the pans in 3 layers of foil. Make sure the foil covers the pans almost to the top rim. The foil will keep the water bath (bain marie) from soaking into the cheesecake when baking.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Stop to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Slowly mix in the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the vanilla and salt and then sprinkle the four into the mixing bowl. Mix just until combined. For lump free cheesecake, take the time to push the batter through a sieve with a rubber scraper. Distribute the batter evenly between the six pans. Place 2 tablespoons of Biscoff spread on top of each cheesecake. Use a small off-set spatula or table knife to swirl the Biscoff spread throughout the batter. Dip down into the Biscoff spread and bottom of the cheesecake batter (without scraping the crust in the bottom of the pan), bringing the spatula up through the entire cheesecake from bottom to top, moving across the entire pan.
- Place the cheesecakes in a large roasting pan with high sides. Add hot water to the roasting pan until it reaches the middle of the cheesecake pans. Bake the cheesecakes for 40-45 minutes. The cheesecakes will puff up and be softly set in the middle when they are finished baking. Carefully (very carefully, the water is very hot!) remove the roasting pan from the oven and let the cheesecakes rest in the water bath for five minutes. Then remove the cheesecakes from the water bath to a cooling rack. When the cheesecakes are cool enough to handle, remove the foil. After 30 minutes use an off set spatula or knife to loosen the edges of the cheesecakes from the pans. When cooled completely, cover the cheesecakes in plastic wrap and chill overnight.
- In a small bowl mix together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Use an off set spatula or knife to loosen the edges of the cheesecakes from the pans, then remove the outer rings of the springform pans. If desired, use a thin bladed spatula or metal turner to remove the cheesecakes from the bottom of the springform pans. Top the cheesecakes with a layer of sweetened sour cream. Sprinkle Biscoff crumbs on top of the cheesecakes or use a small heart cookie cutter (or other shape) as a stencil when sprinkling the crumbs.
This is not a sponsored post, I just enjoy Biscoff!
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