Showing posts with label cream cheese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cream cheese. Show all posts

Pumpkin cheesecake with almond thins crust

It's fall again, and time for pumpkins and fall dishes and desserts. This is a pumpkin cheesecake that I've been making for the last few years. I wanted to get that baked type cheesecake that you get at a restaurant, like a New York style cheesecake. So I've been playing around with a few recipes and came up with this one. The difference is that I didn't use graham crackers for the crust. I used Anna's Swedish almond thin cookies since they have no soy in them. As for the gluten free version, I took the leftover cheesecake batter, placed in ramekins without a crust and baked them in the oven along with the cheesecake. Since my daughter is gluten free she was able to enjoy the cheesecake without having to worry about gluten. It's a delicious dessert and can be enjoyed during this time of the year. Enjoy!

Ingredients (Makes 18 servings = 4.2oz each serving)

5 ¼ oz Anna's almond thin cookies crushed (about 1.5 cups)
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. cloves
½ tsp. cinnamon
4 tbsp. butter
16 oz. cream cheese
16 oz one third less fat cream cheese (cream cheese that has 1/3 less fat)
1 ¼ cups sugar
16 oz canned pumpkin
½-cup sour cream
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs


Crush the box of Anna's almond thin cookies. It will make 1 and 1/2 cups.
Melt the butter. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to the crushed cookies along with the butter. Mix together and press into a 9" spring form pan. Refrigerate.

At room temperature mix together the regular cream cheese with the 1/3 less fat cream cheese and the sugar. Mix till well blended. Add the canned pumpkin packed solid, the sour cream, the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla. Mix well together. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition. Pour into the 9" spring form pan and the rest into 9 ramekins without crust. Place the 9" spring form pan into a 350°F preheated oven. Place the 9 ramekins into a baking sheet that's 1/4 filled with lukewarm water. Place those in the oven too. Bake the 9" spring form pan for 1 hour and 30 minutes and the ramekins for 1 hour and 15 minutes or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Some oven temperatures vary so it's best to use the toothpick method as a guide. Remove from the oven and let them cool before serving.

Nutrition FactsServing Size 1 serving (117.6 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 294
Calories from Fat 180
Total Fat 20.0g
Saturated Fat 12.0g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 90mg
Sodium 263mg
Potassium 107mg
Total Carbohydrates 24.1g
Dietary Fiber 1.0g
Sugars 19.0g
Protein 5.6g

Pumpkin cheesecake with almond thins crust
 Pumpkin cheesecake with almond thins crust and Dream whip cream 

 Gluten free cheesecake baked in ramekins
Gluten free cheesecake in ramekin sprinkled with icing sugar

Pumpkin Orange Ribbon Cake

I was looking in making a pumpkin bread or cake with some kind of cream cheese filling.  I was craving the nuttiness of a pumpkin but also the sweet and savory taste of cream cheese filling.  

As I was looking through my cookbooks (and I have tons of them) I came across a card of pumpkin ribbon bread, that if I recall correctly, came through the mail with something but I don't remember what. That was when we still lived in Canada.  I kept the recipe card because the picture  looked good.  I had never tried to make it before.  There is no  name on the card from which cookbook or cookbook author came from so I really cannot give any credit to whoever came up with the idea of a pumpkin ribbon bread.  Needless to say I tried it first as the recipe ingredients and measurements requested.  I was a bit disappointed though when the recipe asked for two loaf pans and (I did use two) but the batter and the cream cheese filling was not enough to fill the loaf pans or enough batter to cover the cream cheese filling.  However, it tasted good.  But the presentation was not so great.  So I had to try and make it again.  This time I changed the amount of the ingredients.  I used a bit more of cream cheese and went with the less fat cream cheese, I used the whole can of pumpkin pie filling instead of a cup, added a bit more orange zest in the cream cheese filling and a bit more spice in the batter.  I also used a Bundt cake pan and let it bake for 1.5 hours.  It came out moist and delicious (the original recipe being a "bread" came out quite dense and didn't look like it was cooked through for the cooking time the recipe requested).  And the cake was quite photogenic, if I say so myself .  It's a nice fall or winter cake.  Enjoy!

Ingredients (Makes 30 servings)

Cream cheese filling
8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp flour
1 egg
2 tsp grated orange peel

Pumpkin Batter
15 oz   cooked pumpkin
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda


For filling:
Beat together the cream cheese, sugar and flour. Add the egg and orange peel. Beat well together till creamy. Set aside.

For the pumpkin batter:
Beat together the pumpkin, oil and eggs. Add the sugar, flour, salt, cloves, cinnamon and baking soda. Mix well. Grease a Bundt cake pan. Pour 1/2 of the mixture in there. Spread the cream cheese mixture and finish with the remaining batter. Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for 1 1/2 hours or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.  Sprinkle with icing sugar and decorate with orange slices.  The cake stays well in room temperature.  But after a day or two, store in in refrigerator.  Or you can store in refrigerator and decorate with icing sugar just before serving.  

I was also able to freeze part of the cake.  A few days later when I needed it, I let it defrost at room temperature, sprinkled it with icing sugar and served it.  It was still moist and tasted well.  

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (53.1 g) appr. 2 oz each serving
Amount Per Serving
Calories 155
Calories from Fat 67
Total Fat 7.5g
Saturated Fat 2.1g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 21mg
Sodium 121mg
Potassium 44mg1%
Total Carbohydrates 21.1g
Dietary Fiber 0.7g
Sugars 14.9g
Protein 2.0g

Gluten Free Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake with Almond Chocolate Crust and Chocolate Mousse topping

I made this cheesecake at Christmas time. Since my daughter has to have gluten free food, and I can't have any soy products (they are usually in graham crackers/crumbs) I decided to come up with something different that will be tasteful and we can all have. In Greek cuisine there are quite a few cakes and cookies that are made with ground almonds; like my almond macaroons (Gluten Free Greek Almond Macaroons - Ergolavi) and the Greek almond cookies (Kourabiedes or Greek Almond Cookies in Icing sugar). So I thought: "why don't I try to make the crust from ground almonds." And honestly the texture turned out like any other crust I might have used, but more tasteful. The cake came out delicious, rich and creamy and very decadent. It tasted like the ones you have at Cheesecake Factory, but healthier and with a lot less calories. I also made a chocolate whip topping to spread on top of the cheesecake. That is absolutely optional. But the topping came out so thick and velvety that I couldn't resit. It's a perfect cake to make for your honey this Valentine Day. Enjoy!

Makes 18 servings (about 3oz each serving)

Ingredients for almond chocolate crust:
1 ½ cups ground almonds
2 tbsp. butter
1 oz. Baker's chocolate
¼-cup sugar

Ingredients for the cake:
16 oz. cream cheese
¾-cup sugar
½-cup sour cream
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
6 oz. Baker's chocolate
½-cup sugar

Directions for the crust:

Melt the 1oz Baker's chocolate over a double boiler. In the meantime, pulverize the ground almonds as fine as you can get them in a food processor. Melt the butter. In a bowl, mix together the ground almonds, sugar, and melted chocolate. With a pastry blender, mix the crumbly mixture together. The chocolate will harden as soon as you pour it in the almond mixture. With the pastry blender you will be able to evenly spread the chocolate. Like making a pie crust. Add the melted butter and mix well together. In a 9" spring form pan, spread the ground almond/chocolate/sugar/butter mixture evenly. Set aside.

Directions for the cake:
Melt the 6 oz Baker's chocolate over a double boiler along with the 1/2 cup sugar. Stir continuously till completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, remove the double boiler from the hot element, and let the chocolate sit over the hot water, while you are mixing the cream cheese mixture.

In a mixing bowl, beat the 16 oz (2-8oz packages) of cream cheese till soft. Add the 3/4 cup sugar and mix well. Add the 1/2 cup sour cream and 1tsp vanilla. Mix well together. Add the 4 eggs one at a time, blending after each addition. Separate the cheese mixture in half. In the one-half add the melted chocolate/sugar mixture and mix well together.

Pour the chocolate mixture  in the pan over the almond crust and spread evenly (the chocolate mixture will be thick in comparison to the cheese mixture). Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the chocolate mixture. With a knife swirl around in the pan, till you see a bit of the chocolate mixture to the top. (You can omit the step altogether, if you’d like. I ended up making a chocolate whip topping so the swirl really didn’t show).

Bake at 325 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, till the top is firm to the touch.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (78.8 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 290
Calories from Fat 196
Total Fat 21.8g
Saturated Fat 11.3g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 70mg
Sodium 101mg
Total Carbohydrates 22.6g
Dietary Fiber 2.5g
Sugars 17.2g
Protein 6.6g

The almond crust with the pastry blender
The crust in the springform pan
The cheesecake out of the oven

Chocolate Mousse

Makes 18 servings (about 2 tbsp.)


6 oz baker's unsweetened chocolate
1 envelope Whipped Topping Mix (like Dream Whip)
1 cup skim milk
6 heaping tbsp. icing sugar


Melt the unsweetened chocolate over a double boiler. Remove from heat. In a bowl whip together the envelope of whip topping with the icing sugar and the 1 cup skim milk. Add the melted chocolate gradually. Beat well together. Spread over cheesecake, or use as  icing for any other cake.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (25.8 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 62
Calories from Fat 42
Total Fat 4.7g
Saturated Fat 3.0g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 6mg
Total Carbohydrates 6.1g
Dietary Fiber 1.3g
Sugars 3.4g
Protein 1.8g

Note:  I was able to freeze this cake with the chocolate whip topping.  And when I took it out it still tasted as if I had just made it.  

Covered with the chocolate mousse

You can see the layers of the almond crust, chocolate cheesecake, cheesecake and chocolate mousse. This picture and the one below, were taken after I froze the cake for about a month and took it out.  I let it defrost in the fridge overnight.  

Truly decadent and delicious. 

Chocolate Rum Balls/Truffles

I’ve been making these chocolate rum balls for many years. Another Canadian recipe that I had to convert from the metric system to the American system. After many trials and tribulations and before the internet, I was able to convert this recipe to the American standard system of measurements. So for many years now I use the recipe measurements below.
These chocolate rum balls are quite unique. The rum gives them that extra punch. Even though it’s a ¼ cup you can taste it in them. It’s not enough though to get you drunk. So enjoy them…with the rum.   

Chocolate Rum Balls/Truffles

Makes 34-50 rum balls (approximately 1” in diameter; 0.7 oz each)

4 squares unsweetened chocolate -- 4 oz (like Baker’s cooking chocolate)
8 oz Philadelphia cream cheese at room temperature
1 ½ cups ground almonds
1 ½ cups icing sugar
¼ cup rum*
1 tsp instant coffee

Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Let it cool. In the meantime, blend together the cream cheese, the ground almonds, the icing sugar, the rum and the instant coffee. Add the melted chocolate and mix. Refrigerate for a couple hours so that you will be able to form the mixture into a ball.

Once cooled take a melon scooper, dip it in water and scoop a bit of the mixture. Shape it into 1” balls and set them aside. You can dip them in your favorite coatings like icing sugar, ground almonds, chopped walnuts, cocoa, green sugar, chocolate sprinkles. 

*Note: You can omit the rum altogether if you would like, and add 2 tsp. of vanilla

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 0.653 oz (18.5g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 76
Calories from Fat 45
Total Fat 5.0g
Saturated Fat 2.0g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 7mg
Sodium 19mg
Total Carbohydrates 6.5g
Dietary Fiber 0.7g
Sugars 5.1g
Protein 1.5g

Merry Christmas! Enjoy!

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Cherry Cheesecake with Almond thin cookies for crust

I’ve been making this cheesecake for the past 35 years. It’s a Canadian recipe that I used to use. Both my daughters love this cheesecake. It’s light, easy to make and needs no baking. The original recipe asks for graham crackers crust. I found out though that graham crackers have soybean oil and since I am trying to stay away from any foods that contain soy, I experimented with a different crust. I found these almond thins at the European section of our local market. They are called Anna’s almond thins and they are Swedish.

 They contain no soy or any hydrogenated products (I used only one box).  This is a great desert to take to pot luck dinners or holiday parties. Enjoy!

 Cherry Cheesecake with Almond thin cookies for crust

Makes 35 pieces (approximately 2.4 oz each)

1.5 cups crushed almond thin cookies
4 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp sugar

1 – 8 oz pkg cream cheese at room temperature
1 – 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup Realemon Lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla

1 – 21 oz can cherry pie filling

For the crust, crush the cookies by placing them in a ziplog bag and crushing them with a rolling pin. In a 12x7.5 pyrex pan pour the crushed cookies, add the melted butter and the sugar. Mix well and pat it at the bottom of the pan. Refrigerate.

For the filling: in a bowl put the cream cheese and beat with an electric beater. Gradually add the sweetened condensed milk while beating. Add the lemon juice and the vanilla and continue beating till light and fluffy. Take the crust out of the refrigerator and pour the filling in. Smooth the top and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight. It chills quite fast, but overnight will chill it quite firmly.  

When chilled pour the cherry pie filling on top and serve. You can cut it into individual pieces and then top with the cherry pie filling. 

Note 1: The above ingredients will also accommodate a 9” pie plate
Note 2: You can substitute the almond thins with graham cracker crust or nila wafers crushed. They are both equally good.  
Note 3: For topping, you can substitute blueberry or strawberry pie filling. They both taste good.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (66.6 g)
Amount Per Serving 
Calories 233
Calories from Fat 82
Total Fat 9.1g
Saturated Fat 5.4g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 30mg
Sodium 218mg
Total Carbohydrates 33.6g
Dietary Fiber 0.6g
Sugars 19.5g
Protein 4.5g

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