Triple Dark Chocolate Cheesecake

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After more than two years in Italy, I have finally made a cheesecake.

Proof that you don’t need a springform pan to bake a cheesecake

Proof that you don’t need a springform pan to bake a cheesecake

Cheesecakes are not hard to make, but the baking is important, probably the most important part, and has always been tricky for me. Cheesecakes are usually baked at a slightly lower temperature, usually around 325F, and just until the sides are set but the center is still jiggly. If the center sets, the cheesecake is over done, but if the center is too jiggly, then your cheesecake won’t set up in the fridge and you’ll end up with soup when you cut into it. You don’t want the cheesecake to crack, and some recipes will tell you to add a bain-marie (a hot water bath) to the oven to keep the atmosphere humid or to crack the oven door after you’ve turned it off so your cheesecake won’t cool down too quickly and yes, crack.

So when you live in Italy with strange ovens, you think twice before baking things when you can’t perfectly control the heat in your oven or where the heat is coming from. IF you’re able to tell the temperature of your oven at all. (I’m thinking of you, my oven two apartments ago. I DO NOT miss you!) Or if your oven is small and cooks things a lot quicker. Add on top of that the cream cheese here, “formaggio fresco” or literally translated fresh cheese, is…different. I’m not even sure what it is, it tastes similar to cream cheese in the States, but when you whip it it doesn’t become soupy like the American stuff, it becomes super creamy. Sometimes I think the American stuff is stickier too, maybe? The only brand here I’ve ever seen is Philadelphia, and it has had great success in Italy. But the cheesecakes I’ve eaten in restaurants or pastry shops? Always weird. They taste and look more like semi-freddo or a mousse. I therefore assumed when I made a cheesecake it would be weird like the other ones I’ve eaten here. So I never made one.

Along came Easter and I wanted to make a cheesecake. I didn’t even have a springform pan but found that pie dishes work pretty great as substitutes. And you know what? The cheesecake turned out delicious and not weird. And my husband and colleagues liked it so well I made the same one again and bought a springform pan. And if you know me, you know I rarely bake the same thing twice in a row. I’m always on to the next new recipe or at least something I haven’t made in a while. But this recipe asked to be made again. And so I did. And now you can make it, too, weird cream cheese or normal cream cheese!

Recipe adapted from omgchocolatedesserts


Triple Dark Chocolate Cheesecake

Serves about 12

Ingredients:

For the Oreo Crust

Crushing Oreos the old-fashioned way…

Crushing Oreos the old-fashioned way…

  • 24 Oreos

  • 1/4 cup / 56g butter, melted

For the Filling

  • 7.5 oz / 225g dark chocolate, broken into small chunks

  • 24 oz (3 8 oz packages) / 675g cream cheese, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp / 125g granulated sugar

  • 2 Tbsp / 14 g cocoa powder

  • 3 eggs

For the Ganache Topping

  • 3/4 cup / 175g heavy whipping cream

  • 6 oz / 180g dark chocolate, broken into small chunks

Directions:

Oven 350F / 177C. Grease an 8in - 9in / 20cm - 24cm springform pan.

Make the Oreo Crust

  1. Chop the Oreos finely, either in a food processor, by crushing with a rolling pin on a clean surface or cutting board, or by putting in a resealable plastic bag and crushing with a rolling pin or meat tenderizer.

  2. If using a food processor, pulse in the melted butter until crumbs are evenly moistened. If crushing the Oreos by hand, transfer to a bowl and stir in the butter.

  3. Press mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared springform pan and bake for 8 minutes.

  4. Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare the filling.

Make the Filling

Spreading cream cheese mixture over baked crust

Spreading cream cheese mixture over baked crust

  1. In a double boiler or pan over low heat, melt the chocolate, stirring constantly. Remove from heat when there are still small chunks of chocolate, and continue to stir until completely melted. In this way the chocolate won’t overheat or burn. Let chocolate cool.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl with a handheld mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth. Changing to low speed, carefully beat in cocoa powder so that it doesn’t “poof” everywhere. Every so often stop beating and scrape down the sides of the bowl well.

  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth.

  4. Beat in melted and cooled chocolate.

  5. Pour mixture over the crust, smoothing the top.

  6. Bake for 45 - 60 minutes, or until center is still slightly wiggly and the top looks dry.

  7. Turn the oven off and crack open the door for about 10 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven and place in fridge until completely cooled, 8 hours or overnight.

Make the Ganache Topping

  1. In a small pan place heavy cream and chocolate over low heat. Stir constantly until the mixture is smooth and melted. Allow to cool slightly.

  2. Remove cheesecake from fridge and pour ganache evenly over the top. Allow to set before running a dull knife around the edge of cheesecake and releasing from springform pan. Alternately, if you don’t need to transport the cheesecake anywhere, you can remove the ring of the springform first and then pour the ganache over, using a spoon to guide the ganache toward the edges and allowing some to dribble down the sides.

Jenny’s Notes:

  • Not a dark chocolate fan? Try it out with milk chocolate or a mixture of milk and dark to create your preferred bitterness!

  • If you don’t own a double boiler, you can make a makeshift one by placing a small pan with an inch or so of water in the bottom and bring to a simmer. Place the chocolate in a bowl big enough that it can sit on top of the pan without touching the water. Stir constantly and proceed as in the recipe. This might take a touch more effort than just melting the chocolate in a pan, but it’s safer if you’re not used to melting chocolate so as not to burn it.

  • Powdered sugar can be substituted for the granulated, use 1 cup / 110g.

  • For cleaner slicing, try running your knife under hot water for a few seconds between slices.

American
Yield: 12
Author:

Triple Dark Chocolate Cheesecake

Oreo crust, creamy dark chocolate cheesecake filling, and a decadent dark chocolate ganache.
prep time: 1 hourcook time: 1 H & 8 Mtotal time: 2 H & 8 M

ingredients:

For the Oreo Crust
  • 24 Oreos
  • 1/4 cup / 56g butter, melted
For the Filling
  • 7.5 oz / 225g dark chocolate, broken into small chunks
  • 24 oz (3 8 oz packages) / 675g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp / 125g granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp / 14 g cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
For the Ganache Topping
  • 3/4 cup / 175g heavy whipping cream
  • 6 oz / 180g dark chocolate, broken into small chunks

instructions:

How to cook Triple Dark Chocolate Cheesecake

Make the Oreo Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350F / 177C. Grease an 8in - 9in / 20cm - 24cm springform pan.
  2. Chop the Oreos finely, either in a food processor, by crushing with a rolling pin on a clean surface or cutting board, or by putting in a resealable plastic bag and crushing with a rolling pin or meat tenderizer.
  3. If using a food processor, pulse in the melted butter until crumbs are evenly moistened. If crushing the Oreos by hand, transfer to a bowl and stir in the butter.
  4. Press mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared springform pan and bake for 8 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare the filling.
Make the Filling
  1. In a double boiler or pan over low heat, melt the chocolate, stirring constantly. Remove from heat when there are still small chunks of chocolate, and continue to stir until completely melted. In this way the chocolate won’t overheat or burn. Let chocolate cool.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl with a handheld mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth. Changing to low speed, carefully beat in cocoa powder so that it doesn’t “poof” everywhere. Every so often stop beating and scrape down the sides of the bowl well.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth.
  4. Beat in melted and cooled chocolate.
  5. Pour mixture over the crust, smoothing the top.
  6. Bake for 45 - 60 minutes, or until center is still slightly wiggly and the top looks dry.
  7. Turn the oven off and crack open the door for about 10 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven and place in fridge until completely cooled, 8 hours or overnight.
Make the Ganache Topping
  1. In a small pan place heavy cream and chocolate over low heat. Stir constantly until the mixture is smooth and melted. Allow to cool slightly.
  2. Remove cheesecake from fridge and pour ganache evenly over the top. Allow to set before running a dull knife around the edge of cheesecake and releasing from springform pan. Alternately, if you don’t need to transport the cheesecake anywhere, you can remove the ring of the springform first and then pour the ganache over, using a spoon to guide the ganache toward the edges and allowing some to dribble down the sides.

NOTES:

Not a dark chocolate fan? Try it out with milk chocolate or a mixture of milk and dark to create your preferred bitterness! If you don’t own a double boiler, you can make a makeshift one by placing a small pan with an inch or so of water in the bottom and bring to a simmer. Place the chocolate in a bowl big enough that it can sit on top of the pan without touching the water. Stir constantly and proceed as in the recipe. This might take a touch more effort than just melting the chocolate in a pan, but it’s safer if you’re not used to melting chocolate so as not to burn it. Powdered sugar can be substituted for the granulated, use 1 cup / 110g. For cleaner slicing, try running your knife under hot water for a few seconds between slices.

Calories

715.12

Fat (grams)

54.28

Sat. Fat (grams)

31.43

Carbs (grams)

52.73

Fiber (grams)

3.26

Net carbs

49.47

Sugar (grams)

39.29

Protein (grams)

7.29

Sodium (milligrams)

316.65

Cholesterol (grams)

118.98
Nutritional Information is Approximate.
Created using The Recipes Generator
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Snickers Bars

Happy New Year's Eve!  Whether your plans include watching a movie, going to a party, throwing a party, watching the ball drop, or going to bed early, I hope you get to spend your evening ringing in the New Year in your favorite way.  I'm not entirely sure what that means, "Ringing in the New Year."  Did people used to use bells?  Oh!  Well, my evening is planned.  I'm getting out all the bells and ringing in the New Year.  Literally.  This is going to be so great. 

But first, (don't take a selfie) make Snickers!  If you just thought, "Why would I want to make Snickers when I can just buy them and save a whole lot of time?" I'm with you on that one.  I'm not normally the first one to jump on making things homemade that have already been perfected.  Homemade Reese's?  Samoas?  Oreos?  I'll let Nabisco and the Girl Scout Foundation of America do that.  I did make homemade Oreos once, but after a couple hours of work and ending up with less cookies than a package of Oreos that didn't even taste like an Oreo, I decided to be more discerning with such recipes in the future.  They tasted good...but nah.  The exception is, if you can make something that tastes like the original or better, even if it takes longer, because homemade means less chemicals and preservatives!  Yay.  That's where these Snickers come in.  

Snickers Bars

Makes 20-30 bars

Directions:

Lightly grease a 9x13 inch pan and line with parchment paper.  Grease the parchment paper. 

For the Top and Bottom Chocolate Layer

  • 2 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips (about 1 1/4 bags) or 15 oz

For the Nougat Layer

  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups salted peanut, roughly chopped

For the Caramel Layer

  • 1/2 batch caramel sauce, recipe found here

or

  • 14 oz caramel squares, unwrapped
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Directons:

Make the Bottom Chocolate Layer

Place 1 1/4 cups of the milk chocolate chips in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until melted.  Spread evenly in the bottom of the 9x13 pan.  Place in fridge or freezer to set until next layer is ready.

Make the Nougat Layer

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add sugar and milk, stirring until dissolved.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Remove from heat and stir in marshmallow fluff, peanut butter, and vanilla until smooth.  Fold in peanuts.  Spread evenly over chocolate in pan and place in fridge or freezer. 

Make the Caramel Layer

Make a half batch of the caramel sauce as directed. 

or

Melt caramel squares with heavy cream in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth.  Once melted, cook for 4 more minutes, stirring frequently. 

Pour caramel over nougat layer and place back in fridge or freezer.

Make the Top Chocolate Layer

Melt the remaining 1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally.  Spread evenly over caramel layer. 

Place back in fridge or freezer until completely set, 10-30 minutes.

Keep in pan or remove using parchment paper; slice and serve.

Can be stored at room temperature for up to a week, two weeks in the fridge, or three months in the freezer. 

Jenny's Notes:

Really like peanut butter?  You can add 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter to each the top and bottom chocolate layer after melting the chocolate.  Or, use part peanut butter chips instead of all milk chocolate chips.  

Don't need a whole 9x13 pan of Snickers?  You can always halve this recipe and put everything in an 8x8 pan.  But since you're putting the time in, I would recommend making the whole 9x13 pan and simply freezing whatever you won't eat right away.   

The first greasing of the pan before you put in the parchment paper may seem redundant, but it helps the paper to stick to the pan and not move all over while you are trying to spread chocolate and such.  Ironic, though, isn't it?  Usually you grease something to help it move, not keep it in place.

 

 

 

 

 

Biscoff Oreo Layer Bars

Bucca di Beppo, using the proper snaaaack hand.

Bucca di Beppo, using the proper snaaaack hand.

You had me at Biscoff.  Then you had me again at Oreo.  These bars are decadent and disappear quickly.  I had barely pulled them out of the oven when my nieces and nephews appeared at the door looking to see if we had any "snacks." (To be said, "snaaaaaacks," with the hand gesture waving.)  Normally these bars should be cooled and chilled before slicing, but in this instance we used bowls and spoons to scoop up the warm, melty, ooey-gooey, Biscoff Oreo-ness with a hint of peanut butter atop a shortbread crust.  I practically had to put caution tape around the remaining few bars so I could get a picture of them before they all disappeared.  I don't own caution tape, but I think it would be a very handy thing to have around. 

Biscoff Oreo Layer Bars

Ingredients:

For the Crust

  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 Tbsp salted butter, cold, cut into cubes (3/4 of a stick)

For the Layers

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter chips
  • 12 Oreo cookies, crushed (You could always use more, my Oreo loving friends)
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup Biscoff spread

Directions:

Oven 350 Fahrenheit

Make the Crust

Lightly grease an 8x8 in pan. 

In a food processor pulse together flour and sugar.  Add butter, one cube at a time.  Continue to pulse until mixture looks like wet sand and will hold together when pressed between your fingers.  Press evenly into prepared pan.

Make the Layers

Sprinkle peanut butter chips evenly over crust, then the Oreos. 

In a small bowl whisk together sweetened condensed milk and Biscoff until smooth.  Pour over crust and spread to evenly cover Oreos.

Bake for 20-22 minutes or until edges are lightly golden and center is just set.  The filling will go from shiny to matte, forming a sort of skin over the top. 

Place in the fridge until completely cool.  Cut and serve.  Store covered in the fridge.

Jenny's Notes:

Don't sweat if you only have unsalted butter.  To interchange unsalted for salted butter, just add 1/4 tsp salt for every 1 stick of unsalted butter.  And vice versa, if you only have salted butter and a recipe calls for 1 stick of unsalted butter and salt, just omit the salt and replace unsalted butter with salted.  I just stared at the word "salt" for too long and now it looks very strange.  Salt.  Huh.

ALSO.  You could use the crunchy Biscoff spread in this and I think that would be amaze-za-zing.  I haven't gotten a chance to try it yet but if you do let me know and invite me over.  :)

Adapted from Call Me PMc

Toasted Coconut Toffee Cookies

What's your favorite kind of cookie?  To be fair, there should be two recognized categories for answering this question. 

  1. Store-bought (Oreo, Chips Ahoy, Nilla Wafers, anything you buy at a store and can't do justice making at home)
  2. Home-made cookies (chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter, anything you make at home that's never as good bought from a store)

In the first category, Oreo has taken the world by storm.  Well, America anyway.  ahem, I'm looking at you, Italy.  A quick Google search will affirm Oreo as #1.  It is the best selling cookie in America.  Oh, and it's vegan.  (So...what's that filling made of again, if not a milk product???)

In the second category, I think it would be pretty safe to say chocolate chip cookies would take the lead.  Everyone loves a good chocolate chip cookie.  There's just something about that sugary, vanilla-y dough combined with chunks of chocolate.  Mmmm.  You can find my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe here.

Now allow me to pull you out of the comfort zone of Oreo's and chocolate chip cookies, and suggest that there are cookies out there worthy to compete.  Like these Toasted Coconut Toffee Cookies.  The base of the cookie is similar to a chocolate chip cookie, just add a handful of freshly toasted coconut and toffee bits, and you've taken it to a whole new level.  The dough alone is magical.  The first time I ever made these the dough barely made it in the oven because it was in my mouth.  I think I made a note at the bottom of the recipe something to the effect of "KEEP THIS RECIPE FOREVER."  And here it is, yours to hold and keep and eat forever until death do you part.

Toasted Coconut Toffee Cookies

Makes 40-50 cookies (or less, depending on how much dough is consumed before baking)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 8 oz bag Heath Bits O Brickle or Toffee bits
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.

Arrange coconut in an even layer on a baking pan, a 9x13 pan or baking sheet works well.  Place in the preheated oven for 5-8 minutes or until fragrant and lightly golden brown.  Coconut goes quickly from perfectly toasted to burnt, so check it every minute, stirring occasionally. 

While the coconut is toasting, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. 

In another bowl, mix brown sugar and oil together with a spoon.  Add vanilla and eggs and beat.  Add dry ingredients and mix. 

By this time your coconut should be done.*  Add coconut, toffee, and chocolate chips to dough and mix until just combined. 

Place by small spoonful onto cookie sheet.  Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until edges are just golden and the center still looks soft and doughy. 

Jenny's Notes:

Feel free to use shredded, flaked, and desiccated coconut interchangeably.  You may need to adjust your toasting time accordingly: More time for flaked, less for desiccated. 

*I like to add the coconut to the dough while it's still warm from the oven, thus melting the chocolate chips a tad and creating a chocolate swirl in the batter.  Just be careful not to over mix.

Adapted from Let's Dish Recipes

No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake

The American Section.  I guess we like our pancakes, Betty Crocker cake mixes, strawberry frosting, and Quaker oats??

The American Section.  I guess we like our pancakes, Betty Crocker cake mixes, strawberry frosting, and Quaker oats??

What do you do when you have 55 days until you move to another country?  Start thinking about all the food items and ingredients you won't be able to eat or buy while you're there.  Naturally.  I started to make a list of such things, and some of the items on there are rather tragic.  No real vanilla extract?  No Oreos, Butterfingers, or other terribly wonderful processed American goodies?  Pretzels only to be found of sketchy tough texture? Weird behaving marshmallows and graham crackers? (No S'mores for this girl.)  Italians also don't understand our fetish for peanut butter.  In all the grocery stores I've been in in Florence, (pobably all of them because they're kinda my happy place) I have only seen Skippy, maybe Peter Pan once, and usually priced about 4-5 euros, roughly $6.  There is a specialty Asian market, Vivi Market, that has an "American" section, and they sell the closest thing to real peanut butter I found.  It's called Calve, made in the Netherlands, but it still has the hydrogenated oil and sugar added to it.  Pumpkin is also a rarity over there.  They make such wonderful pumpkin filled ravioli and pumpkins for carving come out for a couple weeks around Halloween, but to buy a 15 oz can of Libby's pumpkin costs over 4 euro, compared to $1 in the States.  Pumpkin pie, bread, muffins, cake, pudding, only for special occasions, I guess...

Now don't get me wrong, I'm really not that worried about missing American food.  I did just fine for three months last fall, it's just a matter of understanding how different ingredients and substitutions behave in my favorite recipes.  I mean, this is Italy we're talking about.  Home to some of the best food in the world.  But I'm not partial or anything.  I keep a pretty good cover, though; you can't tell how much I love the food by the way I skip home from the super market with my arms full of pasta and heart bursting, waltz past the shelves of Nutella, guzzle acqua frizzante (sparkling water), double fist the cones of gelati, or giggle as I sweep the tubs of mascarpone that are cheaper than milk off the shelves.  Nope.  Not even around Christmas time when all the different kinds of panettoni started filling the shelves and Jenny's shopping cart.  I'm happy just thinking about all this wonderful food and its potential, but right now I am in the States, and I'm going to bake something I won't be able to for awhile.  Something with Oreos.  Lots of Oreos.  Or not bake, because this is a super easy no-bake cheesecake.

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of this cheesecake before my family started devouring it.  And continued eating it as I was trying to take photos.  But at least it was well received, right? 

No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake

Serves about 12

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 16-18 Oreos
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted

For the Filling:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 24 oz (3 8 oz packages) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 24 Oreos, coarsely chopped (or more)
  • 6-8 Oreos, coarsely chopped, for the top (or more!)

Directions:

Make the Crust:

In a food processor, pulse Oreos until crumbs.  Add butter and pulse until combined.  Press into a 9 in. tart pan, pie tin, or springform pan.  Freeze while you make the filling.

Make the Filling:

In the bowl of stand mixer or with an electric mixer, whip cream until stiff peaks appear.  Set aside.

Beat cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer or with an electric mixer until lighter and fluffier.  Beat in sugar.  Fold in 24 chopped Oreos, then gently fold in whipped cream. 

Remove crust from the freezer.  Pour in filling and smooth the top.  Sprinkle with remaining chopped Oreos and place in fridge until completely chilled, about 2 hours. 

Jenny's Notes:

Two packages of Oreos are needed for this recipe.  But you could squeeze by on one if you used half Oreos and half graham crackers for the crust.  You'll need about 1 1/4 cups of crumbs for the crust, then add an extra 2 Tbsp of cocoa powder to make it just as a chocolatey as if you used all Oreos, if you wish. 

White Russian Tart

Mmmmm I love me a White Russian.  Or a Black Russian.  Or you can just give me the Kahlua.  But you know what I love more?  This tart.  Not to mention it is raw, gluten-free, refined-sugar free, and somehow delicious.  Nah I'm just kidding, there a lot of really delicious healthier desserts and foods out there, but the ones that aren't so much tend to get the attention and give the above labels a bad rap. 

When I'm experimenting and trying new recipes in the "healthy" department (as defined by trying to limit refined-sugars or flours, using a vegetable or bean or something that doesn't normally go in that there fudge brownie) I look for the 3 different categories of reactions from my tasters.  I tend to like some very strange things so I can't always judge by whether I like it or not...  Unsweetened cocoa powder by the spoonful, anyone??

  1. The category of "This is honest deliciousness."  When people ask for a recipe or have no idea that there are chickpeas or spinach powder hidden in what they're eating.  Something a normal or even picky eater would eat. 
  2. The category of "It's good for a healthy dessert!"  So it's palatable and they're not gagging, but most would still take a slice of cheesecake over it.  
  3. The category of "I would rather just eat a salad."  If I'm tempted to remedy the taste by adding cups and cups of maple syrup, then when that isn't strong enough, real sugar, it's probably beyond saving.  I know it's bad if I don't even like it.  No worries, those recipes won't come anywhere near this blog. 

This tart is a solid category 1.  Even my mom and brother approved this, and they keep me pretty honest when it comes to healthy desserts. 

I bounce back and forth between decadent desserts and healthier desserts.  I have a love and respect for both, and each have their place and time.  Some days it's honey, nuts, and coconut oil, and other days it's sugar, heavy whipping cream, and butter.  Variety is the spice of life.  Today, it's dates, avocado, and mascarpone.

White Russian Tart

Serves 8-12

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups almonds
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 8-10 dates
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Chocolate Vodka Cream

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (virgin, unrefined)
  • 1 Tbsp finely ground coffee beans
  • 1 large ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vodka
  • 1 tsp rum or Kahlua (of course the Kahlua option adds sugar)
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup

Mascarpone Cream

  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Make the Crust

In a food processor, combine almonds and coconut and pulse until small crumbles.  Add dates, vanilla, cocoa powder, and salt.  Process until well combined. 

Press into the bottom of a 8 or 9 inch spring-form pan or pie plate.

Make the Chocolate Vodka Cream

Heat coconut oil in small pan over low heat until liquefied.  Combine the melted coconut oil, coffee, avocado, cocoa powder, vodka, rum or Kahlua, and maple syrup in a food processor until smooth.  Stop and scrape down sides and bottom occasionally.  Spread over crust and place in freezer for about 30 minutes.

Make the Mascarpone Cream

Shortly before taking tart out of the freezer, combine mascarpone, maple syrup, and vanilla in a small bowl.  Take the tart out of the freezer and spread mascarpone mixture over it.  Place in fridge for about 2 hours before serving.   

Jenny's Notes:

This tart is not very sweet and really lets the mascarpone shine through.  However, if you or your guests prefer things a little on the sweeter side, feel free to add more maple syrup in either of the creams. 

Also, I like to use black cocoa powder in this recipe.  Sounds ghastly, but it's the stuff of Oreos.  (I didn't know the flavor of Oreo was supposed to be chocolate until I was an adult, but they get their unique flavor from black cocoa.)  If you can get your hands on it, it's really great.  I usually order it from Amazon. 

Adapted from The Clean Dish