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1½ cups graham-cracker crumbs (about 11 whole graham crackers)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 package (8 ounces) light cream cheese, softened
3 packages (8 ounces each) regular cream cheese, softened
1¼ cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup dairy eggnog
3 tablespoons brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon brandy or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1. To prepare the crust: Spray a 10-by-3-inch springform pan with vegetable cooking spray and set aside. Combine the graham-cracker crumbs, sugar and cocoa powder until blended. Stir in the melted butter with a fork. Press the mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven five minutes. Let cool on a rack.
2. To prepare the filling: Combine the cream cheese and sugar in a food processor to blend. Add the eggs, processing to blend, followed by the eggnog, brandy, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Process until blended and very smooth. Set aside a 1
3 cup batter.
3. Pour the cheesecake batter over the cooked crust. Whisk the reserved 1
3 cup batter into the chocolate until smooth. Spoon the chocolate batter over the batter in the pan and use a small metal spatula to swirl the batters together for a marbled effect. Bake at 350 degrees one hour. Turn off the oven and prop oven door open about 1 inch. Let cheesecake sit in the oven one hour.
4. Remove cheesecake from oven and place on a rack to cool. Refrigerate, loosely covered, overnight.
5. Remove sides of springform pan. Whip cream with brandy or vanilla and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Pipe around the edges of the cheesecake and grate or sprinkle nutmeg lightly over the whipped cream.
Adapted by The Seattle Times in 1996 from “Chocolatier Magazine”, December, 1995.
WHITE CHRISTMAS TART
3 tablespoons margarine or butter
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
½ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons water
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1½ cups milk
1½ cups white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 (10-ounce) package frozen raspberries in light syrup, defrosted
1. To prepare the tart shell: Spray a 9-inch removable bottomed tart pan with a nonstick cooking spray. Combine the butter, shortening, sugar, vanilla and salt in a food processor; process until creamy. Add the cocoa and process until the mixture is a dark, smooth paste. Add the flour and pulse just to incorporate. (The dough will be crumbly. Press to hold it together.) Transfer to a piece of wax paper, wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
2. Remove the dough from refrigeration. Roll between sheets of plastic wrap to about 1
8-inch thickness and about 11 inches in diameter. Peel away the top sheet of plastic and pick up the dough with the bottom sheet. Invert into the prepared tart pan and press the dough carefully into the pan, using the plastic wrap. Remove the plastic and pinch off the dough at the upper rim. Patch the dough if necessary with dough scraps. Refrigerate until chilled.
3. Prick the bottom of the shell. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven 20 minutes; the shell will still look slightly underdone in the center. Cool on a rack.
4. To prepare the filling: In a small saucepan combine the gelatin and water; set aside five minutes. Place on low heat to liquefy.
5. In a medium saucepan combine the sugar and cornstarch. Add the milk gradually, stirring over medium heat until the mixture boils. Boil one minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the gelatin. Remove from the heat and stir in the white chocolate and vanilla. Transfer to a bowl and press a piece of wax paper on the top. Cool to room temperature.
6. When the filling is cool, whip the cream with the powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Fold into the filling and spoon into the tart shell. Refrigerate. When set cover loosely. (The tart can be prepared 24 hours in advance.)
7. To prepare the sauce: Purée the raspberries and syrup in a food processor or blender. Strain through a fine sieve. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.
8. Serve spoonfuls of the sauce to the side of each serving of tart.
Adapted by The Seattle Times in 1993: Tart shell from “Cocolat — Extraordinary Chocolate Desserts” by Alice Medrich; filling from “Pillsbury’s Complete Book of Baking.”
PUMPKIN POUND CAKE
Makes 12 slices
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1½ teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. Spray a 9½-by-5½-by-2¾-inch loaf pan with vegetable cooking spray and line the bottom with wax paper; spray again and set aside. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. With an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, cream together the butter, granulated and brown sugars until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Add the dry ingredients in two additions to the butter mixture, alternating with the pumpkin.
4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. For the topping, combine the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; sprinkle over the top of the batter. Bake 60 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of the pound cake comes out clean.
5. Cool in the pan 15 minutes before unmolding onto a rack. Let cool completely. Wrap airtight and store in refrigerator or freezer.
Adapted by The Seattle Times in 1994 from “Simply Cakes” by Elizabeth Alston.