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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Restaurant Wars 2013 - Cheesecake Factory

I wonder why I don't make cheesecake very often.

No wait, I know exactly why I don't make cheesecake very often.  It's because I would weigh nine hundred pounds.  Cheesecake is delicious and I have no self control around it.  This is why I was so excited about having the Cheesecake factory next on my list.  I was looking forward to that cheesecake menu.

For the most part, I have never been that impressed with the Cheesecake Factory's food menu.  I think it's because they have way too many options.  I want a menu with ten to fifteen great options, not seven pages of  sandwiches, burgers, pasta and entrees.  The power that Cheesecake Factory holds over me is in their two page cheesecake menu.

Boyfriend and I enjoyed a pretty basic lunch.  Apparently Cheesecake Factory realized that most of their menu items were super high in calories and has introduced a Skillylicious menu.  I ordered a salad and BF got a lunch-sized portion of pasta carbonara.  (He really likes carbonara and will order it off of just about any menu)  Since it was lunchtime, there was no way I was going to be able to eat my salad and a slice of cheesecake.  Luckily, they have these great to go boxes!

I asked the waitress which two cheesecakes were their most popular.  She suggested their white chocolate-raspberry cheesecake and their limited edition Oreo cheesecake.  I took a slice of each home and found out that I would be eating all of this cheesecake myself.  Boyfriend apparently doesn't like cheese in his dessert.  And he was the whole reason I got the Oreo cheesecake!  I guess I'm still learning new things about the guy I've been with for over ten years!

And you would all be so proud of me!  I had total self control with these two slices of cheesecake.  I had a bite of each once we got home from our day out and promptly put them in the fridge.  It took me until the end of the week to finish eating them!  I think it took me so long, because they weren't mindblowingly delicious.  The limited edition Oreo cheesecake was uber rich and had four layers of mousse, cheesecake, ganache and crumb.  It was just too much, you can see how it was falling over after a short ride in the car.  The white chocolate-raspberry cheesecake was half and half.  The top layer was amazing, but the raspberry-less bottom layer was just meh.

I decided to neglect the entire food menu of Cheesecake factory and try to recreate their white chocolate-raspberry cheesecake, in miniature form.  There was no way that I was going to have an entire 10-inch cheesecake sitting in my house, so my recipe makes six cupcake sized cakes!  I can handle having that many cute little cheesecakes in the house (especially since I'm the only one living in this apartment who likes cheesecake!).

Make these mini cheesecakes at home and enjoy the best part of going out to dinner at the Factory.

Two Years Ago: Buffalo Chicken Pizza

White Chocolate-Raspberry Cheesecake
A Wilde Original

Now is not the time to go low fat.  I want you to be sure to buy full fat everything.  Cream cheese, sour cream and of course, heavy cream.  These guys are small, perfect for sharing with someone!

6 chocolate cookies
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
pinch salt

8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 ounces white chocolate, melted
1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 tablespoons sour cream

1/4 cup raspberry preserves
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Line a muffin pan with 6 paper liners.  (I used big liners because I knew the cheesecake would puff up when baked.)  Preheat oven to 325 F.  

Crush chocolate cookies in the food processor, add melted butter, sugar and salt.  Pulse to combine.  You just want the cookies moistened.  Add 1 tablespoon cookie mixture to the bottom of each paper liner and press into an even crust.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool while you prepare the filling.

In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla, mixing until well beaten. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add flour. Add the beaten egg, mix well. Add melted white chocolate, combine. Finally, add heavy cream and sour cream and mix until no more swirls of white are present.  In another small bowl, mix raspberry preserves and melon juice until smooth.

Using an ice cream scoop, add ~1/3 cup cheesecake batter to the six muffin cups.   Tap pan on the counter top to even out the cheesecake.  Drizzle raspberry preserves on top and swirl with a toothpick to mix and make it look pretty.

Bake cheesecake cupcakes for 20-22 minutes, or until they just barely jiggle when the pan is shaken.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack on the counter.  Once they are completely cool, put the entire pan in the fridge for at least 3 hours before eating.

Share with friends, try not to eat them all yourself!

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