Category Archives: Cheesecakes

Monday Morning Mocha ‘n Chocolate Cheesecakes

  I have been productive lately. That means a lot of productibaking, which means wading through a really, really big pile of reading. Check.

I also have another photo-story for all of you. Did you see my last one for the very best chewy Biscoff blondies? I don’t have too much time these days to write, but I still want to share my stories with all of you.

I don’t drink coffee or mocha, but I love coffee-flavored anything. And since caffeine and productivity are the order of the day, these mocha ‘n chocolate cheesecakes were born–perfect for your Monday morning. Or Tuesday. Or every any day of the week, really.

I hope you all enjoy, pin, share, and love these quaint coffee banners!  These creamy mini cheesecake smell like you’re sitting in the middle of your favorite hipster cafe with a cuppa fresh brew–you won’t even know the difference.

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Which coffee saying describes you best?  (I’m definitely feeling the “productivity” one right now!)

OR What do you wake up to in the morning?

Ala

Don’t forget to pin/share/print/like! :)

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Monday Morning Mocha ‘n Chocolate Cheesecakes
Yield: 12 mini cheesecakes
Ingredients:
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Kahlua (or other coffee-flavored liqueur, or espresso or strong brewed coffee)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons instant coffee granules, divided and finely crushed
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together cream cheese and white sugar until nice and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  3. In a separate small bowl, combine Kahlua and vanilla. Mix in 2 tablespoons coffee granules and stir until dissolved.
  4. Add Kahlua mixture, egg, and remaining finely-crushed coffee granules to cream cheese mixture. Beat in until completely smooth.
  5. Divide cheesecake batter equally between 12 tins.
  6. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate chips at 20-second intervals, stirring rapidly between each interval until chocolate is melted and smooth. (Be careful not to overheat your chocolate–you will want to remove the bowl from microwave and stir when the chocolate is just beginning to turn melty.) Pour a dollop of chocolate into each filled cheesecake tin and swirl using a toothpick.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until just set. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before transferring to fridge. Allow to chill in fridge for at least one hour–or you can let it sit overnight and wake up the next morning to a perfectly “brewed” Monday morn mocha cheesecake!

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Mocha Cookie Cheesecake Bars

Hi! Consider this an interim post. But let me explain before I get ahead of myself.

Remember my productibaking post that was meant to motivate me for my upcoming qualifying exams?

Two things:

1) Productibaking is working really, really well as a  motivational concept.

2) The actual baking, photography, and blogging–not so bueno.

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Here’s the update: In addition to hitting the books full-time this summer in preparation for my oral exams this fall, for which I need to know 120+ books’/works’ worth of material, I’m working a completely, honest-to-goodness full-time internship. Hallelujah to those of you crazy (and awesome!) working-world people who have decided to go back to school. Seriously, it’s a full-time gig!

As if I didn’t already possess a keen death wish (as my friends call it) in attempting to finish about a book a day for the next 4 months, I’ve somehow ended up taking on a second internship. I’m currently learning about marketing, SEO’s, and the wonderful world of corporate advertising America.

Uh. Yeah. Brilliant idea?

Let me get back to you on that one.

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On my kitchen table: Frankenstein (1818 edition, not the 1831 one!), Mary Shelley’s renowned novel about a monster and a scientist with too much ambition for his own good. Oh, and of course the creepy line, “I will be with you on your wedding-night”…

So after waking up at 6, hitting the gym, running back home to take a shower, heading to work at 9, work work working like a soldier ant until 6, finishing up work for my part-time internship, maybe eating dinner at a reasonable hour, and then trying to finish an entire book in one night until I finally keel over like a beached whale on my mattress around 1 AM–

Yeah. A little less time for baking, lately.

Fortunately, when I do bake these days, it’s an especial treat. And I’m still trying to keep up with my posting (although it might just be vaguely jumbled productibaking posts and grumbles until November). It’s also just a bit difficult trying to bake in between study sprints when your parents keep demanding why you waste time at the oven while you’re supposed to be studying and you sort of have to keep your patience with them because, you know, they’re housing and feeding you.

Okay, end ramble.

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In the meantime, though, I did manage to turn out these really quite wonderful mocha cheesecake bars (despite my mom breathing down my neck every 5 seconds or so) and would love to hear from all of you! Because, as you might have figured, I’m kind of in my little qualifying exam hiding hole for the next 5 months. With a little (or huge) stash of sugary snacks in the corner. Maybe it’s a good thing I can’t find as much time to bake, after all.

Happy readings, and happy eatings!

Ala

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Mocha Cookie Cheesecake Bars
Yield: 9×9-inch baking pan
Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Kahlua (substitute with any coffee liqueur or strong brewed coffee as desired)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • For the cheesecake:
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon Kahlua (substitute with any coffee liqueur or strong brewed coffee as desired)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×9-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together melted butter and brown sugar. Add lightly beaten egg and 1 tablespoon Kahlua; beat well. Add remaining dry ingredients for cookie layer (except chocolate chips) and mix in until just incorporated. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Spread cookie batter evenly into prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes, until slightly firm but still underbaked. While your batter is baking, prepare cheesecake layer.
  4. Cheesecake layer: Cream softened cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in white sugar vigorously until entire cream cheese is light. Add egg and 1 tablespoon Kahlua; mix until smooth.
  5. When cookie layer is finished baking, pour cheesecake layer immediately over it and return entire pan to oven. Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, until cheesecake jiggles only slightly and the edges become a light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before cutting into squares. (I placed mine in the refrigerator for about an hour after the pan cooled to room temperature.)
  6. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
 

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Slutty Cheesecake Bars (from Bakers Royale)

Everybody loves watching a good action movie on the big screen. Everybody, except the two people sitting directly on either side of me, the unfortunate person in front of me whose chair gets pummeled every time a loud explosion occurs, and maybe anyone within shriek-audible range of me–which is basically everyone in the theater. I am not a dainty shrieker. I spent all of Star Trek: Into Darkness and Iron Man 3 doing weird spastic knee tucks in my seat and giving the front seat an extra-hard kick when its occupant turned around to glare at me.

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(Doesn’t this photo look like an adorable mini smiling wolf? Hehe, it makes me happy to look at it.)

That being said, I love watching action films in theater. If I have one weakness, though (aside from these “slutty cheesecake bars”–yes, we’ll get to these smexy bad boys and their seductive name in just a second), it’s an action film with plenty of eye candy. Speaking of which, have you seen Chris Pine in the new Star Trek movie? Never mind the fact that my Trekkie knowledge was limited to Spock’s horrendous haircut up until the first new movie in 2009. The hysterical prepubescent middle-school fan girl in me rares up every time young Captain Kirk flashes those sultry baby blues my way.

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As an added perk, he’s sweet-looking and smart. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor’s in English in 2002.

Oh heyyy. Guess who else has an English degree from the big Blue and Gold? Shall we discuss our shared literary interests over a cup of Free Trade tea and vegan pulled pork, Chris? Yes? Yes?

Slutty Cheesecake Bars gif

Or maybe over a panful of these?

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I was so excited when I first stumbled across these at Baker’s Royale. She is known for inventing some insane bar cookies, with zany names to boot (like Man Whore bars, which I still need to try–um, yes, please?) These are no exception. No, sireeee.

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Bake up a soft, chewy layer of perfect chocolate chip cookies (even from a package if you’re in a hurry–I used one of my favorite chewy CCC recipes). Layer up your Oreos–16 whole, creamy chocolatey onesthen smother them in a smooth and rich cheesecake filling. Chop up some more Oreos and Whoppers and sprinkle them over the whole shebang.

Bam. Slutty bar cookies for slutty perfectly innocuous, intelligent motives to meet Chris Pine.

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My coworkers and students thought I was insane when I brought a plate of these into the office last week. These reports can be neither confirmed nor denied. However, when I stepped back in half an hour later, these were completely gone. Completely.

These crazy-loaded treats (the only kinds I accept) make great conversation starters, apology/appeasement gifts, after-school sweet tooth snacks, and enticers of potential love interests. Slutty Cheesecake Bars 7--051913

I doubt even Chris Pine could resist them–but I’ll let you know after I test this theory out.

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Print this recipe and beam them up, Scotty!

Ala

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Slutty Cheesecake Bars (from Bakers Royale)
Yield: 1 8×8-inch baking pan
Ingredients:
For chocolate chip cookie base (original recipe from My Baking Addiction)–one of the chewiest, most satisfying CCC’s you’ll ever make!
Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together softened butter and both sugars until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg. Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt until just incorporated. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  2. Set bowl aside and make cheesecake layer.
  3. If you’d like to make these as individual cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Drop prepared cookie dough by rounded tablespoonfuls on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool on hot cookie sheet for at least 3-5 minutes before removing to wire rack.

For cheesecake layer:

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Cream together softened cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat in until completely smooth, but be sure not to overbeat.
  2. Set aside cheesecake layer as you assemble the slutty cheesecake bars.

To assemble slutty cheesecake bars:

Ingredients:

  • 21 Oreos (16 whole Oreos and 5 chopped Oreos, divided)
  • 5 oz. Whoppers, chopped

Directions for assembly:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan.
  2. Spread cookie dough evenly across the bottom of the prepared baking pan (or drop them by rounded tablespoonfuls on a cookie sheet if making cookies). Your cookie dough layer should be about half an inch thick–if you have leftover dough, you can bake it immediately as individual cookies or simply toss it into the fridge for baking at a later time. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes, until the dough is just cooked through and firm. Remove from oven.
  3. Layer 16 whole Oreos on baked cookie crust. Pour cheesecake filling evenly over Oreos. Sprinkle 5 chopped Oreos and 5 oz. chopped Whoppers over the cheesecake.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until cheesecake is pretty well set. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely in pan before cutting. Best served chilled from refrigerator (but make sure you store it in the fridge either way).
  5. Note: If you eat these warm straight out of the pan–as I did–you might be alarmed to find that the Whoppers are almost impossibly chewy! Don’t worry; if you wait like you’re (ahem) supposed to, they will regain their crunchy texture after chilling in the fridge. 

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Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

So sombody’s been listening to “I won’t say I’m in love” on repeat today!

I won’t say–er, who.

Happy Valentine’s/Galentine’s Day, folks!

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In honor of this lovely, commercial-saturated annual holiday, I am 1) sharing the recipe & photos for this gorgeous red velvet cheesecake bar recipe (in case you haven’t had enough red velvet to last you a bleeding lifetime this month! This is my only, I promise), and 2) sharing 10 things I will be doing to celebrate a day of love, single or otherwise.

But these bars really are the best. I actually had the honor of popping some virgin red-velvet cherries today, and if decorum had allowed, I’m sure said persons would have asked me out on a romantic date for tonight on the spot.

Alas, decorum stands, and Ala is still single. BUT. Here’s what I’m doing this week to enjoy, appreciate, and celebrate the wonders of being single in February this year!

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10. Watching Anastasia, the best animated film known to mankind featuring a sweet-hearted, slightly sarcastic singing love interest…while eating a melt-in-my-mouth scrumptious red velvet cheesecake brownie.

9. Sending V-day care packages to all my lovely friends and honorary valentines…containing red velvet cheesecake brownies, of course. Mwah!

8. Galentine’s Day picnic brunch under the sunny skies. And yes, there were red velvet cheesecake brownies. Are you seeing a pattern here?

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7. Scoping out the gym shamelessly on V-day night. Think about it: if they’re at the gym on Valentine’s night and working them rippling biceps, chances are that they’re single and ripped into the bargain. Who says romance can’t start on February the 14th? Eh?

6. Browsing lovely food blogs like Sally’s, where I first got the inspiration and recipe for these delicious brownies! I’ve loved everything you guys have posted leading up to this beautiful day, so feel free to link me up to your favorite posts and recipes!

5. Dropping by the farmer’s market! Picked up a sweet pack of strawberries–on discount, because my man (a.k.a. the vendor, with whom I’m on a first-name basis now!) tried some of these brownies. I’m serious.

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4. Dancing around my room singing “You Belong with Me” and Michael Buble’s “Haven’t Met You Yet” at the top of my lungs into a hairbrush, hoping all the while that this will happen to me. Again, February 14th. Chances are up, right??

3. Inflating an entire party pack’s worth of balloons and drawing silly faces on them, like this:

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Heartthrob J. Alfred B’lloon-frock says hi! He even wrote me a love song today.

2. Going to a Grease sing-along at the local theater tonight with my gal pals. SUMMER NIGHTS BABY. (Even though: BIG confession. I’ve never watched all of Grease in one sitting before. Shocker!! Bringing red velvet cheesecake brownies to make up for my lack in that department.)

And, finally….

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1. Wishing all of you the best Valentine’s Day you can have, whether you’re taken, single, or just a celebrator of life! Enjoy your day, folks!

(And whipping up a batch of these absolutely meltaway red velvet cheesecake bars wouldn’t hurt, either. Just saying.)

Ala

What are you doing to celebrate this season of love?

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
Yield: 9×9-inch baking pan
From Sally’s Baking Addiction
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring
  • 3/4 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×9-inch baking pan.
  2. Cream together melted butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Stir in vanilla; add cocoa powder and stir in until no clumps remain. Mix in food coloring and vinegar, then add eggs and mix in until batter is smooth. Finally, add flour and stir in until just incorporated. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. To make cheesecake batter: Beat cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth. Mix in sugar and continue beating until mixture is smooth and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; mix in until no lumps remain.
  4. Drop cheesecake batter in large spoonfuls over the red velvet batter, taking care to leave some red spaces between each white dollop (this will make it easier to get a nice red contrast when you swirl in the cheesecake). Run a knife through the red and white batters to create a swirl pattern.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in brownie comes out clean. (I like to underbake mine just a tad and then set the bars out on top of the oven for a few minutes to finish cooking that way without drying them out too much.) Allow bars to cool completely before cutting into 25 squares. Serve and enjoy with your significant other, your friends, or just your lovely ol’ self!

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7 Days Until Christmas: Orange Cheesecake Gingerbread Blondies

Playful, chilly winds nip our ears and prick our exposed noses. Straggling students wrap scarves around their heads in the fashion of ancient, entombed Egyptians. And as the days dwindle into the single digits, you can almost hear the wintertime choirs burst out into song and chime…

Seven days until Christmas!

That, my friends, is the stocking that’s Santa’s going to fill with lots of nice goodies for a very nice girl this year (a.k.a. yours truly):

Zesty Orange Cheesecake Gingerbread Blondies 5 (12.17.12)

Wait…seven days?! That’s exactly one week!

In honor of this momentous occasion, which occurs once every 364 1/4 days in a year–something it shares in common with Leprechaun’s Day, National Talk Like a Pirate Day, and your Auntie Mabel’s birthday–I’ve compiled a list of 7 holiday traditions that, for some reason or another, just never seemed to make the cut…

Zesty Orange Cheesecake Gingerbread Blondies (12.17.12)

7. Naughty or Naughtier: Draw from a hat of “naughty” deeds and perform them in front of your friends! But it gets better–in order to win, your friends have to out-naughty your naughty deed. Do you have what it takes to get yourself in the top spot on Santa’s naughty list this year?

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6. Hot Space Heater: Want to turn up the heat this year on family & friends fun day? Play this season-appropriate version of “Hot Potato” with your closest enemies. All you need are some rockin’ Christmas tunes and a preheated warmer–toss the space heater around in a circle until it gets too hot to handle! For extra excitement, make sure to invite your in-laws and that second cousin, twice removed that you never really liked.

5. Turkey Deep-Frying Competition: Get your frying vats ready–this is one sizzling holiday game! See who can fry their turkies the fastest; the hotter the stove, the hotter the game! (In order to qualify, participants must fry their turkies whole, preferably in a crowded space where flying oil and raging tempers will be an issue.)

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4. Santa Pause: Do nothing but stare at the fireplace for as long as you can stand. Good party game for up to 90 players, and particularly for those of 90+ years. Sleeping with eyes wide open permitted.

3. Rudolph the Red No’s-Brainer: It’s costume time! Get a nice rosy glow going on those wintry noses by roasting a whole tomato under the broiler. Then pass around the scorching-hot tomatoes and have every member of your party don one–you may find that your red nose will not be artificial for very long!

2. Elf’s Workshop: Gang up against the youngest (or smallest) member of your family and make them do all the holiday preparations around the house while the rest of you sip hot chocolate and sing “Deck the Halls” in cheery, obnoxious voices. Possible supplies include a giant nametag that reads “And to think I used to wish I could be Santa’s elf” for your house elf to wear, or giant marshmallows that you can command your elf to toast for you “in the name of Santa Claus.”

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1. S’mores Wars: Do you long to have a snowball fight but find it too cold to step outside? Never fear, marshmallows are here! Heat up marshmallows in the microwave for up to 5 seconds–they should expand like crazy Pillsbury dough-boys. Whip them out and chuck ‘em at whoever happens to pass by the kitchen–they’ll never know what hit them!

What is your number one favorite holiday game/activity? Leave your thoughts, and look out for some more Countdown to Christmas posts!

Ala

 
Orange Cheesecake Gingerbread Blondies
Yield: 1 9×9-inch baking pan
Ingredients:
  • For gingerbread blondie:
  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • For orange cheesecake:
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • Zest of 1/2 medium orange
  • Juice of 1/2 medium orange (or approximately 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted (for chocolate swirl)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, cream together melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in one egg and vanilla extract. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; stir until just combined. Fold in white chocolate chips. Pour into greased 9×9-inch baking pan. 
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together cream cheese and white sugar until fluffy. Beat in 1 egg, orange zest, and orange juice. Spread evenly over gingerbread blondie batter.
  3. Drop dollops of melted chocolate over cheesecake batter. Swirl in with tip of a knife.
  4. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until edges begin to turn slightly golden brown and cheesecake is fairly set. Allow to cool at room temperature before cutting into squares. Place in fridge and allow to firm up for at least an additional hour before removing from pan. Store leftover bars in fridge.
 

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