Monday, April 21, 2014
Human nature is such a funny thing. Why is it that when we know we can't have something, we want it that much more?
When I found out I was pregnant, I gave up coffee. Yes, I know it's considered safe to have one cup a day, but that's like telling an alcoholic to just have one drink--this would have to be an all or nothing approach. The withdrawals weren't too bad because I'd been slowly weening myself off the strong stuff in hopeful anticipation of that little pink plus sign, and for the first few months, I didn't miss it much at all.
Once morning sickness subsided and hunger was renewed, however, I began experiencing severe coffee envy every Sunday when my husband's fragrant mug wafted tantalizing aromas from the cup-holder next to mine on the way to church. Such a bummer.
I'd been craving cheesecake like crazy, too. Now cheesecake, as long as it's been cooked through and is fairly fresh, is not so much a pregnancy no-no. But I am lactose intolerant, and while not as bad as downing a glass of milk on an empty stomach, cheesecake has been known to make my tummy rumble both before and after consumption. Double bummer.
After a few weeks of experimenting with goat-cheese cheesecakes and ordering decaf soy lattes (both totally delicious but not entirely craving-curbing), I finally decided I had to risk a little tummy trouble and give in.
A cappuccino-inspired cheesecake was the answer to both callings, and it did not disappoint. With less than one serving of coffee spread among eight servings of cheesecake, I get all the flavor and none of the worry. And as for my lactose issues, well, that's my incentive not to eat all eight servings at once.
8 oz plain chocolate sandwich cookies (I used Newman's Own, but homemade would be excellent as well)
2 T butter, melted
10 oz full-fat cream cheese, softened at room temperature for at least 30 minutes
1/2 cup freshly brewed, dark-roast coffee or espresso
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
whipped cream, cocoa powder, and ground cinnamon for garnish
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Very lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 6-inch springform pan, and wrap the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil so that the foil comes up just under the outside rim of the pan, not extending to the inside.
Place the chocolate sandwich cookies in a food processor and process into fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and process or pulse to combine, making sure to scrape around the bottom at least once for even mixing. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Set aside.
Beat the softened cream cheese until completely smooth, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary to ensure even beating. With the mixer on med-low speed, VERY GRADUALLY stream in the warm coffee, pausing to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl about halfway through. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until there are no visible lumps. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, just until completely incorporated.
Pour the cream cheese mixture into the prepared crust and place the springform pan inside a tall-sided roasting pan. Very carefully add enough water to the roasting pan so that it comes about halfway up the sides of the springform pan--be sure not to splash any water into the cheesecake.
Bake for 55 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow the cheesecake to remain inside the turned-off oven as it cools (at least one hour, up to two).
Very carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and lift the springform pan out onto a dry kitchen towel. Gently unwrap and discard the foil. Place a dry paper towel over the top of the pan (not touching the surface of the cheesecake) and cover with a clean sheet of foil. Place in the fridge to chill until serving, at least one hour, up to five days.
To garnish, dollop or pipe little stars of freshly whipped cream (sweetened to taste with powdered sugar and vanilla) over the top of the cheesecake. Place about 1/4 tsp cocoa powder and a dash of ground cinnamon in a fine mesh sieve and gently dust over the whipped cream.
Serves approximately 8.
Thanks for reading! Here's to Being the Secret Ingredient in your life.