Lemon Cheesecake + Blueberry-Rose Swirl

Lemon Cheesecake + Blueberry-Rose Swirl | Beca Bakes (www.becca-bakes.com)

As hard as I tried, I was not able to use up the 2lbs of blueberries that we picked at the berry farm. I made blueberry crumbs bars, blueberry smoothies, blueberry pancakes, blueberry pie, and now a blueberry-rose swirled lemon cheesecake!! And can you believe I was still left with about 4 cups of beautiful fresh blueberries? I finally put up my white flag - and succumbed to my vacuum sealer. These berries will be protected from freezer burn and ready to use at a later date. 

In the meantime, I'll turn my attention to this wonderful Lemon Cheesecake with Blueberry-Rose Swirl. I highly recommend making your own graham crackers from scratch for the crust as it really does taste more homemade. I love the whimsical swirl pattern that comes from the syrup and the contrast between the citrus hued cheesecake and rich blueberry color. I don't think i'll ever have an ill word to say against cheesecake..

Lemon Cheesecake + Blueberry-Rose Swirl | Beca Bakes (www.becca-bakes.com)
Lemon Cheesecake + Blueberry-Rose Swirl | Beca Bakes (www.becca-bakes.com)
Lemon Cheesecake + Blueberry-Rose Swirl | Beca Bakes (www.becca-bakes.com)

Lemon Cheesecake + Blueberry-Rose Swirl 
One 9" cheesecake

Ingredients:

Graham Cracker Crust:
-2 cups graham cracker crumbs, store-bought or homemade
-4-6 Tablespoons of butter, melted
-Pinch of salt

Lemon Cheesecake Filling
-1 1/4 cups sugar
-Zest of one lemon
-1/4 cup juice from 1-2 lemons
-1 1/2 pounds (3 8-oz. packages) cream cheese, cut into 1 inch chunks, at room temperature
-4 large eggs, at room temperature
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup heavy cream

Blueberry-Rose Syrup:
-2 teaspoons cornstarch
-1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
-1 Tablespoon warm water
-2 cups fresh blueberries
-2 Tablespoons rose simple syrup

Directions:

Graham Cracker Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine graham cracker crumbs with melted butter and salt. Crumbs should hold together when you press them with your fist, if not, add some more butter. 
  3. Press graham cracker crust into springform pan
  4. Bake for 10 minutes until crust is dry, allow to cool completely before filling

Blueberry-Rose Syrup:

  1. Whisk the cornstarch, lemon juice, and warm water together in a small bowl until the cornstarch has dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Warm the blueberries and rose simple syrup together in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Stir continuously for 3 minutes until the blueberry juices begin to release. Add the cornstarch mixture and continue to stir for another 2-3 minutes, smashing some blueberries as you go. The mixture will start to thicken.
  4. Remove from heat and put the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl (to separate the cooked berries and the juice). Keep separated and set both (the cooked berries and the juice) aside. The juice you will swirl into the cheese, the berries you will use as a topping once baked. 

Lemon Cheesecake:

  1. Place the oven rack in the lower half of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Double wrap the outside of a 9" springform pan with aluminum foil. 
  2. Place 1/4 cup of the sugar and the lemon zest in a food processor and process until the sugar turns yellow and fragrant. Add in the remaining sugar and pulse a few times to combine.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese for about 5 seconds. With the mixer on low, add in the lemon sugar in a steady stream, then switch to medium and beat until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the eggs, 2 at a time, scraping down the bowl in between additions.
  5. Add in the lemon juice, vanilla and salt and mix to combine.
  6. Add in the cream and beat to combine, another 5 seconds. Scrape the bowl again to make sure everything has been incorporated and pour into the springform pan.
  7. Drop spoonfuls of smooth blueberry-rose syrup over the top and swirl in with a knife
  8. Place the pan in the oven and carefully add enough water to the roasting pan to make it halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
  9. Bake until the center is slightly giggly and the sides start to puff and the surface is no longer shiny, about 55 to 60 minutes. Turn off the oven and prop the oven door open with a towel or wooden spoon. Allow the cake to cool in the oven for 1 hour.
  10. Remove from the roasting pan and transfer to a wire rack. Run a small paring knife around the edges of the cake and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
  11. Refrigerate cheesecake for 5 hours, but 24 is best before serving. You can put the reserved blueberry topping on top as a garnish

 

Photos by: Zac Wolf Photography

My Baker's Dozen

A baker's dozen is a little something extra. Here are some bits representing the thirteenth pastry of my week! 

1. One of my absolutely FAVORITE things about living in Massachusetts is getting to go to the Brimfield Antique Show. It happens three times per year and is literally as large as twelve football fields (maybe bigger). I always come away with such great treasures and my July Brimfield adventure was no different!

2. Zac and I went Blueberry picking at Wards Berry Farm in Sharon, MA. I now have an appreciation for why blueberries are so expensive - they are tough to pick! It made for a great morning trip though - I have 2lbs (!!!) and I have no idea what to do with them yet. .

3. The Danger Booth was hired for the Improper Bostonian's Boston's Best Event. Such a great time seeing all of the winners celebrate their accomplishment! 

4. Bagelsaurus is our new Saturday morning go-to. These bagels are unlike anything I've ever had before in a good way. So far the sea salt bagel with rosemary honey cream cheese is my favorite!

5. I had no idea Bantam Cider Company had a tap room until my friend, Sara (pictured) invited me for a drink. Even better - they do a cider flight and you get to keep the glass! My favorite was a limited edition in-house pour that was apple-ginger flavored - YUM!

6.  This is my pal Richie of The Commoner Inc giving a talk on heritage for Creative Mornings Boston. They are short monthly talks by creative individuals in the Boston area and act as a great networking opportunity. See what's happening next month here

Silk Almond-Coconut Scones with Chocolate Covered Cacao Nibs

I was super excited to work with Silk on this campaign for their new "Blends" line! In our house all we have is almond milk because I suffer from lactose intolerance *says a silent prayer for pizza and cheesecake* and sometimes it can be tough. After having the new Silk AlmondCoconut blend I was hooked - it had the subtle nutty almond taste I know and love but now it was richer from coconut milk without the pulpiness I often find in the canned version I use for baking. I also liked that the milk comes in unsweetened or sweetened versions. As a baker, we like to have complete control of our levels of flavor. So for the same reason you'll always see recipes calling for unsalted butter to control salt, I opted for the unsweetened milk to better control taste


I thought about what I could bake with this almond-coconut blend and first limited myself to a direct replacement for cow's milk of the same ratio which pretty much meant my only option was cake - boring! I expanded my search to replacing cream with the blend which led me to the idea of scones. Here's the thing about scones - they only fall on one of two sides of the scone spectrum (disclosure: I may or may not have just invented said spectrum) - one side being dry, crumbly, and flavorless and the other moist interior, flaky exterior,and subtlety sweet. These scones fall on the latter and I think I know why...

A side bar into one of my deep held secrets - one time I was making pancakes and replaced the cow's milk with coconut milk. The result - the fluffiest pancakes I had ever had in my life. From that point on it's been my secret pancake weapon. I had doubts about replacing cream with milk for this recipe and worried the batter would be too thin and the scone would come out flat; however, with the blended AlmondCoconut milk these scones baked up perfectly fluffy.

This story reminds me that I am going to use the remaining Silk AlmondCoconut milk to make pancakes this weekend, but in the meantime I'll be making some tea and enjoying my Almond-Coconut Scones stuffed with the bitter-sweet crunch of chocolate covered cacao nibs from Taza Chocolate.

What ideas do you have for Silk AlmondCoconut Milk?
Head over to the Silk Facebook page and pick up a coupon for your very own carton here: https://www.facebook.com/SilkUS



Silk Almond-Coconut Scones with Chocolate Covered Cacao Nibs

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Silk AlmondCoconut Milk (unsweetened)
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
2/3 cup chocolate covered cacao nibs
Turbinado sugar (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together Silk AlmondCoconut Milk, Greek yogurt, coconut extract, and egg

3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

4. With a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers, cut butter into the flour mixture until it resembles the texture of wet sand, with a few butter pieces remaining. Stir in chocolate covered cacao nibs.

5. Stir in almond-coconut milk mixture until just combined - DO NOT overwork the dough, only mix it until everything is just moist - if a few dry bits remain let them be.

6. Turn dough out on to a lightly floured surface and pat into a 6-inch circle Cut into six wedges and transfer to the lined baking sheet. If desired, brush tops of scones with a bit of the Silk Almond-Coconut Milk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

7. Bake until golden, 16-18 minutes. Rotate the sheet halfway through.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

One Bowl Cast Iron Skillet Heath Bar Cookie

One Bowl Cast Iron Skillet Heath Bar Cookie | Becca Bakes (www.becca-bakes.com)

There is a special place in my heart for one-bowl desserts.  They are ideal for last minute party contributions or whipping up a spontaneous sweet snack. We recently added a 10" cast iron skillet from Lodge to our collection of cookware and have been finding reasons to make everything we can in it. This is course - includes dessert.

I searched recipes for skillet cookies and was baffled to find that 90% of my results brought back chocolate chip. I was curious if other add-ins were difficult to incorporate in this skillet form and decided to test it out with some heath bar chips. Turns out the heath worked just fine! Toffee and milk chocolate swirled throughout my pizza shaped cookie and I was thrilled to cut thick chewy slices from the pan and top it with creamy vanilla ice cream. The whole process took about 45 minutes from bowl to cool so this is perfect for your next potluck or party treat!

One Bowl Cast Iron Skillet Heath Bar Cookie | Becca Bakes (www.becca-bakes.com)
One Bowl Cast Iron Skillet Heath Bar Cookie | Becca Bakes (www.becca-bakes.com)

Cast Iron Skillet Heath Bar Cookie
Makes one 10" skillet cookie

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heath bar chips or chopped bars

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy

3. Stir in egg and vanilla with mixer on low. Add baking soda, salt, and flour.

4. Gently fold in heath bar chips with a spatula or wooden spoon

5. Transfer to a 10" cast iron skillet pan; smooth top.  I used this skillet from Lodge

6. Bake until cookie is golden brown and just set in the center, 20-30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. 

Tips:
Do NOT grease your cast iron pan, the butter in the cookie will keep it from sticking
The cookie might still jiggle a bit in the center - it will set as it cools

One Bowl Cast Iron Skillet Heath Bar Cookie | Becca Bakes (www.becca-bakes.com)

Photos by: Zac Wolf Photography
Recipe Adapted from: Martha Stewart