Pecanless Pie Cheesecake

If you’ve seen my pecanless pie tarts, then you already know I’m not a fan of nuts, but I’m addicted to the sugary center and the buttery crust found in pecan pies. So a few weeks ago, I had a hankering for some pie and found this bookmarked recipe for pecan pie cheesecake. Perfect!

Well, I made the cheesecake with very few problems…until…I unhooked the latch on my springform pan. Once I lifted up the sides, all of the pecanless pie “juice” started leaking out!

In an attempt to transfer the pie to another plate, I cracked the top of the pie (now I know how a cracked cheesecake looks in person!) because it was stuck to the sticky syrup on the bottom of the pan. So, I just decided to let it stay where it was – on the springform base.

Despite the problems, the cheesecake was very good, and I’m sure it would have been better with more of the syrupy filling. If I ever make it again, I’m going to double the crust amount so that it can hold in all of the filling.

I topped the cheesecake with homemade caramel (OVERKILL, I KNOW! But I had to make up for the lost syrupy filling 😀 right?!) and whipped cream. Needless to say, it was VERY decadent and so delicious. This recipe came from Bake or Break – one of my favorite blogs for desserts. Her photos are so perfect. She uses macro on many of her drool-worthy shots.

Nilla Crust:
1 & 3/4 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine wafer crumbs and brown sugar. Stir in melted butter. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9″ springform pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Pecan(less) pie filling:
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup dark corn syrup (I used light)
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
(1 & 1/2 cups chopped pecans)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour into crust and set aside.

Cheesecake portion:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 & 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 eggs
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Reduce oven to 325°. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Add brown sugar and flour and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Stir in cream and vanilla. Pour over pecan filling. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave cheesecake in oven with the door closed for 1 hour. Remove from oven and run a knife along the outside edges to loosen cheesecake from sides of pan. Let cool. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Copyright – Memoria James –

Cinnamon Rolls

This past Halloween weekend, I went to Los Angeles to spend the holiday with my girlfriend and her two daughters, whom I affectionately call my stepdaughters. I’ve known them since they were 2 and 4; now they are 11 and 13!

An old photo of the girls when they were around 4 and 2 years old.

Since I started baking last year, I always ask the kids what they want me to make and bring to them in hopes that they will ask for something different from their usual request – cinnamon rolls. Well, as usual, the conversation goes something like this:

Me: ¡Hola B (la menor)! ¿Cómo estás, cariño?
Me: Hi, B (the youngest)! How are you, sweetie?
B: Bien. (pausa) [¿Memoria?] (they actually address me by my middle name)
B: Fine. (pause) [Memoria?]
Me: Sí, mi amor.
Me: Yes, my love.
B: ¿Vas a venir?
B: Are you coming?
Me: Sí.
Me: Yes.
B: ¡Yeaaaa!
B: Yeaaaa!
Me: ¿Qué quieres que yo te traiga?
Me: What do you want me to bring you?
B: Ummmmmmmm, cinnamon rolls.
B: Ummmmmmmm, cinnamon rolls.
Me: ¿Otra vez?

Me: Again?
B: ¡Síííí!
B: Yeess!
Me: Ok. Pásame a tu hermana.
Me: Ok. Let me talk to your sister.
T (la mayor): Hola.
T (the eldest): Hi.
Me: Hola, T. ¿Qué quieres que yo te prepare?
Me: Hi, T. What do you want me to prepare for you?
T: Cinnamon Rolls.
T: Cinnamon Rolls.
Me: *suspiro* Okey.
Me: *sigh* Okay.

So, the day before I left this time around, I made these cinnamon rolls. I made a double batch – which came out to 29 rolls – because these little girls can gobble up these suckers so quickly. In fact, they can go eat 5 or 6 of them in just one day! Even though they ask for the same thing all the time, I enjoy making these for them. It truly is an enjoyable and relaxing labor of love.

Anyway, when I arrived this past Thursday, I jokingly told them, “Yo hice estos cinnamon rolls con mucho amor. De hecho, ¡abracé cada uno de ellos!” (“I made these cinnamon rolls with lots of love. In fact, I hugged each and every one of them!”) They laughed and said, “Ewwwww!” *sigh* 😀 They’re so precious.

I never stray from this recipe when making cinnamon rolls for the girl. If I want to try out other recipes, I never try them on the girls because they will notice the difference. However, once I find a recipe that is considerably better than the one I’ve posted today from (although, the cream cheese rolls come close!), I may just have to try it out on them to see what they say.

2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast (I use active yeast)
1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup margarine (or butter), melted (and slightly cooled b/c of the eggs)
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
4 1/2 cups bread flour

Filling (USE IT ALL! :D):
1/3 cup butter, softened (I spread all of it on the dough with a flat cake knife. It’s my favorite part!)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

(optional add-ins: raisins, apples, nuts, etc.)

Cream Cheese Frosting (I suggest doubling this part if you like a lot of icing):
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened (you could use 4 ounces)
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

(For instructions using a bread machine, go to the allrecipes website.)

Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl (or stand mixer). Mix in the sugar, margarine (or butter), salt, and eggs. Add flour and mix well. Knead the dough into a large ball (or use the dough hook for about 5 minutes), using your hands dusted lightly with flour. Put in a bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.

Roll dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle (I don’t measure the dough; I just make sure it’s thin enough…but then again, I’ve made these a lot.). Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. (I saw the following tip on another website from someone who claimed to have worked at Cinnabon: lightly roll the cinnamon/sugar/butter mixture into the dough. I then pat it down with my hand until it is well-meshed or integrated into the rolled-out dough.)

Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking pan. (I almost always overnight these by placing them in the refrigerator at this point. I then take them out of the fridge 60 minutes before baking time and then throw them in the oven.) Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Bake rolls in a preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Then add confectioners’ (or icing) sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

Copyright – Memoria James –