Chocolate Overload S’mores Cheesecake

Chocolate Overload S'mores Cheesecake Chocolate Overload S'mores Cheesecake

I remember my sister and I sitting on the back porch tearing yesterday’s newspaper into small ragged pieces and placing them into an empty can. Probably one of my grandmother’s #Folgers cans, you know the red one with the plastic lid? We used those as vessels to fulfill our need for the melty gooey, chocolatey goodness that would soon tangle our fingers in a web of mallowy strands and #cocoa smear. If I had to choose a house that I missed, it was this house with the huge backyard where we often watched the deer drink from the pond and the trees overflow with black walnuts, pears and apples. We were young and naive and had no real appreciation for the seasonal jewels that rolled across the forest floor. I mean, we ate the occasional fruit and cracked a few nuts now and again but nothing too serious. I remember seeing our next door neighbor gathering the nuts in the evening to crack for an evening snack.

Chocolate Overload S'mores Cheesecake

If I had the passion for food I have now back then, I imagine that I would’ve encouraged the making of pies, tarts, jams and jellies, but those are merely the wishes of a time gone. And we all know that living in the past can prove to be a detriment to one’s growth; no one wants that…do they? S’mores are the ‘cream of the crop’ when it comes to nostalgic childhood treats. The simplicity of those three ingredients combined have the capability to solve life’s conundrums, sartorial – political or otherwise. There may be a little embellishment in there but work with me folks, we’re talkin’ #smores.

I know that with the arrival of #Pinterest and food bloggers appearing by the dozen every hour — these once sacred treats are always getting a new makeover from pie-pops to #cake but I warn you, steer clear, it’s a trap and you won’t be happy. What I’m giving you today is an all year round invitation to the snack once cornered to Autumnal nights and snow-capped backdrops. We should be able to indulge in all of this goodness any time the mood awakes within us and be able to do so without checking the weather report. Lord knows, it won’t be correct anyway. The time is winding down and as you know I am collaborating with the fine folks of the Asheville Wine & Food Festival to bring you some delicious food posts in anticipation for the event.

I can’t begin to tell you how full my heart is full knowing that we are only a few weeks away from that Blue Ridge Mountains seduction. We found the perfect place to stay in walking distance to coffee shops and you know how I love the beans. We’re plotting out all our favorite places to dine as if we won’t be eating enough AVL goodness between the SWEET Event and The Grand Tasting! If you haven’t made plans to attend, there’s still time and you won’t want to miss it! You can purchase tickets for the SWEET Event on August 21 here and tickets for The Grand Tasting on August 22 here! In the meantime, enjoy this recipe for one of your favorite childhood treats and steer clear of all those other impostors (wink).

IMG_1544-0 Chocolate Overload S'mores Cheesecake

Chocolate Overload S’mores Cheesecake

Crust… 2 cups Crushed Graham Cracker
3 Tablespoons Granulated White Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (slightly melted)

Filling…
2-8 ounce pkgs Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1/3 Granulated White Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Nielsen Massey Bourbon Vanilla
2 Large Eggs 1/2 Teaspoon of Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Topping…
6.2 ounces of Hershey’s Chocolate (4 1.55 oz bars)
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Cups Miniature Marshmallows

Method

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put your butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds or until mostly melted but not hot. Mix together your graham crackers, granulated sugar, salt and butter until you can squeeze the mixture in your hand and form clumps. You may need a little more butter depending upon the dryness of your grahams. Place the mixture in the bottom of an ungreased cake pan, square or circle, it doesn’t really matter. Evenly pat down the crumbs until no holes remain. If you have a pan slightly smaller and the same size I would use it smash it down evenly. Smash…giggle. Bake in the oven for ten minutes, remove and allow to cool. Reduce oven temp to 325 degrees for your filling.

Place your cream cheese into a standing mixer with the sugar, vanilla and salt. Let the mixture whip on medium speed for two minutes, add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula and then evenly distribute the filling over your cooled crust. Surround the bottom of your pan with aluminum foil. you will probably need to pieces to criss cross the bottom of the pan and create a boat for the cheesecake, be gentile. Place this into a larger baking pan and fill the surrounding area with warm water about 1/2 way up the side. Place the entire thing into the oven slowly as to avoid splashing water into the cheesecake. Let cook for 90 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Once cheesecake is done, allow it to set in the water for 30 minutes and I noticed that the top didn’t crack like the last time I made it and removed it immediately once cooked. Give it a try! Allow to cool overnight or for at least 90 minutes.

Then, take your chocolate and rough chop it, place it in a microwaveable bowl with your vegetable oil. Heat it in the microwave for 20 second intervals until chocolate is completely melted. Be careful not to overcook your chocolate, this will give you nasty sugar crystals (not cool). Pour it over the graham cracker crust, place it in the fridge and let it cool for 15-20 minutes.

Turn on the broiler, if you have a temperature option I typically use HI and watch the marshmallows like a hawk. Let your oven come up to temp. Evenly distribute the marshmallows over the chocolate, try not to leave any exposed chocolate and more marshmallows never hurt anybody. Place the pan on the high rack , tell the kids to step back. You should be squatting with the oven door open watching your marshmallows get nice and toasty right before they burn. Though this is totally subjective on how much crunch and torchy marsh you like, I like a lot! You may need a towel at hand to slightly rotate your dish to get even torch (no marsh left behind, ask Bush) on your marshmallows. Once your topping has the right color that you prefer, allow it to cool for 30 minutes before cutting into it. You will want to run a sharp knife under hot water if you desire perty slices.

I hope you and the family enjoy this recipe, I mean s’mores all year round, you’re winning! Chocolate Overload S'mores Cheesecake

Goo Goo Cluster Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Goo Goo Cluster Recipes, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Nashville Recipes, Cookie Recipes, Chocolate

Goo Goo Cluster Chocolate Chip Cookies

This summer heat is working me over like crazy and even the sweat beads on my brow are becoming frustrated. Its like the sun has a vendetta and its unleashing hell and taking names, literally. But as far as  I’m concerned it could never be too hot to eat chocolate or break into a textbook chocolate chip cookie. Chocolate chip cookies are my sacred-kind of childhood snack and you may call me a snob when it comes down to it. I mean, cookies run rampid on the inter webs, being stuffed with nutella and laced with truffles for the so-called ‘real foodies’ but you can keep those. I’m somewhat of a purist when it comes to the circular, sometimes amoeba-shaped little puckets that pair so well with cold milk and shakes alike. Yes, milkshakes and cookies are sheer perfection, just ask my inner eight year old, he’ll tell you all about it.

Goo Goo Cluster Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies,  Cookies, Chocolate Recipes, Nashville Food Bloggers, Bloggers, Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies, Goo Goo Cluster Chocolate Chip Cookies

Goo Goo Clusters were the equivalency of currency in our home and a treat to be savored upon the completion of one’s chores. My mother kept them tucked into the third shelf of what was better known as the snack cabinet. There were bags of Doritos, Moon Pies, Oreos and Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies, because those were my dad’s vice along with bottled coke.

I remember being in the line at the grocery store and spying the sweet treat laced with peanuts and dipped in chocolate sitting snug in the silver packages on the shelf. They were always calling my name and appealing to every desire in my four and a half foot being. Whenever I received my allowance I typically bought whatever I saw first because the money was ‘burning my pockets’ as my mom would say,  and back then you could find the Goo Goos three for a dollar. So quite naturally I bought six.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I find joy in partaking in the most simplistic forms of dessert. I have a great appreciation for those creatives who taking something ordinary and make it extra-ordinary, but at the heart of it, all I desire is the textbook chocolate chip cookie, a moist slice of chocolate cake with the perfect amount of frosting, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and maybe a drizzle of chocolate or caramel sauce. I went on the search for a cookie recipe that gave me the crunch around the edges, the chew in the center and the cookie that when you bit into it, nothing else matters and just for a moment–for a brief and satisfactory moment, you are the only person that matters. And I hope to give that to you today with these cookies. Now, remember to read all the way through the recipe before you begin, and definitely space your cookies the three inches apart because the nougat and caramel will cause your cookies to spread significantly, but thats not a bad thing in this case. Enjoy.

Goo Goo Cluster Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Goo Goo Cluster Chocolate Chip Cookies

Goo Goo Cluster Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 cups AP flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, melt slightly & allow to cool slightly
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons Nielsen Massey vanilla
2 cups chopped Goo Goo Cluster chunks (Original & Supreme)
1/2 cup of %60 cacao bittersweet chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli)

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 375°F. Cover your sheet pans with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, set aside.

3. Beat together melty butter & sugars in a large bowl with a Kitchen-aid mixer on high speed until pale and fluffy, but do it gradually so you don’t have a mess on your hands, about 2 to 3 minutes. Lightly beat 1 egg with a fork in a bowl & add 1 3/4 tablespoons of it plus 2 remaining whole eggs to the butter mixture, beating with mixer until creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and mix in the flour mixture until just blended, then stir in Goo Goo chunks & chocolate chips.

4. Scoop 1/4 cup batter for each cookie, placing the portions 3 inches apart, on 2 baking sheets. Flatten mounds into 3-inch rounds using moistened palm of your hand. Form remaining cookies on additional sheet pans.

5. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Remember that oven temps vary so keep an eye on your cookies. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool and continue baking off the rest of your batter and cook it off.

Note: I have tried this recipe after dough has been frozen so I’m not sure how well it would work out but if you try it let me know!

Goo Goo Cluster Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Goo Goo Cluster Chocolate Chip Cookies

macerated strawberries and a farewell to Spring 

macerated strawberries on The Local Forkful

When I was a child tracing the cracks of sidewalks with my tender bare feet I knew nothing of the joy that each season had to offer–I was simply on a mission to find things in the dirt and release them from the soils firm grip. It seems like yesterday Nanny was walking across the decrepit bridge to the garden in search of the overnight harvest. She would pluck a basketful of tomatoes that were tugging at the vines and grazing the moist dirt below. The Serrano peppers would be swaying in the breeze as if wanting to chime like bells on the veranda. It was indeed summer and spring was leaving behind the last of the wild berries that grew up against the fence. The old wooden fence where you could occasionally catch a glimpse of our neighbor’s dog’s eyes glaring at you in the sun. I avoided getting to close to that fence in fear of shrilling barks being directed my way with great force–and laced with disdain and contempt for my existence. That is what I knew of dogs then, not now.

macerated strawberries on The Local Forkful

I remember only having a few strawberries to eat from those bushes because they didn’t produce much fruit and I’m not sure why. But it may have something to do with the local plants in Oak Ridge contaminating our water supply, I kid, we had much supply of vegetables that never lacked the ambition of sprouting forth–only the strawberries. I was a lover of strawberries when I was a child but I was a meticulous eater of sorts, only chasing the lush red fruit and leaving the slightly bitter and tangy hull behind. This relationship was and is still the same with many other fruits today, don’t judge, you simply like what you like and we are who we are.macerated strawberries on The Local Forkful

macerated fruit, strawberries, Delvin Farms, buy local

In my family, I simply can’t recall anyone ever macerating strawberries or fruit. It just wasn’t ‘a thing’ in my family. My mother and Nanny both used the gelatin in a tub when making desserts if Nanny wasn’t putting it in Jell-O mold for a church potluck. My father’s mother was the rinse and eat from the pint kind’ve of woman, and the resident baker, my cousin Carnell would typically bake them into a cake that would be lathered with strawberry frosting. It wasn’t until my mother in-law came into the picture some eleven years later that I would actually know and love the art of macerated strawberries. I’m sure I came across it in some format or another throughout culinary school but nothing that stuck like when the MIL made them.macerated strawberries on The Local Forkful

There’s nothing like strawberries in season that will create a flutter in your heart and an excitement of your palate when you bend down to pluck it fresh from the vine. The experience of that tender bite kissed by sun, releasing that sweet juice into your mouth and without warning the corners of your lips begin to curl up the sides and you’re smiling ‘something serious’ that just can’t be contained. The strawberries you’re feasting your eyes upon in the post today are from the lovely folks at Delvin Farms and some from the folks at Kelley’s Berry Farm. I won’t lie to you I picked both of them up at East Nashville Farmer’s Market because I like to spread the love event though I occasionally have my bias depending upon the product. But I couldn’t fight the urge to have these berries in snacking distance so I sat them in the front seat, and if you know anything about Nashville traffic, it’s a nightmare. I came to an abrupt stop and the berries began to cascade in slow motion through the air and onto my ‘freshly cleaned’ car floor (wink). Well, there was no way I would be able to separate them and I don’t think the berries minded being blended so everyone was happy and now we’re spreading the love for two companies, so win win.

As you all know it’s kind’ve of a pain in the roo to put recipes into a formatted display in which you can just scroll down to the bottom and make it. I’m a talker and I’m going to tell you what to do to have this deliciousness in your mouth sooner than later. Not to mention, I love that it encourages you guys to actually read the content though I know there are those of you who hate it (sorry, not sorry)!macerated strawberries on The Local Forkful

All you need are some fresh local strawberries or some Driscoll’s or whatever store brand you can get your hands on will work. I know that I caught you kind of late with this post because strawberry season has ended for us here but you may be lucky. And be warned that most mass producers pick strawberries before they’re ready so macerating them is never a bad option. Always rinse your strawberries off unless you have a little country in you, like myself, then you eat them in the car on the way home from the market. Cut the berries into whatever size you prefer and toss them in to a couple of tablespoons of granulated white sugar. I recommend two tablespoons of sugar per pint of berries you have. Toss the berries in the sugar to give them an even coating in a bowl that’s not metal. Let them set in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes occasionally giving them a little stir to insure that the sugar is completely dissolved. Once you have a nice syrup in the bottom and fruit has weeped just a little, you have a perfect bowl of macerated strawberries ready to be devoured. This is great to do with your kids, it makes the perfect topping for a slice of cake or a scoop of ice cream and this process also works well with peaches, plums, pineapple etc. And if you desire to use raspberries or blackberries you’ll want to crush some of the fruit to encourage juicing.

macerated strawberries on The Local Forkful

You can find this recipe on Steller Stories and please follow along for quick recipes and creative happenings in my life. I really hope you guys enjoy and I’d love to hear what you’re doing with your seasonal fruits!

macerated strawberries on The Local Forkful

 

Peanut Butter Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies & The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

Peanut Butter Chocolate Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies More than the perfect chocolate chip cookie filled to the brim with chocolate-y goodness, a crispy rim and a chewy center is a chewy center. This has always been and always will be my favorite part of any cookie. So you crispy cookie people may want to move on. As a child, I endured the crunchy rim and saved every last moist bite of the center until the very end. The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap was the perfect opportunity for me to flex my cookie making abilities and create this idea cookie that had the perfect chew.Peanut Butter Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

But enough about my love for chewy cookies, let’s talk about the cause! The Food Blogger Cookie Swap was created by Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil and Julie of The Little Kitchen to benefit Cookies for Kid’s Cancer. I’m beyond flattered to be apart of such an awesome cause seeing as how my father-in-law and wife both fought cancer and live to tell the story. It’s a beautiful thing when my love for dessert can be used to fuel research for such a life-threatning illness. And not to mention, the thought of receiving three dozen of cookies is a no-brainer, yes please!Peanut Butter Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies & The Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap

I was thrilled like many other bloggers to receive my holiday inspired cookies and I’m already looking forward to next year. I mean, who doesn’t want cookies in their mailbox?Below, I have shared a photo of the cookies I received with a link to the blogger from whom it came from as well as a recipe for cookies! So I hope you enjoy and think about participating next year, you won’t be sorry.

 

Peanut Butter Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 sticks butter softened
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup Tucker’s Nut Butters (Cashew Butter)
2 eggs (room temp)
1 teaspoon Nielsen Massey vanilla
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 ounces %67 Olive & Sinclair Chocolate (chopped)
3 Tablespoons Honey Roasted Peanut Butter

Method
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a non-stick cookie sheet or silicone mat.

In a standing or electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together until fluffy. Add in the cashew butter and peanut butter to the mixture, beating until well combined. Beat in eggs one at a time and vanilla.

In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking soda and kosher salt. Add it slowly to the wet ingredients along with the chopped chocolate. Mix until just combined. Scoop onto a silpat or lined Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

In a stand or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until fluffy. Break up the almond paste and add to the mixture, beating until well combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Slowly add to wet ingredients along with the chopped chocolate. Mix until just combined. Scoop onto a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet with a medium cookie scoop. You can make your cookies larger or smaller if you like but remember to change cooking temp accordingly. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until they are just a light golden on the top and outside and slightly undercooked in the center. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. And try to contain yourself, they are ridiculously delicious straight out of the oven, not that I’d know or anything…

Chocolate Peppermint Blossoms via The Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap
Peppermint Blossoms via @stracciatellabella. You can visit her at http://www.stracciatellabella.blogspot.com
Butter Cookies via The Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap
Butter Cookies via @kelly_ldbaking. You can visit her at http://www.longdistancebaking.com

 

Gingerbread Cookies via The Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap
Ninja-bread cookies via @norhang. You can visit her at http://www.frommetovuu.com

 

Torched Marshmallow Pumpkin Pie with Olive & Sinclair Chocolate

Torched Marshmallow Pumpkin Pie with Olive & Sinclair ChocolateI feel as though the holidays snook in the back door on me this year. There I was mowing the grass and lounging at farmer’s market sorting through summer’s harvest and before I knew it, it was time for windbreaker’s and flu shots. But nonetheless, I love the holiday season and the first sighting of fiery leaves are an indication of warm family gatherings, the crackling of fire places and bottomless eggnog and hot chocolate. Check!

If you’ve been following along with me here at The Local Forkful long enough, then you know I’m a believer in eating dessert first, no shame necessary, because my sweet tooth is insatiable and we won’t discuss my gummy candy addiction, at least not in this post. Today, I made you a dessert that embodies the spirit of the holiday season to me–I mean, chocolate, pumpkin, graham cracker and marshmallows…how can we go wrong? (we can’t.) So dive head first into this delicious little holiday pie infused with some Olive & Sinclair goodness!

Torched Marshmallow Pumpkin Pie with Olive & Sinclair Chocolate

Thanksgiving is all about family, friends and delicious food. Luckily, the food blogging community is all about these things as well. To celebrate the holiday, Meghan from Cake ‘n’ Knife and Susannah from Feast + West are hosting Blogsgiving Dinner. There are 20 awesome blogs sharing 52 recipes

The idea is based on the old-fashioned progressive dinner party, in which you’d eat each course at a different guest’s home. Each blogger is bringing one or more dishes to the party on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week, so be sure to stop by each one and get some ideas for your own Thanksgiving meal. Be sure to check out today’s recipes for entrees, salads and side dishes.

We’ll be posting to social media with the hashtag #blogsgivingdinner. Hope you can join us!Blogsgiving Dinner 2014

Torched Marshmallow Pumpkin Pie with Olive & Sinclair Chocolate

2 cups roasted pumpkin or squash (pureed
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
smidge of kosher salt
2 eggs (room temperature)
2 tsp. Nielsen Massey Vanilla
1 cup miniature marshmallows

Temper Chocolate

1.5 ounces %67 Olive & Sinclair Chocolate
1 tsp. vegetable oil

Graham Cracker Crusts

1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker
3 tbsp. AP flour
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 ounces unsalted butter (melted)
smidge of kosher salt

method

1. Using your fingers, combine graham cracker, flour, salt, sugar together and add butter one tablespoon at a time until mixture holds ball form when squeezed, set aside. Meanwhile, whisk together salt, pumpkin, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla and eggs in a bowl until smooth; set aside.

2. bring a small pot of water to a rolling simmer. chop the chocolate up and place it into a non-reactive metal bowl with the oil. stir chocolate with wooden/plastic spatula until chocolate is smooth, remove from heat and set aside.Do not leave unattended.

3. Heat oven to 375°. Place 3 tbsp of crust mixture into the bottom of a cupcake pan and using your fingers press the mixture around the sides and leave a pool in the center to pour the pie mixture into.Pour filling into crust; drop a dollop of chocolate into the center and swirl a toothpick around to create a design, bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle, but avoid piercing an area with chocolate. about 20 minutes.

4. Turn your oven on low broil or whip out your blow torch and go to town. While waiting for the oven to come up to temp, strategically place marshmallows on the top of the mini pies. Place under broiler with the door cracked and wait, do not walk away from the pies, once they are a light brown, remove and let cool to room temperature before serving. And I always recommend a scoop of ice cream.

 

Here is the rest of today’s menu. Go check out what the other bloggers are providing for your holiday feast!

Dessert

Grandma’s Pecan Pie from The Wetherills Say I Do

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting from My Cooking Spot

Gluten-Free Apple Berry Crumble from Twin Stripe

Paleo Pumpkin Pudding from Wit Wisdom Food

Cranberry Almond Coconut Bars from Love & Flour

Torched Marshmallow Pumpkin Pie with Olive & Sinclair Chocolate from The Local Forkful

Poached Pears with Salted Maple Caramel Syrup from Home at Six

Sweet Potato Pie from Think Fruitful

Nutella Pumpkin S’mores Tart from bethcakes

Gluten-Free Acorn Squash Spice Bars from I Cook. I Eat. It’s Life.

Drunken Pecan Pie Bars from The Speckled Palate

Torched Marshmallow Pumpkin Pie with Olive & Sinclair Chocolate