Sunday, July 27, 2008

No-Bake Cheesecake Bars, tested.

So most of my family is in town for a few days, and I offered to host dinner this evening. Along with grilled tri-tip, local corn salad and potato salad, I decided to make Mark's No-Bake Cheesecake Bars.

I like cheesecake, but don't love it. I think that I was spoiled at a young age by my mother's Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake, with something like four pounds of cream cheese in it and a chocolate wafer crust, nice and thick. No other cheesecake has ever compared. I even tried cheesecake at Junior's in Brooklyn last year, and while I thought it was good, especially after a red-eye flight to JFK, my mom's still kicks-butt.

But the No-Bake Cheesecake Bars intrigued me with the "no-bake" part of the title. And, it looked ridiculously easy. I mean, the man didn't measure anything. As a rule, I don't really like to bake because it requires a fair amount of precision and does not encourage adaptation along the way. I am not a precise chef. I am working on it, but I view recipes as guidelines, and change them as needed. I bake so rarely, it took me fifteen minutes to locate my Kitchen-Aid, which I use only for baking and couldn't remember in which hidey-hole I had shoved the bowl and mixer attachments. Notice the layer of dust on the Black Wonder.

I mixed the graham crackers with hazelnut powder, (a nod to our northwest location) and probably didn't add enough butter since I was roughly doubling the recipe. I also added raspberries from my garden with the blueberries. It is in the fridge now. I will report back this evening with the results.

Results positive. Family oohed and aahed over dessert. I thought that it was fine, but not fabulous. Suspect family is hiding their true feelings because they are just grateful that they didn't have to make anything. I thought that I put too much ricotta in the cheese mix part and not enough melted butter in the crust. Also, I think that a little bit of powdered sugar in with the cheese mix wouldn't have hurt. The honey was a bit too subtle. The fruit here hasn't had enough sun to get really sweet, so a little sweetness in the cheese mix would have balanced the fruit a bit. Off to make whiskey-sours.


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