The Ultimate Brownie

Kir Jensen’s Ultimate Brownie

INGREDIENTS:

For the brownies:

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

For the coffee syrup:

  • 1/4 cup strong-brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

To assemble:

  • 1/2 recipe Chocolate Ganache (recipe below)
  • Fruity or grassy extra-virgin olive oil (look for one made with arbequina olives)
  • Flaky sea salt

METHOD:

For the brownies:

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and arrange a rack in the middle. Place 18 paper cupcake liners into 2 (12-well) muffin pans (you will have empty wells).
  2. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle. Return the mixer to medium-high speed, add the sugars, and mix until light in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle. Return to medium-high speed, add the crème fraîche and vanilla, then add the eggs 1 at a time and mix until evenly combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle. Turn the mixer to low speed, add the flour-cocoa mixture, and mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir the batter a few times to incorporate any remaining streaks of flour.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the lined wells (they will be almost full). Bake the pans side by side, rotating them from back to front once during baking, until the edges of the brownies are puffed and set and the centers look slightly undercooked (but not raw), about 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the coffee syrup.

For the coffee syrup:

  1. Place the coffee and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Let boil for about 1 minute, then remove from the heat. Set aside.

To assemble:

  1. When the brownies are done baking, lightly brush them with the coffee syrup while they’re still hot. (You will have some syrup left over.) Set the muffin pans on a wire rack and let them cool for at least 10 minutes, then remove the brownies from the pans to finish cooling on the rack.
  2. Once the brownies are cool, divide the ganache among them, placing it in the indentations of the brownies. Just before serving, drizzle each brownie with olive oil and sprinkle it with a pinch of the flaky sea salt.

Chocolate Ganache Recipe

Basic Chocolate Ganache

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

METHOD:

  1. Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl; set aside.
  2. Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Pour over chocolate and let stand until chocolate has softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add butter and stir until smooth. Let cool slightly before using.

Blackberry Chiffon Pie

Blackberry Chiffon Pie

INGREDIENTS:

For the crust:

  • 6 ounces vanilla wafer cookies, such as Nabisco Nilla Wafers (about 46 cookies)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted

For the chiffon filling:

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1 pound blackberries (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon packed, finely grated lime zest (from about 1 medium lime)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature

To assemble:

  • 1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces blackberries (about 1/3 cup)

METHOD:

For the crust:

  1. Heat the oven to 160°C (325°F) and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Place the cookies in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and process until very fine, about 30 seconds (you should have about 1 3/4 cups). Stop the motor, add the melted butter, and pulse until combined, about 5 (1-second) pulses. (Alternatively, place the cookies in a resealable plastic bag, press out the air, and seal. Using a rolling pin, smash the cookies into fine uniform crumbs, then transfer to a medium bowl, add the melted butter, and mix until evenly combined.)
  3. Pour the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and, using the bottom of a measuring cup or your fingers, press firmly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides.
  4. Bake until fragrant and slightly darkened in color, about 10 minutes. Remove the pie plate to a wire rack and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, make the chiffon filling.

For the chiffon filling:

  1. Place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the surface; set aside.
  2. Place the blackberries, 1/4 cup of the sugar, the zest, juice, and salt in a medium saucepan and stir to coat the blackberries in sugar. Mash the berries completely with a potato masher to release their juices, then bring to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the berries are soft and falling apart and the liquid has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl; set aside.
  3. Pour the blackberry mixture through the strainer. Using a rubber spatula, push on the blackberry solids and scrape the underside of the strainer until all of the liquid has been extracted; discard the contents of the strainer. Immediately whisk the gelatin mixture into the blackberry mixture until dissolved and smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
  4. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until medium peaks form, about 1 minute. With the mixer still on high speed, slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and continue whisking until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 30 seconds total.
  5. Rewhisk the blackberry-gelatin mixture, add half of the beaten egg whites to the bowl, and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining egg whites and gently stir with a rubber spatula until just combined and no streaks or lumps of egg white remain.
  6. Transfer the chiffon filling to the prepared crust and spread it into an even layer. Refrigerate uncovered until set, at least 1 hour. (If refrigerating overnight, cover lightly with plastic wrap once the chiffon filling is set.)

To assemble:

  1. When ready to serve, chill the bowl of a stand mixer and the whisk attachment in the freezer for 10 minutes. Add the cream and sugar to the bowl and whisk on high speed until medium peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes. (Alternatively, you can use a hand whisk and a large chilled bowl. Whisk until medium peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes.)
  2. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the pie, arrange the blackberries stem-side down in a tight cluster in the center of the pie, and serve immediately.

Black Forest Yule Stump Cake

Black Forest Yule Stump Cake

INGREDIENTS:

For the cake:

  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the cherries and syrup:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can dark sweet cherries in heavy syrup
  • 2 tablespoons kirsch or cherry-flavored liqueur
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the whipped cream filling:

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

To assemble:

  • 2 recipes Bittersweet Chocolate Frosting (recipe below)
  • 10 (2- to 3-inch) fresh rosemary branches
  • 1 large egg white, at room temperature
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
  • 10 fresh cranberries

METHOD:

For the cake:

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and arrange a rack in the middle. Cut out 2 (8-inch) rounds of parchment paper. Coat 2 (8-inch) cake pans with butter, place the rounds in the pans, and coat the parchment with more butter. Coat the pans and parchment with flour and tap out any excess; set aside.
  2. Bring the water to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and cocoa, and whisk until smooth; set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk together the measured flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl until combined; set aside.
  4. Place the measured butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until fluffy and light in color, about 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle with a rubber spatula.
  5. Return the mixer to medium speed. Add the eggs 1 at a time, letting each incorporate fully before adding the next. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until just combined (the mixture will look slightly curdled). Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.
  6. Add a third of the reserved flour mixture and turn the mixer to low speed, mixing until the flour is just incorporated. Add half of the cooled chocolate mixture and mix until just incorporated. Continue with the remaining flour mixture and chocolate mixture, alternating between each and ending with the flour, until all of the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Stop the mixer, remove the bowl, and stir in any remaining flour streaks by hand, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl.
  7. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and spread it into even layers. Bake them side by side on the rack for 15 minutes. Rotate the pans from left to right and continue baking until the cake edges slightly pull away from the pans and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry with just a few crumbs, about 14 to 15 minutes more.
  8. Remove the pans from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack for 45 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of each cake, turn them out onto the rack, and slowly peel off and discard the parchment rounds. Flip the cakes over and let them cool completely. Meanwhile, make the syrup.

For the cherries and syrup:

  1. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a small saucepan and pour the cherries and their syrup through the strainer. Cut the cherries in half and place them in a medium bowl.
  2. Bring the syrup to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the kirsch and lemon juice.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of the syrup to the reserved cherries and stir to combine; set aside. Set aside the remaining syrup until ready to assemble the cake, letting it cool completely, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the whipped cream filling.

For the whipped cream filling:

  1. Place the sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan. While stirring constantly, pour in 1/4 cup of the cream. Place the pan over medium heat and, stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, place the remaining 3/4 cup cream in the bowl of a stand mixer and refrigerate.
  2. When the cornstarch-cream mixture has cooled, fit the chilled bowl of cream onto the stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on high speed until tracks begin to show in the cream, about 40 seconds. Add the cornstarch-cream mixture and continue whisking until stiff peaks form, about 30 seconds more. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the cake.

To assemble:

  1. When the cakes are cool, use a serrated knife to trim a thin layer from the top of each to expose the interior; discard the scraps and set the cakes aside.
  2. Using a skewer, poke holes all over the tops of the cakes, going about halfway through the layers.
  3. Place 1 cake layer cut-side up on a cake stand or serving plate. Use a pastry brush to brush half of the reserved syrup over the cake. Spread half of the whipped cream evenly over top of that, leaving a 3/4-inch border.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, evenly scatter the reserved cherries over the cream, leaving any syrup in the bowl.
  5. Dollop the remaining whipped cream over the cherries and spread it into an even layer, leaving a 3/4-inch border.
  6. Place the second cake round cut-side up on top of the whipped cream and press down gently.
  7. Brush the cake with the remaining half of the syrup.
  8. Using all of the frosting, evenly coat the top and sides of the cake. To create the tree-stump effect, use the tip of an offset spatula to make shallow vertical lines in the side of the cake, spacing the lines about 1/2 inch apart and wiping the spatula clean on a moist paper towel every few swipes.
  9. Then use a table knife to make deeper, thinner vertical lines in the shallow swipes, spacing them about 1 inch apart.
  10. Using the tines of a fork, draw concentric circles in the frosting on top of the cake.
  11. Brush the rosemary branches all over with the egg white and place them on a large plate. Dust them with powdered sugar until completely coated, shaking off the excess. Decorate the cake with the rosemary and cranberries
  12. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day. If refrigerated, let the cake sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

Bittersweet Chocolate Frosting

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and slightly cooled

METHOD:

  1. Beat butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stop the mixer and add powdered sugar. Turn the mixer to low, then gradually increase the speed until the powdered sugar is completely incorporated.
  3. Turn the mixer off and add vanilla and chocolate. Beat on medium-high speed until the frosting is airy and thoroughly mixed, about 3 minutes. Use to top cookies, cupcakes, or cakes.

Chocolate Mousse Pie

Chocolate Mousse Pie

INGREDIENTS:

For the chocolate cookie crust:

  • 6 ounces chocolate cookie wafers (about 25 wafers), such as Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted and slightly cooled

For the chocolate mousse:

  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 3 large egg whites (no traces of yolk), at room temperature

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1 (1-ounce) piece semisweet chocolate, for garnish

METHOD:

For the chocolate cookie crust:

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Place the cookies in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and process until the pieces are about the size of peas. Stop the motor, add the melted butter, and continue to process until the crumbs are fine, about the size of coarsely ground coffee (you will need 1 1/2 cups). (Alternatively, place the cookies in a resealable plastic bag, press out the air, and seal. Using a rolling pin, smash into uniform fine crumbs. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the melted butter, and mix until evenly combined.)
  3. Pour the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and, using the bottom of a cup or your fingers, press firmly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides. Bake until fragrant, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before making the filling, about 40 minutes.

For the chocolate mousse:

  1. Fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. Place the chopped chocolate and 1/4 cup of the cream in a large heatproof bowl. (Place the remaining cream back in the refrigerator until ready to use.) Nest the bowl over the saucepan, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water. Melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, until smooth and combined with the cream. Remove the bowl from the saucepan, wipe any moisture from the bottom of it, and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (make sure the bowl and whisk have no trace of oil or fat on them, or the whites won’t whip properly). Mix on high until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute; transfer to a medium bowl and set aside. (Alternatively, you can whip the whites by hand in a large bowl for about 3 minutes.)
  4. Clean and dry the whisk attachment and mixer bowl. Place the remaining 3/4 cup of cream in the bowl and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute. (Alternatively, you can whisk the cream by hand in a large bowl for about 3 minutes.)
  5. Using a rubber spatula, fold half of the whipped cream into the melted chocolate, then gently stir in the rest (try not to deflate the whipped cream). Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate-cream mixture just until there are no longer large blobs of whipped cream or egg white (do not overmix). Spoon the mousse into the cooled pie crust and smooth it into an even layer. Refrigerate uncovered until set, at least 2 hours.

For the whipped cream:

  1. When ready to serve, place the bowl of the stand mixer and the whisk attachment in the freezer for 10 minutes. Add the sugar, vanilla, and cream to the bowl and whisk on high speed until medium peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes. (Alternatively, you can whisk the cream by hand in a large chilled bowl for about 3 to 4 minutes.) Spread or decoratively pipe the whipped cream from a pastry bag evenly over the pie.
  2. To garnish, hold the piece of chocolate with a paper towel in one hand and use a vegetable peeler to shave the desired amount over the top of the pie.

Gingersnap Sandwich Cookies with Lemon Filling

Gingersnap Sandwich Cookies with Lemon Filling

INGREDIENTS:

Makes 32 sandwich cookies

For the dough:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/3 cup plus 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger

For the filling:

  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 medium lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 medium lemon)

METHOD:

  1. Heat the oven to 160°C (325°F) and arrange the racks to divide it into thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Combine the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to break up any lumps; set aside.
  3. Place 1/3 cup of the sugar in a small bowl; set aside.
  4. Place the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar and the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until lightened in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  5. Return the mixer to medium speed, add the egg and molasses, and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl. Turn the mixer to low speed, add the reserved flour mixture, and mix until the dough just comes together, about 30 seconds. Add the crystallized ginger and mix until just incorporated, about 10 seconds more.
  6. Place half of the dough on a piece of plastic wrap, wrap tightly, and refrigerate.
  7. Divide the remaining dough in the mixer bowl into 2 portions.
  8. Divide 1 of the portions into 16 rough pieces (each about 1 heaping teaspoon) and place on 1 of the prepared baking sheets.
  9. Using your hands, gently roll each piece with your fingers to form a ball. Roll the dough balls in the reserved sugar until coated all over, then evenly space them on the baking sheet; set aside.
  10. Repeat with the remaining dough in the mixing bowl and the second baking sheet.
  11. Place both sheets in the oven and bake for 6 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom and bake until the cookies are dry to the touch and are set at the edges, about 5 to 7 minutes more. (The cookies will still be soft.)
  12. Immediately remove the cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely. Reserve the parchment paper and let the baking sheets cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough portion in the refrigerator.

For the filling:

  1. Place the powdered sugar, butter, and zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until the mixture looks crumbly. Gradually increase the speed to medium and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the lemon extract and juice, and beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute more.
  2. Transfer the filling to a resealable plastic bag, push to a bottom corner, and cut a roughly 1/2-inch opening off that corner.
  3. When the cookies are completely cool, turn half of them over on their tops and pipe the filling (about 1 rounded teaspoon) on each cookie bottom. Close with the cookie tops and gently flatten. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Espresso-Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Espresso-Bourbon Caramel Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

METHOD:

  1. Melt the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, cream, and corn syrup and stir until smooth. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat, whisk in the bourbon and espresso, and set aside until slightly cooled, about 20 minutes. Before serving, whisk the sauce until smooth.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies with Ganache Filling

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies with Ganache Filling

INGREDIENTS:

For the cookies:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup natural-style creamy peanut butter (no sugar added)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the ganache filling:

  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon natural-style creamy peanut butter (no sugar added)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

To garnish:

  • 2 tablespoons roasted, salted peanuts, finely chopped

METHOD:

For the cookies:

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C(350°F) and arrange the racks to divide the oven into thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.
  3. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until lightened in color and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the beater and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  4. Add the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla and mix on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low, add the reserved flour mixture, and mix just until the dough comes together.
  5. Scoop 16 level tablespoons onto each prepared baking sheet. Roll each portion between your hands to form a smooth ball and place them back on the baking sheet about 1 inch apart.
  6. Bake both sheets for 8 minutes. Rotate the sheets from top to bottom and front to back and bake until the cookies are set around the edges but still soft in the center, about 6 to 7 minutes more.
  7. Remove the sheets to wire racks and immediately use the back of a round teaspoon or the end of a large-handled wooden spoon to make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheets, about 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the filling.

For the ganache filling:

  1. Place the chocolate and peanut butter in a medium heatproof bowl; set aside.
  2. Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Pour over the chocolate and peanut butter and let stand until the chocolate softens, about 5 minutes. Stir until evenly combined and smooth.
  3. Fill the indentation of each cookie with about 1 teaspoon of the ganache filling, sprinkle with the peanuts, and let sit until set, about 1 hour.

Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles

Charles Chocolates Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 whole vanilla bean
  • 2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (about 2 ounces)

METHOD:

  1. Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside.
  2. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and use the back of a paring knife to scrape the vanilla seeds into the cream. Discard the pod or reserve it for another use. Let the cream and vanilla steep for 10 minutes.
  3. Return the cream to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Pour the hot cream over the reserved chocolate and let it sit undisturbed for 5 minutes. Whisk the chocolate and cream together until very smooth. Pour the chocolate mixture into an 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Cover and refrigerate until hardened, at least 5 hours.
  4. Using a small melon baller or a small teaspoon, scoop a 1-inch-sized ball of the chocolate mixture into your hand and roll it between your palms until it’s somewhat smooth and round. Place on a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chocolate mixture.
  5. Place the cocoa powder in a shallow bowl or pan. Roll the truffles in the cocoa powder until evenly coated. Store the truffles at a cool room temperature for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container, but do not refrigerate or freeze them—this damages the texture of the creamy chocolate.

Mini Tiramisu Éclairs

Mini Tiramisu Éclairs

INGREDIENTS:

For the pastry puffs:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 6 pieces
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup cold mascarpone cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons sweet Marsala wine (or Kahlua)
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons sweet Marsala wine (or Kahlua)
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

To assemble:

  • 1 tablespoon Dutch-process or unsweetened natural cocoa powder

METHOD:

  1. Heat the oven to 220°C (425°F) and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Heat the butter, milk, measured water, sugar, and salt in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat until the butter has melted and the liquid has come to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the flour all at once, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until well incorporated.
  3. Cook, stirring constantly, until the dough looks shiny and feels smooth to the touch, and a thin film has formed on the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes. (The dough will easily form 1 large ball.)
  4. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and let it cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a small bowl with water and set it aside.
  5. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add 1 of the eggs and beat until completely incorporated, at least 1 minute. Add the second egg and beat until completely incorporated, at least 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the beater and the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Return the mixer to medium-low speed, add the remaining egg, and beat until the mixture is smooth, sticky, and glossy, at least 1 minute more.
  6. Transfer the dough to a large piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip. (Alternatively, place the dough in a large resealable plastic bag and cut off about 1/2 inch from one bottom corner.) Pipe 20 (2-1/2-by-1-inch) fingers onto the prepared baking sheet, making sure they’re about 1 inch apart.
  7. Gently pat down any wispy tips with a finger dipped in the reserved bowl of water.
  8. Place the baking sheet in the oven, reduce the temperature to 350°F, and bake until the puffs are golden brown, airy, and completely dry inside, about 30 to 35 minutes (do not open the oven door until at least 30 minutes has passed). Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the puffs cool completely, at least 20 minutes.

For the filling:

  1. When ready to serve, place all of the filling ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on low speed until the powdered sugar is just incorporated. Increase the speed to high and whisk until medium peaks form, about 30 seconds more.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a large piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip. (Alternatively, place the filling in a large resealable plastic bag and cut off about 1/2 inch from one bottom corner.) Place in the refrigerator while you make the glaze.

For the glaze:

  1. Whisk the cream, Marsala, and espresso powder together in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth; set aside. (If the mixture is too thick to easily run off a spoon, whisk in more cream 1/2 teaspoon at a time.)

To assemble:

  1. Using a paring knife, cut a slit in the long side of each éclair, being careful not to cut all the way through the pastry. Gently open up the éclairs.
  2. Remove the filling from the refrigerator and pipe it into the bottom half of each éclair.
  3. Close the éclairs. Carefully pick them up with your fingers, dip the tops in the glaze, then return them to the baking sheet glaze-side up.
  4. Place the cocoa powder in a fine-mesh strainer and sift it generously over the tops of the éclairs. Let sit until the glaze sets, about 30 minutes.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

INGREDIENTS:

Makes 12

  • 2¼ cups flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup butter
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup sour cream (I used regular)
  • 1 egg
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese (I used light)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup homemade or store-bought raspberry jam
METHOD:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Mix flour, sugar, and butter with a pastry cutter or in a food processor to make a crumbly mixture. Reserve 1 cup of the crumbs for topping.
  2. Combine remaining crumbs with baking powder, baking soda, salt, sour cream, and 1 egg. Mix until mostly smooth. Spread in the bottom of a lightly greased 9×13 baking pan.
  3. Beat softened cream cheese, ¼ cup sugar and 1 egg until smooth. Pour over the batter in the pan and spread in an even layer. Spoon the jam over the cream cheese layer and swirl with a knife to make a marbled effect. Sprinkle reserved crumbs on top.
  4. Bake for 45-55 minutes until a knife inserted comes out clean.
NOTES
If your raspberry jam is too thick to spread, thin it out with a few tablespoons of water until it’s easily spreadable. This is lovely when cake is fresh out of the oven but even more after it’s cooled down for a little bit

Milk Chocolate Dulce De Leche Bars

Milk Chocolate Dulce de Leche Bars

Milk Chocolate Dulce de Leche Bars

INGREDIENTS:

Serves 24

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 bag milk chocolate chips

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C (375F). Grease a 9×13 pan.
  2. Place the coconut, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. When melted, pour over the dry mixture and mix until a crumbly dough forms. Stirring with a rubber spatula helps spread the butter into the dry ingredients. Press into 9×13 pan and bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown and lightly set. Let crust cool completely.
  3. Heat sweetened condensed milk with butter (2 tbs) and light corn syrup for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Liquid should turn a deep beige color. Pour and spread sauce over cooled crust and bake for 12-14 minutes. The sauce will be a light golden brown color and there will be bubbles when you remove it from the oven. Cool completely or until sauce has set enough to frost over the top.
  4. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler. Pour over the bars and spread evenly.
NOTES
Refrigerate for a period of time (overnight) to help the frosting set. Then store at room temperature for easiest cutting and serving.

Salted Maple Pecan Pie Bars

Salted Pecan Pie Bars

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour (plus a few more tablespoons if necessary)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup corn syrup
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups pecans

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C (375F). In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the flour and beat until coarse crumbs form. If the mixture is too soft, add a little more flour. It should be crumbly but stick together when pressed.
  2. Press the crust into a 9×13 baking dish. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until top appears dry and slightly puffed. I like to underbake mine so the crust stays softer, but if you like more of a shortbread-type crust, bake a few minutes longer.
  3. For the filling, whisk the eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir in the pecans and pour the mixture over the crust. The filling should not be more than just a light layer of sauce over the crust. Arrange any stray pecans and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven when the filling appears mostly set. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
  4. Cool completely and refrigerate overnight. Cut into 24 pieces and serve slightly chilled.
NOTES
When baking the filling, look for a top that is set enough so that it doesn’t stick to your hand when you touch it. It might still be a tiny bit runny underneath, but it will hold together more as it cools. It’s sad, I know, but these HAVE to cool completely and chill before they hold together well.  – still a little soft and saucy –  You can eat them straight out of the oven – yum! but for the real, stick together bars, I recommend cooling and refrigerating overnight.

Dobos Torte

INGREDIENTS:

Sponge Cake:

  • 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups (162g) confectioner’s (icing) sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (112g) sifted cake flour (SUBSTITUTE 95g plain flour + 17g cornflour (cornstarch) sifted together)
  • pinch of salt

Chocolate Buttercream:

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) caster (ultrafine or superfine white) sugar
  • 4oz (110g) bakers chocolate or your favourite dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Caramel topping:

  • 1 cup (200g) caster (superfine or ultrafine white) sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (180 ml) water
  • 8 teaspoons (40 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil (e.g. grapeseed, rice bran, sunflower) – for greasing the spatula

Finishing touches:

  • a 7” cardboard round
  • 12 whole hazelnuts, peeled and toasted
  • ½ cup (50g) peeled and finely chopped hazelnuts

METHOD:

Sponge Layers:

The sponge layers can be prepared in advance and stored interleaved with parchment and well-wrapped in the fridge overnight.

  1. Position the racks in the top and centre thirds of the oven and heat to 400F (200C).
  2. Cut six pieces of parchment paper to fit the baking sheets. Using the bottom of a 9″ (23cm) springform tin as a template and a dark pencil or a pen, trace a circle on each of the papers, and turn them over (the circle should be visible from the other side, so that the graphite or ink doesn’t touch the cake batter).
  3. Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (81g) of the confectioner’s (icing) sugar, and the vanilla in a medium bowl with a mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted a few inches above the batter, about 3 minutes. (You can do this step with a balloon whisk if you don’t have a mixer.)
  4. In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2/3 cup (81g) of confectioner’s (icing)sugar until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, stir about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remainder, leaving a few wisps of white visible. Combine the flour and salt. Sift half the flour over the eggs, and fold in; repeat with the remaining flour.
  5. Line one of the baking sheets with a circle-marked paper. Using a small offset spatula, spread about 3/4cup of the batter in an even layer, filling in the traced circle on one baking sheet. Bake on the top rack for 5 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the centre and the edges are lightly browned. While this cake bakes, repeat the process on the other baking sheet, placing it on the centre rack.
  6. When the first cake is done, move the second cake to the top rack. Invert the first cake onto a flat surface and carefully peel off the paper. Slide the cake layer back onto the paper and let stand until cool. Rinse the baking sheet under cold running water to cool, and dry it before lining with another parchment. Continue with the remaining papers and batter to make a total of six layers. Completely cool the layers. Using an 8″ springform pan bottom or plate as a template, trim each cake layer into a neat round. (A small serrated knife is best for this task.)

My Notes: Since I was doing a mini torte, I simply baked a half portion in a thin level slab then use a round cookie cutter to cut out my cake layers. If the cake layers are a bit sticky to handle, dust over with icing sugar. This will also make it easier to cut out the cake rounds. Best to assemble the cake immediately as it was even more sticky after it was stored in the fridge.

Chocolate Buttercream:

Image

This can be prepared in advance and kept chilled until required.

  1. Prepare a double-boiler: quarter-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, about five minutes. You can use a balloon whisk or electric hand mixer for this.
  3. Fit bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan (water should not touch bowl) and lower the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook the egg mixture, whisking constantly, for 2-3 minutes until you see it starting to thicken a bit. Whisk in the finely chopped chocolate and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes.
  4. Scrape the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. It should be quite thick and sticky in consistency.
  5. When cool, beat in the soft butter, a small piece (about 2 tablespoons/30g) at a time. An electric hand mixer is great here, but it is possible to beat the butter in with a spatula if it is soft enough. You should end up with a thick, velvety chocolate buttercream. Chill while you make the caramel topping.

Note: Make sure the butter is of a very soft texture I.e. running a knife through it will provide little resistance, before you try to beat it into the chocolate mixture. Also, if you beat the butter in while the chocolate mixture is hot you’ll end up with more of a ganache than a buttercream! To tell if it’s ready, you should be able to make a dent with your finger without having to press too hard (but it can’t be too melted). An electric mixer is also essential I think to whip the butter and achieve a fluffy consistency.

Caramel Topping:

  1. Choose the best-looking cake layer for the caramel top. To make the caramel topping: Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Place the reserved cake layer on the paper. Score the cake into 12 equal wedges. Lightly oil a thin, sharp knife and an offset metal spatula.
  2. Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, turn the heat up to high and boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally and washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel.
  3. Image
  4. The top layer is perhaps the hardest part of the whole cake so make sure you have a oiled, hot offset spatula ready. I also find it helps if the cake layer hasn’t just been taken out of the refrigerator. Try making it ahead of time and make sure the cake layer is cold and the toffee set very, very quickly. Immediately pour all of the hot caramel over the cake layer.

You will have some leftover most probably but more is better than less and you can always make nice toffee pattern using the extra to decorate. Using the offset spatula, quickly spread the caramel evenly to the edge of the cake layer. Let cool until beginning to set, about 30 seconds. Using the tip of the hot oiled knife (keep re-oiling this with a pastry brush between cutting), cut through the scored marks to divide the caramel layer into 12 equal wedges. Cool another minute or so, then use the edge of the knife to completely cut and separate the wedges using one firm slice movement (rather than rocking back and forth which may produce toffee strands). Cool completely.

I recommend cutting, rather than scoring, the cake layer into wedges before covering in caramel (reform them into a round). If you have an 8” silicon round form, then I highly recommend placing the wedges in that for easy removal later and it also ensures that the caramel stays on the cake layer. Once set, use a very sharp knife to separate the wedges.

Assembling the Dobos Torte:

  1. Divide the buttercream into six equal parts.
  2. Place a dab of chocolate buttercream on the middle of a 7 1/2” cardboard round and top with one cake layer. Spread the layer with one part of the chocolate icing. Repeat with 4 more cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake.
  3. Optional: press the finely chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake.
  4. Propping a hazelnut under each wedge so that it sits at an angle, arrange the wedges on top of the cake in a spoke pattern. If you have any leftover buttercream, you can pipe rosettes under each hazelnut or a large rosette in the centre of the cake. Refrigerate the cake under a cake dome until the icing is set, about 2 hours. Let slices come to room temperature for the best possible flavour.
  5. Cover the cake with walnuts. Also use macadamia halves rather than hazelnuts to prop the caramel pieces.

Storage

You can store this cake at room temperature under a glass dome, but your mileage may vary. If you do decide to chill it, then I would advise also using a glass dome if you have done. I should also note that the cake will cut more cleanly when chilled.

Variations

Shape: The traditional shape of a Dobos Torta is a circular cake, but you can vary the shape and size if you want.

Flavour:  you could brush each layer with a flavoured syrup if you just want a hint of a second flavour. Cointreau syrup would be divine!

Nuts: These are optional for decoration, so no worries if you’re allergic to them. If you don’t like hazelnuts, then substitute for another variety that you like.

Confiture de Lait (caramel milk jam)

INGREDIENTS:

(enough to make one jar – around 250-375ml)

  • 1 Litre (4 cups) whole milk
  • 300g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. In a pot large enough to fit the liquid with at least 10-15cm from the top of the pot to the level of the milk, add milk and stir in the sugar, salt, baking soda and vanilla extract.
  2. Turn heat to med-high and bring the milk mixture to a boil without stirring. Once you see the milk start to boil and bubble slightly, get ready to turn the heat right down because the milk may froth and rise if it is overboiled.
  3. Once it’s boiled, turn the heat down to the lowest (until it’s barely a simmer) and skim the foam. Continue to simmer uncovered for around 2 – 2.5 hours, stirring constantly (around every 10 minutes or so is best if you’re free) and skimming the foam when necessary.
  4. 1: milk starts to foam as it heats up
    2: getting frothy and rising as it boils
    3: overboiling will cause the milk to rise fast (and spill over so be careful)
    4: bringing it down to a simmer
  5. It’s best to cook it as low and slow as possible. If the heat is too high, the milk will boil and form a skin that won’t disappear no matter how much you whisk it.
  6. Check the consistency at about 2 hours. I usually stop it now when I want a runnier caramel to use in other recipes. Cook it a little longer if you want a thicker jam to use as a spread or to sandwich cookies. Just remember that it’ll thicken up more while it cools and when it’s in the fridge.
  7. Top row L-R: starting to colour at about one hour; thickening up at around 1.5 hours; at nearly 2 hours
    Bottom row L-R: ta-da! Once it looks gloopy, it’s ready; checking consistency on the spoon; a frantic whisking will smooth things out!
  8. Once it’s thick and gluggy and just about ready, you need to keep an eye on it to prevent it from scorching on the bottom of the saucepan. When it’s ready, take it off the heat and whisk the confiture until it’s glossy and smooth.
  9. Pour into a clean jar and cool uncovered. When it has cooled completely, stick the lid on and store it in the fridge (it should keep for around 1 to 3 weeks).

White Chocolate and Macadamia Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce

White Chocolate and Macadamia Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

Crust:

  • 2 cups crushed dry biscuits (digestives)
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter

Cheesecake:

  • 2 1/2 packs cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups thickened cream or whipped cream, chilled
  • 4 tsp unflavoured gelatine
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup roasted unsalted macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

Toppings:

  • caramel sauce (check recipe in other cheesecake versions)
  • roasted unsalted macadamia nuts whole macadamias
  • roughly chopped roasted unsalted macadamia nuts

METHOD:

Crust:

  1. Combine all ingredients and make sure it’s mixed well and butter is evenly spread throughout the crushed crackers, press it in a 9 in pie pan.
  2. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 10 minutes (this makes the crust more firm, but you can omit this process if you want to)
  3. Chill in fridge for around 20 minutes.

Cheesecake:

  1. Place softened cream cheese and sugar in a bowl together; using an electric mixer beat the cheese until thoroughly mixed and creamy.
  2. Melt white chocolate in a double boiler then mix this together with the cream cheese mixture
  3. Dissolve gelatine in hot water then let it cool for a while. Once cooled down add into the cream cheese mixture, continue to beat until mixture becomes fluffy.
  4. Now add thickened cream and chopped roasted unsalted macadamia nuts then fold until it’s evenly mixed.
  5. Pour over the prepared crust.
  6. Top it with whole and chopped roasted unsalted macadamia. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.
  7. Before serving drizzle caramel sauce and chocolate shavings on top then serve.

Caramel Macadamia Cheesecake

caramel macadamia cheesecake recipe

caramel macadamia cheesecake

caramel macadamia cheesecake homemade

macadamia cheesecake

Ottolenghi's Caramel Macadamia Cheesecake

INGREDIENTS:

Cheesecake

  • 1lb 5oz/600g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons/120g caster or superfine sugar (I used vanilla sugar and left out the vanilla pod)
  • 2/3 vanilla pod
  • 4 organic or free range eggs
  • 1/4 cup/60ml sour cream
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
crust:
  • 6oz/160g dry biscuits like digestives (I used half gingersnaps and half honey grahams)
  • 3 tablespoons/40g unsalted butter, melted
nut brittle:
  • 1 cup/150g salted macadamia nuts
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon/90g caster or superfine sugar
caramel sauce:
  • 5 tablespoons/65g unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon/160g caster or superfine sugar
  • 1/2 cup/100ml whipping or heavy cream

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 140°C. Lightly grease a 20cm springform cake tin and line the base and sides with baking paper. Toast the nuts on a baking sheet for about 15 minutes until they are golden. Remove and set aside.
  2. For the crust, place biscuits in a food processor and whiz to a fine crumb. Mix with the melted butter. Transfer to the lined cake tin and flatten with the back of a spoon and slightly up the sides.
  3. For the cheesecake batter, beat together the sugar and cream cheese with an electric whisk until creamy. Gradually add the vanilla extract (or seeds if using vanilla pod), eggs and sour cream. Whisk until the batter is smooth and creamy. Pour mixture into the crust. Bake for 60-70 minutes, a skewer inserted in the centre should come out with a slightly wet crumb. Allow to cool to room temperature, then remove tin. Remove the sides and transfer the cake onto a plate, you can leave the bottom on if you like. Chill the cake for at least two hours.
  4. For the nut brittle, Line a baking tray with aluminium foil. Place the sugar in a large saucepan. Make sure the sugar is in a very thin layer not more than 0.1?/3mm, use a large pan. Heat sugar on low heat until it turns a golden caramel. Do not stir at any stage. Carefully add the toasted nuts and mix gently with a wooden spoon until they are evenly coated. When most of the nuts are coated in caramel, pour them on to the lined tray and leave to set. When cooled break and chop them very roughly with a large knife.
  5. For the caramel sauce, put the butter and sugar in a large saucepan and stir constantly over a medium heat with a wooden spoon until it becomes a smooth, dark caramel. Once the desired colour is reached, carefully add the cream while stirring vigorously. To stop the caramel from browning further pour it directly into a glass bowl and leave to cool.
  6. To finish the cheesecake, spoon the sauce in the centre, allowing it to spill over a little. Scatter the caramelised nuts on top and dust generously with icing sugar. The cheesecake will keep in the fridge for 3 days.