Since it’s my birthday today (tear tear, my youth is slipping away) it’s only appropriate that I share a decadent cheesecake recipe and finally reveal my travel plans. If you’ve checked out my about me page or the travel tab in the top menu you already know what I’ve got planned for the future. For those of you who haven’t, here goes; on September 15th D and I fly to Osaka, Japan on a way way ticket to embark on a 2 year backpacking trip through Asia and Europe. Woah right?
Yep I’m leaving the exciting and scintillating world of accounting behind and trading my briefcase for a backpack, heels for sandals and bed for a sleeping bag. With 2 years of work experience post college it’s time for a change – a big one. Time to take control of our lives and do what we want to do because let’s face it life is short, flies by and in the end you most likely regret the things you didn’t do than those you did. With no serious responsibilities (mortgage, kids, secure jobs) now is the time to be reckless and selfish.
Are we afraid? You bet. But for the first time in years it’s exciting to be in control, to venture into the unknown and to be in charge of every day, every moment. At the end of the day this isn’t just a two year hiatus from the 9-5 office world; we are trying to restructure our lives and change our paths forever.
Being the business minded people that we are – we have a plan. We have started a travel blog where we will share our travel reflections, restaurant reviews and blogging resources. The travel blog and this food blog we will treat as our small business ventures and try to run them as such. In today’s world there is money to be made outside of the regular 9-5 office jobs and we’re going to try to see if we can make this work for us. Whether we advertise on our blogs or release ebooks, offer consulting courses, who knows, we are going to try to make this work. The worst case scenario? We go on a 2 year trip, spend all of our $50,ooo in savings and come back to the US, hopefully older, wiser and with more wordly experience to apply to our everyday lives.
With only three weeks to go before our trip my emotions are starting to go through a rollercoaster – all at once I am excited, nervous, overwhelmed, stressed out, anxious, you name it but for the first time since college I am looking forward to the future and all that it may bring.
If you are interested in following along you can find us twitter, facebook, pinterest, stumble upon, youtube and of course the travel blog itself. Interested in pursuing a similar trip? We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have and have posted various articles on planning, budgeting, and even our own monthly savings.
Now on to the cheesecake. I made this for D’s birthday in 2010 for the first time and he absolutely loved it. It’s rich, creamy, dreamy, decadent, it’s almost too much deliciousness to process at once. Somewhat time consuming to make, this cheesecake is worth every minute and every calorie. Not the dessert to indulge in everyday, but on special occasions reserve a spot for this cheesecake.
Helpful kitchen tools for this recipe:
• KitchenAid KFP7I5 7-Cup Food Processor, White - really a must for making cheesecake crust – I can’t imagine having to crush the graham crackers by hand!
• Nordic Ware Leakproof Springform Pan, 10 Cup, 9 Inch - when I first started making cheesecake years ago, I used a pie pan because that’s all I had, the result wasn’t quite the same. A good leakproof pan is required.
• Proctor Silex 62509R 5-Speed Hand Mixer, White - this hand mixer is more old school and pretty weak in power compared to some of the newer models but it is actually perfect for making cheesecakes where it is crucial not to overbeat the batter otherwise the texture will be grainy/gritty.
- 18 oz Oreo cookies (1 package)
- 1 cup chopped roasted peanuts
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 32 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 5 eggs, room temperature
- 1½ cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 cup peanut butter (I used smooth)
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 9 oz reese’s mini peanut butter cups, cut up into small pieces
- 5 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 mini heath bar, grated
- heavy duty aluminum foil
- Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Process oreos and peanuts in food processor until mixture resembles crumbs and combine with melted butter
- Tear off several pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil and wrap tightly around and up the sides of the spring-form pan. Pat the crust mixture in bottom and half way up the sides of 10 inch spring-form pan. Refrigerate crust while you are making the batter.
- In separate bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth (do not over beat)
- Add eggs one at a time, beating just until combined
- Add cream, peanut butter, and sugar, beat until just combined
- Add vanilla and fold in peanut butter cups (reserving a few to sprinkle on top of the cake when baked) with a spoon or spatula
- Pour batter into spring-form pan
- Put spring-form pan into roasting pan and pour hot water into roasting pan ½-1 inch up the sides
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes then decrease temperature to 200 degrees F and bake for 2 hours. Turn oven off. Remove cheesecake from oven and run a thin knife around the sides to loosen it from the pan. Put cheesecake back in the oven for another 2 hours. (It is important for the cheesecake to bake slowly at different temperatures and cool down gradually so that it does not crack in the middle).
- To make chocolate topping melt semi-sweet chocolate chips with sour cream over low heat and spread over cheesecake.
- Refrigerate overnight.
- Decorate cheesecake with heath bar shavings and a few cut up mini peanut butter cups.