After weeks of craving chocolate one of my girlfriends convinced me to make this ridiculously easy chocolate pudding cake. You probably have everything you need in your fridge and pantry…we had everything, but the milk, so we used heavy cream instead…not quite healthy but absolutely delicious. We served ours with French vanilla ice cream and it was perfect. The recipe is found over at Hershey’s Kitchens and here’s a picture of our ooey-gooey chocolaty dessert.
Yep, it’s that time of year again. Time for Black Friday madness, Cyber Monday and American consumerism at its finest. Here are some great gift ideas for the adventurer in your life.
2. Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack or the even lighter Granite Gear eVent Sil Compression DrySack. Whether they’re hiking in Olympic National Park, trekking across Borneo or circumnavigating an island these will keep clothing and gear packed tight and dry.
3. A waterproof watch like a Timex Expedition or Ironman.
4. A rugged camera like the Olympus TG-1iHS 12 MP Waterproof Digital Camera which claims to be waterproof to 40 ft., drop-proof to 6.6 ft., freeze-proof to 14°F and crush-proof to 220 pounds.
5. A compressible fleece or jacket like the Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T® or Patagonia Down Sweater. They will love having a super warm and cozy layering piece on their next backcountry outing or summit attempt.
6. DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w with Topo North America and Map Pack and DeLorme inReach Two-Way Satellite Communicator. We LOVE our Earthmate it’s super easy to use and it works really well…even in really remote locations. Our’s is a slightly older model, but the new one combined with the inReach will give everyone some peace of mind…especially if your adventurer is an adrenaline junky, solo backpacker….or slightly reckless. The inReach allows them to send out messages saying they’re okay…or if they’re in need of help.
7. Whether they’re needing to purify water high in the Himalayas or in the backcountry of Eastern Oregon a water purification system like a SteriPEN with pre-filter makes it ridiculously easy.
8. A collapsible, foldable, backpack like the Gregory Miwok 22 Daypack that can be used for daytrips from camp or early morning summits.
9. A fleece lined wool beanie like the ones from Patagonia have an awesome fit and will keep them warm without being itchy.
10. Stocking stuffers like hand warmers, energy gels, carabiners, lithium batteries will also be greatly appreciated by your adventurer.
I have tried MULTIPLE pumpkin cheesecake recipes and none of them even come close to the Almost Famous Pumpkin Cheesecake from the Food Network Magazine. Yes, it’s time consuming, but it turn out perfect every time….the filling has a whipped texture and the crust is crispy/crunchy and deliciously caramelized (think brittle). Over the years I’ve only made small changes to the original recipe, mainly just to make the pumpkin pie spices a little stronger otherwise I don’t change a thing. Tip: Follow the recipe to a T (ie. make sure cream cheese and egg whites are room temp, use the water bath)….I know it’s time consuming, but so worth it. Every year people are always talking about the pumpkin cheesecake days after Thanksgiving, so I’m finally posting the recipe. Enjoy!!!
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 3/4 cups sugar
pinch of salt
4 8-oz. packages of cream cheese (the full fat variety), room temp.
1/4 cup sour cream
1 15-oz. can of organic pumpkin puree
6 eggs, room temp and lightly beaten
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (I use a little bit more…just because I like the flavor)
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°F.
2. Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until they become crumbs. Combine melted butter, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and a pinch of salt then press the crust into a buttered 9-10 inch springform pan. Make sure the crust is firmly and evenly pressed against the bottom and up the sides of the springform.
3. Bake the crust until golden brown, 15-20 minutes.
4. Allow crust to cool on a cooling rack. Once cooled wrap the outside of the springorm pan in foil and place in a roasting pan. Important: Make sure to use a wider, heavier duty foil, not the 12 inch wide roll. If you use a 12 inch roll water can seep into the bottom of your springform and into the crust….it will still be edible, but messier and the texture will change.
5. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. While the water is boiling begin making the filling. Beat the cream cheese in a KitchenAid stand-up mixer until it has a smooth texture. Add 2 1/2 cups of sugar and beat until just light. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters with a silicone spatula or scraper. Beat in the sour cream followed by the pumpkin puree, eggs, vanilla, and spices. Beat until smooth and pour into the springform pan.
6. Gently place the roasting pan on the center rack of the oven. Do NOT pull the oven rack out. Once the roasting pan is resting on the oven rack carefully add the boiling water to the roasting pan taking extra care to prevent splashing. The water level should be about halfway up the side of the springform pan. I like both my Kaiser 10-inch springform pan and also my Cuisinart 9-Inch Nonstick springform pan, they both work great and haven’t warped or gotten weird.
7. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 45 minutes until the outside edges of the cheesecake are set but the middle is still loose (I usually have to cook mine a little longer).Tip: Don’t jiggle it to see how much it has set….you’ll end up with cracks on the top of the filling. Turn off the oven and open the door briefly to let some heat escape. Then allow the cheesecake to rest in the oven for another hour or so.
8. Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan and allow to cool on a sturdy cooling rack. Run a knife along the edges of the cheesecake, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for atleast 8 hours.
9. Remove cheesecake from fridge atleast 30 minutes before serving. While cheesecake is warming to room temp whip the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla until fluffy.
Note: Make this a gluten free cheesecake by substituting ginger snaps and pecans that have been pulsed together in a food processor. Also, make sure your vanilla is gluten free too.