Halloween is a time to create all kinds of fun, creepy desserts. This spooky Spiderweb Cheesecake is a dessert that is perfect for Halloween celebrations – and it’s much easier to bake than you might think! The rich cheesecake base is topped with a stunning spiderweb design that contrasts well with the vanilla base of the dessert. It is baked in a chocolate wafer pie shell, which not only adds flavor, but ties in well with the Halloween look of the finished dessert.
To create the spiderweb design, I separated a small quantity of cheesecake from the base mix and added in cocoa powder and activated charcoal. I find that black food coloring is difficult to find (though much easier around Halloween) and I already had the charcoal on hand from my Goth Ice Cream. You should only need a small amount of either the charcoal or the food coloring to get a truly black color for the topping.
I transferred the black cheesecake batter to a small ziploc bag with a corner snipped off, which created a small opening. I piped several concentric circles on the top of the cheesecake. Next, I took a toothpick and inserted it into the batter (no more than 1/4-inch deep) at the center of the cheesecake, then pulled it through the circles to create the spiderweb look. I did about six pulls from the center out and six from the outside in. Just make sure your marks are equally spaced for best results.
The design holds well during baking and the effect on the finished cheesecake is absolutely stunning. It’s spooky, but simple. The cheesecake should be refrigerated before serving. It’s dense, creamy and gets a lot of flavor from the chocolate wafer crust. You’re not going to get much flavor from the topping, simply because there isn’t much of it there, but you’ll get a hint of cocoa if you look for it (in tiny, tiny bites). Add some candy spiders or plastic spiders for decoration before serving.
1 9-inch chocolate wafer pie crust
16-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp activated charcoal or 1/2 tsp black food coloring
Preheat oven to 325F. Place chocolate wafer pie crust on a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt until very smooth.
Transfer 3 tbsp of cheesecake mixture into a small bowl. Add cocoa powder, milk and activated charcoal/food coloring to the small bowl and stir until mixture is uniform. Transfer to a small ziploc bag and cut off one of the corners to create a small opening.
Pour vanilla batter into prepared pie crust and spread into an even layer. Pipe 4-5 concentric circles with the chocolate batter on top of the vanilla base. Starting at the center, insert a toothpick no more than 1/4-inch into the cheesecake and pull it towards the outer edge of the pie. Repeat this process 6 times, making sure each line is evenly spaced. Between this first set of lines, repeat the process but start out the outer edge of the cheesecake and pull towards the center.
Bake until set, about 30-35 minutes. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before serving.
The 6 piece microwave container set is perfect for microwaving, storage or freezing. It contains a 16 oz, 28oz, and a 40oz container. They are microwave, dishwasher, and free safe. They all have sealing lids that have an adjustable knob in the top for
This easy, one-bowl pumpkin bread is crazy moist, loaded with spices, chocolate chips, and pecans, and freezes beautifully. It is a perfect bread to put out for company, serve on Thanksgiving, or bake up in small loaf pans for holiday gifts.
Last summer, when I asked readers to send me their favorite tried and true recipes, I received a TON of pumpkin recipes. I made a few before Dominic was born (including this pumpkin yummy dessert that was a big hit), but I shelved the rest until fall rolled around again.
Well, here we are, fall again, and we have Shirline to thank for this absolutely fantastic pumpkin bread! When she emailed me the recipe, she said she begins making it in the fall and continues to churn out loaves all through Christmas. Her family refers to it as “Grama’s Pumpkin Bread”, and she makes loaves both for her family to enjoy and in smaller batches to give away as gifts. After making dozens of pumpkin breads myself, I have to agree with Shirline – this is the best of the best!
You will be amazed at how much batter this recipe makes… you will want to use a large mixing bowl!
I love how easy it is to prep this bread (and Joseph loved helping to mix!) – canned pumpkin and tons of spices gets mixed together first, then vegetable oil to keep the bread nice and moist, eggs, sugar, flour, and the all-important add-ins: chocolate chips and pecans. While you COULD make the bread without them, Shirline exclaims that it just isn’t pumpkin bread without the chocolate chips and pecans! They add a wonderful punch of sweetness and crunch to the super moist, spiced bread, and it’s great balance.
When I tell you that these loaves are as heavy as bricks, I kid you not. They are HEAVY… but also supremely moist and dense in the most wonderful way. They remind me of the Russian pound cake that my mom, aunt and grandma all used to make for the holidays.
You can eat this warm or at room temperature, but like most pound cake or quick breads, wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and letting it sit overnight makes it even better! As a result, this is perfect to keep around for a week or so, and goes wonderfully with breakfast coffee or an afternoon cup of tea, or for dessert any time of day.
This has officially become my go-to pumpkin bread recipe – it’s easy, full of flavor, and super moist; you can’t ask for much more than that from a pumpkin bread! It freezes really well, so it would be great to bake up a few loaves (or even mini loaves) to keep in the freezer for last-minute guests or to get a head start on Thanksgiving baking or holiday gifts!
Thank you so much for this recipe, Shirline! ♥
One year ago: No Bake Caramel Apple Pudding with Gingersnap Crust
Four years ago: Skillet Cornbread
Five years ago: Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Dip
Ten years ago: Brown Sugar Raisin Bread
This easy, one-bowl pumpkin bread is crazy moist, loaded with spices, chocolate chips, and pecans, and freezes beautifully.
There are certain dishes that no matter how many times I make them, I’m always looking for a better recipe. Macaroni and cheese is one of them. You know a good macaroni and cheese when you taste it. For me, it’s rich but not oily, gooey with melted cheese and with no graininess to the sauce. It’s also got a little sharp edge to it. I usually start with a bechamel, but I’ve never been convinced that it’s the perfect sauce base.
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The James Beard-nominated food writer revamps the slow cooker for the modern home cook, providing ingenious ideas and more than 100 delicious recipes for maximizing this favorite time-saving kitchen appliance and making it easier than ever to use.
Sarah DiGregorio shares the nostalgia most of us feel when it comes to slow cookers. Her first memory of slow-cooker cooking is her grandmother’s pot roast. While these handy devices have been time savers for incredibly busy lives, traditional slow cooker food is sometimes underwhelming. Now, Sarah, an experienced food professional, has reinvented slow cooking for a generation that cooks for fun and flavor, taking a fresh approach to reclaim this versatile tool without sacrificing quality or taste.
For Sarah, it’s not just about getting dinner on the table—it’s about using a slow cooker to make fabulous dinners like herb oil poached shrimp or the most perfect sticky toffee pudding for dessert. It’s about rethinking how to use this magic appliance—such as throwing a biryani dinner party with the slow cooker at the center of the table.
Showcasing a beautiful, engaging design, inviting color photographs, and 105 original, innovative recipes thoroughly tested in a variety of brands of slow cookers, Adventures in Slow Cooking provides a repertoire of delicious food for any time of day. Inside you’ll find ideas for flavorful sweet and savory slow cooker dishes, including:
Whipped Feta, Red Pepper and Olive DipGranola with Pistachios, Coconut and CardamomSavory Overnight Oatmeal with Bacon, Scallions and CheddarTurkey-Spinach Meatballs Stuffed with MozzarellaSpicy Kimchi and Pork RamenOrange, Olive and Fennel Chicken TagineDaal with Mango and Mustard SeedsFarro Bowl with Smoked Salmon, Yogurt, and Everything-Bagel SpiceOxtail and Short Rib PhoCorn, Mushroom and Zucchini TamalesProper Red Sauce Eggplant ParmPeach-Orange Blossom JamMatcha-White Chocolate Pots de CrèmeCardamom-Molasses Apple Upside-Down CakeStar Anise-Black Pepper Hot Toddy
Sarah also provides ingenious tips and tricks that will help cooks get the most out of today’s slow cookers, and have them saying, “I never knew my slow cooker could do that!” With a foreword by Grant Achatz, a modernist chef and huge advocate of the slow cooker, Adventures in Slow Cooking makes this convenient appliance an indispensable tool for the modern kitchen.
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The number eight is considered lucky in Chinese culture, and the more eights the luckier. This year represents the 8th anniversary of LUCKYRICE, an Asian food festival and it’s being held on September 8, 2017, general admission tickets are $88. That’s a whole lot of luck!
While this may be the 8th year, it’s also in one way the first. It’s the first year of a plant based edition feast. This is noteworthy because if you go to chef gala events you see a lot of the same kinds of dishes and they aren’t plant based. Tuna tartare is popular, a seared scallop, perhaps something with pork belly or foie gras will make an appearance. But as dining evolves so too do these events. In San Francisco some of the finest restaurants are focusing more on vegetables than ever before. I spoke with LUCKYRICE founder, Danielle Chang to learn more about the event and the second season of her PBS show, Lucky Chow.
How many galas and “feasts” have you produced?
In the eight lucky years that I’ve been at the helm of LUCKYRICE, we’ve produced over 100 curated events that spotlight Asian culture through the lens of food and drink.
Why did you decide to do a plant based theme and why in San Francisco?
I think when people think “Asian food” they’re still thinking mystery brown sauce, rice and packaged ramen noodles. I wanted to really spotlight Asian cuisine in an entirely unique way with this plant-based menu so people could really experience and taste the evolution of Asian cuisine in America and embrace its green potential, it’s come a long way! No General Tso’s chicken here.
What dishes and ingredients are you particularly excited to see showcased at the event?
With a fabulous line-up like this one, I think it’s hard to pick just one but I’ve definitely got my eye on the Pinakbet Onigiri with Stuffed Garlic Fried Rice Ball with Kabocha Squash, Green beans, Eggplant, Okra, Vegan Bagoong, Nori seaweed from Buffalo Theory in collaboration with Alchemy
How did this season of Lucky Chow and your visits to farms in particular influence you and your future plans?
Since so much of the Asian-American immigrant experience is rooted in the soil of Bay Area farms, it makes sense to pay homage to that history while celebrating the new culinary expressions being created by the younger generation. And, while filming season 2 of my PBS show Lucky Chow, I was so inspired by the featured local farmers, like Kristyn Leach of Namu and Ross Koda of Koda Farms. They, like so many other Bay Area residents, are committed to seasonality, locality, and innovation in sustainability.
Does Asian food fit into the “vegetable centric” trend in dining?
From mizuna to bok choy, people will walk into an Asian grocery store and run the other way when they’re confronted with the different varieties of Asian greens and vegetables because they’re intimidated, begging the questions, “what do I do with this?” or “how do I cook that?” There’s still a lot of unharnessed potential when it comes to Asian cooking fitting into a “veggie centric” motif. I think we can only expect to see more and more chefs and restaurateurs seeking out Asian vegetables as they’re expanding their flavor palates and looking for something “new.”
Here’s the full line up of tantalizing dishes from some really outstanding restaurants:
I am a pumpkin pie fan and I’ll churn out quite a few of them during the fall baking season. I’m not a purist, however, and I enjoy the opportunity to put a fun twist on a classic from time to time. My zebra-inspired Chocolate Striped Pumpkin Pie and Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake are just two delicious examples of how you can make your pumpkin pie a little different – and the case of these Dark Chocolate Mini Pumpkin Pies, you’re also making your pumpkin pies little!
These mini pumpkin pies are baked in muffin cups, but have a wafer cookie crust and a pumpkin-rich filling that is packed with pumpkin pie spices. The filling also contains a generous amount of dark chocolate, which makes these more decadent than your average pumpkin pie.
For the crust, I used graham cracker-flavored Oreo cookie wafers. Oreo cookies in general are a great crust option for mini pies and cheesecakes because they hold up well to baking and are exactly the right size to fill the bottom of a muffin cup. The Apple Pie Oreos I tried this season have a graham cracker wafer cookie, so I simply removed the filling and popped the cookies right into my pan. If you don’t have graham cracker wafers, use regular Oreo wafers (filling removed), as they work well with the chocolate filling.
With a full sized pumpkin pie, I like the filling to be a tender enough that it almost melts in your mouth. After all, the filling of a pumpkin pie is a custard at its heart, even though it is loaded with pumpkin! I bake my pies until they are just set and have a slight jiggle to them. These mini pumpkin pies are a touch firmer – and, yes, fudgier – than their classic counterparts. The denser texture is in part due to the chocolate in the filling, but it works very well for the mini pies because it makes them easier to handle and serve. They can be unwrapped neatly and plated individually, or simply eaten right out of the wrapper!
The mini pies are absolutely delicious and perfect for fall entertaining. This recipe makes 16 mini pies. You can halve the recipe if you only need a few, but they’ll keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days, so you may just want to make the full batch and keep the leftovers around for snacking.
Dark Chocolate Mini Pumpkin Pies
16 graham (or chocolate) Oreo wafer cookies
4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree (approx 1 3/4 cups)
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 16 muffin cups with paper liners. Place one wafer cookie in the bottom of each cup.
In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate in the microwave. Melt in 30 second intervals, stirring regularly, to ensure chocolate does not burn.
In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk and melted chocolate. Add in eggs, salt, spices and vanilla and whisk until well-combined. Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. It is ok for a portion of the batch to sit out on the counter if you need to bake in batches (allowing the pan to cool between each batch).
Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the pie filling is set and does not look liquid when the pan is jiggled.
Allow pies to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before refrigerating.