I forgot to say, Thanksgiving was great. Now that I really have kids, I have a better appreciation for being able to spend time with family. On the other hand, my husband got stuck in the basement watching all the kids. From toddlers and tweens to teens, my husband became the “unofficial” referee of the rowdy bunch releasing all their energy.
Well, if you are looking for some recipes for Christmas or any Holiday party. I make a Sweet Potato Casserole and a Deep Dark Chocolate Cheesecake (for all the chocoholics) that seem to be a hit every year. I can take no credit for the recipes.
The Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole comes from Cooking Light.
14 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato (about 5 pounds)
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 375°.Place potato in a Dutch oven, and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 12 minutes or until tender. Drain.
Combine the half-and-half and next 4 ingredients (half-and-half through egg) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add potato to egg mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Spoon potato mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Combine flour and sugar in a food processor; pulse to combine. Add chilled butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in pecans; sprinkle over potato mixture.
Cover and bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 25 minutes or until the topping is browned and the potatoes are thoroughly heated.
Tip: I double the streuseled topping.
Here is the recipe for the Deep Dark Chocolate Cheesecake. I found it on Epicurious. (This is a great search engine for amazing, gourmet recipes.) This recipe hails from Bon Appetit magazine and is easy to make. It says to use the Scharffen Berger chocolate and I would recommend, if possible, not changing that because it lends to an amazing, rich cheesecake that will be a great hit.
24 chocolate wafer cookies (from one 9-ounce package)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 9.7-ounce bar Scharffen Berger 70% Cocoa Bittersweet Chocolate,* chopped
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Scharffen Berger)
4 large eggs
3/4 cup whipping cream
6 ounces Scharffen Berger 70% Cocoa Bittersweet Chocolate,* chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
Bittersweet chocolate curls
*If unavailable, substitute another high-quality bittersweet chocolate.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 3-inch-high sides. Blend cookies in processor until finely ground; blend in sugar. Add melted butter and process until well blended. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom (not sides) of prepared pan. Bake just until set, about 5 minutes. Cool while preparing filling. Maintain oven temperature.
Stir chopped chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water; cool chocolate until lukewarm but still pourable. Blend cream cheese, sugar, and cocoa powder in processor until smooth. Blend in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in lukewarm chocolate. Pour filling over crust; smooth top. Bake until center is just set and just appears dry, about 1 hour. Cool 5 minutes. Run knife around sides of cake to loosen. Chill overnight.
Stir cream, 6 ounces chocolate, and sugar in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until smooth. Cool slightly. Pour over center of cheesecake, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edge and filling any cracks. Chill until topping is set, about 1 hour. Do ahead: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover with foil and keep refrigerated.
Release pan sides. Transfer cheesecake to platter. Top with chocolate curls. Let stand 2 hours at room temperature before serving.