First Snow 2009

Today is the first Sunday of December and it brought with it a little surprise for us. I woke up this morning, rolled over to look out the window and saw that the big tree outside of our bedroom window was covered in gorgeous white snow! It had been snowing when we went to bed last night but I didn’t think it’d result in much accumulation. I came downstairs, grabbed my camera and took the photo above from the patio door in the back of our house. This was a perfect introductory storm. We only got a few inches and the sun came out immediately to start melting it for us. I look forward to more snow this winter, though I’m pretty sure I’m alone in that opinion.

SMS Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake

On to today’s business… This week’s SMS, our last of the year, was chosen by Shandy of Pastry Heaven: chocolate espresso cheesecake with blackberry glaze! There is a lot of baking going on around here lately and only so many people to give things to so I decided to scale this recipe way back. Plus, the full recipe is baked in an 8″ springform, which I don’t own. I wound up going with 1/4 of the recipe, which yielded one full size cheesecake in my 4″ springform as well as enough leftover batter to make a second very thin 4″ cheesecake.

SMS Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake

Aside from scaling the recipe back, I didn’t modify the ingredients at all. The recipe is simple, though there are a lot of steps and you will wind up with a sink full of dishes! I skipped the water bath when baking my minis and also disregarded the baking instructions in the book. With the oven at 300 F, I found that my minis needed about 30-35 minutes for the center to set. I took them out of the oven to cool on a rack, skipping the step of leaving them in the oven after turning it off. I didn’t have blackberry preserves so I skipped the glaze, opting instead to pipe a few small piles of whipped cream on top.

SMS Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake

The verdict? The cheesecake was good – very creamy! It is, however, incredibly rich. I couldn’t eat more than a few bites so I was glad I’d opted for the minis. I’m going to share the full size mini with my mom tomorrow. She’s a big fan of the chocolate/cheesecake combo so I think she’ll really enjoy this dessert. Thanks to Shandy for hosting this week! You can find the recipe on her blog or in the book. We’ll be back in 2010 with more delicious recipes from the Sweet Melissa Baking Book – hope to see you then :)