One thing I love about giving Kansas products and ingredients is that they will be put to good use! (Perhaps unlike that knit sweater from Great Aunt Mabel???) If you’re still hunting that hard-to-find gift, From The Land of Kansas has the answer in their Give the Gift of Kansas Gift Guide. In it you’ll find all kinds of delicious ingredients like Alma Cheese, Tonja’s Toffee (I mean who wouldn’t want a bag of toffee in their stocking?) and Prairie Harvest Peppernuts (these are actually a small, tasty German cookie!) “What would I do with Peppernuts,” you say? I’m so glad you asked…
I love my job because I get to take these wonderful Kansas ingredients and use them in creative ways that can get YOU, the home cook, into your kitchen and around the table.
Wondering what you would ever do with Peppernuts? Why not top an incredible cheesecake with them!
And IF you’ve got any of that toffee left, I’ve got the perfect ten-minute cheesecake recipe for that, too. Even Aunt Mabel will be impressed!
You’ll need a 7-inch springform pan in order to cook a cheesecake in a 6 quart pressure cooker – anything larger won’t fit down inside the pressure cooker pot. And apparently a 7-inch springform pan isn’t a mainstream size, at least in my area, so I went to a favorite culinary store to locate one. Keep it out of the dishwasher and it will last a long time!
½ cup crushed chocolate graham crackers or graham cracker cookies
4 Tbs. butter, melted
2 Tbs. granulated sugar
12 oz. cream cheese, must be room temperature before creating the filling (DO NOT SOFTEN CREAM CHEESE IN THE MICROWAVE! If cream cheese is softened in microwave instead of naturally coming to room temperature on the cupboard, you will be hugely disappointed with “gritty” cheesecake texture!! #lessonlearned #thehardway #sosad)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbs. all purpose flour
2 eggs, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
½ cup shredded toasted coconut
12-14 caramels, unwrapped
3-4 Tbs. heavy cream
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chips
½ cup chopped Tonja’s Toffee
Coat the springform pan with non-stick baking spray.
In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs with the sugar and melted butter; spread this mixture evenly across the bottom and a bit up the sides of the prepared springform pan, pressing it out evenly and firmly.
In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed until smooth; add cream, sour cream, vanilla, and flour. Beat in eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, mixing batter a bit in between each one, taking care not to over mix.
Pour batter into springform pan over prepared crust; cover pan with aluminum foil.
Pour 1 cup water into pot of pressure cooker, then add trivet to bottom. Carefully center the filled cheesecake pan onto a foil sling* and slowly lower it into the pressure cooker pot. Fold sling ends down so foil doesn’t interfere with securing the lid.
Lock pressure cooker lid in place. Choose high pressure setting and set timer for 35 minutes. When beep sounds, turn off pressure cooker; use a natural release for 10 minutes, then a quick pressure release to let any remaining steam in the cooker escape. Carefully remove lid and lift cheesecake out of pot, using the foil sling. Check to see if cheesecake is fairly set in the center; if not, return cheesecake to pressure cooker pot and cook an additional 5 minutes on high setting, doing a quick pressure release at the end of the cook time.
Remove the springform pan to a wire rack to cool; remove aluminum foil. When cheesecake has cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6-8 hours.
When cheesecake is chilled, prepare toppings by placing caramels and cream in a small bowl and microwaving on high in 30 second intervals until caramels are melted, stirring in between until mixture is smooth. When caramel mixture has cooled slightly, add toasted coconut and carefully spread over the top of cheesecake. Melt chocolate in a glass bowl on 50% power in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each one until chocolate is melted and smooth; pour chocolate into a quart bag, snipping off one corner of the bag. Drizzle melted chocolate over the caramel coconut mixture and down the sides of the cheesecake, if desired. Top cheesecake with chopped toffee. To serve, slice cheesecake into 12-16 pieces, depending on your guests.
** To make an aluminum sling, fold a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil (approx. 18” in length) into thirds lengthwise.
CARAMEL CHEESECAKE WITH PEPPERNUT CRUST
Here’s a New York style cheesecake that can be garnished with your favorite fruit topping, if you prefer. This cheesecake generously serves 8, or you may want to cut it into 12 smaller portions since it’s so decadent. If you don’t care for the flavor of anise, be sure to use the Anise-Free Prairie Harvest Peppernuts instead of the traditional.
2 cups finely ground Prairie Harvest Traditional Peppernuts
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
32 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
12-15 caramels, unwrapped
1-2 Tbs. whipping cream
½ cup Prairie Harvest Traditional Peppernuts
In a mixing bowl, combine the crust ingredients together until mixture comes together evenly. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick baking spray, then firmly press the mixture over the bottom and slightly up the sides of the pan, using your fingers to press out evenly and firmly.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling by beating the cream cheese with an electric mixer set on low for 2 minutes until nicely smooth; add the sour cream and sugar, and beat another minute until creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, slowly beating in between each addition; stir in the vanilla, taking care not to over mix cheesecake batter. Pour batter into the prepared springform pan over the prepared crust, smoothing the top with a spatula.
Place prepared cheesecake onto a set of heavy-duty aluminum foil sheets placed on top of each other, tightly wrapping foil up the sides of the pan all around to keep water from seeping into the sides and bottom of the springform pan. Place wrapped cheesecake pan into a large roasting pan; pour boiling water into the roasting pan until water is about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan, creating a water bath.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Carefully place cheesecake in water bath onto center rack of oven and bake, uncovered, for 1 hour and 25 minutes. Cheesecake will still jiggle a bit at the center, but this will firm up when cheesecake chills. Remove cheesecake from water bath; loosen cheesecake edges from pan by running a thin metal knife around interior of pan wall at the outside edge. Let cheesecake cool for 1 hour, then place into refrigeration, loosely covered, for 6-8 hours.
To prepare topping, combine caramels with cream in a small bowl and heat on full power in 30 second intervals until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth, stirring in between. Let caramel mixture cool slightly, then pour over top of cheesecake; top caramel with peppernuts. To serve cheesecake, slice with a knife that has been dipped in hot water and wiped dry, cleaning knife after each slice.
Now You’re Cookin’,
**These recipes were featured on Chef Alli’s Farm Fresh Kitchen with From the Land of Kansas, as part of WIBW 13 News This Morning, December 2015. To order your favorite From the Land of Kansas products and ingredients, visit our new ecommerce site and don’t forget to download your Kansas Gift Giving Guide!