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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Baking Adventure: Chocolate Truffle Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake

Prepare yourselves, Adventurers! Today, I present my ALL-TIME FAVORITE CHEESECAKE! Over Valentine's Day, I created a Chocolate Truffle Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake. Yup, that's right! Chocolate, strawberries, AND cheesecake! Talk about the ultimate Valentine's Day dessert for your loved ones!
Chocolate Truffle Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake
This cheesecake had chopped up chocolate truffles and a strawberry swirl heart pattern that was just perfect for the occasion!
Strawberry Swirl Heart Pattern on Cheesecake (Before Baking)
The pattern didn't hold up as well after baking, but it still tasted delicious! Just like chocolate-covered strawberries with cheesecake! Seriously... BEST. CHEESECAKE. EVER!
Strawberry Swirl Heart Pattern (After Baking)
I made the Strawberry Sauce a night before baking the cheesecake so I wouldn't have to worry about cooling the sauce. This cheesecake was also made with less sugar because my family doesn't like desserts that are overly sweet and I knew the chocolate truffles would add a lot for sweetness. Feel free to add more sugar if you want though! The tartness from the strawberry sauce balanced with the sweet chocolate and rich cheesecake was just perfection. Everyone in my family loved it!


2 pkg (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 ready-to-use graham cracker crumb crust (6 oz.)
~8 chocolate truffles, cut into 8ths
Strawberry Sauce (See Recipe Below)

  1.  Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Blend cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and eggs in a blender until smooth.
  3. Pour about 1/3 of the cheesecake batter into the crust and spread to evenly coat the bottom crust.
  4. Distribute chopped chocolate truffles evenly on batter.
  5. Cover the truffles with the remaining cheesecake batter.
  6. Level out the cheesecake batter and tap the cheesecake on the counter a few times to release any bubbles. (Use a toothpick to pop any stubborn bubbles.)
  7. Place small dots of strawberry sauce (about 1 cm in diameter) in circles around your cheesecake.
  8. Use a toothpick or knife to run through each dot to make a heart pattern.
  9. Place cheesecake into a larger roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with water until it reaches about halfway up the cheesecake.
  10. Carefully place roasting pan with the cheesecake into the oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until the center is almost set.
  11. Cool and refrigerate for 3 hours.
  12. Serve with additional strawberry sauce.

2 cups sliced strawberries
1½ Tablespoons lemon juice (or juice from ~1/3 of a lemon)
4 Tablespoons sugar (adjust depending on strawberries’ sweetness)
1 Tablespoon cornstarch

  1.  Blend the strawberries and sugar in a blender until smooth.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and cornstarch.
  3. Add lemon juice mixture to the strawberry mixture and blend until combined.
  4. Strain the mixture into a medium saucepan to remove the seeds.
  5. Simmer over medium heat until the mixture starts to boil. Stir frequently and cook a few more minutes or until it thickens. 
  6. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate if not using immediately.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Candy Adventure: Chocolate-covered Domo-kun Marshmallows

Happy Valentine's Day, Adventurers!

In America, guys usually give candy, flowers, and/or other gifts to the leading ladies in their lives on Valentine's Day. However, in Japan, girls give chocolates to guys instead. Honmei-choco are chocolates given to guys that girls have romantic feelings for. This would typically include crushes, boyfriends, and husbands. Giri-choco, on the other hand, are "obligation chocolates" given to guys that girls have no romantic interest in. Think of your guy friends, male co-workers, and male bosses. Honmei-choco are usually higher quality than giri-choco and often homemade.

If you're interested in making your own easy chocolate gift this year, try making these Chocolate-covered Domo-kun Marshmallows!
Chocolate-covered Domo-kun Marshmallows

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Baking Misadventure: Pokeball Cake Pops

Alas, Adventurers! Not every quest ends in victory. We can't rescue the princess every time. We can't defeat every boss monster. We can't beat every gym leader. And we most certainly can't catch ALL the pokemon. At least not on our first try. (Especially when Pokemon's creators keep making new, ridiculous pokemon. *ahem* Garbodor, I'm look at you!)
Pokeball Cake Pops
Sometimes, things just don't work out the way you want them to and these Pokeball Cake Pops are Exhibit #1. It was my first time ever making cake balls and they ended up lumpy and uneven and just sad. A total fail in my book. BUT I wanted to share them with you anyway.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Snack Attack: Special Koala no March Cookie Flavors

Japanese snacks fascinate me. Not only are they delicious, but they also come in rare, limited edition flavors. If you guys have been following my blog, you know I'm quite obsessed with Pocky. (You can read my posts about special Pocky flavors here and here.) I'm also totally obsessed with Koala no March cookies, which are crunchy koala-shaped cookies commonly filled with chocolate or strawberry filling. Occasionally, I'll find limited edition flavors at Japanese markets like Mitsuwa or Marukai and it takes every. ounce. of. my. willpower. not to buy them all! I did cave and try two of the specialty flavors though.

Koala no March - Creamy Caffellatte
The first flavor was "Creamy Caffellatte." When I first opened the package, I noticed a strong coffee smell.
Koala no March - Creamy Caffellatte Cookies
If you've ever seen these cookies, you know how adorable each koala is! They each have different outfits, facial expressions, and poses. I love the ones that are dressed in traditional Asian clothes. The ones with a baby koala are also very kawaii~
Koala no March - Creamy Caffellatte Cookie (Inside)
Creamy Caffellatte had a strong coffee flavor. They were sweet with a slightly bitter coffee taste and an artificial vanilla creaminess.

Koala no March - Cocoa & Vanilla Ice
The other flavor I tried was "Cocoa & Vanilla Ice." It said "Cocoa & Vanilla Ice" on the English nutrition label on the back, but you can see ice cream on the package.
Koala no March - Cocoa & Vanilla Ice Cookies
These cookies had a chocolate outer shell that didn't taste chocolatey.
Koala no March - Cocoa & Vanilla Ice Cookies (Inside)
They smelled like vanilla and had a very sweet vanilla cream center. The cookies were sort of like ice cream with little crunchy "chocolate" bits - a clever execution of the ice cream concept, for sure, but I wish it had more chocolate flavor.
Koala no March - Barcode
These cookies were still super cute though! Just look at the barcode! Alas, I wish I could try more flavors!  

Koala no March Cookie Ornaments
As a bonus, check out these Koala no March ornaments I ordered online! They're the exact size of actual cookies and are now my favorite Christmas ornaments! I like the ninja the best.

What special flavors of Koala no March have you tried? Feel free to let me know what snacks you're addicted to in the comments below!

Disclaimer: All products were purchased by me with my own money. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.
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