Friday, October 29, 2010

Best birthday gift ever pt. 2...

 I blogged a few days ago about Cynthia Nims' delightful Gourmet Game Night cookbook that my sister sent me for my birthday.  I LOVE food and cooking and experimenting with different styles of cuisine and I also love games (obviously).  So this was a match made in heaven...

The book itself is a treasure-trove of surprisingly good recipes.  I've been drooling over the Homemade Pretzel Sticks with Three Mustards and the Banana Bread with Hazelnut Cream Cheese Filling (I know, seriously.)  The book even has a list of some great game stores in the US and gives props to not only the classic games but also to Ticket To Ride and Apples To Apples.  Nice!

I'm also happy to report that the author also has a website here with tons more recipes and ideas and rules to a few simple games.  I'm in heaven.  Here's a recent mouth-watering recipe from her website:
Mocha Cheesecake Bars
from Gourmet Game Night (c) Cynthia Nims

The ever-popular cheesecake makes an easy transition to game night, taking on a shallower square form that’s easy to cut into finger-friendly pieces. If you’re unable to find simple chocolate wafer cookies (the Nabisco brand wafers are a great choice), you can use graham crackers crumbs instead for the crust.
1 1/4 cups very fine chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (4 to 5 ounces cookies)

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons Kahlua or other coffee liqueur

1 tablespoon instant espresso powder

3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a medium bowl, combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter and stir to evenly mix. Put the crumb mixture in a 9-inch square cake pan and press the crumbs evenly across the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust until set, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 F.
Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over medium heat, stirring occasionally. (Alternatively, melt the chocolate in a microwave.) Take the top bowl from the heat and stir in the coffee liqueur and espresso powder. Set aside to cool.
Whip the cream cheese and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until well blended. Add the eggs and continue beating to make a smooth batter, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the chocolate mixture until thoroughly incorporated.
Pour the batter onto the cooled crust and spread it out evenly. Bake the cheesecake until set, 35 to 40 minutes. Set aside on a wire rack to cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
Cut the cheesecake into 5 strips each direction, for 25 squares. Arrange them on a platter or tray and serve.
Makes 25 cheesecake bars
↑ can double all ingredients, making the cheesecake in 2 pans
↓ best not to halve; extra will keep well for a few days, covered and refrigerated
¤ can make the cheesecake up to 2 days ahead, cover, and refrigerate

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