Category Archives: Cheesecake

Guinness Cheesecake and Tips for Cheesecake Success

It is St. Patrick’s day tomorrow which means you have to run around in green and drink copious amounts of Irish beer and eat corned beef and cabbage… or something. I prefer Oktoberfest when it comes to cuisine, but I will play along for fun.

I have never been a big fan of drinking Guinness. I feel like I have just eaten a peanut butter sandwich with no milk after I finish a glass. So I will celebrate the day by baking it into a cheesecake. The combination of Guinness and dark chocolate is always a good one. The flavors mix well together and you are left with just a taste of Guinness and a lot of chocolate.

This is the recipe I made. The only thing I did differently is I used ground up animal crackers instead of graham crackers.

Tips for making a good cheesecake:

  • Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature. Cream it with your mixer until it is completely smooth. If there are lumps in the batter, there will be lumps in your final cheesecake.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl a lot. I usually scrape them down after I mix in each ingredient. If it is an extra thick batter, stop in the middle of mixing and scrape them down. If you don’t, a lot of times you will end up with unmixed ingredients in the bottom of the bowl when you go to pour the batter in the pan.
  • Add eggs very last and one at a time. You don’t want to over mix the eggs. I put them in one at a time, mix until just blended (just after you can’t see the egg yolk any more). Scrape down the sides between each one. After adding the last one, scrape down the sides and mix for another 10-20 seconds.
  • Bake until the center is just set. It should be a little jiggly in the middle. Cheesecake is so dense that it will continue to bake after taking it out of the over. If you bake it till it is firm, you will end up with an overcooked and probably burnt final product.
  • Cool on the counter for at least and hour and in the fridge for at least 6 hours. I usually bake cheesecake the day before so it has plenty of time to cool down. If the flavors have time to sit and meld together, you will have a much better tasting cheesecake.

Now if you need me, because Wegmans wouldn’t let me buy just one bottle of Guinness, I will be scouring Pinterest for ways to use up the rest of this beer.

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Coconut Macaroon Cheesecake

I am a big fan of macaroons and cheesecake. This turned out to be an excellent combination. I rarely make the same cheesecake twice, but I think this one will be a repeat performer. It turned out so pretty. Just make sure you use a very sharp knife to cut it so the egg whites on top don’t get mangled when you serve it. 
Crust
  • 1 2/3 cups flaked coconut, toasted
    • to toast coconut, lay it in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 5-10 minutes, stirring every minute keep it from burning or undercooking.
  • ½ cup ground almonds (I used almonds that had been coated with cocoa powder, this was a good choice)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
Cheesecake
  • 24 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 eggs

Meringue

  • 3 egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 tablespoons sugar

Topping

  • 1/3 cup flaked coconut (don’t toast this ahead of time, it will brown in the oven)
  • 1 ounce semisweet chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon shortening

1. Mix almonds, 1 cup of the toasted coconut and melted butter and press into a 9 inch springform pan. Set aside.

Almonds Coconut and Butter Pressed into Crust

2. Beat cream cheese, almond extract and sugar until light and fluffy. Then add eggs, one at a time, until just combined. Scrape the side of the bowl and the beater before adding the next egg. Pour mixture into crust and bake for 40 minutes at 350. (While it is baking do step 3) It won’t be set when you take it out, sprinkle the rest of the toasted coconut on it.

After cheesecake comes out of the oven the first time, sprinkle with the rest of the toasted coconut

3. Beat room temperature egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. If you have an electric mixer, this does not take long, maybe a minute or two. Then add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, while the mixer is running until stiff peaks form. I let mine go to long and it got a little too stiff which makes it hard to spread.

Whip egg whites not quit this long. These were really stiff and hard to spread.

4. Gently spread egg white mixture on top of the cheesecake. You can smooth it out or leave the peaks, mine was too clumped to leave it unsmoothed. Once you are satisfied with how it looks, spread the untoasted coconut on top. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes till the coconut starts to brown.

Egg Whites and Coconut should just start to turn brown when it is done

5. Let it cool on a wire rack for about an hour. Then place in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Just before serving, melt the chocolate and shortening and mix together till smooth. I usually do this in the microwave at 40% power, stirring every minute. Drizzle chocolate over the top and stick it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to harden the chocolate.

Dump chocolate on it after it has cooled. It really does look like a coconut macaroon cookie when it is finished.

Recipe originally published in Better Homes and Gardens