Peanut butter cheesecake

This blog is not dead, it’s just, um…sleeping.  And I’m rousing it (possibly briefly) to share with you a recipe.  For Reese’s peanut butter cup cheesecake.

Yes, you read that right.

I’m blogging much more frequently these days at Evidence-Based Skeptic, but cheesecake doesn’t quite fit with that does it? It doesn’t really fit with a fitness blog either, but sssssh.

I made this cheesecake for my lovely other half’s birthday, and the most challenging thing was the recipe.  How exactly does one know how many whole oreos to use to make 4.5 cups of crumbs?!  How do you know how much butter to cut from the block, so that once melted it’ll be half a cup?!  Fear not – I’ve done the experimenting (and googling) for you, and I present you with my simplified (reasonably idiot-proof) recipe.

You will need

an 8″ spring form tin

a set of measuring cups

a blender or food processor (not essential)

scales (not essential)

couple of mixing bowls

various spoons for mixing & scraping

lots of time (an hour or so for prep, 90 mins in the oven, an hour to cool, and 4 hours in the fridge)

For the crust

2 packets of oreo cookies (28 in total)

1/3 cup melted butter (roughly 85g – you could measure with a scale, or use the lines on the pack to guesstimate how much to use – precision isn’t crucial here)

2/3 cup chopped roasted peanuts (I used mixed chopped nuts)

For the filling

600g cream cheese (two large packs)

3 eggs (mine were medium-sized, seemed to work fine)

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (mine was light brown)

2/3 cup smooth peanut butter

1/3 cup whipping cream

2/3 teaspoon vanilla extract

12 Reese’s peanut butter cups, chopped into pieces (I cut each one into 6 pieces, like tiny pie slices)

For the topping

1/4 cup sour cream

1/3 cup sugar (I used caster)

To make the cheesecake

  1. Crush the oreos into crumbs. A food processor will do this easily, but my rickety old jug blender also managed just fine, about half a pack at a time. Alternatively, shove them in a bag and use a rolling pin to bash them into submission.
  2. Add the nuts and crushed oreos to the melted butter, and mix ’til you have a warm, heavenly-scented bowl of excellence.
  3. Grease the spring-form pan, then use a metal spoon to press the oreo mixture onto the bottom and sides. Wrap the pan in a layer (or two, or more) of tin foil to stop water getting into it later.
  4. Dump the cream cheese into a large bowl and mix until soft (if you take it out of the fridge an hour or so in advance, it should be plenty soft enough).  You can use a food processor for this, but it is very easy to do by hand too.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, and mix thoroughly after each one.
  6. Add the sugar, peanut butter, and cream, and mix until thoroughly combined. Add the vanilla extract.
  7. Fold in the chunks of nine chopped peanut butter cups, then pour the whole lot into the prepared oreo crust.
  8. Place the foil-wrapped cheesecake dish into a roasting dish (or other receptacle large enough to hold it), and fill the outer dish with hot water, so that the water comes about an inch up the sides of the cheesecake pan.
  9. Pop into the oven at gas mark 1 (275F, 135C) for about 90 minutes, until it’s reasonably well set, and golden brown on top.
  10. Just before the 90 mins is up, mix together the ingredients for the topping.  Once the timer’s up, spread the topping on the cheesecake and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
  11. Carefully remove the cheesecake from its water bath and foil, and leave the whole thing on a wire tray to cool for an hour (about half way through this time, I cut up the remaining three peanut butter cups, and used them to decorate the top). When the hour’s up, move it to the fridge for at least four more hours (preferably more – mine was still gooey in the middle after four hours. Maybe overnight is your best bet).
  12. Run a knife round the edge of the cheesecake to release it from the tin, then carefully remove the springform.  Enjoy peanut buttery goodness 🙂

The original of this recipe can be found here.  It demands a 10″ tin and uses larger quantity, so if you want a truly epic cheesecake that’s the one to go for.  As a nerdy sidenote, I was rather proud of myself when I converted the recipe from the 10″ to the 8″ pan with a simple application of trusty geometry – area = pi*radius squared, and since the depth of a cake tin doesn’t vary much, the 8″ pan has about 2/3 the volume of the larger one.  The quantities I’ve quoted above aren’t exactly 2/3 of the original, but my cheesecake was delicious nonetheless.

Advertisements

Um, ouch

So the other day I accidentally ended up doing workout 1B from the New Rules of Lifting for Women. Today, therefore, I decided to do workout 1A. Yeah, what’s your point?
It’s a simple workout; squats, push-ups, seated rows, step-ups and jackknifes. I don’t have access to any kind of squat rack, so I decided front squats would make a reasonable substitute for back squats, and that I’d start light with 20kg. I haven’t squatted in a long time so I knew it’d be tough, and indeed the first set was challenging. What I didn’t expect was the burning, cramping pain in my quads that developed just as I was about to start set 2. Oh my. Apparently I’ve let myself go even more than I thought…
The second set didn’t feel particularly awful, and the rest of the workout was fine, but an hour later I already had pain in my quads that felt like really bad DOMS.
This should not happen after 2 sets of 15 (light) squats, and it does not bode well for tomorrow…

New rules, revisited

So today I found myself in a gym, with 40 minutes to kill. That never happens! So I had a flip back through my blog to find an early workout from Alwyn Cosgrove & Lou Schuler’s New Rules of Lifting for Women. I wanted to do workout 1A, but there’s no squat rack here (I know, right?!); workout 1B, however, was perfect.
The Olympic bar was in use, so some quick improvisation was in order. My super quick training session looked like this:

  • kettlebell deadlifts, 2×15, 48kg. These were far too light, but the heaviest bells here are the 24kgs. Oh well!
  • dumbbell shoulder press, 2×15, 8kg. First set felt fine, second set was a nice challenge.
  • wide grip lat pulldowns, 2×15. I have no idea what weight I used because, I shit you not, the stacks here are unmarked. All of them. So if you want to do any kind of cable pull you just have to guess how much you want to lift.
  • bodyweight lunges, 2×30. Probably need to add weight to these, but my knees don’t feel too clever at the moment.
  • Swiss ball crunches, 10kg on chest, 2×8. Far, far, far too easy. May substitute for leg raises or similar if I do this again.
  • So that was an unexpected but highly enjoyable workout. I don’t have time to do the programme twice a week as it demands, but I think I’ll dig out the book and write out some workouts I can do at moments like this. It’s far too long since I lifted free weights consistently, and I feel the love affair rekindling 🙂

    Stats

    I am getting worryingly interested in the stats offered by wordpress about my blog.  There is something mystical about being able to see what search terms someone has used to find my tiny little corner of Teh Interwebz, but something dangerous too.

    By far the most commonly used term to find me is “kettlebell pentathlon”.  This is gratifying, since it’s something I’m interested in and it’s nice to share it with people.  But it also makes a tiny little bit of me spam those words over EVERY SINGLE PAGE just to see what happens.  This part of me must not win.

    It is also apparent that one day this week someone, somewhere on facebook linked to my blog, because I got well over 100 hits in one day, and most of them were on my pentathlon post.  And I have no way of telling who, because the referrer was just “facebook.com”.  That same little part of my soul wants to start trawling facebook to find out WHO WAS IT!!???!!1!!

    But it won’t win.  I hope….

    Eeep!

    Uh-oh.

    Something awful has happened, blog land. I’m in breach of blog pact, and the wrath of the Simple Dog is about to be unleashed upon me. My problem here is not a lack of subject material, but a lack of hours in the day to spend putting thoughts to keyboard, so I think a series of mini-posts are the way forward here. I wanted to tell The Story of the Grand Eurogamer Expo Adventure all in a oner, but instead I shall string you along, all string-like 😀

    So the last time Tony and I went away was last November, putting a grand total of 10 months in between trips. Also, the last trip was a visit to my mother’s, which, fun as it was, does not rank high in the all-out excitement stakes. We wanted to go to last year’s Eurogamer, but due to total ineptitude (ie complete and utter failures to actually buy tickets or arrange transport) failed miserably; this year we were better prepared.

    The Eurogamer Expo is an annual event, and is basically an excuse for several thousand excited geeks to get together in one place, play video games before they are released, talk to the developers, and get loads of free stuff. For the princely sum of £10 each, 8 hours of joyous geekery was ours!

    So I took a lovely sunny Friday off work, and we started the day with a fry-up of epic proportions at our favourite café. The train to London was actually rather enjoyable (no doubt helped by the cans of Stella Artois that hitched a lift with us), and the day was only marginally dampened by the discovery that our hotel room for the night was in actual fact a bright orange shoebox. Seriously, I’m barely exaggerating here.

    20111004-172308.jpg

    But that was just a further kick in the pants to get out of the hotel room and out into the streets of London. The Earl’s Court area proved to be busy and vibrant, and after a leisurely recce (Earl’s Court exhibition centre located, venue for breakfast chosen, beer consumed) we went for a burger. This burger practically deserves a post of its own because it was almost a sexual experience; seriously the best burger I have ever had in my life. There was bacon. There was cheese. There were onion rings. There was even a little pickled gherkin on top. Win!

    20111004-172543.jpg

    The burger led to further beer, and an encounter in a bar with a lovely man who gave us top tips about all the best bits of the expo. And thus, well fed and watered and armed with information, we retired to the Orange Shoebox of Joy to get our heads down in preparation for the expo itself….

    Emergency post

    This is a spur-of-the-moment, emergency blog post in order to avoid breaching the terms of The Blog Pact.  It’s been a busy weekend, and I have much to say, but I cannot guarantee that I’ll stay awake long enough to say it.  Hence the emergency post.

    I shall endeavour to tell you tales of London, cosplay and free stuff in the very near future, but in the mean time you shall have to be satisfied with this little piece of awesome, which made me happier than I care to admit.

    A well-earned chillout

    Greetings, blogosphere!

    This is the first afternoon I can remember in a very long time where I don’t have something that has to be done right NAOW!!1!  It’s nice, if I’m honest – very nice indeed!

    There’s not much to report on the training front, apart from another pentathlon attempt.  My scores (all with 12kg) were:

    • Clean – 120 (+30 seconds spare)
    • Long cycle press – 60 (+1m14s)
    • Jerk – 113
    • Half snatch – 108
    • Push press – 120 +4s
    So that’s every lift lift maxed, except the jerk, for a total of 781.5 points.  Quite a long way to go to reach the necessary score to enter the “extreme” category!  Once again I didn’t have a 16kg pro-grade bell available, and the first two lifts are clearly far too easy with 12kg.  I’m currently occupied with brushing up on my excel syntax, and building myself a spreadsheet to help plan what reps I need to reach.  Geekgasm 🙂
    Other than that I’ve done nothing but join in with the occasional kettlebell class (coaching more than training lately though), and eating an unreasonable amount of baked goods.  My fiancé’s mother has been very ill, so between that and working full time, we are struggling just to get enough sleep most days.
    So a Sunday afternoon with nothing to do is just about perfect 🙂

    Previous Older Entries