I got my first piece of mail that was addressed to Oven Adventures. I opened it up and was so excited to see Whitewater Cooks with Friends by Shelley Adams. Shelley is from Nelson, BC, a picturesque community set on Kootney Lake. A cookbook, from a BC woman, I was totally in!
I cracked open Whitewater Cooks with Friends I was immediately hit by this gorgeous picture of a Banana Chocolate Icebox Cake and a golden retriever (Tempy) laying on the beach eyes riveted on the cake. I knew immediately, this was going to be my kinda book. The pictures are bright, colourful and fresh, which resonates with the recipes throughout.
First, I made the Toffee Crunch Lunch Box Cookies. Anything that has the word trashy in the notes, is my kinda cookie. These got giant thumbs up by every one. They were perfectly sweet and simple.
I love the fact that the recipes and all on one page, ingredients and instructions. Almost every recipe has a picture. No recipe is too complicated or intimidating. There are even tips on plating. The salad section in this book is incredible. I know it sounds weird, but seriously I pretty much bookmarked the entire section.
I had to try one out right away. I had never had bread salad so figured I would give it a shot. I made the Tuscan Bread Salad with the Best Basil Vinaigrette Ever. When Shelley says this is the best basil vinaigrette ever she is NOT lying. I will totally admit to eating it right off the spoon. It was crazy good. Plus, from start to finish this only took me an hour and that included roasting the peppers, peeling them and making the vingette. If I had done any prep at all, this would have taken me no time. This seems to be the theme throughout the book, a little prep and you can still be entertaining guests while making a fabulous dinner.
Finally, I decided on blogging the Baby Mocha Cheesecakes. Best decision I’ve made in a while.
When you open this book it feels like a friend jotted down her favorite recipes and passed them along, tips and all. You can’t help but feel like calling up your friends, getting your wine on and making anything and everything from this book. If you entertain at all, but especially in the summer, you are going to want to pick up a copy. The recipes are all about fresh, local ingredients, sharing and spending time with friends and family and eating really good food.
I loved the crust! The addition of almonds in the crust cuts down on the sweetness and gives the crust some depth. The cheesecake itself is smooth and creamy and would be absolutely perfect for after a big dinner. The coffee is not lost as is sometimes the case and you get these beautiful flecks of the ground espresso throughout. The only change I made was not using chocolate whipped cream but instead opting for plain. My only small issue is that the recipe makes 12 and I found there should have been more cheesecake. If I were to make them again I would only make 11 and up the cheesecake in each cup.
Mini Mocha Cheesecakes – makes 12
Chocolate Almond Crust
1/2 c chocolate cookie crumbs
1/2 c ground almonds
2 tbs granulated sugar
3 tbs butter – melted
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Baby Mocha Cheesecakes
1 250 gr (8oz) package of cream cheese – room temp
1/4 c granulated sugar
2 tbs sour cream
1 egg – room emp
2 oz good quality dark chocolate – melted
1 tsp espresso coffee – very finely ground (not instant espresso)
2 tbs coffee liqueur or 1 tbs vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
Topping (what I used)
1 c whipped cream
12 slices of strawberries
cocoa powder for dusting
Preheat oven to 325 F. Move oven rack to the middle position.
Line muffin tins with paper liners.
In a medium bowl mix chocolate cookie crumbs, ground almonds, cinnamon, sugar and melted butter. Mix with a fork all of the mixture is moist. Divide evenly among the 12 cups and press firmly into the bottoms. Set aside.
In a food processor place cream cheese and sugar. Blend until smooth and fluffy. Add in the sour cream, egg, melted chocolate, ground espresso, coffee liqueur or vanilla and salt. Mix until well combined.
Scoop the mixture into the liners and smooth out.
Bake for 15 minutes. The cheesecakes may puff a bit while cooking a fall while cooling.
Cool 30 minutes, peel off the liners. Garnish with whipped cream just before serving.
* I used 6 oreos and a scant 1/2 c whole almonds to get the 1/2 cookie crumbs and 1/2 ground almonds for the crust
From Whitewater Cooks with Friends.
*I was compensated with a free copy of Whitewater Cooks with Friends. All opinions are entirely my own.*