Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Eggland's Best Review and Giveaway: Eggnog Cheesecake with Honey Bourbon Praline Sauce




I am happy to say that this Scrooge is kinda, sorta beginning to get into the Christmas spirit. It gets harder and harder every year, because even though I love Christmas, it is hard to not fall victim to all the hype that we are subjected to beginning in October.

I have a hard time listening to Christmas music at Halloween, seeing Christmas decorations go up before Thanksgiving, and the worst of all, being slammed with advertising for the 4 a.m. Black Friday sales everywhere you go.

I try my best to get through it all by putting my blinders on, but that makes it tough to switch gears when December arrives. Since we are now well into December, I am finally giving my husband permission to put up the outside lights and myself permission to do a little Christmas baking.

This year I am getting a little help with my baking from Eggland's Best.  In case you are unfamiliar with their eggs, according to their packaging, when compared to ordinary eggs Eggland's Best are higher in vitamins and nutrients and lower in saturated fat. They also have 10 times more Vitamin E, 4 times more Vitamin D, more than double the Omega-3, 25% less saturated fat, 3 times more Vitamin B12, and 38% more lutein.  All this and the fact that they taste great and work beautifully in every recipe I have ever used them in, makes them a desired ingredient in my kitchen.

Since nothing gets me in the Christmas spirit like opening a gift, my holiday spirit got a little kickstart when I received a box full of gifts from Eggland's Best. In return for this box of goodies and one for me to giveaway to one of my readers, all they asked me to do was to create a holiday dessert that uses some of their eggs. No problem there!

During the holidays I like to really go all out and spoil my friends and family, and nothing does that like a cheesecake, especially my eggnog cheesecake with honey bourbon praline sauce. Rich, creamy and a little bit boozy, everyone loves this decadent, gooey dessert.



Eggnog Cheesecake with Honey Bourbon Praline Sauce

I am using a smaller size springform pan than the normal 9" pan.  I like using a 7" because it doesn't make such a huge cake. This time of year there are usually a couple of desserts on offer at any given celebration, so who wants or needs a gigantic cheesecake? I also find this size to be perfect for a party of 6 - 8. If  you only have a 9" pan, this recipe will still work it will just won't be as tall as mine.



Crust

1 cup cookie crumbs (I crushed 14 of my husband's favorite little almond windmill cookies in my mini processor, but you can use graham crackers if you prefer)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Place cookie crumbs, granulated sugar and melted butter in a medium size bowl. Blend ingredients together with a fork until it is combined. Spray the bottom of a 7" springform pan. Press crumbs onto the bottom and about half way up the sides of the pan. Don't worry if it is not perfectly even, this lends a pretty, rustic look to the finished cheesecake.

Place into the preheated oven and bake until set and golden brown around the edges, approximately 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.


Once crust is cooled, place the pan in the middle of a piece of foil. Pull foil up the sides and press around the outside of the pan to make a waterproof shield for the pan. Place the pan into a larger baking dish; set aside.

Filling

12 ounces (1-1/2, 8 ounce blocks) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, warmed to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup eggnog, room temperature




Place cream cheese and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or a medium size bowl using a hand mixer.  Mix until well blended and smooth.


Add eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition.



Add the vanilla extract, then slowly add the eggnog while beating at low speed. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the mixture is smooth and slightly thickened, approximately 2 - 3 minutes.



Pour filling into the cooled crust.



Pour enough boiling water into the outer pan to come up halfway up the sides of the foil covered springform pan. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 40 - 50 minutes.  You want to remove your cake when the cake is slightly "jiggly" in the center.



Remove from the oven. Leave the cheesecake in the water bath and let set until they are both cooled to room temperature.



After it has cooled, cover the pan and place in the refrigerator. Chill cake for at least four hours but preferably overnight. To serve, run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen edges. Remove outer band, loosen the cake from base and transfer to a serving plate. Serve with praline sauce, recipe follows.

Serves 8

Honey Bourbon Praline Sauce

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon bourbon (dark rum or brandy works well too)



Dry toast pecans in a skillet over medium high heat, stirring frequently until they are golden brown and aroma is released. Remove from the heat and set aside.



Melt butter in a shallow pan set over medium high heat.



Add brown sugar, stirring constantly until it is melted and well blended with the butter.





Stir in the honey, cream, bourbon and toasted pecans. Mix well. Cool to room temperature.  Pour over chilled cheesecake. This recipe makes enough for eight generous servings.

Now for a little giveaway:



Eggland's Best Eggs provided me with a gift pack and one to give away to one of my readers.  If you'd like to ring in 2014 with this cute little collection that includes a plush egg, a spatula, plastic bowl scraper, whisk, recycled carrier bag and a coupon for a free dozen of Eggland's Best, please just leave me a comment saying so.  That's it. Our little gift to you. I'll choose a winner on Wednesday, December 18th at noon mountain time.

If you would like more information about Eggland's Best Eggs, please click on their links below:

 


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