White Chocolate and Maple Macadamia Baked Cheesecake with Candied Bacon

Happy Birthday to me! I decided to make myself a cake resembling a pizza/cheese and bacon roll this year. Although, it was not my first intention, I’m quite happy with how it looks, it’s a little rustic, not the prettiest, but it tastes good 😉 I was very excited about this cake, as it was something I had in my mind for a while, and I thought, what better occasion to make it than my own birthday! I am a very big fan of baked cheesecakes, and I have made a few in my time, but the only thing that puts me off baking them more often is that they are time consuming, and soooo expensive. Especially when you put a big packet of macadamias in it, and real maple syrup, which costs a small fortune on its own. Nonetheless, it was very delicious.

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I have used this recipe before to make a raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake, and it’s really great. You can play around with flavours, too, which is always good. Aside from the cheesecake itself, I kind of made the other bits up in my head, which is a sure fire sign of a great recipe!

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Baked Cheesecake: (adapted from Taste.com.au)

  • Melted butter, to grease tin
  • 250g plain, sweet biscuits (I used Arnott’s plain Teddy Bears)
  • 100g hazelnut meal
  • 150g butter, melted
  • 3 x 250g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup caster (white) sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 250g block good quality white chocolate, chopped
  • 250g macadamias, quartered
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup real maple syrup
  • 1 cup streaky bacon, chopped into rough 1cm pieces

Grease 22cm springform baking tin with butter. Use a food processor to crush biscuits until they resemble fine crumbs. Add the hazelnut meal and melted butter and process until all well combined. Place mixture into prepared tin, and spread evenly. You can use a straight sided glass to evenly spread the base mixture evenly around tin. Cover with cling wrap and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes. If you are not using base straight away, just make sure you take it out 30-40 minutes prior to baking.

Preheat oven to 160c. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together until well combined and smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until each is well incorporated. Using a wooden spoon, gently stir in the white chocolate, macadamias and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Pour mixture into prepared tin, and bake for 1 hour, or until just set in the centre. For me, 1 hour was perfect, but you can wobble the tin a little to test if the cake is cooked throughout. For 2 hours, leave the cheesecake in the oven, with the door ajar. I just a wooden spoon to keep the door open. This will prevent the top of the cheesecake from cracking.

Place bacon and 1/3 cup maple syrup in a bowl together and mix until well coated. Spread evenly on an oven tray lined with non-stick baking paper, and bake for approximately 20 minutes on 180c, or until bacon is crispy and sticky. Let bacon cool on tray, then spread across the top of the cheesecake. If not serving the cheesecake straight away, ensure it is stored in the rerigerator, and brought down to room temperature to eat. If the cake is still cold, it is a nightmare to cut – I made this mistake!

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One of my favourite parts of this cake was the candied bacon. People often balk at the idea, but it really works well and the maple/bacon combination is becoming quite popular. You can see the recipe for my Maple Bacon Macarons here, which I posted a couple of years ago. They are just as yummy! Happy Baking 🙂

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Peanut Butter Macarons

I think I can safely say that I have put on about 2kg’s this week. And the peanut butter filling used for these macarons is the sole reason for this! If you are a peanut butter fiend, you will love these, and I’m seriously surprised there was any filling left for the macarons 😛 I’ve been having a bit of bad luck with macarons lately, many of the shells in this batch cracked in the oven, which makes me really upset and then, in a fit of self-pity, I ended up eating the majority of all the cracked shells! 😦 I think the Australian summer might have something to do with it, as humidity practically destroys macaron shells 😦
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I used a Donna Hay recipe for the peanut butter filling, and as I already mentioned, it certainly did not let me down! It’s really easy to make, and it also keeps very well and is versatile. I can’t wait to use it on cupcakes and in tarts. And of course, to eat it straight from the bowl 😉
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Macarons:

This recipe is Adriano Zumbo’s, and was published a couple of years ago in the Herald Sun. You will definitely need kitchen scales to make macarons.

  • 135g almond meal
  • 135g icing sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 45g egg whites
  • 50g egg whites
  • 40g water
  • 1/2 tsp Wilton’s colouring gel, brown

Preheat oven to 160 (150c fan forced). Spray four oven trays with cooking oil spray baround the edges, and line with baking paper and set aside. Place almond meal and icing sugar in a large bowl, and sift together 3 times. Set aside, along with the 45g egg whites. Put 50g egg whites in a separate bowl. Heat caster sugar and water in a small saucepan, over a low-medium heat, until the sugar completely dissolves (if it slightly burns my tongue, it’s done!). If you do not want to burn your tongue, Zumbo suggests investing in a candy thermometer and heating the syrup until it reaches 118 degrees C (244 degrees F). If the syrup becomes thick and powdery in appearance, you will need to start again. This is because the sugar has been heated too much, too quickly, and instead of dissolving, it has cooked.

Begin beating the 50g egg whites with one hand, and with the other, stream the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl to create an italian meringue. Beat until stiff peaks form, the meringue should be thick and very glossy. If you want to add flavouring/colouring, now’s your moment. So add the colouring now. Just lightly beat them into the meringue. Pour meringue into the almond meal, icing sugar and 45g egg whites mixture and mix roughly to combine. When combined, fold mixture together (one single stroke) until there are no air bubbles left. Make a spread across the top of the mixture, and it should disappear in about 20 seconds. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. (If you don’t have a piping bag set, most supermarkets sell plastic ones, they are Multix brand, in an orange box and contain 5 piping bags with a few different nozzles, plus they’re only about $3. You should be able to find them in the baking aisle). Lock the bag by spinning the top around 4 times. Pipe 3-4cm rounds on the oven trays prepared earlier. Tap the bottom of the trays on the kitchen bench and let them sit for about half an hour, or until mixture is dry to the touch.

Place in oven and bake for 7minutes. Turn tray around in the oven and bake for another 5 inutes. To test, pull a macaron off the baking paper. If it is stuck, keep cooking and checking regularly. Cool on trays for 5 minutes, then peel off and place on a wire rack. The mixture should make about 12 -15 large macarons, and about 25 smaller macarons. Macarons keep really well (about 5 days in the fridge) and some say that the longer they are refrigerated, the more the flavour is likely to develop. Macarons taste best when they are stored in the fridge, then brought down to room temperature to eat.

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Peanut Butter filling (adapted from Donna Hay):
  •  3/4 cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 1 cup of smooth peanut butter
  • 80g butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste/extract
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) cream, thickened
  • Pinch of salt

Filling

Place sugar peanut butter, butter and vanilla in a bowl, and beat until light and fluffy (on high for about 5 minutes). Add the cream slowly and beat for another 2 minutes. If not using straight away, cover and refrigerate. To assemble, place the peanut butter filling in a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. Pipe 3/4 teaspoon on a macaron shell, then sandwich with another. Refrigerate until you need to serve.
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Maple Bacon Macarons

My love of combining sweet and salty flavours is certainly well documented throughout this blog! Maple bacon is something I have wanted to try making for a while, but struggled about what I would do with it. So, I stuck to what I am best at, macarons.

I decided to use a cream cheese icing for the filling – it is definitely my favourite kind of icing, made even yummier with the addition of real maple syrup. The bacon, seriously, I could have happily eaten the whole tray (I know I say this with a lot of things!), but it was delicious – like a lolly with an awesome salt kick! Yum 🙂

I know there haven’t been as many posts as I would have liked in the past couple of months, but with Christmas coming up, there will probably be one nearly every day! I have just finished my Christmas baking list, and it’s safe to say I don’t think I will be leaving the kitchen for the month of December!

Macarons:

This recipe is Adriano Zumbo’s, and was published a couple of years ago in the Herald Sun. You will definitely need kitchen scales to make macarons.

  • 135g almond meal
  • 135g icing sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 45g egg whites
  • 50g egg whites
  • 40g water

Preheat oven to 170c (160c fan forced). Spray four oven trays with cooking oil spray baround the edges, and line with baking paper and set aside. Place almond meal and icing sugar in a large bowl, and sift together 3 times. Set aside, along with the 45g egg whites. Put 50g egg whites in a separate bowl. Heat caster sugar and water in a small saucepan, over a low-medium heat, until the sugar completely dissolves (if it slightly burns my tongue, it’s done!). If you do not want to burn your tongue, Zumbo suggests investing in a candy thermometer and heating the syrup until it reaches 118 degrees C (244 degrees F). If the syrup becomes thick and powdery in appearance, you will need to start again. This is because the sugar has been heated too much, too quickly, and instead of dissolving, it has cooked.

Begin beating the 50g egg whites with one hand, and with the other, stream the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl to create an italian meringue. Beat until stiff peaks form, the meringue should be thick and very glossy. If you want to add flavouring/colouring, now’s your moment. Just lightly beat them into the meringue. Pour meringue into the almond meal, icing sugar and 45g egg whites mixture and mix roughly to combine. When combined, fold mixture together (one single stroke) until there are no air bubbles left. Make a spread across the top of the mixture, and it should disappear in about 20 seconds. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. (If you don’t have a piping bag set, most supermarkets sell plastic ones, they are Multix brand, in an orange box and contain 5 piping bags with a few different nozzles, plus they’re only about $3. You should be able to find them in the baking aisle). Lock the bag by spinning the top around 4 times. Pipe 3-4cm rounds on the oven trays prepared earlier. Tap the bottom of the trays on the kitchen bench and let them sit for about half an hour, or until mixture is dry to the touch.

Place in oven and bake for 8 minutes. Turn tray around in the oven and bake for another 7 minutes. To test, pull a macaron off the baking paper. If it is stuck, keep cooking and checking regularly. Cool on trays for 5 minutes, then peel off and place on a wire rack. The mixture should make about 12 -15 large macarons, and about 25 smaller macarons. Macarons keep really well (about 5 days in the fridge) and some say that the longer they are refrigerated, the more the flavour is likely to develop. Macarons taste best when they are stored in the fridge, then brought down to room temperature to eat.

Cream Cheese and Maple Syrup Icing: (adapted from Martha Stewart):

  • 112g unsalted butter, chopped and softened
  • 250g cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
  • 1 cup icing sugar mixture
  • 80ml real maple syrup (I used Queen brand)

Beat the butter and cream cheese on high until pale and creamy. Gradually add the icing sugar and maple syrup. Refrigerate until firm enough to pipe.

Maple Candied Bacon: (adapted from Food Networks Claire Robinson):

  • 250g middle bacon, chopped into 1cm x 1cm pieces
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp wholegrain mustard (I know the recipe says to use dijon, but we didn’t have any and I love wholegrain mustard)

Line a baking tray with two layers of foil, and preheat the oven to 200c (395F). Spread the chopped bacon out on the tray, ensuring no pieces are overlapping. With a pastry brush, brush the bacon with the maple syrup and mustard mixture, ensuring each piece of bacon is evenly coated. Place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until desired crispiness is achieved. You may have to turn some lighter pieces over at the 8 minutes mark. If so, brush with some more syrup. Let bacon cool for 5-10 minutes on the tray. Remove from tray and place in bowl. TIP – you do not want to let the candied bacon cool too much before you remove it from the foil, otherwise the foil will stick to the bacon and it will be really hard to get off. Leave about 25 squares of bacon, and finely chop up the rest so it will be small enough to put around the outside of the macaorn.Try not to eat it all at once 🙂 Trust me, it will be difficult!

Assembly:

Match up likely pairs of macaron shells. Fill a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle, with the maple cream cheese icing. Pipe small rounds of icing on the macaron shells, place a non-chopped piece of bacon on top, and pipe a tiny bit more icing on top of the bacon. Sandwich with the other macaron shell, and place a few finely chopped pieces of bacon around the outside of the macaron. Place macarons in an airtight container. As aforementioned, macarons are best when they are stored in the fridge, then brought down to room temperature to eat.

Anyone thinking of giving this delicious combination a try – do! It’s a perfect Christmas flavour as well, think Christmas hams basted in maple syrup!

Let the Christmas cooking begin!!