After what has seemed like an eternity I am finally, finally caught up on my rent (most of you will remember this winter’s bouts with pneumonia, the flu and bronchitis made me fall behind & have a hard time catching up). *cue applause* I’m still flat broke but honestly, I couldn’t be happier because now I can breathe a bit easier knowing that I can pay my landlord on time, without having to incur the evil monthly late fee that certainly didn’t help at all. Since I’m not in the position to go out to celebrate, I figured I’d celebrate at Chez Poor Girl with a new dessert. And for once, I didn’t feel like celebrating with crepes. (!!!) That’s because lately, I’ve been obsessed with bringing some of my new dessert shot ideas to fruition. A few weeks ago I was struck with a brilliant idea for one that will be perfect for summertime (will probably post it next month), but I thought I should finally give that one failed experiment another go and see if I could make it work. Not that the end result of the experiment-gone-awry didn’t turn out well; a lot of you really seemed to like it! But I’ve wanted to see & taste this next recipe for a few months now, so I gave it my best shot. I’m happy to report that it finally came out the way I wanted it to.
Now, I’m a huge fan of coffee and coffee-flavored drinks & desserts; however, my problem with the latter is that they are usually far too sweet for me to taste the coffee. Maybe I was just spoiled by all those trips to Colombia when I was a wee lass, where I could taste some of the world’s most incredible coffee. Some of my favorite memories from childhood are coffee-related: picking ripe coffee berries off the trees and enjoying the way the sweetness of the berry and the bitterness of the bean would play off each other; watching coffee in its early stages of picking & processing at my family’s plantations; rolling around in dried coffee beans that were baking in the sun (don’t worry; most coffee has not been rolled around in by 9 year olds). It’s a huge part of my heritage and I am very particular about my coffee and coffee-flavored things.
So I figured it would be fun to try my hand at my own coffee-flavored dessert but I didn’t feel like going the mocha route, as that’s been done quite a bit. Instead, I decided to work with the next most popular coffee & sweet combo and create some Caramel Macchiato Cheesecake Shots. In my mind’s eye and in my palate’s imagination (yes, my palate has an imagination) I envisioned tiny little versions of this popular coffeehouse drink that would definitely taste like coffee and look the part, too. I find these to be absolutely adorable to look at, as they come complete with their own “steamed milk” topping and caramel drizzle. But they also taste delicious and quite similar to the actual drink. The coffee “cheesecake” is sweet enough to be delightful but definitely packs a coffee punch, and the sweetness of the “steamed milk” topping and the homemade caramel add a wonderfully sinful touch. Now, I will warn you: these are RICH!!! This is one dessert that could never be bigger than shot size because you would immediately end up 10lbs heavier with a few cavities to boot. But, as I have always argued when it comes to my tiny desserts, this is really all you need to end a fabulous meal: just a li’l somethin’ sweet. They’re a little more complicated to make than most of my other shots, but they’re well worth it. Hope you like them!
NOTE: Do NOT use regular brewed coffee or espresso! The flavor will be great but you’ll end up with a runny mess that will never set. Also, if you want the true “cheesecake” experience, try them w/the vanilla wafer crust. But if you’re going for the whole “coffeehouse” experience, just use the caramel and cheesecake fillings. Either way, these are great!
Caramel Macchiato Cheesecake Shots (makes 8 shots; total cost per shot: $0.95 )
1 can condensed milk
1 T butter
3 T nonfat milk
1/3 c instant coffee granules
2 t very hot water
2 T granulated sugar
20 vanilla wafers, crushed (optional)
2 T butter (optional)
Prepare the caramel:
In a small saucepan, combine the condensed milk and 1 tablespoon of butter. Bring to a low boil over medium low heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Reduce to low heat (as low as possible) and continue to cook until the mixture turns a medium to deep golden brown, making sure to continue stirring throughout the heating process. If the boil becomes too rapid, remove from heat to continue stirring, then return to heat. The whole process should take about 20 minutes. If caramel becomes too thick, whisk in the milk one tablespoon at a time until all milk is used. (NOTE: If you do not have enough time to make your own caramel and you have a premade caramel sauce at home, you can use that instead. However, this is MUCH better with the homemade stuff.)
Prepare the coffee cheesecake:
Combine the instant coffee granules and the hot water in a small bowl until the granules completely dissolve. The coffee should have a thick, syrupy consistency. Using an electric mixer, whip one package of softened cream cheese until it is light & fluffy. Add the remaining half of the condensed milk and the coffee syrup and mix together on medium speed until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
Prepare the “steamed milk” cheesecake:
In a medium bowl add 2 tablespoons of sugar to the remaining 1/2 package of softened cream cheese. Mix together on medium high speed until light & fluffy.
Prepare the crust (optional):
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add to the crushed wafers and mix together until the wafers are moistened.
Assemble your shots by adding about a teaspoon of caramel (or cookie crust) to the bottom of each shot. Next, add about 2 tablespoons of the coffee cheesecake filling (or enough to fill your shot glass), followed by a small dollop of the “steamed milk” cheesecake. Top with a small amount of caramel, refrigerate for about an hour or so, and enjoy!