ENTERTAINING: TWO-PART SPRINGTIME SPECIAL (2)

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SPRINGTIME 2

Sweetened Coconut
No Bake Nutella Swirl Cheesecake

 

By Mary Canovas

As promised in my Springtime Special 1( http://www.guidepost.es/entertaining-two-part-springtime-special-1/  ), here are the Sweetened Coconut for all you frustrated bakers and cooks who can’t find sweetened coconut at your supermarket, and the No Bake Nutella Swirl Cheesecake for special events.


 

Homemade Sweetened Coconut

Many recipes – both sweet and savory — require “sweetened coconut” or sweetened grated coconut. This ingredient is easily found in the USA but not in other countries. But even if you find it – at outrageous prices if it´s imported – it usually contains propylene glycol, a chemical used in antifreeze as an odorless and colorless preservative.  I am quite sure we don´t want to be putting that into our bodies on a regular basis.  

This recipe for homemade is just as delicious and handy for your best recipes and it´s easy with everyday ingredients and best of all: totally natural with no additives.

Ingredients (cups are always US cup size):
 
180 gr. – 2.5 cups dry coconut
5 tablespoons powdered or confectioner´s sugar
10 teaspoons water
7 teaspoons sunflower oil, canola etc … NEVER  OLIVE OIL **

Directions
Mix coconut and powdered sugar in a medium bowl until well combined.
Using a fork, beat oil and water to more or less combine.
Pour the mix over the sweetened coconut. Stir with a large spoon to combine with the coconut.
Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes, or until the coconut absorbs all the liquid. Stir a couple of times in between.
Use the sweetened coconut immediately to get the best results. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 2 weeks. If it is going to take longer to use it, you can freeze it.

**Note: Bland vegetable oil is used because it moistens the coconut and helps the sugar to adhere better.. You can use any oil without flavor, even coconut oil, but never olive oil, because it would change the coconut flavor of the finished product.


 

Nutella Swirl Cheesecake – No Bake, No Eggs

This is almost an oximoron: A light Nutella Cheesecake, but so much lighter and softer than any oven baked cheesecake.  There´s no cooking, no eggs, no oven and it´s easy, fast and tastes heavenly.  It´s also a spectacular dessert with it´s chocolate cookie crumb crust and chocolate and white swirls.  Great all year round but really appreciated (especially by the cook) when warm weather comes around and nobody wants to be in a hot kitchen.

Just one tip, remember when desserts are colder they aren´t as sweet as when you eat them at room temperature so if you like your cheesecake sweet, feel free to increase sugar to your taste.

Ingredients
Crust:
• 340 gr.( 31 oz .)  Oreo cookies
 110 gr. (1/2 cup) melted butter
Filling:
 750 gr. ( 27 oz.) cream cheese at room temperature
• 200 ml. (9/10 cup) whipping cream or heavy cream very cold
 140 gr.  (1/2 cup) Nutella or Nocilla
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 65gr. (1/2 cup) powdered or confectioner´s sugar or more to taste

Directions
Crust:
Grease a  8″or 20 cm. spring cake pan
• Crush or process the Oreos until they form crumbs.
Add the melted butter and process or mix with a fork until the crumbs are moistened.
• Press the mixture to the bottom and sides of the greased pan. Put the pan in the fridge until ready to prepare the filling.

Filling:
Beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.
In another bowl, beat the cold heavy cream until peaks form.  Don´t overbeat!!
Using a spatula fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
Divide the mixture into two parts. Fold the Nutella into one part.
Drop the two parts into your cake pan in tablespoons – First 3 large tablespoons of cream cheese mixture leaving a space in between and fill in the holes with 3 large tablespoons of the Nutella mixture (watch video).
Repeat making a second layer on top.
To get rid of air bubbles drop the pan on a table (see video).
Using a knife or spatula create swirls (see video).
Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight to set.  Keep refrigerated until you serve.