Bright and early I was up on Saturday morning (apparently I don’t sleep in past 7…I must be getting old) and got to open Keith’s present in bed. He gave me a gift card to buy a bathing suit (I last bought a new bathing suit when I was 17 haha), and I will need one when we head travelling in the spring. He also got me some books from the library, which I thought was a super cute way to make the gift nice and heavy. And finally he got our friend Bridget to make me a bear hat! Bridget makes the cutest crochet hats and we are always looking for kids to give them to. Since we have yet to find one, Keith figured he’d just get one for me. And it was perfect for scaring away the bears on our hike! (haha, I’m totally joking…obviously that is not an effective technique for warding off bears!). Check out Bridget’s stuff on her facebook page No’s Knots!
Although we were up early, we got a bit of a slow start out to the mountains. It may or may not have been due the the wine the night before, but I’m not convinced. We met Shea, Sarah and Adele at Leela’s place at about 10:30 and headed out to the start of the Castle Lookout hike. Of course we decided that if there were any killer grouse, it would be Shea’s job to fend them off.
The temperature was a bit chilly but as soon as we got moving we all warmed right up. There were lots of places that had nice views and we were treated at the top to one of the most expansive views of Banff National Park that I have ever seen. The sky was mostly clear and we had almost a full panorama. Unfortunately my camera died in the middle of taking a panorama so you’ll just have to picture it! There were many laughs and all around it was a great way to spend the day. I made a snow angel at the top and hope that someone finds it before it snows again!
We headed back to the house and got supper going right away…that is, I lay on the couch and the others got to work, just as I’d asked for! We started with some brie and maple syrup (if you haven’t had this before, just pour a bunch of maple syrup on a wheel of brie and bake it until the cheese is melted…delish!), loaded nachos (or semi-loaded according to Shea since we refused his offer of putting shrimp on them) and
salad. We basically just ate and ate and then lay around listening to Shea play his guitar and having more than a few hilariously interesting conversations.
We topped the night off with another cake by yours truly (I got to make two! Hooray!). This time I made a triple chocolate no-bake cheese cake. It was one serious cake! I think it probably weighed about five pounds! When I was looking for ideas last week I came across it on Bangfresh and knew it was the one. Keith doesn’t love cheese cake so I don’t make it very often. But since it was MY birthday I decided to go for it! I started it at about 7:30 in the morning on Friday, before I’d even had my coffee which meant that I was buzzin’ from sugar before eight…awesome.
Triple Chocolate Cheese Cake
3 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (I used oreo crumbs)
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp butter, melted
200 g of white chocolate, melted
200 g of milk chocolate, melted*
200 g of dark chocolate, melted
1/4 cup boiling water
3 tsp gelatine powder
1/2 cup castor sugar (I just ground white sugar in my magic bullet for 15 seconds)
3 cups of cream cheese
300 mL cream
*I used white, semi-sweet and dark, but would recommend using milk if you want significant difference in the colours and tastes of the chocolate. You could hardly tell the difference between the dark and semi-sweet*
Take the cream cheese out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature while you prepare the crust. Be patient with it (as I was not) because the less cool the cream cheese is, the smoother your cake will be.
Prepare the crust by mixing the crumbs and melted butter in a bowl until well combined. Prepare a 9 inch springform pan by lining it with wax or parchment paper (I needed some help and used tape…since it’s not baked this is fine). Press the crumbs on the the bottom of the pan and around the edges. This is certainly not easy and is a little bit frustrating. If it’s not perfect, it’s ok, just do your best! (I gave up when there seemed to be more crumbs on my hands and on the counter/floor then in the pan and it still turned out fine!). Put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
In a double boiler over barely simmering water, melt the white chocolate. Be patient and use low heat as white chocolate seizes really easily. Place the boiling water and gelatine in a small boil to dissolve.
While it’s melting, beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until combined. Add the cream and beat until smooth and then add the dissolved gelatine mixture. Put one third of the cream cheese mixture into the melted white chocolate and combine until smooth. Poor mixture into the prepared pan and spread it until it evenly covers the whole bottom. Put in the freezer for 15 minutes to set while you prepare the second chocolate.
Melt the second chocolate in the same way you did the first. Once melted, combine with a third of the cream cheese mixture and spread over the set white chocolate. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes to set.
Repeat with the remaining chocolate and cream cheese. Spread over top and smooth the top to your desired look. Cover and refrigerate until serving. When serving you can get creative and put something (like chocolate covered strawberries) on top, or you can just leave it be.
While it’s different from baked cheese cakes, it is still very yummy and very rich. We will be eating it all week as we barely even made a dent in it on Saturday!