Christmas just got sweeter with this creamy Peppermint Cheesecake topped with crushed candy canes and peppermint whipped cream.
I’m in love with peppermint. I know I can order a peppermint mocha all year round and not just during red cup season at a certain coffee chain, but there’s something magical about taking that first sip all bundled up in your winter coat and gloves with snow falling like someone shook a snow globe while listening to Jingle Bell Rock on the radio. Ah who am I kidding? It’s still in the 50s! Soon people are going to be singing I’m Dreaming Of A Warm And Rainy Christmas rather than a White Christmas. Even though Mother Nature isn’t ready for Christmas, I am. This past weekend I hung out with some close friends in NYC. Since I’ve done all the tourist attractions from previous visits to the Big Apple, it was refreshing to see the city from the locals’ point of view.
Now that I’m ready for Christmas, it’s only fitting that I made a Peppermint Cheesecake because one – it’s cheesecake and two – I made a Gingerbread Cheesecake last year and needed a new holiday flavor. Ironically I don’t like eating candy canes that much because I’m not a fan of hard candy. However, crushed candy cane pieces on top of peppermint whipped cream is a whole different story, mainly because I don’t have to chew any big crunchy bites. Fun fact – when you crush candy canes in a food processor, a big cloud of white smoke will puff up when you take off the lid.
I was having a discussion with a friend about the differences between mint and peppermint, if any. Are they the same thing? When you buy fresh mint from a store, is that mint or peppermint? Can you even grow peppermint or is that an artificial candy flavor? Where does spearmint fit in? Are mint and spearmint the same thing? Why are there so many questions about mint?! Thank goodness other herbs aren’t this confusing. After some research, this is what I learned. When something is referred to as mint, the default is spearmint. I have a few cookbooks that use mint regularly in cooking, so I want spearmint for these recipes. When you buy fresh mint at the store, there’s a pretty high chance you’re buying spearmint, so it should be easy to find. The taste is pretty mild compared to peppermint, which is why spearmint is often recommended for savory dishes. Peppermint, which is more associated with dessert, get its cooling sensation from the naturally occurring chemical menthol. You can grow both varieties in your garden if you have one. I don’t use fresh mint in my recipes, so I rely on extracts for flavor, which of course you can buy either mint or peppermint extract. For this candy cane cheesecake, I used peppermint extract.
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Source: Adapted from Taste Of Home
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