|JoAnn Schempf (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Why not ring in the new year with an incredibly rich dessert?
JoAnn Schempf's amaretto mocha cheesecake takes the cake with its chocolate almond flavor with a hint of coffee. Top the cake off with chocolate shavings and a dollop of whipped cream and it's an exquisitely sweet treat.
"It's easy to make but it tastes decadent, like you could find it in a restaurant for $3 a slice," said Schempf, a stay-at-home mom of four children ranging in age from 6 to 11.
Schempf found this recipe on the Internet a few years ago and adapted the coffee and almond extract to her taste. She said the whipped cream is an important pice of the dessert. It mellows out the rich, chocolate-coffee-almond taste. Also, she recommends serving it by the slice with the cream as it will separate from the cake if it sits for awhile.
Besides its taste, Schempf likes the dessert because of where she can purchase everything she needs for the crust, filling and topping.
"You can buy all the ingredients at Aldi," said Schempf, who readily admits she loves the hunt for the best price of groceries probably more than cooking.
"I like the thrill of the kill," she said of shopping.
The last few months, she's had two more mouths to feed in her Bowling Green home. Two students from the Language Institute are living with the family while attending Bowling Green State University. One is from Panama and the other hails from China.
"I do a lot of soups, and make-tonight's-meal-into-the-next," Schempf said.
For example, on a Sunday earlier this month, she was making a ham, and the leftovers were going toward a ham and asparagus pasta for Monday's main meal.
Her way of stretching food didn't go over well for Thanksgiving, Schempf lamented. After buying a 16-pound turkey, she had visions of turkey soup, turkey sandwiches and turkey divan over the next few days. The bird, though, was devoured in two days.
The deal she got on another turkey softened the blow - a little bit.
By using a coupon and taking advantage of a sale price, Schempf said she purchased a whole turkey for a nickel.
"The people at Meijer know me," she said with a laugh.
Schempf's ideal pasttime is seeing what kind of a deal she can make for food.
"My favorite activity is grocery shopping and sales," she said. "I know the prices on groceries and I love to do that."
She combines her shopping with her weekly errands. After volunteering at Kenwood Elementary in her first-grader's class one morning a week, she'll hit Aldi for $1.99 gallon milk and anything else she thinks is priced fairly. She stops at Meijer after dropping the kids off for daily afternoon swim practice at BGSU's Student Recreation Center.
Schempf and husband Kevin came to Bowling Green 10 years ago when he was offered a position teaching clarinet at BGSU. He also plays in the Toledo Symphony.
They met at church in 1989 in the Syracuse, N.Y., area.
She used to teach Spanish to seventh and eighth-graders, but for now is content to stay at home, raising Annika, 11; Mia, 10; Erik, 8, and Kiki, 6. Schempf is unbelievably busy after school, between music and swimming lessons, chess club, math olympiad and church activities.
"I'm basically a chauffeur. By 3:30 everyday my life is over."
That's another great reason for keeping it easy in the kitchen.
"If it has something weird, I don't tend to do it. I like things that are simple and don't have a lot of steps."
Amaretto Mocha Cheesecake
1 package (18 1/4 ounce) devil's food cake mix
1/2 teaspoon imitation almond extract
6 tablespoons margarine, melted
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well blended then press onto the bottom and 2 inches up side of well-greased 10-inch springform pan.
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
2 cups (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1 can (42 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon imitation almond extract
1/4 cup instant coffee granules
1/4 cup hot water
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, milk and melted chips. Dissolve coffee granules in hot water. Add coffee mix, extract and eggs to cream cheese mixture. Beat until combined and pour into crust.
Place springform pan onto cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes (until center is almost set). Cool on wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes, then run knife around edge of springform pant to make sure it's not baked on. Let cool 1 to 2 more hours and then refrigerate 6 to 8 hours.
(Make just before serving)
1 pint heavy cream
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon imitation almond extract
Beat cream until soft peaks form. Beat in sugar and extract until stiff peaks form. Spread on top of cheesecake and decorate
If the entire cake won't be eaten immediately, serve individual slices with a big dollop of the whipped cream, because it will separate with time.
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