Chocolate Lovers Cheeecake

 

With family coming to town I once again baked up a cheesecake. It has become a tradition to eat cheesecake and drink Margarita each summer when they visit. This year while I was searching for a flavor to make, my Taste Tester suggested a chocolate one with some sort of ‘topping’ and by ‘topping’ he wanted the ganache from one of his all time favorite desserts. 

I found this recipe on Annie’s Eats and knew it would be perfect. They only changes I made were that I used a different topping. The end result was rich and sinful and so wonderfully smooth. Like all cheesecakes, this is best served after a chill in the fridge for a day or two.

If you love chocolate, this is for you, its flavor is more mild than this recipe but still packs a chocolate punch enough to satisfy your craving.

I rate this recipe a 9

Chocolate Lovers Cheesecake
from here

For the crust:
1½ cups finely ground chocolate cookie crumbs*
3 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake: 
½ cup sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. espresso powder or instant coffee granules
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
¼ tsp. salt
1¼ cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature

For the glaze: (i did not use this recipe)
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tbsp. heavy cream
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

*I used this ganache recipe:

Bittersweet Ganache
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove pan from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute then gently stir until chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth. Gently stir in the vanilla. Transfer glaze to a small bowl and cover the surface of the glaze with plastic wrap and let cool for 5 minutes at room temperature before using.

Directions:


To make the crust, preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper.  In a medium bowl combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.  Stir with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened.  Add the crumb mixture to the springform pan and gently press about 1 inch up the sides of the pan.  Press the rest of the crumbs into an even layer over the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Reduce the oven temperature to 300˚ F.

To make the crust, preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper.  In a medium bowl combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.  Stir with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened.  Add the crumb mixture to the springform pan and gently press about 1 inch up the sides of the pan.  Press the rest of the crumbs into an even layer over the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Reduce the oven temperature to 300˚ F.

To make the filling, combine the sour cream, vanilla, and espresso powder in a small bowl.  Whisk to blend and set aside.  Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave (in short intervals, stirring frequently) until completely smooth.  Set aside and let cool slightly.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, cocoa powder, and salt.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the sugar and continue mixing about 2-3 minutes more, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Add the cooled chocolate to the bowl and mix on medium-low speed.  Beat in the sour cream mixture just until evenly blended.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing each just until incorporated.  (Don’t over-beat once the eggs are added or the cheesecake will puff too much.)

Pour the filling into the cooled crust.  Bake until the center jiggles very slightly when nudged, about 50-60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 1-2 hours.  Then cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 8 hours or overnight.

* (I did NOT use this recipe, i followed the recipe I listed above)

To make the glaze, place the chopped chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.  Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan or in the microwave.  Pour over the chocolate and let stand briefly, 1-2 minutes.  Whisk just until a smooth ganache has formed.  Whisk in the butter until completely incorporated.  Pour the glaze in an even layer over the chilled cheesecake.  Chill thoroughly.

To serve, carefully unmold the sides of the springform.  Run a sharp knife under hot water to warm the blade, and wipe dry with a towel.  Slice cleanly, wiping the blade between slices and reheating as necessary.  Serve chilled.

White Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

With summer in full swing we have been enjoying several weekend visitors which of course means entertaining! Yay! While my Taste Tester sticks to grilling up new reicpes, I take the opportunity to try new dessert recipes!

With my mom and aunt in town last weekend I knew I wanted to make a cheesecake. Each time they visit I always whip one up and we more than enjoy it all weekend long! This time was no exception. I knew I wanted to use fruit but wasn’t feeling strawberries. My Taste Tester smiled and said “yes please” when I was brainstorming a white chocolate cheesecake with raspberry swirls. Sold.

This recipe is based on other cheesecakes I have made over the years. I cheated and used seedless organic raspberry jam instead of making my own. I just didn’t have the time and to be honest, it was great even with the store-bought stuff. If you have time or super ambitious, feel free to whip up your own. If not; welcome to my life and just buy some (good quality of course).

The cheesecake itself was creamy and dense (just the way I like it). The white chocolate flavor was subtle but good. I originally wanted to have a chocolate crust (um, hello, chocolate-addict here) but I used a graham cracker crust because the Taste Tester doesn’t care for Oreos. What??? I know. It is the burden I must live with. I was surprised, however, and really enjoyed the graham cracker crust and would  not use a chocolate  crust in the future unless it was requested.

Because I used jarred jam I was able to whip this up and get it in the oven in about 15 minutes, can’t beat that! I also love the fact that cheesecake needs to set in the fridge for a couple days to reach the desired flavor and texture so I made this on Wednesday to enjoy over the weekend. I love not having to rush around last minute when I could be cleaning (yeah right).

I would highly recommend this cheesecake, play around with the filling a bit and try another fruit flavor. I do feel that the white chocolate flavor could be a bit more complex so I would like to either add more next time or pick a brand with a more dominant flavor.  Let me know if you find a winner!

I rate this an 8.5

White Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake
16-18 graham crackers crushed
2 TBS sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

6 oz white chocolate bars (not chips)
24 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 TBS flour
1 jar seedless Raspberry Jam

Fresh Raspberries for Garnish
White chocolate for garnish (melted) when ready to use

*TIP: I like to line the bottom of my pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with PAM.

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 325F.
In a food processor, process the graham crackers until you have fine crumbs. . Add in the sugar and pulse. Stir in melted butter. Transfer the crumb mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly into the bottom and slightly up the sides. Bake 8-10 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack to room temperature.
Place a baking pan filled half way with water on the bottom oven rack (this will help keep cheesecake moist while baking to help prevent a crack. I like this method better than a traditional water bath) Just make sure there is always water in it while the cheesecake is baking.
Melt white chocolate in the microwave in 15 second intervals stirring after every interval until smooth. Do NOT over cook, you can stir lumps out wihtout reheating toward the end. Set aside to cool.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese to break it up and soften it slightly, about 5 seconds. Continue mixing and add the sugar, sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to medium low and add the eggs, 1 at a time. Beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl before each addition. Add the flour and beat just til combined. Add the melted white chocolate and mix until blended. Do NOT overmix.

Pour 1/2 the cheesecake mixture into pan.
Heat jam in microwave just until easily pourable but not too runny.
Spoon 1/2 the jam over the cheesecake batter and swirl with a knife. Pour the remaining batter over the jam carefully. Drop spoonsfull of the rest of the jam over the cheesecake. Carefully swirl but do not go through to second layer or it will not be swirled (just pink).

Bake until the center jiggles slightly, the sides start to puff, and the surface is no longer shiny, about 55 to 60 minutes. The center should read about 150 degrees F. Turn off the oven and prop the door of the oven open with a potholder or wooden spoon. Allow the cake to cool in the oven for about an hour. Transfer the springform pan to a wire rack and run a small paring knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Let it sit to room temperature for 2 hours.

Before serving top with raspberries and drizzle with melted white chocolate

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

I know the title alone makes you want one of these. I don’t blame you. This dessert takes two of my favorite sweets and combines them perfectly. This is an easy recipe to whip up but does create quite a few dishes and is multi-stepped. You need to make the crust, cheesecake filling and the cookie dough. You could use store bought cookie dough to save some time if you are in a pinch but really, if your making a crust and filling why not just whip up some dough as well (plus you can eat it raw since there are no eggs in it! BONUS!!).

I suggest using mini chocolate chips for the dough as it makes these bars easier to cut and eat, plus you get a little more chocolate in every bite! Yeah!

I whipped each component up  by hand but you could use a mixer if you want. I found with melted  butter and room temperature ingredients there was no need to lug out my stand mixer.

If you do make these I suggest making them a day before you need them. Like cheesecakes these get better with a day of rest. I highly recommend eating these chilled (as I do a cheesecake). They will be creamy and crumbly and just so satisfying that a small piece will do. Everyone at work loves these and these were the first to sell out at our bake sale. I think the name draws people in but the flavor kept them coming back for another!

I can’t wait to make these for easter using some pretty colored sprinkles and Holiday colored M&M’s on top. How irresistible will that be??

Before easter, I may make these again with some peanut butter cheesecake filling and peanut butter cookie dough. To top it off I think some chopped Reese’s PB cups on top would be phenomenal! If you try it, let me know!

I rate this recipe an 9

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars
adapted from here

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 TBS butter, melted
1 TBS sugar
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

5 TBS butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 TBS sugar
1/8 tsp  salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1 cup mini chocolate chips

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325.
Grease a 8×8 pan with butter, line pan with parchment paper and butter the paper, leaving enough to extend over the sides.
Crush graham crackers into crumbs to make 1 & 1/2 cups. Add sugar and mix. Stir in butter and mix until crumbs are moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.
Press crust mixture into bottom of pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Set pan on wire rack to cool.

In a medium bowl stir together the butter, brown sugar, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract at medium  until smooth. Gently fold in flour. Mix just until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.

In a small bowl stir cream cheese until soft. Add sugar and stir until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract, stir just until blended.

Pour batter into cooled, baked crust. Drop cookie dough by teaspoonfuls over the top of the filling. Sprinkle a few more mini chips over the top and gently press down (this makes it look pretty)

Bake about 30 minutes, or until set. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Place in the refrigerator to chill several hours.

Lemon Cheesecake with Lemon Curd topping

Wow.
That is the only description you need for this cheesecake. I originally saw this recipe on this blog and put off making it for months since I don’t like lemon. I know, why save a recipe for a flavor you don’t like? It just called my name, that is all I can say. I finally answered (my loving husband had suggested I bake something with lemon for him) and baked this up a few months back and was BLOWN away! It really is one of the best cheesecakes I have ever made or eaten.  Let me rephrase, I do not like lemon but I LOVED this cheesecake. I have made it 3 times in the past few months and this was the birthday ‘cake’ of choice my sweet husband chose for me to make for him on his special day  last month. He just can’t get enough of it.

Don’t be intimidated by the recipe. There are 3 components to this recipe but each is very simple: the crust, the filling and the lemon curd topping. All three come together nicely to create a little slice of heaven.The filling of this cheesecake did require just a bit more prep than my usual cheesecake since I had to zest a few lemons but the extra 5 minutes I put in was well rewarded in the end. Like usual this cheesecake is whipped up in a flash (about 10 minutes if everything is room temp) and in the oven in no time.

The only down side to baking cheesecakes is that while they are a cinch to whip up and bake; you have to wait at least 10 hours (I prefer 24 hours at least) to eat a slice as it must be chilled after it comes to room temperature. Since I was in the kitchen already and making dishes for the husband to wash, i chose to make the lemon curd while the cheesecake baked and then stored it and the cooled cheesecake in the fridge for 24 hours before topping it with the lemon curd and serving.

You could wait and make it the day you want to serve it if you don’t have time to whip it up the same day you bake the cheesecake. I almost didn’t want to cover the top of the cheesecake since after was baked and cooled there were NO cracks at all, just a perfectly smooth top. But, how could I say ‘no’ to that bright and sunny lemon curd? After topping the cooled cheesecake I then chilled it for a few more hours before we cut into this beauty.  I find this cheesecake to taste its best 2-3 days after baking it. Something magical happens to cheesecake as it chills in the fridge. The texture of this cheesecake itself is creamy but not too light and not too dense, rich with subtle hints of lemon shining through. The real lemon star is the lemon curd. It is slightly sweet, slightly tangy and just pairs so well with the coolness and creaminess of the cheesecake. These two were made for each other!

I chose to use a graham cracker crust because that is all we had and I wouldn’t change a thing.   If you are scared of cheesecakes, don’t be. If you don’t like lemon, try this you may surprise yourself. If you need no reason to make this recipe, find one. AFterall Spring is just around the corner and what better way to celebrate than with this!

A tip: be sure to use a NON reactive pan for the lemon curd. If you do not it may have a ‘metallic’ taste. I have had luck using a glass bowl setting snugly over simmering water (similar to a double boiler, or how some people melt chocolate)

I rate this recipe a 9.5
Lemon Cheesecake with Lemon Curd
The New Best Recipe

CRUST
5 ounces Nabisco’s Barnum’s Animal Crackers (I used graham cracker crumbs)
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and kept warm

FILLING
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon grated zest
1/4 cup juice from 1-2 lemons
24 oz cream cheese, cut into 1 inch chunks, at room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
(I used 1/4 tsp lemon extract)
LEMON CURD
1/3 cup juice (from about 2 lemons) (I used a bit more)
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon heavy cream (I used 2 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

FOR THE CRUST
Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 325F. In a food processor, process the animal crackers until you have fine crumbs. You should have about 1 cup. Add in the sugar and pulse. In a steady stream, add the butter while pulsing, about 10 1-second pulses. Transfer the crumb mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly into the bottom. Bake until fragrant and golden brown. The instructions say 15 to 18 minutes, but mine was done at about 12 minutes, so keep an eye on it. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. When cool, wrap the pan with 2 18-inch square pieces of foil. Set the pan in a roasting pan.

FOR THE FILLING
Process 1/4 cup of the sugar and the lemon zest in a food processor until the zest is broken down and the sugar turns yellow. Transfer to a small bowl and mix in the rest of the sugar.
In a bow of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese to break it up and soften it slightly, about 5 seconds. With the machine is running, add the sugar mixture in a slow stream; increase the speed to medium and beat until combined, creamy and smooth – about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to medium low and add the eggs, 2 at a time. Beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl before each addition. Add the lemon juice, vanilla and salt and mix to combine. Add the cream and mix until incorporated, about another 5 seconds. Give the bowl a final scrape and pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan. Fill the roasting pan with enough water to make it about halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake until the center jiggles slightly, the sides start to puff, and the surface is no longer shiny, about 55 to 60 minutes. The center should read about 150 degrees F. Turn off the oven and prop the door of the oven open with a potholder or wooden spoon. Allow the cake to cool in the water bath in the oven for about an hour. Transfer the springform pan to a wire rack and run a small paring knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Let it sit to room temperature for 2 hours.

FOR THE CURD
While the cheesecake is baking, heat the lemon juice in a small non-reactive pan on medium heat until hot, but not boiling. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl, then gradually whisk in the sugar. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the hot lemon juice into the egg/sugar mixture, then return the mixture to the saucepan and continue to heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 170 F and is thick enough to cling to the spoon, about 3 minutes. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and add in the cold butter and mix until incorporated. Stir in the cream, vanilla and salt, then pour through a strainer into a small nonreactive bowl. Cover the surface of the curd directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

TO ASSEMBLE
When the cheesecake is cook, top it with the lemon curd while still in the springform pan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 hours, but 24 hours is better. To serve, remove the sides of the springform pan and cut into wedges

Smooth and Creamy Almond Cheesecake

July 008

I wanted to play around with my usual cheesecake recipe.  It is a recipe that I have made up after experimenting a bit and trying out a few different recipes (and tasting far too many cheesecakes baked by friends and family). While I like to try new recipes, I tend to fall back on this one time and time again. It has been a while since I have made it and was craving a cool and creamy dessert. I most recently made the Dorie Greenspan cheesecake recipe and while I was pleased with the results, it was just too creamy for my liking (as the name suggests it came out tall and creamy). If that is your thing then I recommend her recipe as the flavor was wonderful.

I prefer my cheesecake to be a little more dense and sturdy yet creamy and smooth. While I enjoy plain cheesecake, I wanted to play around with the flavor a bit this go around. After much consideration I decided to try my hand at an almond flavored cheesecake. I took my basic recipe and added chopped almonds to the crust along with almond extract and almond paste to the filling to intensify the flavor. To top it all off I drizzled warm caramel or chocolate over the slices and garnished with toasted Almonds.

Overall, I would say that this cheesecake was a success if for no other reason than it was gorgeous, not one crack! The crust  provided a nice balance of sweetness and nutiness and was the perfect base for the smooth filling. I had never worked with Almond Paste before and found that the best way to incorporate it into the batter was to great it fine and whirl it in the food processor with the sugar. This ensured the almond paste would get mixed thouroughly into the batter and no clumps of paste would threaten the creamy texture I was after. The flavor of the almond in the finished cake was noticible and pleasant without being overwhelming. I enjoyed it but I am not 100% satisfied so I plan on playing around some more with the flavor. I may cut back on the extract and add some Amaretto to deepen the flavor profile more and reduce some of the ‘artificial’ almond flavor I feel the extract provides.

Even though I was not completely sold on the flavor, the texture kept me coming back for more! The nutty crust and creamy cheesecake kept calling my name so, fork in hand, I would happily nosh away. This cheesecake is firm right out of the fridge but is not so solid that you can not cut through each slice with your fork, just smooth and silky goodness. After coming to room temperature it still holds its shape well even when topped with caramel and nuts. I must admit that I do prefer the cold cheesecake best, especially drizzled with warm caramel, fudge and topped with nuts. I highly recommend making this a day or two before serving and garnishing this cheesecake with toasted nuts!
Really, though, don’t be afraid to make this your own by mixing up the flavors.  For a plain cheesecake omit the almond extract and almond paste and add 1 TBS Vanilla extract with the addition of the 3rd egg.

.
I rate this recipe an 8

Smooth and Creamy Almond Cheesecake
by bakingblonde

For the crust:
1  cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup chopped almonds
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

.
3 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz.)  Sweetened Condensed Milk  (fat free works fine)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup Almond Paste, grated
2 TBS flour
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

* Toasted Almonds for garnish (optional but totally recommended)July 009

Preheat oven to 300° F. Grease 9-inch springform pan.

Fill an oven safe cake pan (I use a 9×9 pan) 3/4 full with warm water. Set on bottom oven rack while oven is preheating.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, almonds and butter, stir to combine.  Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove and increase oven temperature to 350.

For the filling:
In the bowl of a food processor pulse the sugar and almond paste until it resembles a course meal. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese until creamy. Add sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, sugar/almond paste and flour. Beat to combine.  Add  eggs one at a time beating only to combine after each addition. When adding the third egg, also add the almond extract; beat until combined.July 007

Gently pour batter evenly into prebaked crust.

Bake in preheated oven for 40-60 minutes or until edge is set and center moves slightly. Watch carefully and do  not overbake.

Shut oven off and allow cheesecake to cool in oven for 1-4  hours. Run a warm knife around edge of cheesecake after 1 hour.

Place in fridge to cool completely. (Remove the pan of water)

Allow to chill at least 24 hours before serving for best flavor and texture.

For the crust:
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melte*

Tall and Creamy Cheesecake

april-09-121

Let me start by saying how much I missed you guys while taking the month of March off from blogging. I received so many emails with recipes while I was gone that it was hard to decide. So many people suggested I make another cheesecake and offered up several recipes. Being the lover of cheesecake that I am, I decided to take them up on their suggestion. After careful consideration and looking at several recipes sent to me, I decided to make Dorie’s Tall and Creamy Cheesecake. I have had my eye on this cheesecake for months, ever since the Tuesdays with Dorie bloggers made it.

I  already have a tried and true cheesecake recipe that I love but wanting to step out of my comfort zone, I was excited to try Dorie’s recipe.  The batter comes together in less than 10 minutes but it does require over two hours bake and cooling time, in addition to that, it is best to allow the cheesecake to chill overnight before serving. I feel the taste and texture of a cheesecake only improves over time.  I baked it in the afternoon and allowed to chill for a day and a half before trying a slice.

Wow, the name describes this cheesecake perfectly. With 2lbs of cream cheese, heavy cream, sour cream and sugar, this dessert is not for the calorie-conscious, but let me tell you, it is so worth the time on the treadmill and a little slice is more than satisfying. The texture is creamy, smooth and rich. It is just what you would want in a cheesecake. The flavor, oh my that flavor!  I love the addition of sour cream (which my stand-by recipe does not have) to add a suble tang that excites your tastebuds and pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the crust (and any toppings you may add).

I used a water bath and had no problems with cracks except for a few minor ones around the edges. The edges also got a little more brown than what I would have liked for a clean presentation of the plain cheesecake. I was serving this by the slice so I added the toppings before serving which eliminated the presentation problem.

I would make this again, however I don’t know if this will be my go-to recipe. I really do love my old stand-by  and have never had problems with overbrowning or cracking of the edges with that one. Overall, I enjoyed this recipe and encourage you to try it, or at the very least check out the Tuesdays with Dorie bloggers who made it and drool over their pictures and descriptions.

I rate this recipe an 8

Tall and Creamy Cheesecake
 Dorie Greenspan

For the crust:
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:
2 pounds (four 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sour cream or heavy cream, or a combination of the two*
               *I used 1 cup heavy cream and 1/3 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter a 9-inch springform pan—choose one that has sides that are 2 3/4 inches high (if the sides are lower, you will have cheesecake batter leftover)—and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil; put the pan on a baking sheet.

Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. (I do this with my fingers.) Turn the ingredients into the buttered springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don’t worry if the sides are not perfectly even or if the crumbs reach above or below the midway mark on the sides—this doesn’t have to be a precision job. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven.

Place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

To make the cheesecake:
Put a kettle of water on to boil.

Working in a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft and lives up to the creamy part of its name, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition—you want a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.

Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in the roaster pan.

Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, just to make sure that nothing has been left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, and scrape the batter into the springform pan. The batter will reach the brim of the pan. (If you have a pan with lower sides and have leftover batter, you can bake the batter in a buttered ramekin or small soufflé mold.) Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into the roaster to come halfway up the sides of the spapril-09-116ringform pan.

Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, at which point the top will be browned (and perhaps cracked) and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven’s heat and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.

After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster—be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil—remove the foil. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack.

When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and chill the cake for at least 4 hours, although overnight would be better.

Serving:
Remove the sides of the springform pan— I use a hairdryer to do this (use the dryer to warm the sides of the pan and ever so slightly melt the edges of the cake)—and set the cake, still on the pan’s base, on a serving platter. The easiest way to cut cheesecake is to use a long, thin knife that has been run under hot water and lightly wiped. Keep warming the knife as you cut slices of the cake.

Storing:
Wrapped well, the cake will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or for up to 2 months in the freezer. It’s best to defrost the still-wrapped cheesecake overnight in the refrigerator.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake

december-066

MMM, I do love the combination of Chocolate and Peanut Butter and what better way to enjoy that combination than in a nice and rich, creamy cheesecake? I rarely make cheesecakes, they are not difficult but I find it hard to resist and end up eating way more than my waist and thighs can handle!

I needed to bring a dessert to a baby shower this past weekend and knew this would  be a hit (I had to grab a pic quick before serving).
This recipe is so quick and easy, it is based off of this recipe, my go-to cheesecake recipe.  After looking online for a tried and true Peanut Butter cheesecake recipe, I decided to make one  up on my own. I was very pleased with the end result. The batter was so thick and creamy with a peanut butter flavor that was not overwhelming.  It baked up beautifully and did not crack a bit!  After chilling for 24 hours I tasted this wonderous creation. So rich and creamy with a light Peanut Butter flavor that complimented the chocolate cookie crust perfectly. I loved the layer of Peanut Butter and Chocolate between the crust and the cheesecake and enhanced the flavors perfectly.  My only complaint is that the crust crumbled a bit more at the tips of the cut pieces than what I would want for serving company. It may have been my fault though because I pried up the cut pieces with a fork (possibly breaking the crust in the process). It still tasted wonderful, just not the best presentation.

Next time I might dress this up a bit with chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and a milk chocolate drizzle before serving.

I rate this recipe an 8.5

Peanut Butter Cheesecake
2 cups Oreo Cookie crumbs
3-4 TBS butter, melted
1 TBS sugar
1/3 cup peanut butter (slightly  melted until easily spreadable)
1 cup Milk chocolate chips
 
3 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz.)  Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 TBS flour
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup peanut butter

Preheat oven to 300° F. Grease 9-inch springform pan.
Fill an oven safe cake pan (I use a 9×9 pan) 3/4 full with warm water. Set on bottom oven rack while oven is preheating.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine Oreo crumbs and butter, stir to combine.  Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove and increase oven temperature to 350.

Spread 1/3 cup softened peanut butter over the crust and evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips over the peanut butter layer. Set aside.

 In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese until creamy. Add sweetened condecember-063densed milk and peanut butter and beat until smooth. Add sugar and flour, beat to combine. Add  eggs one at a time beating only to combine after each addition. When adding the third egg, also add the vanilla extract; beat until combined.

Gently pour batter evenly into prebaked crust, peanut butter and chocolate chips.
Bake in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes or until edge is set and center moves slightly. Watch carefully and do  not overbake.

Shut oven off and allow cheesecake to cool in oven for 1-4  hours. Run a warm knife around edge of cheesecake after 1 hour.
Place in fridge to cool completely. (Remove the pan of water)
Allow to chill at least 24 hours before serving for best flavor and texture.