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Monday, February 23, 2015
There is nothing in the world better than cheesecake. Every time I have a slice of cheesecake I'm left thinking I could totally eat two more slices. Granted I'd probably get two bites into the second slice before I realized what a huge mistake it was.
I made a cheesecake for Valentine's Day last year. It was the best part of our whole Valentine's Day. Aaron wound up stuck in Kentucky waiting for a tow truck to tow him back home. Since I didn't know when he would be home I didn't know when to start dinner. Bailey ate macaroni and cheese all by herself and when he finally did roll into town around 11:00 that night we had to take him to pick up his car. We grabbed Wendy's on the way home. After a day like that the cheesecake was absolute heaven.
This is the same basic recipe I used for last year's cheesecake. Last year I did the plain version and this year I went with the fancier chocolate. Both have a crunchy crust, one is graham cracker, the other chocolate cookie. Both have that signature creaminess of cheesecake, sweet but with the slight tang of the cream cheese.
Cheesecake is not as difficult as you might think. You do need a couple of special pieces of equipment. You need a springform pan (I bought a 9-inch pan before I noticed that most recipes call for a 10-inch) and a pan for the water bath that is at least 2 inches deep and an inch or more wider than your springform pan. I borrowed the water bath pan from Admiral because I don't have anything that big. It's easiest to make the batter with a stand mixer but it can definitely be done with a hand mixer.
There are also a couple of rules to follow if you want a perfect cheesecake.
1- To be sure the water from the water bath won't penetrate your pan you'll need to line the outside of the bottom of the pan with foil and don't fill the water any higher than the foil. Otherwise your crust might get soggy. My springform pan is watertight on the bottom (or seems to be, for now) but not all of them are and it would be a shame to go to so much trouble only to have a soggy crust.
2- Scrape the bowl as much as you can while you're mixing but once you start to pour the batter into the crust DO NOT SCRAPE THE BOWL! I'm the kind of person who likes to scrape every last bit of batter (or any other ingredients) into the pan or bowl but it's very important that you don't do that with cheesecake batter. The cream cheese has a tendency to stick to the sides and bottom of the bowl and if you scrape as you're pouring the batter you'll end up with a few lumps of unmixed cream cheese in your cheesecake. This is especially important in a chocolate cheesecake because the lumps will be very obvious, white against the brown chocolate.
And now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to finish off the last piece of this cheesecake before someone else gets it first!
Source: South Your Mouth
3 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (crushed Oreos)
4 Tbsp butter, melted
4 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 oz semisweet baking chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Crush the cookies in a food processor. It took me about 34 cookies to get 3 cups.
Mix the cookie crumbs with the melted butter and stir them together until combined.
Press the cookie crumb mixture into the bottom of the springform pan (9-inch or 10-inch) and about halfway up the sides. I use a drinking glass to flatten the bottom and a silicone spatula to press the mixture up the sides of the pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer (with the whisk attachment) combine the cream cheese and vanilla extract.
Mix on medium-low speed until fluffy and creamy.
Add the eggs one at a time and mix until well combined. Scrape down the bowl and mix again.
Add the sugar, melted chocolate, and flour and mix on low speed for 5 minutes.
Stop to scrape the bowl as needed.
Pour in the cream, mixing constantly, until incorporated.
Scrape the entire bowl and mix once more.
Pour the mixture into the cooled crust. Remember not to scrape the bowl as you pour.
I had some extra batter so I made some little chocolate cheesecake cupcakes with an Oreo in the bottom as the crust.
I baked them for about 20 minutes and when they were good and chilled I took them next door to my neighbors.
Boil about 4 cups of water either in the microwave or on the stove.
Place the springform pan (with the bottom wrapped in foil) into your water bath pan and set the whole thing on the middle rack of the oven. Carefully pour the boiling water into the water bath pan and push the rack back into the oven.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 1/2 hours or until the edges are just turning brown and only a small circle in the center jiggles when you shake the pan.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven (leave the water bath to cool in the oven so you don't burn yourself with the hot water) and let it cool completely on the counter. Wrap the cooled cheesecake in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for at least 8 hours before serving.
When you're ready to serve, remove the rim of the pan and (if possible) lift the entire cheesecake from the base of the pan onto a serving plate or cake carrier. Slice the cheesecake, making sure to cut through the crust, and serve cold.