Saturday, July 6, 2013

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

Sure, I could sexy up the description of this cheesecake . . . but why? Here's what you need to know: Cheesecake. Chocolate. Peanut butter cups. Ganache layer.  Peanut butter buttercream. More peanut butter cups.

Don’t let the number of steps put you off. Think of it this way: there are many things in life that are essentially simple to do but would seem daunting and impossibly complicated if you were to try to follow written instructions for them. I'm sure you can think of a few examples.

Trust me, the payoff of making this showstopper is very, very satisfying. You should probably do it today. You know you want to. Or someone you love wants you to.  

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake
Servies 12 to 16

· 1 ½ cups chocolate graham cracker or cookie crumbs
· 2 tablespoons sugar
· 2 ounces butter, melted
· ¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips
· ¼ cup heavy cream
· 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened slightly
· 1 cup granulated sugar
· ½ cup sour cream
· 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
· 3 eggs
· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
· 12 peanut butter cups, roughly chopped
· 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
· ¼ cup heavy cream
· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
· Peanut butter frosting, additional peanut butter cups to garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-inch springform pan.
2. In a small mixing bowl, combine chocolate graham crumbs, sugar, and butter. Mix with a fork until combined. Press onto the bottom of the pan and up the sides, trying to keep the thickness uniform. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes; remove from oven and let cool on rack. When cool, wrap the bottom of the pan tightly in aluminum foil, coming as high up the sides of the pan as possible. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
3. In small saucepan, heat ¼ cup cream over low heat. When just steaming, pour over chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. Let stand 2 minutes, then stir until smooth. Set aside.
4. In bowl of standing mixer with paddle attachment, combine cream cheese and granulated sugar and beat until smooth, scraping down bowl occasionally. Add sour cream and continue beating. Add cocoa powder and beat until combined. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating well after
each addition. Scrape down bowl and add reserved chocolate mixture. Beat until fully incorporated. Fold in chopped peanut butter cups.
5. Pour filling over baked crust. Place cheesecake in a baking pan large enough to accommodate the cake pan with at least an inch on all sides. Fill with at least one inch of hot water, being careful not to go over the top of the foil.
6. Carefully place cheesecake inside water bath in oven. Bake at 325 degrees F for about an hour and a half, until the center appears nearly set. Carefully remove from oven and take cheesecake out of water bath. Remove foil. Let cool on rack at room temperature for 1 hour, then refrigerate for at
least 4 hours or overnight.
7. To make ganache layer: Place 1 cup chocolate chips in a small heatproof bowl. Heat ¼ cup cream with 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract until just simmering. Pour cream over chocolate; let stand 2 minutes, then stir until smooth. Spread ganache over cooled cheesecake and return to refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
8. If desired, garnish cheesecake with rosettes of peanut butter frosting and/or chopped peanut butter cups. Keep refrigerated.

Tip: I use an 8-inch pan to achieve a tall, dense, velvety cake, but if you have only a 9-inch pan, you can use that instead. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time down, checking the cheesecake for doneness at around1 hour.

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