Friday, September 2, 2011

Cheesecake..Expanding My Horizons..(and maybe my hips)

OK!  So Birthdays are pretty special in my home.  I grew up that way and I do the same for my kids. On the other hand, my husband and his family are the complete opposite.  Anyway, I try to make it as special as I can.  In doing that...I try to let them pick what kind of "Birthday Cake" they would like.  Last month was Julia's 11th birthday - and she wanted Red Velvet Cupcakes with whipped cream cheese frosting.  I messed up, but I did finally make them a week later for her.  Mark....well..he wants the cheesecake I made him a few years ago.  HECK!  I can't even remember YESTERDAY half the time.  So he will get cheesecake.  I am thinking this one (please note it is an adaptation of A LOT of recipes!):

Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake 
1-1/2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs (about 27 wafers) or chocolate animal crackers
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 packages (8 ounces each) Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup baking cocoa
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
Cooled Brownies
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups bite size brownies (* see recipes below)
1-1/2 cups (9 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Getting ready to cut them up
GARNISH (all, some or none - your choice)
Chocolate syrup
Caramel syrup
Whipped cream
Mini semi sweet morsels or even chopped candy bar

In a small bowl, combine the wafer crumbs, confectioners' sugar and cocoa; stir in the butter. Press onto the bottom of a greased
 9-in. springform pan; set aside.
Small bit size pieces - PERFECT!
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in cocoa. Add eggs; beat on low just until combined. Gradually stir in milk and vanilla just until combined. Fold in brownies. Spoon filling onto crust. Place pan on a baking sheet.
Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until center is almost set. 
For topping, melt chocolate chips in a heavy saucepan or microwave, stir until smooth. Stir in cream and vanilla; mix well. Spread over filling. Cool pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
Remove sides of pan. Just before serving, garnish, if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.
The crust

*Brownie Recipe(s):
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels (I only use Ghiradelli brand), divided (can sub other flavors for the 1 cup  mix in)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, cut into pieces
2 large eggs
There is NO other coca to
bake with..this is IT!
2/3 cups all-purpose flour

Cream Cheese & Butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beating in the cocoa
MELT:  1/2 cup morsels and butter in large, heavy-duty saucepan over low heat; stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in eggs. Stir in flour, sugar, vanilla extract. Stir in remaining morsels and nuts. Spread into prepared baking pan.
BAKE for 17 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bit size pieces.

Adding the lightly beaten eggs
Or try this twist:

1 cup(s) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
8 ounce(s) White Chocolate Baking Bar
1/2 cup(s) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 large eggs
1/3 cup(s) granulated white sugar
Ohh..the silkiness...
1 tablespoon(s) pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon(s) salt
PREHEAT oven to 350ºF. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Grease the paper.
MELT: In the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, melt the white chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth.
MIX:  In a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the eggs until foamy. With the mixer running, add the sugar in a slow, steady stream. Add the vanilla. Add the melted chocolate and butter in a thin stream. With a rubber spatula, fold in the flour, salt, and chocolate chips until well combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan.
Finally..adding those brownie bits.
BAKE:  25 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean when inserted into the center. Let the brownies cool completely, then cut into bit size pieces.

NOTE: both these recipes make more than enough brownies for the cheesecake.  So eat the rest!. 

Now for the Ganache topping...
Again, Ghiradelli chocolate

Preparing for spreading..


OK! Ganache topping..oh
but there will be more.


With candles

I think this should be renamed
Death By Decadent Chocolate

As always - Happy Baking....

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