Thursday, November 5, 2009

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

Would you like to impress people with your amazing cheezecake skillz? Here is your chance.

This is the kind of dessert that causes people to moan in ecstasy and sit with their eyes glazed over long after the plate is scraped clean. It doesn't last long at the restaurant, which is ironic, because I made it because cheesecake stays fresh longer than fruity desserts. In fact, some cheesecakes even improve with age. However, we'll probably never know if that's true about this cake, because people simply won't allow it to live that long.

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake
recipe adapted from recipezaar.

I mixed about 1 cup Graham Cracker crumbs with 1/4-1/2 cup cocoa powder and 1/4 cup or so sugar, then melted a 1/2 stick+ of butter and mixed that in as well. (sorry, I wasn't really measuring at this point. follow your heart when it comes to the crust. you can even use oreos or teddi grahams, and some recipes suggest processing peanuts in with the cookie crumbs.) Press the mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9-in springform pan and refrigerate while you make the filling.

Also, preheat to 275.

2 lbs cream cheese, softened. (4 8oz packages)
5 eggs, room temperature
1.5 cups firmly packed brown sugar (I only had .5 cup brown sugar, so I also used .5 cup white sugar and .5 cup dark brown sugar. I figured it evened it out.)
1 cup smooth peanut butter
.5 cup whipping cream or heavy cream
1 t vanilla extract
12 Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, roughly chopped.

Using a mixer, beat the cream cheese til smooth. Add the eggs one by one, blending thoroughly between each. Add sugar, peanut butter, cream and vanilla, and blend well. Stir in the PB cups and pour into the chilled crust.

Prepare a water bath, so the water comes an inch up the sides of the pan. Bake at 275 for 1.5 hrs or until only the middle jiggles slightly. Let cool inside the oven, turned off, with the door cracked open.

The original recipe calls for a sour cream topping made from 3 oz sour cream and .5 cup sugar and a dash of vanilla. It's good, I tried it on the first version of this cheesecake I made. However, this time I decided it needed more chocolate to balance out the PB, so I made chocolate ganache and poured it over the top of the cheesecake before chilling.

Heat 3/4 cup heavy cream until bubbly around the edges, then mix in 1-1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, letting stand for a minute before stirring smooth.

Let the cheesecake chill for a few hours, or preferably overnight before serving. Sprinkle Chopped PB cups on top of the ganache for garnish.

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