Monday, September 9, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake

It was Sean's brothers birthday in August and I had volunteered to make the cake once again. I know he enjoys cheesecake and I know I can make one comparable or better than any you'll get in a store. He loves peanut butter, anything peanut butter. Reese's are a big one. So, of course I considered this when I went about planning this cake. Cheesecakes are different (for me) in that I do need to "plan" them. I never have 4 packages of Cream cheese on hand or many of the other ingredients. You also usually need to carve out a solid chunk of your day (in this case, 2 days) to make them.

Since we happened to be in the States prior to having to make the cake I got the chance to pick up some Peanut Butter Oreos that I used for the crust, they don't sell these in Canada. I found they tasted pretty much identical to the Reese's Pieces cereal that we have here though. And if I make this again, I'll find a way to incorporate those into the crust. It just added a very small peanuty flavour into the crust and I liked that.

I ended up going with 2 recipes for this cheesecake, one for the cake itself and another for a Peanut butter Mousse topping. And a third, I suppose if you include the Oreo Crust. I stuck with a solid chocolate cheesecake, which was the best chocolate cheesecake recipe that I have ever come across. It was the only cheesecake that I've ever made that didn't crack, was rich, but not too rich and wasn't overly sweet. Of course I had to put a mousse on my perfect looking cheesecake. The mousse was light and had a great complementary peanut butter taste to the chocolate. I'm not a huge Peanut Butter fan and I really enjoyed this cake. I wouldn't even try another recipe. Here's the culmination of the recipes.


1 Package Peanut Butter Oreo Cookies
2 Tbsp Butter

Chocolate Cheesecake
(Adapted slightly from Sugar & Spice)

12 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
24 ounces 3 - 8 ounces packages) Room temperature cream cheese, I used 2 ful fat and 1 light
1 cup granulated white sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup 2% Greek Yogurt

Peanut Butter Mousse Topping
(Adapted slightly from Inside BruCrew Life)

1 package light cream cheese (8 oz.)
500 mL container Cool Whip
1/2 cup peanut butter

Mini Reese's for Garnishing


Butter or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, a 10 inch spring form pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) with rack in centre of oven. This time, since it was sort of a gift, I put parchment paper down on the bottom of the pan so it would come out nicely.

In a food processor, crush cookies until overall the same sized crumb. Then place in a medium sized bowl to combine with the melted butter. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom of the spring form pan. Bake in oven for about 10 - 12 minutes until set slightly. Cover and refrigerate while you make the filling.

At this time place a roasting pan or large dish in the oven on the bottom rack, fill with water about half way. Leave this in the oven while the cheesecake cooks to help avoid cracking.

For Filling:
Melt the chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Try not to let the boiling water touch the bowl. This step can take a while but its so worth the flavour of using a good quality baking chocolate.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer) beat the cream cheese, on medium low speed, until smooth. Gradually beat in the sugar. Add the melted chocolate and beat until fully incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (about 30 seconds) after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract and Greek yogurt and beat until thoroughly incorporated.

Remove the crust from the refrigerator and pour in the filling. Place the cheesecake pan in the oven on the rack above the water bath.

Bake for about 50 - 55 minutes or until firm yet the centre of the cheesecake will still look a little wet and wobbly. Remove from oven and carefully run a knife or offset spatula around the inside edge of pan to loosen the cheesecake (helps prevent the surface from cracking as it cools as well). Let cool and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours (about 4, or overnight) before covering with the mousse.

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter until creamy. Add the cool whip and beat with the wire whisk attachment until creamy. Place spoonfuls on top of cooled cheesecake and spread out evenly with an offset spatula. Top with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

I piped extra little blobs of cool whip around the outside of the cake and put a mini Reese cup on each one. I made it so there would be 16 slices, if everyone got one Reese Cup.

You'll need a long, sharp knife to cut this cake nicely, and a tall glass of hot water to clean the knife in between cuts to continue to get smooth cuts.

Here's a picture of the un-cracked, un-covered cake for now. I'm making this cake again in a couple weeks and hope to take some better ones. I unfortunately don't have any pictures of it as a finished product yet because it got eaten fresh out of the fridge, very fast.

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