Merry Christmas! Today I would like to share a brand new recipe that I must admit is not totally clean. However, it is completely from scratch which is the most important part. Plus this is a Christmas Special Edition post, so we can indulge a little. 🙂
For my family’s Thanksgiving this year, I tried my hand at my first ever cheesecake. It had a double chocolate chip cookie crust, pumpkin spice filling, chocolate ganache topping, and some buttercream piped around the border to clean up the edges. I know, it was probably the least healthy thing I’ve ever made, but in my defense it was 100% from scratch–even the cookies for the crust. I plan to publish the recipe sometime in the near future, but I would like to try it with low-fat cream cheese first to knock off a few calories, especially since it worked really well in today’s chocolate cheesecake.
Anyway, this whole endeavor inspired me to take a standard chocolate cheesecake recipe and make a Christmas edition by making a peppermint chocolate ganache and topping it off with some crushed candy canes.
Now this is a pretty involved recipes, so be sure to read through the whole thing before you start and make sure you have plenty of time to spend in the kitchen. Enjoy and merry Christmas!
1 1/2 cups homemade chocolate chip cookie crumbs
1/4 cup melted coconut oil or butter
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2 Tbs. melted coconut oil or butter
2 8-oz. packages of 1/3 fat cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbs. raw honey
1 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp. pure vanilla
1/4 tsp. sea salt
Chocolate Peppermint Ganache
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 tsp. melted coconut oil or butter
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
Crushed candy canes
Grease the bottom and sides of an 8 inch spring-form pan with canola spray or melted coconut oil.
Put the chocolate chip cookies in a food processor and grind until they are just small crumbs. Use your favorite type of cookie, but I strongly recommend using homemade ones. Once I perfect a recipe, I will share it! Other options include graham crackers or Andes mint-chocolate cookies. Feel free to get creative!
In a small bowl, mix the cookie crumbs with the melted coconut oil or butter. Then press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.
Add approximately an inch of water to the bottom of a double boiler and melt 1 cup of dark chocolate chips on medium heat. Stir every few minutes and be sure not to get any water in the chocolate. When the chocolate chips are melted, remove from heat and stir in 2 Tbs. of melted butter or coconut oil. Allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large, deep bowl, combine the somewhat-cooled chocolate mixture, cream cheese, sugar, honey, cocoa, vanilla, and salt. Use an electric mixture to mix all the ingredients until smooth and creamy. Be sure to scrape down the sides every so often to ensure that everything is well combined.
Put the filling in the spring form pan and using a small offset spatula, smooth out the filling until it is even across the pan.
Bake for 30 minutes, making sure to not open the oven! Any rapid change in temperature or humidity can lead to cracking.
Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake rest in the oven for another 30 minutes, still not opening the door. When the time is up, let the cheesecake cool for approximately 30 more minutes before letting it chill and set up in the refrigerator for at least three hours and up to overnight.
When the cheesecake is completely cool, it is time to make the ganache! Put the remaining chocolate chips in a glass bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the whipping cream and oil or butter to a boil on medium heat. Pour it onto the chocolate chips and let sit for five minutes. When the time is up, whisk the mixture until it all comes together. Then add the peppermint extract and mix it in.
Pour the ganache on the cheesecake and smooth it out with a small offset spatula. Sprinkle crushed candy canes over the top for a finishing touch. Be sure to do this right away before the ganache cools and hardens. Serve with whipped cream.
Make sure you put together the spring form pan correctly. Otherwise, oil from the crust will leak into the oven causing a huge mess. I’ve learned this the hard way. Three times to be exact.
Line a baking sheet with foil and put the spring form pan on it while baking. This will prevent any major mess in the event that some leakage does occur.
Again, whatever you do, do not open the oven until it is time to take it out. I know it’s tempting, but this is crucial to cheesecake success! This is also where it becomes imperative that the pan is put together correctly and a baking sheet is below the pan. If you have to open the oven to clean up burned butter as the house fills with haze, the cheesecake will surely cave in the middle. (Yes, I also learned this the hard way.)
If the cake does cave in, the ganache will likely fill the crater, but not the edges. What you can do to remedy the situation is make a little buttercream frosting and pipe a boarder around the cake. No one will know that it’s caved in and you get frosting too!
Don’t cover the cheesecake in the fridge until it is totally cool to prevent condensation from collecting on top. If this does happen, dab it off with a paper towel.
Make the chocolate chip cookies ahead of time and store in the freezer until you want to make the cheesecake.`