Chocolate Cheesecake

19 Dec

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I made this decadent dessert for Thanksgiving…how is that already almost a month ago?? And Christmas is in a week? Holy moly. Life needs to slow down a bit!

My friend Jenny Lynn gave me a Junior’s Cheesecake cookbook. Remember the cheesecake showdown last summer? Yep, that was with her! She convinced me that Junior’s is the best New York style cheesecake around and this cookbook has become a proven keeper.

My task had been to bring a chocolate dessert and wow, was this a good choice! With a chocolate shortbread crust, rich creamy filling, and a pretty drizzle on top, this cheesecake is super impressive. The recipe might look long and intimidating but it’s not too hard to make if you have the time and plan ahead. Maybe bring it to an upcoming Christmas shindig and knock the socks of your family and friends!

PS: Congrats to Shannon, winner of the Trader Joe’s giveaway!

Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients:
For the chocolate shortbread crust:
1 cup and 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
1/3 cup sugar
1 extra large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted

For the cheesecake:
10 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
4 packages of cream cheese, at room temp (8 oz packs, regular cream cheese only)
1 2/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 extra large eggs
3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream

For the chocolate drizzle:
4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted

Yield: One 9 inch cheesecake (8-12 slices)

Directions:
For the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Wrap the outside with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way up the sides.

Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on high until creamy. Blend in the egg yolk and vanilla, then the melted chocolate. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the flour mixture just until it disappears and a dough forms.

Push the dough over the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Flour your hands, then smooth out the dough evenly to the edge of the pan with your fingertips, working in a circular motion. Do not press up the sides.

Bake the crust until it’s set and forms a light brown crust on top, about 15 minutes. (do not over bake!) Leave the crust in the pan and place on a wire rack to cool.

For the cheesecake:
Keep the oven at 350 degrees F. Melt the chocolate and set aside to cool. Put one package of cream cheese, 1/3 cup of sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl several times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Beat in the melted chocolate, then the cream, just until completely blended. Don’t over mix! Gently spoon the batter on top of the crust.

Place the cake in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the pan. (make sure you still have the foil on the bottom of the pan!) Bake until the edges look baked and the top of the cake appears set, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove the cake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 2 hours. (just walk away – don’t move it) Leave the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely cold, preferably overnight or at least 4 hours. Transfer to the freezer for 1 hour.

Once cooled, release and remove the sides of the springform pan, leaving the cake on the bottom of the pan. Place on a cake plate and decorate however you like, or leave it plain and simple!

For the optional chocolate drizzle, put the melted chocolate in a piping bag with a small round tip. Pipe a web in a zig zag movement on top of the cheesecake.

Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve. Slice it with a sharp straight-edge knife, not a serrated one. Cover any leftover cake and refrigerate or freeze up to 1 month.

Source: Junior’s Cheesecake Cookbook

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