When I was visiting my lovely daughter and son-in-law yesterday, I was raving about a recipe I'd made for my younger daughter and her beau, which got the reaction "That's a keeper!" I said I hadn't blogged in a long time and Megan encouraged me to start again, with this recipe. She also doesn't like cheesecake, but after describing this, she now wants to try it! Wonders will never cease... After making an apple bundt cake this afternoon for a friend's visit tomorrow, I realized Megan was right and that it was time to blog again, because I really do love to share my recipes and results.
I got the original recipe, Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes from
Gimme Some Oven and a did a test run on my office buddies. The reaction was great - my baker buddy Teresa's comment was (basically one word) "OmigoodIloveitcanIhavetherecipe?" I only took 8 to the office and they were a universal hit. The recipe said it could also be made as an entire cheesecake and I thought I'd try it that way, since it was actually less work to make one cake rather than a tray of minis.
No surprise here, but of course I amended the recipe by reducing the fat content, increasing the crust base (essential!) and not making ganache as a topper. Everyone loved it, so I'll keep making it this way!
Ingredients for Crust:
2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs - I got mine at Bulk Barn
4 tbsp melted butter
2 bricks (16 oz or 500 grams) reduced fat, plain cream cheese
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup light cream - I used 5% coffee cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Prepared chocolate icing, 1/2 to 3/4 cup worth
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, diced - I used 7 from a 12 pack
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cookie crumbs and melted butter until thoroughly mixed. In 8-9" springform pan, spread the crumb mixture evenly and bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool thoroughly while the filling is prepared.
In a large mixer bowl combine the cream cheese and peanut butter at medium speed, until smooth. You will need the scrape the bowl at least once to make sure it's evenly mixed. Add the brown sugar, followed by the eggs one at a time, then the cream and vanilla. Scrape the bowl again to make sure everything is incorporated. Pour over cooled crumb base.
At this point there are two trains of thought about baking cheesecake. The traditional method is to use a "Bain Marie", or water bath, where the springform pan is wrapped in foil and set into a pan filled 2/3 of the way with heated water. The cheesecake then bakes in this "bath" and you pray that there isn't even a teenie, tiny hole anywhere in the foil, because if there is it's curtains for your cheesecake.
I used another method and will do it again this way. Instead of setting the springform into the pan of water, I put the water bath on the rack under the one with the cheesecake on it. The theory is that the moist air in the oven will prevent the cheesecake from cracking, because it takes so long to bake and set. Even with the pan in the water, I've had them crack. With this cheesecake, a small crack formed along the inside of the pan, but I knew it would be covered by icing, so I wasn't worried.
Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes, then allow to sit in the cooling oven for another hour to fully set. There is no way to cut back on the time with this step, so don't even consider it. ;) At this point, it will need to be chilled at least four hours or overnight for the flavour to fully develop. This is also the real reason cheesecakes don't get made that often - you need to plan ahead!
The next day, I warmed prepared chocolate icing for 10-15 seconds in the microwave and very gently spread it over the top, completely covering the "fault line". ;) The diced peanut butter cups were spread out immediately so they'd stick and that was it! It sliced beautifully, so you could potentially get 12 slices out of one pan, but ours didn't go that far. I'm pretty sure I'll be making it again on Thanksgiving weekend!