Sunday, June 23, 2013

Chocolate Irish Cream Cheesecake

With the heat and humidity, I found myself in a mood to make something that would be served cold but would not be fast melting like ice cream.  Naturally I went to the next best thing...cheesecake.

Since the cheesecake was not going to sit around the house, but be devoured at work- I had my co-workers take a vote on the flavor and this one was chosen.  This particular cheesecake is good to make and serve, but even better after the flavors meld with another day.

I have made many desserts with the combined flavors of chocolate and coffee.  They all seem to go over with great reviews and requests for more of the same. This dessert was no different.  The recipe makes one 9 inch cheesecake.

Chocolate Irish Cream Cheesecake
adapted from Cheesecake Extraordinaire

3 tbs butter
11 milk chocolate sandwich cookies

1 1/2 tsp instant coffee
2 tsp hot water
3/4 cup irish cream liqueur
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup whipping cream
5 eggs
12 oz milk chocolate chips
18 oz cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar

Optional topping:
1/2 cup sweetened whipped cream
1/4 milk chocolate chips
powdered sugar

To make the bottom crust, pulverize cookies in a blender or food processor until it turns into fine crumbs.  In a small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave.  Pour the crumb mixture into the butter and stir until smooth.

Grease the interior of a 9 inch springform pan.  Then press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan. For the filling, start by dissolving the instant coffee in a small bowl with the water. Also, melt the chocolate in a double boiler until smooth.  Remove the melted chocolate from over the water pan. Also set aside the springform pan and instant coffee mixture. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

 Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer,  beat  the cream cheese and sugar together in a large bowl, running the mixer at medium speed.  Once all the lumps are gone, add one egg and beat for 30 seconds.  Repeat the process with each additional egg.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla extract, whipping cream and irish cream.  Beat for another 30 seconds.  Lastly, use a wooden spoon and stir in the melted chocolate.

Pour the filling over the crust in the springform pan.  Place pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. For the second baking interval, reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees and bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes.  The cheesecake is done when the filling is no longer glossy or shiny on top.

Remove the cheesecake from the oven and run a knife along the outside edge between the cheesecake and the pan. Put the cheesecake back in the oven and turn the oven off.  Let it continue to bake for about 2 hours.  After the baking time, cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to chill overnight.

The next day, top the cheesecake as desired.  Whipping cream rosettes can be piped around the edge and each topped with a milk chocolate chip or you can use a stencil and dust with powdered sugar.  Then you are ready to slice and serve.

Tips and Notes:
1. Dark springform pans require less baking time, the rule of thumb on cakes is about 10 minutes.
2.Iif you cannot find milk chocolate sandwich cookies, Oreos will do fine.
3. Wrap the bottom half of the springform pan in heavy duty foil, otherwise butter will melt out and run all over the oven.
4. Make sure the eggs and cream cheese are at room temperature.  If it is too cold, the melted chocolate will seize.  Then you will have a cheesecake with flakes of chocolate in the filling.
5. How thick you want the crust is a personal preference, so you can alter by adding more crumbs and butter.  Increments of about 4 cookies to 1 tbs + 1 tsp of butter.
6. Do not delay on running the knife around the outer edge of the cheesecake after it is removed from the oven.  Delay will cause the cheesecake to crack when the filling contracts in the cooling process.
                          **LAST YEAR: Key Lime Parfaits**