After a stressful and busy week last week (that I was grateful was full of blessings too), I was glad to see a new week begin! I was ready for 2 things to help me feel better—sleep and chocolate. I actually took a half-hour nap while watching a DVD with my children so that helped with the first. That might not seem like much, but I N-e-v-e-r take a nap. I never even lay down during the day. But this time I was so tired that I drifted off.
So I still had the second one to take care of. And I wanted an over the top great dessert. I saw this recipe at Brown Eyed Baker. (If you’ve never been there, you must visit! I have several of her other recipes in my to-try files.) Michelle found the recipe at Smitten Kitchen (another SUPER food blog…in case you just HAVE to find more even though you already have tons of recipes and cookbooks, like me). Isn’t this recipe an awesome idea? Chopped brownies mixed into cheesecake with chocolate ganache on top?
Believe it or not, I wanted to figure out something even more over the top to do with this recipe. So I thought of three options. 1) Add orange extract and orange zest to the cheesecake batter. 2) Add chopped up cherries (fresh, dried or maraschino) to the cheesecake batter. 3) Add a layer of caramel before adding the ganache and top it with pecans (on a small part of it). All three sounded good to me, but I decided to try #3.
This really was a choc-o-laty cheesecake. In fact, it was so chocolaty that I couldn’t taste the gooey caramel. That was unfortunate. Michelle mentioned that a friend of hers recommended doubling the crust so she included the crust ingredients for the doubled amounts. So I doubled it. I would not do that next time. The crust was too thick and even hard. Another problem with the crust is the overload of butter. I cut it down in my copy of the recipe. Michelle said to put the cheesecake on a cookie sheet to catch any drips, but I had no idea what a big puddle of butter would pour out. See the butter at the top left corner of the cookie sheet? I should have used one that had sides.
Well, it definitely satisfied my sweet tooth and my desire for chocolate! And it was a lot of fun making it with Elisa, even with the extra step of making brownies (which made picky Sabrina very happy since she ate some of the leftovers instead of cheesecake). And I think it’s pretty. But in all honesty, the cheesecake part was not as good as The Cheesecake that I usually make. But it was still amazing and I don’t know how many days it will last in my refrigerator. Any of my family or friends who live close wanna come pick it up? Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake
Part One: Brownies
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
¾ c. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
1¾ c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
½ t. salt
1 c. flour
Preheat oven to 350°. Line 13×9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Grease foil.
Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and salt; mix well. Spread into prepared pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minute or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove brownies from pan, using foil handles.
Cool brownies, then cut them into 3/4- to 1-inch squares for use in the cheesecake (I used a pizza cutter, per Deb’s recommendation). You will have more than the two cups of cubes, loosely measured, than you will need, and I’m sorry, you’re just going to have to decide for yourself what to do with the extra. Add cubes to cake batter as directed below.
Part Two: Crumb Crust
1½ c. or 5 ounces finely ground Oreos, or other chocolate cookie
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/8 t. salt
Stir together ingredients and press into bottom and 1 inch up side of a buttered 10″ springform pan. Fill right away or chill for up to 2 hours.
Part Three: Cheesecake
3 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 c. granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 t. vanilla
Make crumb crust as directed above for 10-inch cheesecake. Preheat oven to 350°.
Beat together cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions.
Fold brownie cubes in very gently and pour mixture into prepared pan. Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust and bake in baking pan (to catch drips) in middle of oven 45 minutes, or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken.
When completely cool, top with following glaze.
Part Four: Ganache Glaze
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 T. (½ stick) unsalted butter
¼ c. heavy cream
½ t. vanilla
1 T. powdered sugar
Place finely chopped chocolate in a medium size mixing bowl. Scald the butter and cream together in a saucepan (or in the microwave on HIGH for 1 minute). Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in vanilla and then whisk in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread over cheesecake while ganache is still warm. Chill until ready to serve.