Wednesday, September 30, 2009

So much for the healthy eating resolutions...

Somehow I managed to commit to making two cheesecakes this week... one for church and one for a friend. Here's the first of the two.

Note: I've found that all cheesecakes generally work best if you make them the day before you plan to serve them, and this one is no exception.

(My apologies for the poor picture quality, this is the lone survivor of the church potluck, as people were nice enough to take home most of the extra so I wouldn't have to figure out a way to dispose of a quarter of a cheesecake all by myself).

This recipe is an adaptation of a much love recipe I found in a bargain priced cookbook at Barnes and Nobles.

Melt together on low heat:

½ C Butter
4 oz chocolate (or ½ C chocolate chips)

After chocolate is melted, add the following

1 C sugar (I reduce it to ¾ C if I’m not using bittersweet chocolate)
2 eggs, beaten

Add 1 Tbsp instant coffee to 1Tbsp boiling water, stir until dissolved, then add milk to equal ¼ cup total liquid. Add this liquid to the chocolate mixture.

Stir in until just blended:
1C flour

Add to greased and floured 9” springform pan. Cook at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

While chocolate base is cooking, mix together the following:

2 ¼ C cream cheese at room temperature (I use reduced fat. Nonfat won’t work well, though).
2/3 C sugar

Add in one at a time:
3 eggs (it works best if these are also at room temperature).

Mix until well blended, then add 1 tsp vanilla.

Take 1-2 tbsp instant coffee (I use two for a strong coffee flavor) and add to 1 tbsp boiling water as before. Then add plain yogurt (or sour cream would work, I guess) to a total volume of ½ C. Stir this mixture until fairly well blended, then add to the cream cheese mixture. Mix everything together, then pour over cooked base. I generally give the base about five minutes to cool down before adding the cream cheese mixture, but I don’t think it matters all that much.

Bake cheesecake at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until not quite set. The edges should be set but the center won’t quite be there yet. Run a knife around the edges to prevent cracking, then allow to cool to room temperature. Once it’s at room temperature stick it in the fridge (the more gradual cooling helps prevent cracking). Keep in fridge at least a couple of hours until chilled.

Topping (from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook):
In small saucepan mix the following:
1 ¼ C sour cream (I use low fat)
½ C powdered sugar.
Heat and stir until warm (but not hot) and well blended, then pour over top of chilled cheesecake. Put cheesecake back in fridge for at least another two hours to set the topping. I also grate bittersweet chocolate over the top right before serving just because I think it’s pretty.

Other Notes:
I’ve made this cheesecake without the coffee, and it works great. I’ve also made it without the topping, which is fine. I think the topping is nice when you do have coffee in the cake, though, as you get the three-color visual appeal.

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