Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

If you're a regular visitor you know that in addition to baking one of my passions in life is dog rescue. Recently, we decided to start our own rescue group dedicated to helping people keep their pets in their homes and when that is not possible finding homes for those animals without the need to go to an animal shelter first.

It's a noble goal and it turns out some other folks had been thinking along those lines. I had a chance to have over Marcie Velan from No Kill Pima County over for coffee to talk about their efforts to save the lives of dogs and cats and how our groups can work together toward that goal.

For our coffee klatch I decided to make us something decadent to enjoy while we talked about such serious issues: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake. Now, my previous cheesecake experiences have turned out less than stellar. They've all been good but the presentation was not always what I wanted - cracked tops, crusts that fell apart, etc.

This cheesecake turned out to be easy to make and nearly foolproof. I've also learned a few tricks since my last cheesecake adventure. First, I actually bake them a little lower than called for in the recipe. Second, I dispensed with the traditional "water bath" which always seemed to make matters worse instead of better. This time, my crust was perfect and the cheesecake beautiful!

If you're cheesecake shy, give this one a try! You'll be glad you did.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

A decadent chocolate and peanut butter cheesecake that is amazingly easy to make!

  • 1 1/2 cups Chocolate graham crackers, finely crushed
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 8oz. packages Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 cup smooth Peanut Butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tbs. milk
  • 1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. espresso powder
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 300°. In a medium bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Press into a 9-inch spring form pan and 1 inch up the sides and set aside.
  2. In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, 1 package of the cream cheese until smooth. Add the peanut butter and beat until well combined. Fold in 1 lightly beaten egg. Set aside mixture.
  3. In a small sauce pan, heat the chocolate chips over low heat until melted. Add the milk, vanilla and espresso powder and stir until smooth. Cut the remaining cream cheese into cube and stir into the chocolate mixture until smooth.
  4. Pour half of the chocolate mixture over the prepared crust. Spoon the peanut butter mixture over the chocolate and very carefully spread to edges. Pour remaining chocolate over peanut butter.
  5. Place spring form pan on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes or just until set. The edges will look slightly risen and dry while the center remains darker and shakes just slightly when the pan is moved.
  6. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 15 minutes. Using a small sharp knife, loosen the edges of the crust from the pan. Allow to cool another 15 minutes then remove the sides of the spring form pan. Allow cheesecake to cool completely then cover and chill at least 4 hours. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.
  7. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts or drizzle with peanut butter ice cream topping.
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 95 minutes
Yield: 16 pieces
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