Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Chocolate Bar Cheesecake

This weekend I had a fun task.  Prepare a romantic "motorbike" picnic for some friends.  The picnic items had to endure a motorcycle ride in a backpack. There were a couple of specific requests too, one of them...mini cheesecakes.  I was down with mini cheesecakes.  I didn't get any specifics with regards to toppings.  Fruit?  Chocolate?  So I decided I would make a classic cheesecake recipe and play around with the toppings, they were minis so I could do that.  I made 12 minis total (plenty for a picnic for 2).  I topped 6 of them with blueberry jam (warmed and strained smooth) and a couple of fresh blueberries.  The other 6 I decked out in chopped Mars Dark chocolate bars.  After the minis were set, I was left with a serious amount of batter and crust so I made an impromtu 8" leftover cheesecake.  Given the choice between fruit and chocolate for the topping...I chose chocolate, hands down.  I think it will be chocolate for me, always and forever.  This recipe made a perfect, true classic cheesecake.  Both the cake and the minis were insanely delicious.

Chocolate Bar Cheesecake
Origin: Adapted from this recipe

Notes:  The author of the original cheesecake recipe I used, provides many additional guidelines including using a water bath to bake the cheesecake.  Remember, I made 12 minis and a smaller version of the cake.  I baked both without the waterbath...the minis for 20 minutes and 45 minutes for the medium sized cake...it worked just fine.  Small cracks formed around the edges of the bigger cake just as it finished baking but it didn't bother me.  If I was serving this to guests I might arrange the chocolate bar topping into a pretty pattern or add some chocolate ganache to hide imperfections and add flair.  When working with the whole batch of crust and batter you will have enough graham crumbs to work up the sides of the pan for additional crust and the cake will be higher than pictured.  Visit this link for additional baking instructions.


2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup), melted
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

4 8oz blocks cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 cups chopped chocolate bar of your choice (I used 8 Mars Dark bars)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, very lightly grease or spray a 9" springform pan.  (Or you can make mini cheesecakes or play around with 12 minis and 1 smaller 8" cheesecake as I did.  Just adjust baking times, see notes above.)

Mix together crust ingredients and press the mixture into the bottom of the pan and 1 inch up the sides of the pan.  Bake for 7 minutes, cool completely on a wire rack.  Once cooled sprinkle 1 cup of chopped chocolate bar on top of the crust.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the sugar and cream until incorporated.  Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl, making sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next.  Add heavy cream and vanilla, mix until smooth.

Pour the batter over the prepared crust, (if making one large cheesecake, this is where you might want to consider checking this link for tips on a baking your cheesecake) bake for approximately 55 minutes (mine started to pull away from the sides of the pan and it cracked a little around the edges).  Place on a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place cooled cake in the fridge for at least 5 hours to set.  Let stand at room temperature for at least half an hour, top cake with remaining chocolate bar pieces, pressing into the cake slightly to adhere.  Serve cake at room temperature.

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