October 2, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Is it a giant Reeses cup? No, it's better than that. 

Yep, I said it's better than that.

I know. I couldn't have imagined that there was anything better than an enormous, platter-sized peanut butter cup either. But then this happened. As my birthday approached I jokingly said to M, "How about you bake me a cake this year?" All right, I was 30% joking and 70% seriously praying that someone other than a restaurant would serve me dessert on my birthday. 

Is it wrong to want your husband to bake you a cake? Is it so bad to realize that my husband is awesome in every other way, but by baking me a cake he could actually achieve being-the-perfect-husband for just a day? 

My mom said, "Lauren, you didn't tell him to do that!" I did. 
I might have even suggested it more than once. 

But dang! He knocked it out of the park! Does my husband know me or what? I almost fell over when I was hanging by the candy table at my S'mores Birthday Party (more on that totally fun shindig later) and out of nowhere came M, holding a candle-blazing cake stand with this on it. 

I had not expected him to bake for me. But I certainly didn't expect him to dream of a cake so outrageous... I swear the moment almost trumped our wedding proposal. 

You know you married the right man when he knows exactly what dessert will make you weak in the knees... something so peanut-buttery, so lusciously creamy, and so chocolate-fudgey as this. 
Cheesecake + Peanut Butter Chocolate = best birthday I've ever had. 

M, you're on as head birthday baker for the rest of my life.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake: (adapted from Nigella Lawson)
Ingredients: (all should be room temperature before you start)
1/2 (14-ounce) box cinnamon graham crackers (2 cups crumbs) 
1/2 cup salted peanuts 
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips 
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp

1 bar regular cream cheese
1 bar 1/3 less fat cream cheese
3 eggs 
3 egg yolks 
1 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup sour cream 
1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup sour cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 
2 tablespoons light brown sugar

9-inch springform pan

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Process the crackers, peanuts, dark chocolate chips, and butter in a food processor. Once it comes together in a clump, turn it into a springform pan and press into the bottom and up the sides to make the crunchy crust. Put it in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

Add all the filling ingredients to a food processor and pulse until it becomes a smooth mixture.
Pour and scrape the filling into the crust and bake for 1 hour, checking after 45 minutes. The top, only, should feel set and dry.Take the cheesecakes out of the oven and set aside while you make the topping. 

Warm the sour cream and semisweet chocolate with the brown sugar in a small saucepan over a low heat. Gently whisk to blend in the chocolate as it melts, then take the pan off the heat.Spoon and spread the topping very gently over the top of the cheesecake, being as careful so as not to break the surface, though it is okay if  you do.  Put it back in the oven for a final 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and cool. 

Serve when set. 

Make Ahead:
Make the cheesecake up to 2 days ahead. Do not cover until completely cold, then cover with a plate or plastic wrap, making sure that the covering does not touch the surface. Remove from pan and serve as directed in the recipe. This will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days total.
Freeze Note:
The cheesecake can be frozen for 1 month. Make sure it is thoroughly chilled then wrap, still in its pan, in a double layer of plastic wrap and layer of aluminum foil. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and eat within 2 days. Do not worry about condensation that may occur. 

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