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I Am A Believer: Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake

During the holidays, I decided to surf the web for cheesecake recipes. I tried a few recipes. One recipe found online stood out above the rest.

I am not a fan of too much chocolate. I like hints of chocolate. I like chocolate swirls and minimal chocolate chips. I like chocolate frosting with yellow cake. I need peanut butter, nuts, and coconut to break-up taste of chocolate.

I found a chocolate cheesecake recipe on Mel’s Kitchen Café blog that made me believe that too much chocolate can be a great thing. This recipe has 3, yep 1-2-3, layers of chocolate. The topping, filling, and the crust are filled with chocolate. I went into this recipe thinking that all I wanted to do was bake this recipe, taste a slice, and take the cheesecake to the office for my coworkers to devour.

Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake

Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake

I followed recipe to the last instruction minus the chocolate curls for garnish. I even used Ghiradelli Bittersweet Chips just as the recipe suggested. I was inspired to accentuate the chocolate filling. To accomplish this, I added a teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper didn’t over power the recipe. I accomplished what I set out to do and more. I reserved 4 slices of cheesecake for myself. I packaged up the rest of the cheesecake and took it work. The cheesecake was a hit. I didn’t even have to add garnish. The next time I make this cheesecake recipe, I will add crushed pecans and caramel drizzle.

Below is the modified recipe courtesy of Mel’s Kitchen Cafe:

Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake

NOTE: This cheesecake needs to be chilled overnight so plan ahead! The good news is this cheesecake can be made all the way through the topping, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days before serving. It is preferable to let the cheesecake stand at room temperature 1-2 hours before serving.

Crust:
9-ounce package of chocolate cookies (such as chocolate wafers, graham crackers or teddy grahams)
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted

ONEPreheat the oven to 350°F.
TWOButter a 9-inch springform pan with 3-inch-high sides (or use a 10-inch springform pan with 2-inch sides).
THREEProcess the chocolate cookies in a food processor (or the old-fashioned way with a bag and a rolling pin) until they are finely ground.
FOURTransfer them to a small bowl and mix in the sugar.
FIVEAdd the melted butter and mix until well combined.
SIXPress the crumbs evenly onto the bottom only of the prepared pan.
SEVENBake just until set, about 5 minutes.
EIGHTCool while preparing filling.
NOTE:Keep the oven heated at 350 degrees.

Filling:

10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chips were used)
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (Optional, I added to this recipe.)

ONEMelt the 10 ounces of chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler until melted and smooth.
TWOCool the chocolate until lukewarm but ensure that it is still warm enough to be pourable.
THREEIn a large bowl (or with a stand mixer), blend cream cheese, sugar, cayenne pepper, and cocoa powder until smooth.
FOURBlend in eggs one at a time.
FIVEMix in lukewarm chocolate.
SIXPour the cheesecake filling over the crust; smooth the top.
SEVENBake until the center is just set and just appears dry, about 1 hour.
EIGHTRemove the cheesecake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
NINERun knife around sides of cake to loosen.
TENLet the cheesecake cool to room temperature.
ELEVENCover lightly with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

Topping:

3/4 cup whipping cream
6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar

ONEOne hour before serving (or up to 3 days ahead of time), stir cream, 6 ounces chocolate, and sugar in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until smooth.
TWOCool slightly. Pour over the center of the cheesecake, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edge and filling any cracks.
THREEChill until the topping is set, about 1 hour.
FOURWhen ready to serve, release the springform pan sides.
FIVETransfer the cheesecake to a platter.
SIXTop with topping of choice.
SEVENIt is preferable to let the cheesecake stand at room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving.

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