Monday, November 28, 2011

Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake

I hope everyone had the best Thanksgiving weekend and was blessed (and stuffed) beyond! We had a fabulous time with all the family and finally drove home to Nashville yesterday... hence the couple of days that I wasn't blogging. ;) ANYWAYS, we're home now and I've got A LOT to fill you in on!

Two days ago my friend Brandy and I hosted a couple's kitchen shower for our dear friends Holly & Ben... what a BLAST! Naturally, I volunteered to bake all the sweets for the party... you know me. We decided on mini apple pies, that were oh, perfect, and chocolate truffle cheesecake. It may not have been the most appropriate "lite" dessert for the middle of the day but, I needed a dark chocolate-y colored dessert as an excuse to use my edible gold dusting powder. ;)
(so pretty right?)
After quite a few requests at the shower, I've decided to let you in on the BEST EVER chocolate cheesecake recipe. I've slowly adapted it over the years to make it my own, but the original, fabulous recipe is Hershey's... can't go wrong! Get ready, you will NOT be satisfied with just one piece! So let's dive into it...

What you'll need:

  • 3 packages regular cream cheese (8 oz. packages)
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 cup dark chocolate morsels
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 9 inch springform pan (if you don't have one, they're pretty inexpensive and most grocers carry them in the 'baking needs' aisle)

Chocolate Crumb Crust:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups vanilla wafer cookies (crushed)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup Hershey's cocoa (i prefer dark but regular works fine)
  • 1/3 cup melted butter (salted or unsalted)
(vanilla wafers not photographed, my apologies)

So let's make the crumb crust first. Crush up your cookies, pour them into a medium sized bowl and mix with your cocoa, powdered sugar and melted butter. Then press it all into the bottom of your closed and locked springform.
 (yeah, i used a nut chopper! it worked perfectly and even told me when i reached 1 & 1/2 cups!)
 (don't be confused by this photo. all i did was transfer the crushed wafers into my 2 cup measuring cup, knowing that the wafers were 1 & 1/2 cup and all i needed was 1/2 cup of powdered sugar)
Okay, now that your crust is done, set it aside and preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Let's make the filling! Get out your bigger, microwave safe mixing bowl and pour in both cups of the chocolate morsels. Melt them! (word to the wise: you don't want to burn your chocolate, which is easy to do, so set the microwave to 30 seconds at a time, and stir after each time... you should go through 3 or 4 rounds of this)
Now add in the 3 blocks of cream cheese and the entire can of sweetened condensed milk. Blend with your electric mixer.
Now add in your eggs and blend it all together WELL. Add the vanilla extract and blend for the last time... that's it!
Now let's pour it into the prepared crumb pan.
(if you want to be totally crazy like me, just take a spoon to that stuff! oh man, who needs to bake it?)
Okay let's bake it.. if we must! ;) Bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes. What you want to look for is when you slightly jiggle the pan, the center doesn't look too liquid-y. If the top starts to crack on the edges a little, that's okay too, not to worry! Now take it out and let cool for a good hour or two. Then refrigerate for a couple of hours before enjoying it. If you're reading this and flipping out because you made it a little last minute and people are coming over to your place in 3 hours, it's okay, it'll still taste great, breathe. Honestly, that's what I normally do. However the cream cheese does set really nicely if it has some time to cool in the fridge and then get room temperature again before you serve it.
(that's what it should look like outta the oven. the slight sinking in the center is normal so don't worry if yours is like that too)

The BEST way to enjoy this cheesecake, in my opinion, is by spreading an entire box of fresh raspberries all over the top and dusting with powdered sugar.
However, I did serve it just by itself for the shower and it was a hit... so whatever your fancy! Also be sure to brew a pot of coffee... you're gonna want it. :)
Hope you all make this and totally die over it! It's definitely an easy recipe with impressive, fancy results... I recommend it as the perfect holiday party table centerpiece!

Enjoy sweet friends, and I'll talk to you tomorrow!

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