Chocolate chocolate caramel chocolate cheesecake!


For the last couple months I’ve been craving cheesecake. And I don’t just make a cheesecake. No, this took planning. I spent time on Pinterest, Food Gawker, Food Network, and Epicurious. I PLANNED. I wasn’t just going to make a CHEESECAKE. No. I was going to make the best damn cheesecake ever. And I have to say, this lived up to it. Chocolate. You can’t go wrong with chocolate. And homemade caramel sauce? YES. Never in my life have I tasted anything better than homemade salted caramel sauce. Just make sure you have somewhere to take this, because you will make yourself seriously sick trying to eat the entire thing yourself. And admit it, if it’s in the house, you will eat the entire thing yourself! I think the poor people at my hubby’s work are probably getting sick of all the goodies I send in with him. Haha, or maybe not.

Crust

9 ounces ground up Oreos (you can leave the middles in)

4 ounces butter, melted
Cheesecake

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature

4 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 ounces Hershey’s Dark Chocolate chips

Caramel Topping

1 cup sugar

¼ cup water

3 tbsp butter

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp salt
Ganache

4 ounces Hershey’s Dark Chocolate chips

4 ounces heavy cream

4 ounces of chopped chocolate for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

For the cheesecake, I used an 8 inch cake pan (9 would work well too, if you have one). You actually don’t need to use a spring form pan to make cheesecake. Spring form pans sometimes leak (especially if you bake your cake in a water bath), so I find that they’re more hassle than they’re worth. To bake your cheesecake in a cake pan, just line the bottom with wax paper. (This will make it easy to pop the cheesecake out of the pan.) To do this, lay the wax paper on a cutting board, set your pan on it (bottom down), and trace it with a knife. This will cut it to be the exact shape/size you need.

Crust:

Grind up your oreos in a food processor. Add melted butter and mix well. Line your pan with the wax paper, and then press oreo mixture into the bottom of your pan.

Put the crust in the oven at 325 for 10 minutes.

Cheesecake:

While the crust is baking, wash out your food processor.

Add your cream cheese and sugar to the food processor. Mix until smooth. Add in eggs, salt, and sour cream. Once it’s blended well, scrape the sides. Add the melted chocolate, and process again until smooth.

Once your crust is out of the oven, spray the sides of your pan with pan spray. Pour the cheesecake batter into the pan. If there is leftover batter, pour it into another pan (I used a 6 inch cake pan, lined with wax paper)

Bake for about an hour, or until completely done in the center. You can insert a tooth pick into the center to determine doneness. (You can bake in a water bath, if you’d like, but it’s not always necessary! I find that my cheesecakes are more likely to crack in the center if you bake without the water bath. For this cheesecake, it’s not necessary, since the entire top of covered in chocolate. If you want the top to look nice and smooth, bake with a water bath. To do this, find a large pan, place it in your over, place your cheesecake (double wrapped in foil) into the center of the larger pan, and fill the large pan halfway with water. Slowly push it to the center of the oven.)

When the cheesecake is done, set it aside for about 10 minutes. Once it has cooled slightly, run a knife between the side of the pan and the cheesecake to loosen it. Put a flat cutting board on top of the cheesecake and flip it over. You may need to tap the bottom of the pan to get it to release. Remove the pan, and peel off the wax paper from the crust. Place your serving plate surface-down onto the crust of the cheesecake and flip it right side up.

Caramel sauce:

Put your sugar and water in a heavy bottomed pan. Heat on low until the sugar has melted, then stir it and leave it to boil. Let the sugar mixture boil for about 5-6 minutes, or until it reaches a dark amber color.

While the sugar is caramelizing, pour your cream and butter into a cup and heat it in the microwave until the butter is melted and the cream is hot.

Once the sugar has reached the caramel stage, pull it off the heat. Add in the cream and butter mixture and stir. It should foam up. Continue stirring until it stops foaming and is smooth.

Add in the salt and vanilla. Pour the hot caramel into another container and refrigerate.

Once the caramel and cheesecake have chilled, pour the caramel onto the top of the cheesecake. Chill again until the caramel is just set.

Ganache:

Heat your cream on the stove. Pour it over the chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips) and let it sit to soften the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Immediately pour the warm ganache over the caramel covered cheesecake. Top with chopped chocolate if desired. I chose to top mine with the chopped chocolate because it gave it a nice final look.

Keep cheesecake refrigerated and serve chilled.

This cheesecake was everything I hoped it would be. On the outside, it looks like pure chocolate. But when you cut into it, you get a caramel surprise. The caramel sauce runs down the sides of the cheesecake, coating it in it’s caramely goodness.

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