Thursday, January 27, 2011

Roasted Peanut and Dark Chocolate Cheesecake!

I checked my blog today, looking for this recipe, and was shocked that I had forgotten to post it. I have been savoring every bite of this thing for almost two weeks now and I didn't post it! I'm so sorry that the few people who read my blog have been deprived of this recipe for so long. It really is inexcusable. My heartfelt and humble apologies to all of you.

So this recipe was inspired by my lunch with Eric at Centro a couple weeks ago. The Centro Roasted Peanut and Dark Chocolate Torte was better than this cheesecake, but this recipe was a pretty tasty starting point. I even had some friends try it and got their feedback, which helped me tweak the recipe for the better, I think.

I kind of stole parts of different recipes that I'd made before and liked to make this recipe. The recipe I made had twice this amount of crust and I found it to be a bit much. My sister, Suzy, suggested making this with a chocolate cookie crust, which would be very tasty too. I also doubled the ganache recipe because I had enough of the ingredients anyway. Why not, right. More chocolate is hardly ever a bad thing, in my opinion. The ganache did set up pretty firmly, so I tweaked the recipe again and used less chocolate. It should set up a bit more softly now. I didn't have any peanut extract when I made this, but if you happen to have some, I wouldn't hesitate to add a bit, just to bump up the peanut flavor. I sprinkled roasted peanuts on top of the ganache before it set, but I've decided that it would be better to sprinkle each slice with chopped peanuts instead. The ones that sat in the fridge for over a week ended up getting soft and weird tasting. But, if you like that sort of thing, feel free to sprinkle to entire cheesecake with peanuts.

I will definitely be making this recipe again, though not in the near future. Due to my wish to lose a few pounds and my husband begging me not to keep this kind of stuff around the house, I'll be trying to cut back on my baking.  At least I'll cut back on the super-fatty, sugar-coma-inducing baking, which happens to be my favorite kind of baking. And this is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a low-fat/low calorie dessert. Alternatively, one may make 1/2 of the recipe in a 6" springform pan or 1/4 of it in a 4" pan.

Roasted Peanut and Dark Chocolate Cheesecake 

3/4 c plus 2 Tbsp flour
1/3 c powdered sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 c chopped peanuts
1/4 tsp salt (just a pinch if using salted peanuts)
6 Tbsp butter, cut in pieces

Pulse dry ingredients in food processor. Add butter and pulse until combined. Pat into greased 9 or 10" springform pan. Wrap outside of pan in heavy-duty foil (will be using a water bath for cheesecake part and don't want the water to get in.) Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool while you make the filling.

Turn oven down to 325.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake filling:
2 lb cream cheese, softened - I used neufchatel cream cheese to cut out some fat
1 c peanut butter, either crunchy or creamy will do
1 1/4 c sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 c whipping cream
1/4 c sour cream

Beat cream cheese and peanut butter together until creamy. Slowly add sugar and mix for 3 minutes. Scrape side of bowl. Add eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl after each egg. Add vanilla and mix. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in whipping cream and sour cream until smooth. Pour into cooled crust. Bake in water bath for 55-60 minutes or until edges are set and center is wobbly like Jell-O. Turn off the oven and prop the door open with a wooden spoon. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven and chill for 4 hours.

3/4 c whipping cream
2 Tbsp butter
5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Bring cream and butter to simmer in microwave or on stove top. Place chopped chocolate in heat-proof bowl. Pour cream mixture and Cognac over top. Whisk until smooth. Pour over cooled cheesecake with the sides of springform pan still attached. Chill until set.

Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream and a sprinkle of roasted peanuts.

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