Though I consider myself a cheese lover, most cheesecakes, like New York Style, were always too rich, too dense, and too uniform in flavor for me. But now that I am a baking blogger, I have conceded that I need to at least learn how to make one. And, perhaps, maybe I would find a cheesecake that I loved as well.
When my boyfriend requested cheesecake for his birthday this year, I knew I needed to make good on my resolution and set to work. My first cheesecake was from a New York Style recipe by America's Test Kitchen with marbled chocolate swirls. Though my family loved it, it was a failure in my books. The chocolate batter was much denser that the vanilla; it sunk, and cracked the cake. And, the graham cracker crust seemed to lack the right amount of butter-- it was permanently encrusted to the bottom of the springform pan. It was delicious, but I found that I could only consume it in small slivers because of its richness. Plus it was overwhelmingly huge for even a family of 4 to try and consume. It was all wrong. I needed to do better.
Then, I found a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Recipe at Bake at 350,..
Instead of 4+ eggs (the first cheesecake I tried had 6!), this recipe called for three, making for a much less rich body. The sweetness of sweetened condensed milk balanced well with the dark chocolate. Best of all, the addition of chocolate to the cake was no-fuss. Instead of worrying about dense chocolate batter, the mini-chocolate chips, coated in flour, dispersed nicely throughout the cake batter and did not harm the structure of the cake what-so-ever. I also was a fan of the crust -- with an addition of cocoa powder, the graham cracker crust complimented the cake nicely, and it was extremely easy to pop right out of the springform pan.
Finally, if that weren't enough, this cheesecake comes with a recipe for homemade hot fudge sauce. Perfect to drizzle all over your slice of cake, warmed, before you eat it.
Conclusion: I love this recipe.
This recipe is adapted from Bake at 350, with my extra instructional annotations. It makes one 9 inch cheesecake and about 10 ounces of hot fudge sauce.
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Lightly grease a 9 inch spring form pan with unsalted butter, being careful to grease the corners and sides.
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I used a box of Keebler graham cracker crumbs for pie crust)
1/3 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of salt
1. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, cocoa, sugar, and melted butter with a spoon until the dry ingredients are well-coated by the butter.
2. Press crust mixture evenly into the bottom and a little up the sides of the springform pan. You may want to use a measuring cup to make sure the bottom and sides lie flat. Set aside.
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus an additional 1/4 cup
1 teaspoon all purpose flour
1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy with an electric hand mixer.
2. Pour in the sweetened condensed milk (make sure you scrape the sides with a rubber spatula to get it all in!) and beat until smooth.
3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to make sure the batter is well mixed.
4. In a small bowl, toss 3/4 cup of mini chocolate chips with the flour. Make sure the chips are as uniformly coated as possible. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the chips into the cheesecake batter.
5. Pour batter over crust into the springform pan. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over the top of the cheesecake.
6. Bake cheesecake for 1 hour. If possible, DO NOT open up the oven while it is baking and instead use the window of the oven to look in and ensure its not burning. maintaining a consistent temperature will prevent the cheesecake from contracting and cracking. Still not opening the oven door, turn oven off and allow to cool in the oven for 1 hour.
7. Remove cheesecake from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Run a thin knife all the way around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen the sides from the pan, but DO NOT remove from pan yet. Cool completely to room temperature. **TIP: If your cheesecake has cracked, fill the cracks with some chocolate chips, best you can. Then, drizzle some water droplets over the cracks/top of cake next to the cracks. As the cake cools and then chills in the refrigerator, the chocolate and water will help meld the cracks together.
8. Chill cheesecake in refrigerator for 4 to 12 hours.
9. When done chilling, remove cheesecake from springform pan by first removing the sides of the springform pan. Then, holding the cake (still attached to the bottom of the pan) in your hands, wiggle the cake from the pan: gently prying the sides of the bottom of the cake away from the pan, rotating the pan, and rubbing the bottom of the cake with your hands. The warmth from your hands should help loosen it from the pan. Transfer cheesecake to desired plate, platter, or cake round using an offset spatula.
10. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving for best flavor. Top individual slices with warmed hot fudge sauce (recipe below). Store cake, covered well, in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Hot Fudge Sauce:
1 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup dutch-process cocoa
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I prefer Ghiradelli 60%)
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1. In a medium saucepan, heat the water, sugar, and corn syrup until boiling, stirring constantly.
2. Remove the pan from the heart and add in the cocoa, whisking until well-combined.
3. Add the vanilla, and then whisk again until combined.
3. Add the chocolate pieces to the liquid mixture, and let it sit for 3 minutes. Using a whisk, gently stir the mixture until the chocolate has melted into the liquid, and is smooth and thick.
4. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, and chill for several hours.
5. When ready to serve, reheat on stovestop, stirring frequently until warmed OR microwave on medium heat, stirring after 30 minute increments.