Would you believe this is the first cheesecake I've ever made? I'm a little iffy on sweetened cream cheese (I know! I'm so crazy!) and so cheesecake has never really been my thing. I've posted a few cheesecakey recipes on the blog, since Geoff absolutely loves cheesecake and could eat it every day of his life, but it has never been my first choice of dessert. For my dad's birthday a few weeks ago, though, I wanted to make him something extra special, and I've been eyeing this recipe for a while. Turns out this homemade chocolate cheesecake is amazing enough to turn even me around!
I love that it's not overly sweet, and has so much rich chocolate flavor. A small piece goes pretty far and is super satisfying. (Well, I should probably clarify that... I ate a small slice and felt satisfied and happy. Geoff, on the other hand, ate several slices and still wanted more. So it may just depend on the person.) Each layer is individually delicious... the crunchy, buttery cookie crust, the rich and moist cheesecake layer, and the silky smooth luscious ganache layer. Together, though, they're beyond amazing! I think this is honestly one of the best and most decadent desserts I've ever posted. Just posting these pictures has got me drooling all over again...
Death by Chocolate Cheesecake
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
9 ounces chocolate cookies (I used chocolate cat cookies from Trader Joe's but you could use graham crackers or teddy grahams as well)
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used semisweet chocolate chips)
4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese (I used Neufchatel cheese)
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 large eggs
3/4 cup whipping cream
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 or 10 inch springform pan. Crush the chocolate cookies in a food processor (or by pounding them flat in a plastic bag). Put them in a small bowl and mix with sugar and melted butter, then press the mixture into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake 5 minutes, then let cool while preparing the filling.
Melt the 10 ounces of chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler until smooth. Cool slightly. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cream cheese, sugar, and cocoa powder until smooth. Mix in the eggs one at a time, blending until smooth. Fold in melted chocolate and mix until blended. Pour over crust and smooth (I used an offset spatula). Bake about one hour, or until the center is set and appears dry. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Run a plastic knife or spatula around the edges of the springform pan to release the cheesecake. Cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
To make the topping, melt the whipping cream, 6 ounces chocolate, and sugar together in a small saucepan over low heat, until smooth. Pour over the top of the cheesecake and spread so it covers smoothly. Chill until the topping is set, about one hour. Serve and enjoy.
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