Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecakes:These cheesecakes are about as good as they come in so small a size. Consisting of four(!) different layers – double chocolate crust, a layer of ganache, peanut butter cheesecake, and topped with an espresso-infused ganache – this is a treat you won’t want to miss!
Hey, February, why do you always take so long to get here? Nothing against you personally January, but you’re kind of a long month.
The rest of the year can fly by just like that, but it seems like time makes up for its yearly absence in January. Am I the only one who feels this way? Am I the only one who by the third week just wants to get to February already?
OK, now let’s talk about Valentine’s Day. I must confess to this not being one of my favorite holidays and I’m not sure why, it just doesn’t thrill me a whole lot. I mean, even the candy options aren’t good, IMO. Wait, please tell me you measure your holidays by candy too?
Since Valentine’s Day is coming whether I like it or not, I figured I should probably get with the program and offer some treats appropriate for the occasion.
That said, I am super excited to share this recipe with you! These cheesecakes are a peanut butter and chocolate lover’s paradise. There’s a lot of palatable goodness packed into such a small size: first, you have the crust which consists of not only chocolate graham crackers, but also chopped chocolate as well! Then there’s the ganache layer – I’m totally drooling right now – followed by the most lovely accompaniment of peanut butter cheesecake and then finished with an espresso-infused ganache topping.
Do I have your attention?
Another thing to love about these Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecakes is not only the obvious (hello? peanut butter + chocolate x 3??), but they are perfect for VD (gimme one of these and I’ll love you for life) as well as any other time of year. They are also great for gatherings (I hear the Super Bowl is coming up), etc.
Don’t you just love multi-purpose desserts?
If you take a quick glance at the recipe, it may seem a bit daunting. But really the hardest part about this recipe is in the waiting. Trust me, you can make these – I have faith! And when it comes to the waiting? Well, all I can say is hang in there. Perhaps dip some graham crackers into leftover ganache?
Whatever it takes.
Peanut butter desserts can often lend themselves to being very rich, which usually means smaller portions (not so bad, I suppose). However, while these are indeed rich, they are just the right size making for a pleasurable indulgence but without being overboard.
2 tsp. espresso powder or coffee granules, optional
Spray a 12 cup muffin tin lightly with baking spray (or line with paper liners) and set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, blend together chocolate graham crackers, chopped chocolate, and brown sugar until ground into fine crumbs.
Pour melted butter in a steady stream and continue to process until the crumbs begin to stick together. You may need to scrape the bowl a couple of times to ensure that the butter gets thoroughly combined.
Place about 2 tbsp. of crust into each muffin cup. Using your fingers, press and spread crusts evenly over the bottom of each cup.
Place in freezer while preparing ganache layer.
Place cream in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
Remove pan from heat and whisk in chopped chocolate until mixture is completely smooth.
Remove crusts from freezer and pour about 1 tbsp. of ganache over each crust and spread. You will probably have some ganache leftover - I will leave what becomes of it to your discretion (eating it with a spoon or dipping in graham crackers is totally allowed in my book). ;)
Return to freezer to chill while making cheesecake layer, at least 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325° F.
In a medium/large sized mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer (or you can use a stand mixer, but I think the handheld might be better in this case), beat together cream cheese, peanut butter, and granulated sugar until thoroughly combined and fluffy.
Mix in sour cream and then the eggs, one at a time.
Beat in vanilla and mix until smooth.
Remove crusts from freezer and divide cheesecake batter evenly between the crusts.
Bake cheesecakes for 25 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch and tops appear dry.
Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for about 45 minutes then transfer to fridge.
Allow to chill in fridge for at least 2 hours, but preferably 3-4+ hours.
Place chocolate chips and espresso powder/coffee granules in a small bowl.
Heat cream in a small microwave safe dish/bowl/cup for about 30 seconds.
Pour over chocolate chips and let sit for about 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth.
Run a small knife (a grapefruit knife works well, if you have one) around the edges of each cheesecake and transfer to a serving plate or platter.
Top each cheesecake with ganache and gently spread, leaving some room on the sides. I would say use probably no more than 1 tbsp. of ganache on each cheesecake. You may end up with a little extra ganache - I won’t judge if you use the rest of it on your own personal cheesecake…
Place cheesecakes in fridge for about 30 minutes to allow ganache to set (alternately, you can freeze for 15 minutes for speedier ganache setting). Keep in fridge until ready to serve.
You probably noticed in the photos the powdered sugar dusting the cheesecakes? I’m sorry to say I did that purely for photography purposes (shame on me, I know) and wouldn’t recommend actually doing it, as it will seep into the ganache topping. If you do, please dust right before (and I mean right before) serving. :)
Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake:Why choose between three desserts when you can have all three? This Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake features three decadent layers of brownie, peppermint cheesecake, and chocolate cake. With a light peppermint whipped cream frosting sandwiched between, and topped with a chocolate ganache glaze, this cake is a stunner.
You’ll never believe this, but I’m writing this post in the mall. Truth. As I sit here waiting for my brother, the rush of people are, well, rushing by – although some might just be sauntering. A bench is serving as my office in the mall that was a Christmastime tradition, more than a dozen years ago. Even now, the Scrooge puppet show that we watched as kids has just finished, I heard it not too far off.
You might be wondering what could be so special about a mall. Especially a mall at Christmas during the utter chaos of the season. I’d be wondering too. But memories are filled with· my mom and aunt taking all of us cousins to see the big train display, marvel at the outrageous toys at FAO Shwarz and pick up some treats in the adjoining candy store. It may seem weird, but this mall was a fun place to visit during the festive season.
How things change, but at least we have memories to hold on to! Unfortunately, many things have changed about this mall since I was a youngster. The arrival of new shops and the loss of some dearly loved shops; the big train display, the puppet shows, and the lack of penguins which used to appear around this time (yes, penguins). Even so, through all the changes, it is still a family tradition – which is partly why I’m here today. :)
Do you have any special Christmastime memories/traditions?
Now about this cake… Oh, this cake. It’s not a memory or a tradition, but it should become one. If you’re an indecisive person, the person where the ice cream shop with 50 flavors is more nightmare than pleasure, you will love this dessert. Even if you’re not indecisive. It consists of three layers.. andthree different desserts. Why choose between options when you can have them all?
Am I right or what?
OK, so more on these layers, these THREE luscious layers. They consist of:
And sandwiched between said layers is a peppermint whipped cream frosting. On top? Ganache. Pure ganache.
I chose the whipped cream frosting because I’m not a big fan of the usual frosting fare paired with something other than pure cake. The idea didn’t just seem to work and the thought of cheesecake paired with a buttercream frosting wasn’t thrilling me. But whipped cream? That’s different. And it’s really what this cake needs as it’s heavy enough already.
And that’s also partly why I chose a ganache glaze for toppers – well, that and the fact it’s ganache. Ganache! Ganache goes with everything and is awesome with everything. Ganache and cake? Yes. Ganache and cheesecake? Heck, yeah. Ganache and brownies? One of the best toppings for a brownie! Ganache and burgers? Ok, not that, but you get my point.
Now, let’s break down the layers individually. First, there’s the cake. This cake is my new favorite chocolate cake recipe and I don’t I’ll ever make another. It’s moist (which is pretty much all I look for in a cake) and full of chocolate goodness (um, it has coffee!). It also makes a wonderful accompaniment to the cheesecake.
Then there’s the peppermint cheesecake. It’s peppermint cheesecake and I shouldn’t have to tell you anything more… but I will. The highlight is the peppermint candies inside which melt into the batter and make for wonderful flavors. This not only goes well with the chocolate cake but is lovely with the brownie – think of a brownie base cheesecake.
Finally, the brownie. I chose one of my go-to recipes; it’s a good amount of fudgy and good in the way only a brownie can be. It’s also no muss, no fuss to make, which is what you need for this cake.
Put these layers together and voila, chocolate peppermint heaven.
Before making, here are a few things to note:
Make sure all your pans are exactly the same size. If you look, you can see the cake is a little off and that’s because one of my 3 identical cake pans went missing (how does that happen?) and so I used one that was a little deeper than the others. Not good.
The brownie layer is definitely thinner than the other layers. If this bothers you, you can either, trim a little more off the cake (it’s pretty thick), double the brownie recipe, or use your personal favorite brownie recipe.
Cold brownie can be a little hard to cut through, so be sure to use a sharp knife for cutting.
If you want to decorate the top with some whipped cream, then I recommend doubling the whipped cream frosting recipe – it’s better than using store-bought whipped cream
And I think that’s about it!
P.S. Please pardon the million steps (I wish I could break them up more!) and please don’t be intimidated by them – the time involved is really the hardest thing about this recipe. It’s worth the effort and you can do it! I have faith.
⅓ C. + 2 tbsp. peppermint crunch baking chips (I use Andes)
Chocolate Cake Layer:
1 C. + 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 C. granulated sugar
6 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
1/2 C. buttermilk, shaken(I recommend full-fat buttermilk!)
1/4 C. vegetable oil
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 C. freshly brewed hot coffee
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 C. granulated sugar
3/4 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/3 C. cup all-purpose flour
Whipped Cream Frosting:
1 C. heavy whipping cream, well chilled
½ C. powdered sugar
¼ tsp. Peppermint extract
1 ½ C. (9 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1 C. heavy cream (or heavy whipping cream)
Crushed peppermint candies
Whipped cream frosting, optional
For the cheesecake:
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Line the bottom of an 8 in. round cake pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.
Add in sugar and beat until thoroughly combined.
Add eggs, beating after each addition.
Beat in half and half, then extracts. Beat until well combined, scraping the bowl as needed.
Stir in peppermint baking chips.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-27 minutes, or until set in center and edges are puffed.
When done baking, remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. Cool slightly, then run knife around edges of cheesecake. Cool completely.
Once cool, invert cheesecake onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap then place in freezer while making other layers, at least 1 hour.
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Line the bottom of an 8 in. round cake pan with parchment paper and spray with baking spray (or grease with butter and flour).
Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl.
In a small/medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla until combined.
Add coffee and whisk until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached when inserted.
Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.
For the brownies (if you have double ovens, the brownies can bake separately while the cake bakes to save time):
Preheat oven to 325° F.
Line the bottom of an 8 in. round cake pan with parchment paper and spray with baking spray (or grease with butter and flour).
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa, and salt.
Add butter, pouring in a steady stream, and whisking constantly until blended.
Add in vanilla and whisk to combine.
Add eggs one at a time, whisking vigorously to blend after each addition.
Using a rubber spatula, stir in flour and stir until just combined, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs attached when inserted.
Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.
Once cake and brownies are cool enough to handle, invert onto cooling rack to cool completely.
Once ready to assemble, make frosting.
For the frosting:
Place the bowl of a stand mixer (or a metal bowl and beaters of an electric mixer) along with whisk attachment in freezer for about 10 minutes to chill.
In the chilled bowl using the chilled whisk attachment, whisk the cream until frothy and slightly thick.
Gradually add powdered sugar then peppermint extract and beat until thick. You will want it thick enough for spreading as a frosting.
If you have doubled the frosting recipe to use for garnish, reserve about ½ C. and place in fridge.
Remove cheesecake from freezer.
Trim top off of cake.
Place the brownie, top side down on a cake plate/pedestal.
Place ½ of the frosting on the brownie and spread evenly over the top.
Unwrap cheesecake and place top side up on top of brownie layer.
Spread remaining frosting evenly over the top of cheesecake.
Place cake top side down on top of cheesecake layer and place in fridge.
Make the ganache:
Place chocolate chips in a medium-sized bowl.
In a microwave safe bowl/container/measuring cup, microwave on high setting for 1 ½ - 2 minutes, or until just beginning to simmer. (This can also be done on the stove top in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, if you prefer.)
Pour cream over chocolate and let stand for about 5 minutes.
Then, whisk together until mixture is smooth and chocolate is completely melted.
Remove cake from fridge and pour ganache over the top, spreading with a spatula so it goes over the sides.
Using the spatula, spread ganache around the sides of cake until thoroughly coated.
Decorate the top with crushed peppermint candies and place in fridge to allow ganache to set.
If decorating with whipped cream frosting: once ganache is set and you are ready to serve, pipe some of the reserved frosting around the top of cake and sprinkle with peppermint dust (or very finely ground peppermints), if desired.
Store any leftover cake in the fridge and make sure it does not sit out for too long at room temperature.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Marshmallow-Sour Cream Topping: These pumpkin cheesecake bars start with a flavorful gingersnap crust and in the middle feature a luscious pumpkin filling. To finish, the cheesecake is topped with a deliciously tangy marshmallow-sour cream topping. Perfect for the upcoming holidays!
“People who love to eat are always the best people.” ~ Julia Child
One of the most used quotes by foodies, but truly one of the best. When I first read it, it was a YES! moment, because no words could speak more to the heart of a person who loves food. :)
I mean, for me, people who enjoy food to the measure my family and I do are seriously fun people to be around; the kind of people who enjoy the delicacies of eating pastry, the people who say you should try x bakery/restaurant and you know it’s going to be good. Also, the people that when traveling know the trip doesn’t just revolve around seeing the sites, but also checking out the local eats.
Food is a powerful thing and can break many a bond. Why a conversation could get started just by someone asking for a recipe; a friendship could be formed over a mutual love of waffles or, you name it. Food can give us something to talk about when other words fail; food can comfort and bring joy. Food is a wonderful thing, people.
Anyway, so I’m assuming that if you’re here, you might perhaps love food too. Great, because I love sharing recipes with you, and it gives me great joy to experiment around that I might bring tasty treats to this blog. No recipe ever gets posted on here unless it brings me personal excitement to do so. That said, there is the occasional recipe that excites me beyond all excitement. A recipe that has me wanting to tell the whole world how awesome it is and wanting e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. to try it. That’s how it was (and still is) with this pumpkin cheesecake from Epicurious. I don’t know what possessed me to try it a few years back – I don’t even like cold pumpkin desserts (sorry pumpkin pie lovers)! – but I did, and it was love at first bite.
The combination of the gingersnap/pecan crust with the flavor of the crystallized ginger shooting through every bite, paired with the flavor and texture of the cheesecake itself (not to mention the marshmallow sour cream topping…) is absolutely killer. Guys, for the first time in my life I was passing the chocolate cheesecake up for this – and if you knew me (#chocolateobsessed) you would know what that means and the volumes it speaks for this cheesecake.
You need this pumpkin cheesecake in your life, your family/friends need it as well. And for the pumpkin pie adverse readers who think this dessert falls in that same category, I hear you. I truly do. I’ve never liked pumpkin pie, still don’t, and never will. But for some reason this cheesecake is different, it has magic powers or something.
I was going to originally post the recipe as is from Epicurious but then decided to try making it in bar form. If you will be making this to take to a gathering, I might suggest making it this way. It’s easier to present (no trying to figure out how on earth I’m going to get that whole thing from the pan to a serving plate) and might be easier for people to carry around and eat. Also, what’s awesome about making cheesecakes for gatherings is that they can be made up to two days in advance (just wait to make the topping until the day you serve it) and actually taste even better the longer they chill.
Well, there it is; my rhapsody of love on a theme of pumpkin cheesecake. I hope you get to make it and then experience the luscious joys of consumption!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Marshmallow-Sour Cream Topping
1 1/2 tbsp. (1 ½ tbsp = 4 ½ tsp.) all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg (freshly grated can also be used)
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 C. mini marshmallows (or large marshmallows cut into ½ in. cubes)
1/4 C. whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
1 C. sour cream
For the crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment or foil (making sure parchment/foil comes slightly over sides of pan) and spray with cooking spray.
In the bowl of a food processor, grind gingersnap crumbs, pecans, brown sugar, and ginger until pecans are finely ground.
Gradually add the melted butter using brief pulses to blend.
Transfer crust mixture to prepared pan and press evenly across the bottom.
Bake 10 minutes, or until crust is set and lightly browned.
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
While crust is cooling, make filling.
For the filling:
In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add in pumpkin, mixing until combined.
Beating on low speed, add eggs one at a time, mixing briefly after each addition.
Add flour, spices, and salt, beating until just blended.
Add vanilla and beat to combine.
Transfer filling to crust and bake for 35 minutes, or until filling is just set in the center and edges begin to crack.
Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool, about 1 hour.
Transfer cheesecake to fridge and chill uncovered for 3-4 hours, or overnight.
For the topping:
In a medium saucepan set over low heat, stir together marshmallows and milk, until marshmallows are melted.
Remove from heat then stir in the vanilla and salt.
Let mixture cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
Once mixture is at room temperature, add sour cream. Stir (using a combination of stirring and folding) until combined.
Pour topping over top of cheesecake. Spread evenly and leave about 1/2 in. uncovered around the edges.
Return to fridge and let topping sit at least 1 hour, preferably longer.
When ready to serve, remove cheesecake from pan by gripping parchment/foil corners and lifting out. Cut into squares sized about 2 ½ in. x 2 ½ in. (or your desired size) and place on a serving plate/platter.
In the dull, hot (and here in Texas, I do meant hot) months of Summer, one is always looking for something refreshing; whether it be an ice cold glass of lemonade, a snow cone, some ice cream or gelato – whichever it is I am always ready for that cold and refreshing something to go down my parched throat. Aren’t you?