Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Brownie Bottom Cheesecake

My husband has fallen asleep on the couch, by the warmth of our fire, and in a few minutes, I need to wake him and coax him upstairs.  I feel as though I might fall asleep as I write this, but I need to share this cheesecake recipe with you before I go to bed, without much ado.

It all starts with a fudgy brownie bottom layer - the most perfect dark chocolate brownies.  Then, a handful of chocolate chips and toffee bits, drizzled with caramel sauce.  And creamy vanilla cheesecake on top.  Each bite, chewy, crunchy, creamy.  Each bite, orgasmic.  This really might be the best cheesecake I've ever made.

Garnish it with chocolate chip polka-dots, if you want to be a little fancy.  I always like to be fancy.

It's just over a week until Thanksgiving, can you believe it?  I have my menu all planned out, and of course, there's just as much dessert on my list as there is savory food.  As it should be.

Our dining room table, which my husband built, is finished and ready for dinner.  A choir of chairs, each different from the next, collected from antique markets, surround the table.  I can hardly wait for this weekend so I can take a few photos in the light.  These dark evenings are far too short, and when I leave the office the sunlight is already gone.

I made a little "thankful tree" with some branches in a glass jar.  It's a tradition I've meant to begin for a while, and our first Thanksgiving in our house seems like a wonderful time to start.

Brownie Bottom Cheesecake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened, special dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup toffee bits
  • 1/4 cup caramel sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 envelope gelatin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
Brownie Layer.
Preheat the oven to 325.  Spray the bottom of an 8-inch spring-form pan with removable sides with non-stick spray.

Melt the butter in the microwave or in a saucepan.  In a bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, salt and espresso powder.  Pour the butter in and mix together with a wooden spoon.  Beat in the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.  Stir in the flour just until moistened.

Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly into the pan.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Set aside to cool completely, then sprinkle with the chocolate chips and toffee bits.  Drizzle with the caramel.  Refrigerate while you prepare the cheesecake.

Pour 1/4 cup cream into a microwave-safe dish.  Add the gelatin and whisk with a fork to combine.  Let stand for 5 minutes; it will be thick and clumpy.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds to completely dissolve the gelatin.  Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the remaining 1 1/4 cups cream with the vanilla at medium-high speed until soft peaks form, gradually adding the powdered sugar as the cream thickens.  Add the cream cheese and gelatin mixture and beat until smooth and thick with no lumps, about 2-3 minutes.  Immediately spread over the brownie, smooth out the top, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 4-6 hours, or overnight.

If you like, garnish the top with chocolate chip polka dots.

Yields 10-12 servings

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen