Saturday, February 20, 2010

Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake

Surprisingly, I haven't made a lot of cheesecake in my baking days. But, I am on a mission to change that! When I saw this Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake on Amber's Delectable Delights (originally from Smitten Kitchen), I knew I HAD to make it! Don't let all of the steps scare you away! It does take a little time to make and requires you to make it ahead of time, but it is well worth the effort!! This is one I would definitely recommend making the day before you plan to serve. I did make a few slight changes below. I made this for Valentine's dessert for my wonderful husband!

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 13 x 9 inch pan with foil and grease foil.

Place chocolate and butter in a pan on the stove and cook over low heat until melted, stirring frequently. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and salt and mix well. Spread mixture into prepare pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with fudgy crumbs- be careful not to over bake! I use a convection oven and baked for 28 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove brownies from pan using foil to lift.

Once brownies are cooled, cut them into 3/4 inch squares. This recipe yields far more than the 2 cups that you need for the cheesecake. So, I start cutting the cubes until I have the 2 cups. Then I am free to cut the remainder a little larger and have brownies for a snack!

Crumb crust
(Amber recommends making a double batch if you like a lot of crust. I have tried it both ways and although I love the crust, I still prefer the single batch. But it's totally a personal choice as yo might like it thicker!)

1 1/2 cups or 5 oz finely ground Oreos
5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
Stir together ingredients and press into the bottom and 1 inch up the side of a buttered 10" springform pan. You can fill this right away or chill up to 2 hours.

3 (8 oz each) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Make crumb crust as directed above.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together cream cheese and sugar with mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla. Beat on low speed until each is incorporated and scrap sides between additions.

Fold brownie cubes gently into mixture and pour mixture into prepared pan. Place springform pan in a shallow baking pan (to catch drips- trust me and do this part!). Bake in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes, or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly wobbly when you shake the pan.
When completely cool, top with the following glaze.

Ganache Glaze
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used semi sweet chocolate)
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp powdered sugar

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium mixing bowl. Scald the butter and cream together in a saucepan. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in vanilla and powdered sugar until smooth. Spread over cheesecake while ganache is warm. Chill cheesecake until ready to serve.

Enjoy a piece of yummy cheesecake!

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