With Sweet Dreams and Even Sweeter Days

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Milk Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake

Good cheesecakes are like good relationships.  Comforting.  Just the right amount of sweetness.  Enough to let you leave the table happy and satisfied.

Bad cheesecakes are most definitely like bad relationships.  Overly dense.  Most often leaving you feeling more than a little regretful you even opened the fridge and grabbed a slice to begin with.  And maybe you're a little bit nauseous too.

There are plenty of cheesecakes (and relationships) in-between.  But the most striking comparison I can find is that there's always sometime to learn and take from them, regardless of the outcome.

I'd like to think I have cheesecake making somewhat down to a science.  Usually.

That was until life decided to throw me a curve ball and my ancient spring-form pan finally gave out on me and sprung a leak during the baking process while using a water bath.  

A water bath is a technique used in baking cheesecake in which you wrap the spring-form pan tightly with foil, set it in a large roasting pan, and fill it halfway with water before baking.  Usually the results are flawless with this technique and help with the cheesecake not having any cracks or browning on top.

But since my pan sprung a leak somewhere in the 2 hours it was in the oven, even though my cheesecake came out looking pretty stellar, in fact the bottom half was completely soggy from water leaking in.  I was definitely disappointed because after tasting the top half, I really think the recipe had potential.

I'm still going to include the recipe at the bottom for you if you'd like to try it, as it was only a unfortunate pan malfunction over here. I'm sure I will again someday.

But for now, I'll just head out, pick up a new spring-form pan and try not to let it dampen my day at all.

Let's be honest cheesecakes aren't the worst thing in the world to bounce back from.

Just learn from my mistake.  Tripe check your spring-form pan if using a water bath when baking a cheesecake.  We'll all just take it from there.


Milk Chocolate Cheesecake
Servings: 10-12

Ingredients:
- 1 3/4 cups finely crushed shortbread cookies (or graham crackers)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped almonds
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1/4 cup butter (melted)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped milk chocolate
- 4 oz milk chocolate chopped
- 3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate
- 2 Tbsp milk

Directions:
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Wrap the sides of a 9-inch spring-form pan tightly with at least 2 layers of aluminum foil on the sides.

To make crust in the bowl of a food processor pulse cookies and almonds until finally ground (or alternatively crushed with a rolling pin in a plastic bag but this takes some arm power!).  Pour in a medium bowl and mix together with sugar and melted burrer.  Press mixture into the bottom of the spring-form pan all along the bottom and approximately 1-inch up the sides.  Sprinkle crust with finely chopped milk chocolate and set aside.

To make filling melt chopped milk chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth.  In a large mixing bowl beat together cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar, the 1/2 cup milk, and the vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined.  Beat in flour.  Beat in the cooled melted chocolate.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating at low speed until combined.  Set aside 1/2 cup of the filling.  Pour remaining filling in the crust-lined pan.

Melt the bittersweet chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave on low heat, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth.  Combine with the 1/2 cup reserved filling and the 2 Tbsp milk.  Dot the bittersweet chocolate mixture around the cheesecake and swirl with a butter knife to combine.

Place pan in a shallow baking dish and fill 1/2 way up with water (if you have checked your spring-form pan for leaks and you dare).  Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a 2 1/2 inch area around the edges appears set when gently shaken.  

Cool pan on wire rack for 15 minutes.  Take cheesecake out of pan and place on wire wrack directly.  Run the tip of a sharp knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the crust and cheesecake.  Let cool for 30 minutes more.  Remove the sides of the pan.  Let cheesecake cool completely and cover and chill at least 4 hours (or more) in the refrigerator before serving.  

But really, if you want to use the water-bath technique (which is great and I've had much success with in the past) please check your pans before you start.

Enjoy!


Recipe adapted from: Better Homes and Gardens