Tag Archives: cheesecake

Chocolate and peanut butter cheesecake

Henry is away in Sweden, so I decided to make him a nice welcome-home cheesecake…. well… okay I admit it, I wanted cheesecake! BUT I did decide to make a sort of Henry-themed one as a kind of “you’ve been away nerding out and eating junk food for five days, now have some cheesecake” sentiment. See? I had everyone’s best interests at heart.

Now, a couple of weeks ago he asked me to make some sort of pumpkin and bourbon cheesecake concoction. Luckily tinned pumpkin, one of the chief ingredients, is not readily available in the UK. At least, none jumped out at me as I was browsing the peanut butter shelves in Sainsbury’s. Obviously, I had thought about what alternate flavour Henry might like, and quite quickly settled on peanut butter. That wasn’t hard, seeing as he has been known to eat spoonfuls of the stuff as a snack. (He claims it’s a nutritionally sound snack, secretly I think it’s one of those things you eat because you were never allowed to as a child; for example, cereal for dinner – in fact cereal for every meal, and snacks too – or coffee and hula hoops for “brunch” on a weekend.) Of course it had to be peanut butter and chocolate, because, well, why would you not add chocolate?

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake

Clearly, things are better when there are layers.

I prettymuch used the recipe I used for the one a day cheesecake:

Ingredients
Biscuit base:
220g digestive biscuits
100g butter

Cheesecake:
700g cream cheese
120g granulated sugar
3 eggs
75g smooth peanut butter
100g good-quality dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids, melted

You will also need an 8 inch diameter cake tin, either spring-form or one where the base comes out.

Method:
1.  Grease the cake tin very well with butter
2. Crush the biscuits in a bowl with a rolling pin, or blend in a food processor until they are all crumbs. Melt the butter and add to the biscuit crumbs
3. Stir well, then press into the greased cake tin and put in the fridge while you make the rest. Preheat the oven to 160C
4.  With an electric whisk, cream the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each and taking care to scrape down the sides of the bowl
5. Pour half of the mixture into a bowl
6.  To one half, add the peanut butter; to the other half, add the melted chocolate
7. Pour the peanut butter layer onto the base and smooth it out with a spatula, then pour the chocolate layer on top and smooth that out too
8. Wrap the cake tin in foil from the bottom upwards, then bake in a bain-marie (the foil is so that no water leaks into the cheesecake) for 35-45 minutes – until the cheesecake is mostly set but still with a wobble in the middle
9.  Allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature, then remove it from the tin onto a plate and put it in the fridge to set for a few hours

The finished article:

Ignore that tiny crack that I just pointed out (on the plus side, this was a result of careless manhandling rather than it cracking while baking).

Total deliciousness… I had my first helping with a sliced banana, then my second helping on its own. The third helping was a pre-dinner snack (it’s good for you). I expect Henry will enjoy his washed down with a glass of milk. I just hope, when he does get back, he doesn’t mind that a significant portion is missing.

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One a Day Cheesecake (or, hazelnut caramel chocolate cheesecake)

I never used to like cheesecake. This fact would enough to make me very sad and angry, now that I have discovered the One a Day Cheesecake, except that the recipe book it’s from (The Humingbird Bakery – Cake Days) was only recently published. So I haven’t been missing out for that long.

It was pure luck that led me to make this cheesecake. Henry bought me the book (which I highly recommend) for my birthday, then got a new job. Obviously my natural response was to bake something from my new recipe book to celebrate. The cheesecake looked so tasty – all I had to do was get Henry to use his remaining days of being a stay-at-home husband to pick up an obscene amount of cream cheese and we were good to go.

caramel hazelnut chocolate cheesecake

I have come to realise that I find it almost pathologically impossible to follow any recipe to the letter. I tend to skim read then erroneously reconstruct the instructions in my head, then read again after the relevant step to find out I’ve done it differently. Or I can’t be fussed with having two different types of butter in my kitchen. And I definitely can’t be bothered with lining things with baking parchment. I suppose I am also blessed in that the vast majority of what I make turns out fine (and comes out of the pan…) – perhaps if it didn’t I would be a more conscientious baker. But I promise you this works – so here is the glory I call the One a Day Cheesecake.

Serves one (me) , or two at a push, for a good five days

Ingredients
Biscuit base:
220g digestive biscuits
100g butter

Cheesecake:
700g cream cheese
120g granulated sugar
3 eggs
50g caramel or dulce de leche (you can buy it ready made in a tin, or make your own if you are inclined)
50g good-quality dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids

Topping:
More caramel/dulce de leche (if you want to be scant you can be scant, likewise if you want to be generous do so. The original recipe suggests 4 tablespoons. I just poured it on until I felt like stopping)
50g toasted chopped hazelnuts (dry fry in a pan, shaking often to toast. When they’re browning, tip onto a plate to cool. If you have whole hazelnuts, whack a few times with a rolling pin to break them up a bit)

You will also need an 8 inch diameter cake tin, either spring-form or one where the base comes out.

Method:
1.  Grease the cake tin very well
2. Crush the biscuits in a bowl with a rolling pin, or blend in a food processor until they are all crumbs. Melt the butter and add to the biscuit crumbs
3. Stir well, then press into the greased cake tin and put in the fridge while you make the rest. Preheat the oven to 160C
4.  With an electric whisk, cream the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each and taking care to scrape down the sides of the bowl
5. Take out a third of the mixture and set aside (preferably in a bowl… not just on your kitchen counter)
6.  To the 2/3 mix, add the caramel and stir well. To the 1/3 mix, melt the chocolate and stir in
7. Spread the caramel cheesecake mix onto your biscuit base, then spread the chocolate cheesecake mix on top
8. Wrap the cake tin in foil from the bottom upwards, then bake in a bain-marie (the foil is so that no water leaks into the cheesecake) for 35-45 minutes – until the cheesecake is mostly set but still with a wobble in the middle
9. (ESSENTIAL STEP)* Allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature, then put it in the fridge to set for a few hours. Remove it from its tin and top with the caramel and toasted hazelnuts

caramel chocolate hazelnut cheesecake

*I am too used to baking things that go into the oven liquidy and come out more solid. This cheesecake comes out of the oven still liquidy. Luckily I took a photo before I cut into it, but I was too keen to try it (and it was about 11pm by this time and I wasn’t going to stay up to allow for chilling time). When I took out a couple of slices, there was a sort of cheesecake landslide and it all ended up very sunken and messy. I was amazed when the next day it was all set (amazed like, “wow! I didn’t know it would do that!” because I really thought I’d undercooked it despite my oven being preheated and cooking it for the specified time). So yes, chilling time is essential, unless you are really really hungry and don’t mind having a sunken landslide cheesecake mess. It’s not that much of a disaster as it just means that it is not in a state to be seen by others as it might cast doubt on your baking prowess, so you have to eat it all yourself.

One last thing, why do I call it the One a Day Cheesecake? Because I believe I could happily eat a slice of this cheesecake every single day for the rest of my life and not get sick of it. It is delightfully textural with the creamy cheesecake and crunchy hazelnuts, and the chocolate layer really makes it something special. I did have a mini-depression when I finished it then wanted a slice after rollerskating. I missed the cheesecake… like a lost lover snatched from a dream. Though, it has put me on a real cheesecake kick, so I am excited to explore what other cheesecakey delights are out there. Watch this space.