Friday, March 20, 2009

Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake

This cheesecake consists of 4 parts: fudgy brownies, chocolate cookie crust, rich velvety cheesecake, and a chocolate ganache glaze.
For the Brownies:
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
13/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13×9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Grease foil.
Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on high 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and salt; mix well. Spread into prepared pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minute or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs (be careful not to over bake). Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove brownies from pan, using foil handles.Cool brownies, then cut them into 3/4- to 1-inch squares for use in the cheesecake. You will have more than the two cups of cubes, loosely measured, than you will need, and I’m sorry, you’re just going to have to decide for yourself what to do with the extra. Add cubes to cake batter as directed below.
For the Crumb Crust(if you like a lot of crust, go ahead and double this)
11/2 cups or 5 ounces finely ground Oreos, or other chocolate cookie
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Stir together ingredients and press into bottom and 1 inch up side of a buttered 10″ springform pan. Fill right away or chill for up to 2 hours.
For the Cheesecake:
3 (8-oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Make crumb crust as directed above for 10-inch cheesecake. Preheat oven to 350°F.Beat together cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions.
Fold brownie cubes in very gently and pour mixture into prepared pan. Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust and bake in baking pan (to catch drips) in middle of oven 45 minutes, or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken.
When completely cool, top with following glaze.
For the Ganache Glaze:
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Place finely chopped chocolate in a medium size mixing bowl. Scald the butter and cream together in a saucepan (or in the microwave on high for 1 minute). Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in vanilla and then whisk in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread over cheesecake while ganache is still warm. Chill the cheesecake until ready to serve.
*OK...this is a pretty labor-intensive dessert! But you better believe that it is TOTALLY worth it!!! You HAVE to make this!!! OK...for the crust, I bought 5 or 6 chocolate, chocolate chip cookies from Smart Cookie (if you haven't had these, you are TOTALLY missing out!). That's what I suggest for the crust. When I made the brownies, I didn't put them in foil and they were fine. It makes A LOT of brownies, so beware! Next time, I would half the recipe. I just used the inside of the brownies and not the crunchy edges. I made the basic cheesecake the night before and let it chill in the fridge. Then about 3-4 hours before we were going to eat, I made the ganache so it could harden. When cutting the cheesecake, i used a large knife and ran it under scalding hot water and without wiping the water off, I cut it and it made the perfect cut without damaging the ganache. Make sure to wipe knife and run it under water with each cut, or it will have a tendency to squish. PLEASE make this!!

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