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Say Cheese!

Here are two fabulous recipes for cheesecake!

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Both of these cheesecakes are fabulous. They get rave reviews every-time they are made. I will say right from the start —-they are very rich, so don’t make if your palette is weak! For both recipes I use chocolate graham crackers to make the crusts. I use semi-sweet chocolate chips for the Double-Chocolate Cheesecake. Baker’s White Chocolate Baking squares work fine for the White Chocolate cheesecake, but some good quality white chocolate makes it extra nice. Both these cheesecakes freeze well before adding the toppings.

Recipe for White Chocolate and Strawberry Cheesecake

source Bon Appetit

crust
1 9-ounce package chocolate wafer cookies, broken into pieces
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

filling
1 pound good-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Baker’s), finely chopped
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3 1-pint baskets strawberries, hulled, halved
1/2 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons brandy

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 325°F. Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan. Wrap outside of pan with foil. Finely grind cookies in processor. Add melted butter; process until crumbs are moist. Press crumbs onto bottom and 2 inches up sides of pan. Bake until set, about 15 minutes. Cool on rack. Maintain oven temperature.

Stir white chocolate in top of double boiler set over barely simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally.

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually add sugar, then salt; beat until smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla; beat until well blended.

Bake cake until top begins to brown but center still moves slightly when pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Open oven door slightly; turn off oven. Leave cake in oven 30 minutes. Chill cake uncovered overnight. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; keep refrigerated.)

Run small knife between pan sides and cake. Release pan sides. Starting at outer edge of top of cake, arrange strawberry halves in slightly overlapping concentric circles, covering top completely. Stir preserves and brandy in heavy small saucepan over medium heat until mixture boils. Strain preserves. Brush glaze generously over strawberries, allowing some glaze to drip between berries. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Chill.)

 

 

Double Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe

recipe source Bon Appetit

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For crust
1 9-ounce box chocolate wafer cookies
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For filling
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs

For glaze
1/2 cup whipping cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Wrap outside of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with double thickness of foil. Spray bottom of pan with vegetable oil spray. Finely grind cookies in processor. Add butter and process until blended. Press mixture onto bottom (not sides) of prepared pan. Refrigerate while preparing filling.

Combine cream and coffee powder in medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until coffee powder dissolves. Reduce heat to low. Add chocolate; whisk until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Cool 10 minutes.

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until well blended. Beat in cornstarch. Add sour cream and vanilla; beat well. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Whisk 1 cup cheese mixture into chocolate mixture. Return chocolate mixture to remaining cheese mixture; whisk until smooth.

Pour batter into crust. Place springform pan in large baking pan. Add enough hot water to baking pan to cone halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake cheesecake until softly set and slightly puffed around edges, about 1 hour. Turn off oven. Let cake stand in oven 45 minutes. Transfer springform pan t rack and cool. Cover; chill cake overnight.

Bring cream to boil in heavy small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add 4 ounces chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Pour glaze over top of cake. Using spatula, smooth glaze evenly over top. Refrigerate until glaze is set, at least 2 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Using knife, cut around sides of pan to loosen cake. Remove pan sides. Cut into wedges and serve.

I top this cheesecake with a layer of chocolate ganache. When the warm ganache is poured on it gives a beautiful smooth and shiny top. It is very professional looking (hard to see in this picture since I was trying to make it look festive for Easter!)! You probably won’t need all of the ganache for the top of the cheesecake—-the rest is great with a spoon!

Chocolate Ganache

Heat 2/3 cup heavy cream (must be heavy whipping cream to work)

2 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons sugar

Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips. The ganache can be made in the microwave. Stir until smooth and then pour on top of cheesecake. Refrigerate cheesecake.

Yum!

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