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Monday, February 19, 2018

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
Everyone should have at least one great cheesecake recipe in their repertoire. This is my new fave! I love the crust made from lady fingers (instead of the uninspired graham cracker crust) with the inclusion of espresso powder and chocolate chips. I love the addition of mascarpone instead of just cream cheese. And I love the chocolate chips in the cake which give your mouth something to do. Cheesecake is easy to prepare, but make sure you really whip the cream cheese because lumps are unacceptable! Making sure the ingredients are at room temperature helps them blend together more easily.

1 7-ounce packages crisp, Italian-style ladyfingers
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1 1/2 lbs cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
boiling water

Position a rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with foil and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Using a food processor, grind ladyfingers into fine crumbs. Add melted butter, espresso powder, and 1/4 cup chocolate chips then pulse until incorporated. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press to form a crust halfway up the sides. Bake until set, 8 to 10 minutes, let cool. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

While the crust cools, beat the cream cheese using an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugar at high speed until smooth. Beat in the mascarpone, vanilla and salt. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips.

Set the springform pan in a roasting pan. Pour the mascarpone-chocolate chip mixture into the baked crust, then place the roasting pan in the oven. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the top is golden and the center is set but still jiggly, about 1 hour.

Let cool in the water bath for 15 minutes, then transfer the springform pan to a rack to cool completely. Refrigerate the cheesecake (still in the pan) for 6 hours or up to 2 days. Remove cheesecake from the springform pan and put on flat platter. You can decorate with some whipped cream with a little coffee liquor in it. Or melt some chocolate and do a little Jackson Pollock drizzle thingy.

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