Peanut Butter and Chocolate Layered Cheesecake - by Jessica Thompson, Guest Post
Peanut Butter. Chocolate. Cheesecake. That’s right.
Recently I was making a birthday treat for my friend with Celiac Disease. The result was so wonderful that I think I need to add it to my repertoire. You wonderful people get the worldwide debut of this recipe. If you would like more delicious recipes, buy my cozy mystery with recipes that hit shelves today, A Caterer’s Guide to Love and Murder!
This cheesecake has layers, like an ogre, so let’s go from the bottom to the top.
The crust was inspired by the Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies by Claire Robinson. But instead of doling it out as cookies, we are going to press it into the bottom of a springform pan and parbake it for our cheesecake
The cheesecake layer is based on the America’s Test Kitchen New York Cheesecake. The difference I made was to use whole eggs and a bit less sugar. With the other layers being so rich, we needed to make the cheesecake firm enough to cut into very thin slices, and tangy enough to not make the whole dessert cloyingly sweet. And I just didn’t want some egg whites laying around this time.
The chocolate on top is a simple chocolate ganache. I went with a ½ cup cream and 1 cup chocolate pieces in order to make the top hard enough to transport easily. If you want the chocolate to ooze down the sides, or if you want it to be very soft when you cut the cake, or if you don’t have to transport the finished dessert, I would go for a 1 part cream to 1 part chocolate ratio.
1 cup peanut butter (240g)
1 cup sugar (200g)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 ½ pounds cream cheese, room temperature (1.1kg soft cheese like Philadelphia)
1 cup sugar (200g)
Dash of salt
⅓ cup sour cream (80mL)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
7 large eggs, at room temperature
½ to 1 cup heavy cream (120mL - 240mL)
1 cup or 6 oz. high-quality chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (170g)
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180C) and grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch (23cm) springform pan.
Beat together the peanut butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg for the crust. When it’s incorporated and somewhat grainy, scoop it all into the bottom of your springform pan and press it into an even layer all along the bottom. I find it useful to press it down with a water glass or measuring cup with the flat bottom.
Bake the crust for about 12 minutes while you prepare other ingredients. When finished, set the springform pan aside to wait for the additional layers. Meanwhile, crank the oven temperature up to 500 degrees F (260C.)
In a large bowl, whip cream cheese until fluffy. Add sugar and salt, then whip again. When smooth again, vigorously beat in your sour cream. Starting now, your mixture will get a little thinner with each addition, so it’s important to scrupulously scrape the sides of your bowl after each step to avoid lumps of cream cheese.
After scraping the sides of your bowl and beating again, add lemon and vanilla. Continue to beat, scrape, and beat again now and after every couple of eggs.
When all the eggs have been beaten in, and you have squished any lumps until it is all smooth, pour cream cheese mixture into a springform pan and bake for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes at 500 degrees F (260C), turn the oven temperature down to 200 degrees F (95C) without opening the oven. Continue to bake for another 1 hour and 45 minutes or until the center just barely wobbles. Not liquidy and not set all the way either.
Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes before running a table knife around the edge and taking off the ring of the springform pan.
Chill for at least 3 hours, then make your ganache.
When your cake is chilled, set your chocolate in a heatproof bowl and your cream in a separate, microwaveable bowl. Heat cream for about 2 minutes, or until steaming, then pour hot cream over your chopped chocolate.
Quickly tuck any chocolate peaks that stick up down into the cream, then cover with a plate and set aside for 2 minutes.
Whisk hot cream and chocolate together until smooth and glossy. If there are still lumps, microwave for another 30 seconds and whisk again.
Whisk in butter, then pour onto cake however you like! You can keep it as a thick layer on top, dribble it down the sides, or spread it everywhere like frosting.
Serve immediately or chill until showtime. Slice into tiny slivers and refrigerate any leftovers.
Check out Jessica's satisfying debut novel, A Caterer’s Guide to Love and Murder.
A wedding caterer, a florist…and a dash of poison. “Wow, this dough is sexy!” As their wedded bliss starts to show signs of serious strain, Violet and her new husband, Jake, put their feelings aside to focus on catering a wedding that could make or break her career. When murder ruins the rehearsal dinner, and her sister, Greta, the florist, becomes the prime suspect, Violet risks everything to clear her – and still deliver the beautiful wedding her new friend deserves. But will she be in time before the killer dishes out seconds?
When Jessica discovered mystery novels with recipes, she knew she had found her niche.
Jessica is an avid home chef and is active in her local writing community, including being a member of the Writers’ League of Texas. She received a bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from Brigham Young University but has always enjoyed writing and reading mysteries. Jessica is originally from California but now has adopted the Austin, Texas lifestyle with her husband and two children.
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