It's taken me almost 35yrs but I've figured out that I really like cook. Baking (bread, in particular) is like therapy for me. And trying to keep the dog hair out of everything...well, that's sometimes a challenge. I figure it's like the baby in a King Cake...having the hair in your slice is a sign of good things to come. Or projectile vomitting...depending on how you feel about dog hair in your food. But I digress...
Chocolate Cheesecake (recipe adapted from AllRecipes Chocolate Cheesecake II, changes noted in red):
1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs **Oreos with the filling removed**
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
**I omitted the ingredients that made the topping (bad reviews) and used the chocolate ganache recipe that follows.**
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F ( 175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9 inch springform pan. **I used a mini muffin pan and cooking spray.**
In a small bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Press onto the bottom and 1 1/2 inch up the sides of the prepared 9 inch springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). **I pressed a spoonfull of crumbs into each mini muffin cup and cut the baking time to 5min**
To Make Filling: In a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup whipping cream and 1/4 cup chocolate chips, stirring constantly, until chips are melted. Remove from heat.
In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar until smooth. Add cocoa and beat well. Add eggs and beat on low until just blended. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and reserved chocolate mixture until blended. Pour over crust. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 45 to 50 minutes or until center is almost set. **I filled each mini muffin cup to the top with filling and baked for 20 minutes.**
This recipe made 48 mini cheesecakes.Chocolate Ganache (recipe adapted from AllRecipes Chocolate Ganache, changes noted in red):
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped **I used semi-sweet chips**
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon dark rum (optional) **I substituted my homemade vanilla extract**
Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the rum if desired.
Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over a cake. Start at the center of the cake and work outward. For a fluffy frosting or chocolate filling, allow it to cool until thick, then whip with a whisk until light and fluffy. **I spooned the ganache onto each mini cheesecake and refridgerated overnight.**
**NOTE: I used less than HALF the ganache for the cheesecakes - next time I'll just half the recipe**