Wednesday, July 23, 2008

BROWNIE MOSAIC CHEESECAKE


The last dessert I brought to the BBQ was this Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake. I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and oh boy am I happy I did! This was AMAZING. I repeat, AMAZING. Anything bound together by brownies and cheesecake can't possibly disappoint! The cheesecake came out like a gem. There were no cracks, slits, or dents; it was completely blemish-free. Every bite had rich chunks of chocolaty brownie. This cheesecake was extremely rich and I ended up taking home 3/4 of it, where it will be served this weekend at another BBQ! While this cheesecake involves two different recipes (the brownies and the actual cheesecake) it was fairly easy to make and ended up being a 2-day process. 

Day 1: Brownie Recipe
This recipe is referred to as a "one bowl" brownie recipe. Enough said? It's super easy, super fast, super delicious and requires super easy clean-up! Basically it's all out "super".  I made these a day in advance and put the uncut sheet of brownies in the fridge to cool overnight.
Day 2: Brownie cubes and Cheesecake
After cooling and refrigerating overnight, I sliced the sheet of brownies into 1x1 inch cubes using a pizza cutter. I would highly recommend using a pizza cutter; this made the process much easier and created no crumbling. Finally, I was ready to make the cheesecake which had a base/crust of crushed chocolate teddy graham's. I've never used such a cookie as a crust, but let me tell you, this won't be the last time! Smitten Kitchen gives recipes for both a single and double crust. 

Naturally I stuck with the double crust because a girl can't get enough crust in a cheesecake! The actual cheesecake portion of this recipe was so easy. Cream cheese. Eggs. Vanilla. Sugar. That's it! When the cheesecake filling is poured into the crust you gently fold the brownie cubes in and bake! Once cooled, the cheesecake is topped with ganache filling (which I altered, see below) and you have yourself a beautiful impressive brownie cheesecake! I had extra brownie cubes left so I crumbled them up and garnished the top of the cheesecake with them. This cake is sure to impress your friends, co-workers, family member, etc. I highly recommend this cheesecake to everyone!!

Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake

Part One: One Bowl Brownies

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (Baker’s chocolate, optional of course)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
1 3/4cups 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. (Do not overbake.) 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.

* I find that brownies are fantastically easy to cut once they’ve been refrigerated–you end up with nice clean lines, and in this case, a sharp pizza wheel was especially helpful. Also, brownies taste better cold. I’m just saying.

Part Two: Crumb Crust

I like a doubled crumb crust. I can’t get enough cookie. Below are proportions for one crust with the amounts to double the recipe in parentheses. You know you wanna.

1 1/2 cups or 5 ounces (3 cups or 10 ounces to double) finely ground cookies such as chocolate wafers. Or Chocolate Teddy Grahams.
5 tablespoons (10 tablespoons to double) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup (2/3 cup to double) sugar
1/8 (1/4 teaspoon to double) teaspoon salt

Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of a buttered 24-centimeter springform pan. Fill right away or chill up to 2 hours.

Part Three: Cheesecake

3 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar

Make crumb crust as directed above for 24-centimeter cheesecake. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Make filling and bake cake: Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy and add eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla and sugar, 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.

Part Four: Ganache Glaze (I didn't have patience to bust out the food processor so I used this ganache recipe. I had some left over and froze it for later use)

3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken up, or 1/2 cup chocolate morsels
2 oz. butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar

Grind the chocolate into powder in the food processor, scald the butter and cream in a saucepan (or in a Pyrex cup in the microwave). With the machine running, pour the hot cream/butter mixture slowly through the feed tube onto the chocolate. Blend until completely smooth, stopping machine to scrape down sides once or twice. Add the extract and sugar and process until smooth. Spread over cheesecake while ganache is still warm. Chill until ready to serve.










4 comments:

Erin said...

Oh my goodness, this looks amazing! It's so chocolaty and decadent. I'm definitely bookmarking this recipe so I can make it!

Kait said...

Oh my god, that looks amazing. I'm going to make it for my boyfriend's 21st birthday this fall actually! I'm practically salivating right now.

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Eukadanz said...

I'm on day one of this process, and the brownies are delish! I might have to make more for the cheesecake!!