1/9/15

Foodie Friday -- Three Layer Cheesecake

I don't know about y'all, but I'm pretty darn excited to have this blog written and ready the DAY BEFORE it's scheduled to go up!

Yay, ME!

So I finally revised and rewrote this recipe that I've been promising you since before Thanksgiving--late November, for those of you who aren't American. I've made it twice, and both times it turned out awesome! And when you cut into it, it's very pretty with three distinct layers.

So without further ado . . .



Three-layer Cheesecake


Crust:

1 pkg (9 oz.) chocolate wafer cookies
¼ cup sugar
½ cup butter, melted

Layer One:

1 8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sugar
1 egg
¼ tsp. vanilla
2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate morsels, melted
1/3 cup sour cream

Layer Two:

1 8-oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 Tbls. flour
1 egg
½ tsp. vanilla
¼ cup chopped pecans

Layer Three:

1 8-oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
½ cup sour cream
¼ tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. almond extract

Glaze:

3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
2 Tbls. butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 Tbls. water
½ tsp. vanilla

Chopped pecans, optional


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place and ungreased 9-in springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18-in square). Wrap foil around pan.

Crust:
Place cookies in food processer, process until fine crumbs. Add sugar and melted butter, process until combined. Press onto the bottom and 2-in. up the sides of prepared pan. Set aside.

Layer One:
In large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, blend well. Stir in chocolate and sour cream. Spoon over crust.

Layer Two:
In same bowl (wiped out), beat cream cheese, brown sugar and flour until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, blend well. Stir in pecans. Spoon carefully over chocolate layer.

Layer Three:
In same bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, beat well. Stir in sour cream and almond extract. Spoon carefully over pecan layer.

Bake at 325 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until center is almost set. Turn off oven and leave cheesecake inside for 30 minutes. Crack open oven door and leave cheesecake inside for another 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Refrigerate at least 8 hours.

Glaze:
Melt chocolate and butter. Stir in the powdered sugar, water and vanilla until smooth. Remove cheesecake from pan and spread warm glaze over top.

Garnish with pecans, if desired.

Tips & Tricks:

·         I set this recipe up differently than the original one because the original one clumped all the ingredients into one list. I found it confusing to have to keep referring back and forth between the instructions and the list.

·         I also totally changed layer three from the original version. I made this recipe twice with the changes and it works quite well.

·         For some reason, it’s difficult to find chocolate wafer cookies in your basic Target or Walmart. I had to go to a local fancy-schmancy grocery store to find them. I was almost to the point of taking Oreos, eating the insides and weighing the cookie parts until I got 9 oz. …come to think of it, it might have been cheaper than buying the wafers at the richy-rich store.

·         When I press the cookie crust into the pan, I use a tall glass to evenly pack and smooth it. It helps that I have straight-sided glassware.

·         The double layer of foil takes the place of the traditional water bath. This helps prevent the cheesecake from overcooking around the edges while the middle remains uncooked.

·         I hate having to wash numerous bowls. The first time I made this recipe, I did use three separate bowls according to the original recipe—what a complete waste of time and utensils! And that doesn’t even count the time spent WASHING three bowls. Use the same darn bowl! Just use a rubber scraper to clean it out before going to the next layer. It’s not like you’re sitting around for hours in-between making the layers.

·         When placing each layer of the cheesecake in the pan, I dolloped small amounts of batter over the surface before I spread them together and leveled it out. Be careful around the crust edge since it is crumbly.

·         Do follow the cooling instructions. It will keep your cheesecake from cracking. But if it does crack, don’t worry about it since you have a nice chocolate ganache to cover it up!

·         I pulled the cheesecake out of the refrigerator when we started serving dinner. This allowed it to warm up for about an hour. If it is too ‘sticky’ on your knife, warm the knife under hot water before cutting . . . er, wipe off the water first, right?

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