I believe in recycling. I reuse boxes and gift bags. I wear clothes long past their fashion window. I freecycle. I hate to throw things out. I don't like to waste anything. Especially chocolate.
Especially chocolate and booze. That's a sin.
So when I had some leftover chocolate sauce from last week's post about Chocolate Jack Daniel's Cake, I knew that I had to do something with it. The sauce had hardened in the fridge to a soft ganache-like consistancy. And what's better with ganache than cheesecake? Especially in easy to serve bar form.
But, since I believe in the principle of "go big or go home", wouldn't it be better to have the chocolate IN the cheesecake? As a layer? Instead of as a topping?
I've never tried anything like that before, so I decided to take a chance. Throw caution to the wind. Walk on the wild side. Fly by the seat of my pants. See what happened.
What happened was quite yummy. The chocolate mixture partially melted into the graham cracker crust, leaving a crunchy, chocolatey crust with a layer of whiskey infused chocolate, topped with vanilla bean cheesecake. Experiments are almost always good when they involve chocolate and booze.
Here's the recipe - I just kind of winged it, based on my experience making cheesecake before. Turned out to be pretty good. Don't be like me, though - take your cheesecake out of the oven after 1 hour. I left mine in for an extra 7 minutes because I judged it to be too jiggly, and it browned on top. I, unfortunately, had to eat those corners myself, since I obviously couldn't serve them. ;-)
But first, your gratuitous baby photo of the day:
|Hey ladies, which way to the gun show?|
Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Jack Daniels Chocolate Ganache
(A Girl, a Dog, & an Oven Original)
12 graham crackers, or a generous 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, slightly softened
1/4 cup sugar
8 oz semisweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons Jack Daniels whiskey
3/4 cup corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 vanilla beans
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 packages (24 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, beaten
Time and temperature: 350 for 10 minutes for crust, 55-60 minutes for finished cheesecake
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the graham crackers, butter and 1/4 cup sugar. Pulse until blended and the mixture turns to coarse, wet crumbs. Press into the bottom of a 9" square baking dish (lined with parchment paper) and bake for 10 minutes, until set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, make the sauce: melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler until melted and combined. Stir in the whiskey, corn syrup and heavy cream, stirring until smooth. Allow to cool slightly. (Or, if you're using leftover sauce, reheat in the microwave in 20 second intervals - I only needed to do it twice - stirring between until smooth.)
Pour the chocolate mixture over the cooled crust and freeze for 30 minutes, until set.
In the meantime, make the cheesecake: slice and scrape the seeds of the vanilla beans and add to the cream, along with the bean pods. Heat on low or in the microwave for 2 - 20 second intervals, stirring constantly. Remove from heat before liquid boils and allow to cool. Beat the cream cheese until fluffy, then add the sugar and salt, mixing until combined. Remove the vanilla bean pods from the cream and discard. Add the vanilla cream to the cream cheese mixture, beating on low until combined. Add the eggs and beat for 5-10 seconds, until combined. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the cooled crust. Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes. Cake will jiggle in the middle but be firmish to the touch. Cool in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before cutting and serving.