Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake

My son, John, inherited his chocolate gene from me.  He’s also got a very dominant cheesecake gene.  Throw in the fact that he likes chewy, chocolate chip cookies; and you can see that I’ve passed along the alliteration gene as well—and double alliteration at that!  Did I mention he really likes Chinese food, too?

When I first spotted this brownie mosaic cheesecake on one of my favorite blogs, it was a given that I’d be making it with John in mind.  As sometimes happens when one targets, oh, about 10 or more recipes a day that one would like to try, the recipe was soon buried—but not forgotten.  When I saw another one of my favorite bloggers post the cake, I decided it was high time I pulled out my springform pan and got baking.

Now, before I go further, do I need to inform you that eating a slice (or two) of this cheesecake isn’t the healthiest thing you could put in your mouth?  Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past week, you’ve read about the controversy created by Paula Deen when she revealed that she was diagnosed with adult onset diabetes three years ago.  Now, the woman is certainly ethically challenged since she has revealed it only because she’s signed a deal to endorse and help market a drug for diabetes.  But, seriously, did anyone think her sandwich consisting of a 1/2 -pound burger, topped with a fried egg, two pieces of bacon, and slapped between two donuts was promoting a healthy lifestyle?  Personally, it doesn’t even sound appetizing to me.

I think we all know it’s about moderation and making the right food choices, not to mention exercising regularly.  I eat healthy foods the majority of the time so that when I do indulge in a meal or dessert that has too much fat or too many calories I don’t feel horribly guilty.  I just get back on track until I want to indulge again.  Yes, I do make lots of desserts; but I enjoy sharing.  I send the kids back to school with goodies, and they share them with their roommates.  If they’re not around, I bring them into work to share with my co-workers.  Anyway, don’t blame Paula Deen, silly woman that she is, for any poor eating habits you may have.  The person to blame is the one you see in the mirror.  Enough said!

Getting back to the cheesecake—although there are several components to the recipe, do not be intimidated or put off by the number of steps to make this decadent cheesecake. Each component is quite simple.  You start off with a recipe for a one-bowl brownie which can be made a day ahead.  The cookie crumb crust is fairly straightforward, and the cheesecake is as easy as it gets with just four ingredients to mix together.  The ganache is also quite simple.  Put them all together and you’ll have the cheesecake of your dreams.

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, if you have a cheesecake-loving sweetheart, you might want to make his or her day special with this dessert.  Just make sure you serve a really healthy, light supper rather than cheeseburgers and fries before you indulge in a slice of this decadence!

Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake

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Ingredients with Directions immediately following each component

Step One:  One Bowl Brownies

  • 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. 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 for 2 minutes, 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.  Brownies can be prepared a day in advance.

Cool brownies (they will be easier to cut and a pizza wheel is very handy to that end), 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. Add cubes to cake batter as directed below.

Step Two:  Cookie Crumb Crust

Note that the original recipe specified half the amounts for the ingredients listed below.  It was suggested that you might want to double the crust ingredients, and that’s what I did.  I found it was very easy to get the cookie crumbs up the side of the pan with the generous amount of cookie crust.  If you think you’d like a thinner crust, then halve the ingredients.

  • 3 cups (10 ounces) finely ground cookies such as chocolate wafers, Chocolate Teddy Grahams, or Oreo cookie crumbs (I used Teddy Grahams)
  • 10 tbl. (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of a buttered 10-inch springform pan.  Fill right away or chill up to 2 hours.

Step Three:  Cheesecake

  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups brownie cubes, loosely packed (from recipe above)

Make crumb crust as directed above for 10-inch cheesecake.  Preheat oven to 350°F.

Make filling and bake cake:  Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy and add eggs, one 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.

Step Four:  Ganache Glaze

  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken up, or 1/2 cup chocolate morsels
  • 2 ounces butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbl. confectioners’ sugar

Put chocolate and butter in a microwave bowl.  Follow the microwave instructions on the back of the package to melt the chocolate along with the butter.  Stir to blend.  Add the heavy cream and stir to blend.  You may have to briefly microwave the mixture again.  Add the vanilla and confectioners’ sugar and whisk until smooth.  Spread over cheesecake while ganache is still warm.  Chill until ready to serve.

You know you want to take a big bite!

Source:   Adapted from a Smitten Kitchen recipe with incentive from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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