UPDATE: for those of you returning to this entry after having already read it – you will notice that it has been altered. After thinking about this entry, and enduring a tight knot in my stomach for several days; I’ve decided to change it.
I decided to make public something that is in fact, extremely personal. I haven’t felt right about it – and so would like to offer my sincere apologies and hope that this new blog entry better reflects me as a person. I made a mistake and didn’t think of the consequences when I initially blogged – I think I look a little bipolar at the moment… for the record, I’m not :0)
Thank you all for reading my blog. I promise to blog with continued enthusiasm in the future… I appreciate all the support. But please remember, that initial blog was told purely from my point of view – and there are always three sides to a story – yours, mine, and the truth.
I heart baking for other people – especially people I care greatly about. I had the opportunity to do so last weekend. It was someones birthday last Sunday and I wanted to make him something that would bring a smile to his face – which, it did. A big smile.
Knowing me as you all do, I’m sure you can picture the anticipation – I flipped through my new cookbook and found a recipe for a white chocolate hazelnut cheesecake. He hearts cheesecake and chocolate and hazelnuts; so I decided to swap out the white chocolate for dark chocolate and bake him a cheesecake. In the middle of a heat wave. But I didn’t mind because I just knew that he was going to go gaga for this cake. It simply screamed his name! So off I went.
I’ll warn you in advance – this recipe uses a lot of cream cheese. Seriously… 4 packages. That is a whole lotta creamy goodness.
(i should have known better) dark chocolate hazelnut cheesecake
1/2 c. salted butter, melted
1 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. ground hazelnuts
Preheat your oven to 325 F. Spray your 9-inch springform pan with non-stick spray. I also wrap some tinfoil around the entire base – so that it will catch any spillage that might leak out of the pan. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, dump the graham crackers, sugar and ground hazelnuts. Grab the paddle attachment and pour the melted butter on top of the dry ingredients. Stir at medium speed until everything comes together – the graham crackers darken and look like wet sand.
Press everything into the base of the pan and bake for 12 minutes – it will be golden. Remove from the oven and allow the base to cool on a wire rack (keep it in the pan).
Step 1 is done. I turned off my oven while I waited for it to cool… no use in heating my kitchen more than necessary!
Once the crust has cooled, turn on your oven to 325 F again.
2 lbs. (4 x 8 ounce packages) of cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 c. sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
6 ounces dark chocolate, melted
3 tbsp Sabra liqueur
Over a double boiler (simmering water about 1 inch deep in your saucepan), on your stove top (medium heat), melt the chocolate. It will become glossy and smooth. Remove from heat.
Using your paddle attachment and in the bowl of your stand mixer, beat all the cream cheese until very smooth. Slowly add the sugar – about 1/4 c. at a time. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Take the time to scrape down the sides of your bowl during this process – you want to ensure the smoothest filling possible. Stir in the liqueur and the melted chocolate (use a wooden spoon, it works better than the paddle attachment, you’re able to scrape the chocolate that falls to the bottom of the bowl).
Pour the batter into your springform pan – so that it sits atop your graham cracker crust. The Magnolia cookbook recommends setting the pan on a baking sheet. I also strongly recommend this – since you will have to pull the cake out prior to it being fully baked. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
While the cake is baking, start on the topping.
1 c. coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts
1 c. coarsely chopped dark chocolate
Toast the hazelnuts in a large, dry pan over medium-high heat for about 5 – 8 minutes – shake them a couple of times so that they evenly toast. You want them to become brown and fragrant – and not burnt! So keep an eye on them.
Once toasted, coarsely chop the hazelnuts. Then chop the chocolate. Easy topping eh?
At the 40 minute mark, carefully remove the cake from the oven and sprinkle the hazelnuts and chocolate evenly over the top of the cake.
Return the cake immediately to the oven and continue to bake for another 35 minutes (the cookbook said 20 minutes – but my oven required the additional baking time) – your cake will be ready when the edges are set and the centre moves only slightly when the pan is shaken.
When you are satisfied with the baking time, turn off the heat, grab a wooden spoon to keep the oven door slightly ajar, and cool the cake in the oven for 60 minutes before removing.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours prior to serving (keep it in the springform pan until you are ready to serve it).
Remove the cake from the fridge at least 15 – 30 minutes before cutting and serving.
It’s beautiful eh? I was so pleased with my efforts.
I have heard that it is delicious. That makes me very happy.