Chelle and I were back in the kitchen together again this week, and she chose this fabulous dessert creation for us to try. At first I was planning on making mini cheesecakes because I knew there was no way I was having such a decadent full-sized cheesecake sitting around our house. It just so happened that a group of my friends decided to get together for dinner Friday night, so I quickly volunteered to provide dessert – problem solved! This was (not surprisingly) a huge hit, and was totally devoured by my friends. With a chocolate cookie crumb crust, deliciously smooth cheesecake with fudgy brownies mixed in and a ganache topping, I would be seriously worried about anyone who did not enjoy it :-)
When I saw this recipe initially, the multiple steps made it seem very time-consuming. However, this came together much more quickly than I expected. The one-bowl brownies, simple crust, four ingredient cheesecake, and quick ganache were all simple components that combined to make this fantastic dessert. The cheesecake in particular was fabulous, with a very smooth and creamy texture. This is sure to be a hit with any crowd you serve it to!
Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake
For the brownies:
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
¾ cup butter
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt
1 cup flour
For the crust:
1 ½ cups finely ground chocolate cookies
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
For the cheesecake:
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar
For the ganache:
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup plus 1 tbsp. heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter, cut into two pieces
To make the brownies, preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9×13” baking pan with foil, leaving the ends of the foil overhanging the sides of the pan. Grease the foil and set aside.
Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl on high for 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add salt and flour; mix well. Spread into prepared pan.
Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the 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 into ¾ – 1” squares for use in the cheesecake. Set aside 2 cups for the recipe, and will have many extra brownies left over.
To prepare the crust, combine all crust ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until well combined. Press onto the bottom and one inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan. Fill right away or chill for up to 2 hours.
For the cheesecake, preheat the oven to 350°. Beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating on low speed, scraping down the bowl between additions. Add vanilla and sugar and beat until well combined.
Fold in brownie cubes very gently and pour mixture into cookie crumb crust. Bake in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken. Allow to cool completely.
To make the ganache, put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil, the pour half of the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds. Working with a whisk or rubber spatula, gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles, starting at the center of the bowl and working your way out in increasingly larger concentric circles. Pour in the remainder of the cream and blend it into the chocolate, using the same circular motions. When the ganache is smooth and shiny, stir in the butter piece by piece. Don’t stir the ganache any more than you must to blend the ingredients – the less you work it, the darker, smoother and shinier it will be. Let sit until it thickens to desired consistency. Then pour on top of cooled cheesecake and spread evenly. Chill to set.