Sunday, November 30, 2014

White Chocolate Bark Peppermint Oreo Cheesecake

This is a much more involved recipe than I normally tackle but it's Christmas and I'm hoping that Santa will reward my efforts.  The original recipe was SUPER complicated and I initially bailed on this one, but the challenge of it and determination to make this thing actually possible for a normal home cook took over!  The results are this four step baking bonanza below:
4 oz dark chocolate
4 oz white chocolate
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 crushed candy canes

In a microwave save bowl, melt the dark chocolate with 1/8 tsp. peppermint extract and 1/2 tsp. oil. Heat for 30 seconds then stir well to complete the melting process.  Spread in a thin layer over a waxed paper lined baking sheet.  Repeat this process with another bowl and the white chocolate.  Heat, stir and layer on top of your dark bark.  Top with crushed candy canes.  Allow to cool completely or refrigerate for 15 minutes to speed the process.  This does not have to be pretty and all even - you're just going to chop it up anyway!  You'll need 1/2 this bark for your cheesecake.  Use the other half to bribe your family into leaving you alone to let you bake in peace!
2 cups crushed chocolate Oreo's (not double stuffed)
3 Tbl melted  butter

Combine and stir until well blended.  Spray your spring form pan liberally with cooking spray and layer the cookie mixture in the bottom.   Bake at 350* for 10 minutes then remove and set aside.  Reduce oven temp to 325*

3 pkg softened cream cheese (8 oz each)
4 oz melted white chocolate
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbl flour
1 1/2 Tbl heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp salt           
2 tsp peppermint extract
3 eggs
1/2 batch of bark (chopped)

Beat cream cheese and sugar until well blended.  Add the melted chocolate, flour, whipping cream, salt and peppermint extract.  Blend well, add eggs one by one - lightly mix each.  Don't over beat this as it will add air to your batter and will lead you straight to a cracked cake.  By hand, gently fold in the chopped bark. 

Place a medium sized bowl of water in the oven (oven safe dish of course).  This will keep moisture in the oven and helps to prevent cracking.  Bake at 325* for one hour.  Turn the oven off and leave the cake in the oven for another 45 minute.  The cake is done when the center inch or two is still jiggly.  Let your cheese cake cool at room temperature on a cooling rack for one hour.  This allows your cake to adjust to reduced temperatures slowly and helps reduce the risk of cracking.   When cooled to room temp, refrigerate for 4 hours.

1/2 cup Cool Whip 
4 oz softened cream cheese
2 oz melted white chocolate
1 1/2 Tbl sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix Cool Whip, cream cheese, melted white chocolate, sugar and vanilla.  Pour over cake and return to refrigerator for another 4 hours or overnight. 

Remove your creation from the spring form pan, slice and garnish with crushed candy canes and chocolate shavings.  Don't skip on the garnishing - they can help hide any surface flaws and pretty cake always tastes better!  Hand a slice of this along with your letter of wishes to Santa and I know you will be well rewarded!

Cheesecake Tips:
  • A spring form pan (with removable side and bottom) is the most commonly used pan for making cheesecakes.
  • Avoid over-beating the batter. Over-beating incorporates additional air and tends to cause cracking on the surface of the cheesecake.
  • For even marbling and the best distribution of added ingredients, such as chocolate chips or nuts, do not over-soften or over-beat the cream cheese.
  • Avoid over-baking: Cheesecake baking times are not always exact, due to variations in ovens. The cheesecake will continue to bake after it is removed from the oven. The center of the cheesecake should be just slightly moist when it is ready to be removed.
  • Upon removal from the oven, loosen the cake from the edge of the pan by running the tip of a knife or narrow spatula between the top edge of the cake and the side of the pan. This allows the cake to pull away freely from the pan as it cools.
  • Cool the cheesecake on a wire rack away from drafts. After a cheesecake has cooled completely, gently loosen the entire side of the cheesecake from the pan with the tip of a knife while slowly releasing the spring form pan clamp. Carefully remove the side of the pan.
  • Baked cheesecakes freeze well. Cool them completely and wrap them securely in heavy-duty foil or plastic wrap, but do not freeze cheesecakes with garnishes or toppings.


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