Well, here we are. We’ve made it to Fall 2020. I offer you this decadent Peanut Butter Cheesecake in case you need to eat your feelings.
I made many cheesecakes for the dessert cart back in my Treehouse restaurant days, and this was a favorite with the staff, especially one cute waiter who would end up being my husband. It’s going in the cookbook I’m working on, so I had to make it for him and my girls recently. It turns out he’s still a big fan. If you like chocolate with your peanut butter, I assure you it will not disappoint.
This is a great celebration dessert. It serves a lot so you can share it with people you like to have fun with. We’re trying to do more of that in our house. Might as well. The alternative is super depressing.
I hope you find your bliss this fall. Even if it’s just in a few bites of your favorite dessert…
Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Dark Chocolate Ganache
20 Oreo cookies
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 pounds cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dark Chocolate Ganache
14 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I use Ghiradelli 60% chocolate chips)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla or coffee extract
pinch of salt
3/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts, chopped
- Special equipment: 9-inch Springform pan and large, high-sided roasting pan for the water bath.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil, making sure it does not tear. The cheesecake will need to bake in a water bath, keeping the water from leaking into the cheesecake.
In a stand mixer, begin beating the softened cream cheese (You can also use an electric mixer and large mixing bowl). It’s best if you can get it super smooth, and you will need to scrape down the sides a few times, so go ahead and have it going before you start on the crust.
Place the Oreos in the bowl of a food processor or blender and pulverize to a crumb texture. Add the melted butter and blend until well combined.
Press the crust, distributing evenly into the bottom of the lined springform pan. Set aside while you work on the filling.
Once the cream cheese is soft and smooth, add the sugar, eggs, sour cream, peanut butter, and vanilla extract, mixing well after each addition.
Pour the filling on top of the crust in the springform pan.
Place the springform pan in the roasting pan and fill the larger pan with water to reach about halfway up the springform pan’s side.
Carefully place the cheesecake and its water bath in the preheated oven.
Bake for approximately 1 hour 20 minutes. The top should be golden brown and should be slightly raised (see the picture below).
Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool on the counter before transferring it to the refrigerator. The cheesecake will deflate as it cools.
Allow the cheesecake to set in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. It should be firm when pressed in the center.
Once set, remove the cheesecake from the springform pan, unwrap the foil, and transfer it to a serving plate or 10-inch cardboard round.
Chop the peanuts, so they are ready to garnish.
To make the ganache, place the chocolate chips in a mixing bowl, then heat up the heavy whipping cream in the microwave or on the stove. It should be hot enough to melt the chocolate but not boiling. Scrape off any “skin” that may have formed on top, then pour the cream over the top of the chocolate chips. Blend with a wire whisk until all the chocolate has melted. Add the soft butter, vanilla, and salt. Stir until smooth.
Pile a good amount of the ganache on top of the cheesecake. Using an offset spatula, spread it evenly on the top and sides, adding more ganache as needed.
Garnish with chopped peanuts, pressing them in softly to adhere to the ganache.
Refrigerate for at least another 30 minutes to allow the ganache to set before slicing.
I like to slice cheesecake into 16 pieces all at once, even if I’m not serving it all right away. For best results, use a sharp knife dipped in very hot water then dried (you will have to repeat this with every slice or two). First, cut it in half, then quarters, then cut each quarter into 4 equal slices.
I believe that we form our own lives, that we create our own reality, and that everything works out for the best. I know I drive some people crazy with what seems to be ridiculous optimism, but it has always worked out for me. Jim Henson