Monday, April 27, 2009

Make It Work - Chocolate Peppermint Patty Cheesecake Style

Please note that… (Drum roll)…. The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge. Yay!
It’s that time of month again… Well, the good time of the month when you can count on a regular update from me thanks to the amazing-ness that is Daring Bakers! April’s recipe was a new take on the traditional cheesecake – all we had to do was take the cheesecake recipe and make it lovely. After a stroll through the aisle of Bear Nasties (Cornell’s convenient store. The name is awful I know), I found my inspiration – peppermint patties. Who doesn’t have a thing for mint and chocolate? It’s decadent and refreshing all at once and I haven’t come into contact with a concoction that doesn’t melt in my mouth. As Martha would say, that’s a good thing.

What turned out to be not such a good thing was the serious lack of materials and preparedness thanks to yours truly. You see, I procrastinate. And assumed I would make the cheesecake in the free time I don’t actually have. Usually it works out somehow, but for the past week and a half I’ve been mostly a nauseous zombie in class wishing I was a nauseous lump in bed. It’s weeks like those that I’m glad I have engineering friends because they’re robots and apparently don’t sleep either. In any case, it was a party all night long. Literally.

But back to the baking. The bit about sleep deprivation is important because I never went to the grocery store to get ingredients for the cheesecake challenge… Yeah… Ultimately my friend Charles (the unofficial and seriously skilled baking buddy at school) and I did some crazy improvisation on this recipe because it was a last minute, gosh let’s make cheesecake (!) moment. So I’m giving you the Cornell student’s modified version below, complete with crystal light powder mix and chocolate milk instead of heavy cream. Note that the recipe below is 1/3 of the original recipe only because Bear Nasties was mean to me and only had one 8 oz container of cream cheese. Read on. I’m sure you’ll get a good laugh out of it.

Daring Bakers April 2009 - Cheesecake Centerpiece
Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake (a la Brie)

makes about 12 muffin-sized cheesecakes
Modified Crust Ingredients

1 cup crushed oreos
1/3 stick butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract (extra vanilla = an extra good time)
About 12 peppermint patties (more for garnish… and then even more for snacking on)

Seriously Modified Cheesecake Indgredients
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup heavy cream/chocolate milk mixture
Cocoa powder to taste
1/4 tsp powdered crystal light (the kind that makes 2 quarts)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
No liqueur for college students (on such short notice anyway haha)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your greased muffin tins. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Put a peppermint patty in each muffin cup on top of the crust, preferably in the middle. I suppose you could crush up the patty if you wanted, I liked having the little surprise in there. Set crust aside. I would suggest using those silicon baking cups if you have them in the muffin tin… I was having issues getting the cheesecake-ettes out.
3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer… or just mixing by hand… you know how it goes) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs and fully incorporate it. Make sure to scrape down the bowl. Add heavy cream/chocolate milk, vanilla, lemon juice, and cocoa powder and blend until smooth and creamy.
4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place muffin tins in your cake pan full of water. Don’t mess up and put them under water.
5. Bake 20 to 35 minutes, until still a little jiggly. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve. I dumped mine out upside down and then garnished just because I liked the look of it better. But hey, do whatever makes you happy.


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