May 6, 2013 by Renee
So you go to college, like you’re supposed to, and you get degrees in the artsy things that you love. You don’t have to do any math, and that is super awesome. But then there’s real life, and you have to pay the rent. And you love food, so you definitely want to eat stuff that doesn’t taste like cardboard. In order to get a paycheck, you find yourself having to do math. All the time. Every day. It’s easy, but it still hurts your brain, and your soul rebels a little bit.
That’s why this weekend I had to make this chocolate peanut butter cheesecake. It soothes my soul. Baking math doesn’t count as real math because it ends in completely joyful deliciousness.
This recipe was the May cookalong at the website of my idol, Nigella Lawson. Have I told you lately how much I love her? Immensely. Not only is she completely mesmerizing to look upon, but I love her whole philosophy. Even with her beauty, talent, and fame, she manages to be humble, approachable, and unapologetically indulgent. Read all her books. Just do it.
This cheesecake is everything you hoped it would be. It’s rich, dense, and smooth, and absolutely must be accompanied by a tall glass of milk. Chocolate and peanut butter is one of my favorite flavor combinations. My husband’s not really a fan. He finished his piece in about twelve seconds. Even people who think they won’t like will love it.
If I’ve learned anything from Nigella, it’s that life is meant to be enjoyed. You don’t need to apologize or feel guilty about doing the things that make you happy. Like eating cheesecake. It’s super awesome.
for the crust
1 sleeve graham crackers
100 grams (1/2 cup) dark chocolate chips
50 grams (4 Tbsp) butter, melted
- Give the graham crackers a good smash up before opening the sleeve just to break them up a bit. I just smack them with the heel of my hand.
- Dump the graham crackers into your food processor and process until you achieve small crumbs.
- Add your dark chocolate chips to the food processor and pulse several times to break up the chips a bit.
- With the processor running pour in the melted butter and mix until everything is combined. It only takes a few seconds.
- If you don’t have a food processor, just smash up your chocolate and graham crackers in a zip top bag. Anything heavy will work. Rolling pin, sledge hammer. Just be careful.
- Press your wet crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. I use a piece of wax paper to keep from getting crumb hands.
- Park your crust in the fridge while you proceed with your filling.
for the filling
500 grams (16 ounces) cream cheese, room temp
3 egg yolks (whites can be saved in a zip top bag in the freezer)
200 grams (1 cup) sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
250 grams (1 cup) smooth peanut butter
- Preheat your oven to 340.
- Rinse out your food processor (you could also use a mixer), then add the cream cheese. Give it a spin for about thirty seconds to make sure it’s all nice and smooth. This will make it easier to combine all your ingredients as you go.
- Add the rest of your ingredients, processing for a few seconds after each one. Scrape down your bowl with a spatula, and give it one final spin to make sure everything is smoothly incorporated.
- Pour your filling over your crust and smooth the top. Bake for 50 minutes. The top should be just set. Take the cheesecake out of the oven while you work on the topping.
for the topping
1 cup sour cream
100 grams (1 cup) milk chocolate chips
30 grams (2 Tbsp) brown sugar
- Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan over low heat.
- Stir frequently to incorporate the chocolate and the sour cream.
- Once everything is melted and smooth, gently spread the chocolate mixture over the cheesecake.
- Return to the oven and bake an additional 10 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely on the counter. (If you put it in the fridge too soon, condensation will develop and you’ll have water spots on your chocolate topping. It’s perfectly edible, just looks a bit different.)
- Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours, preferably overnight.
- Remove from refrigerator. Carefully remove springform ring.
- Slice and indulge and try not to think about algebra.
- Store in the refrigerator.