Tuesday, December 30, 2008

TWD- Tall and Creamy (Peppermint Bark) Cheesecake

It's finally my turn to choose this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe and I was shocked how hard it was to decide! First, I felt I could not choose a chocolate recipe for the sake of my husband, which narrowed down the field. Then, I wanted something wonderful and worthy of the holidays.

When I flipped the page to the Tall and Creamy Cheesecake I knew I'd found my selection. Dorie posted about this cheesecake back in April and I've been pining over it ever since. Highly customizable, this cheesecake is flavorful, beautiful, and not too heavy. I'm dying to see everyone's variations and will post my own (Peppermint Bark) below Dorie's recipe. Inspired by a recent visit to The Cheesecake Factory, I divided the batter into thirds and flavored one-third with white chocolate and the other two-thirds with peppermint extract. I swirled in Andes Mint peppermint chips after marbling the two batters together. I also added a few tablespoons of cocoa powder to the crust for color (haha). I figured my husband could eat around that!

Cute baby Marcus was the star of the show on Saturday but didn't get to try any! I served this cheesecake at a baby shower for my old friend Alyson and it was delicious (though it would have been better blue than pink!) My favorite thing about it is the great flavor without the heavy heavy texture. While prepping for the party, I realized that I'd left my camera at home. Pardon the purse camera pictures, but thanks to my mom for letting me borrow her cute little point and shoot (which happens to be the same color as the cheesecake!)

We moved into our house on Christmas Eve (like crazy people) and are without internet. More importantly, we are without kitchen! The cabinets missed the train by one day and with the holidays that meant an extra two weeks. My husband was too anxious to finally live in his Christmas present, the biggest of his life, so we are sans internet, sans kitchen, and even sans kitchen sink! Thankfully our parents are close by so I'll be stealing computer and oven time around there until we are all set up. Have a happy new year and I'll be back with York Peppermint Patty Chocolate cookies (you can see them peaking in from one of the corners of the demolished cheesecake picture).

I've taken the recipe from Serious Eats where you can hear more about it.

Tall and Creamy Cheesecake: A Basic
makes 16 servings

From Baking From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients
For the crust:
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:
2 pounds (four 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sour cream or heavy cream, or a combination of the two

Procedure

To make the crust:

Butter a 9-inch springform pan—choose one that has sides that are 2 3/4 inches high (if the sides are lower, you will have cheesecake batter leftover)—and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil; put the pan on a baking sheet.

Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. (I do this with my fingers.) Turn the ingredients into the buttered springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don't worry if the sides are not perfectly even or if the crumbs reach above or below the midway mark on the sides—this doesn't have to be a precision job. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven.

Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

To make the cheesecake:

Put a kettle of water on to boil.

Working in a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft and lives up to the creamy part of its name, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition—you want a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.

Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in the roaster pan.

Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, just to make sure that nothing has been left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, and scrape the batter into the springform pan. The batter will reach the brim of the pan. (If you have a pan with lower sides and have leftover batter, you can bake the batter in a buttered ramekin or small soufflé mold.) Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into the roaster to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, at which point the top will be browned (and perhaps cracked) and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven's heat and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.

After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster—be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil—remove the foil. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack.

When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and chill the cake for at least 4 hours, although overnight would be better.

Serving:
Remove the sides of the springform pan— I use a hairdryer to do this (use the dryer to warm the sides of the pan and ever so slightly melt the edges of the cake)—and set the cake, still on the pan's base, on a serving platter. The easiest way to cut cheesecake is to use a long, thin knife that has been run under hot water and lightly wiped. Keep warming the knife as you cut slices of the cake.

Storing:
Wrapped well, the cake will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or for up to 2 months in the freezer. It's best to defrost the still-wrapped cheesecake overnight in the refrigerator.

Peppermint Bark Cheesecake
from Anne Strawberry

3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
5 drops red food coloring
3 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled
1/4 cup Andes Peppermint chips
4 ounces Peppermint Bark, broken into large pieces

Prepare crust as directed and stir in cocoa powder. Bake as directed.

Prepare cheesecake batter as above and divide into thirds. Into one third, stir in white chocolate. Set aside.

In other two thirds, stir in peppermint extract (to taste) and add food coloring to achieve desired color.

Pour in pink batter, spoon over white batter, sprinkle with peppermint chips, and swirl together to form a marble pattern.

Bake and cool as directed and top with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and peppermint bark. Enjoy!

70 comments:

Mary Ann said...

Wow Anne- That is super creative! I never in a million years would have thought to turn peppermint bark into cheesecake. It looks perfect and so delicious for this time of year. Thanks for a great pick- we loved it! It was almost completely devoured before I could get any pics

Steph said...

Thanks for such an amazing pick! I actually made it.. I only made 2/4 this month and I knew this was one I couldn't skip on, even though I almost did. My family loved my lemon variation of this cheesecake. I agree, it's not too heavy, but it's probably b/c I used one block of lite cream cheese..haha

The peppermint bark is a great variation. I love peppermint bark.

Girl Japan said...

Wow, this looks absolutely delish.. I've never had bark before but you took it up a few notches.... WOW

Pamela said...

Anne~Thank you so much for this fabulous pick! I haven't tasted the cheesecake yet, but I know it's going to be fantastic. You did a great job on your cake, too! I love the peppermint bark variation! Good luck on getting settled in!! :o)

Cathy said...

Anne, I would hug you if I could! This was an amazing, amazing pick! I have never made anything so incredibly delicious. I will make this every Christmas from now on. I made it exactly as written in the recipe and it was perfect. I KNOW that I need to branch out and play around with it a bit. Your peppermint bark version looks beautiful -- maybe I'll start there! Thank you again for the fabulous pick! I hope that you and your family had a Merry Christmas!

LyB said...

Anne, thank you so much for choosing this cheesecake as your recipe. It was delicious. Your peppermint cheesecake variation sounds incredible and looks fabulous. Happy New Year! :)

What's for Supper? said...

I was so excited when I saw that you chose this recipe. YUM!! It was so good. Yours looks great too and an awesome variation.

Peggy said...

I like your peppermint idea! I haven't tasted mine yet, so the jury is still out.

n.o.e said...

Anne, I loved your pick! It was perfect for the holidays (or any time, really). We thought it was delicious although I had definite leakage issues with the water bath. (I posted this last week.)

Your peppermint bark version is quite inventive and I can see why it was demolished at the shower. And thanks for the cute baby pic. Great job all around!
Nancy

pinkstripes said...

Thank you so much for picking this recipe. It was big hit here, both at home and at work.
Peppermint bark cheesecake sounds delicious. YUM!

Amanda said...

Great pick, Anne!! I love reading all your posts!!

Jaime said...

thanks for a great pick! i love your variation on this classic recipe! yum!

Engineer Baker said...

What a wonderful pick - I loved how customizable it was. Yours looks absolutely fantastic, and I don't even like mint in desserts!

Maci said...

Wow! That looks amazing! I am so glad you picked this!

Melissa said...

Awww! He's the cutest baby ever. What a neat idea, this sounds delish!

Food.Baby said...

Thanks for such a great pick, I will definitely be making this again! Your cheesecake looks divine :-)

PheMom said...

I have had my eye on this recipe since I got my book. Thanks so much for choosing it! Your peppermint bark version looks like a hit!

Rachel said...

Great pick, Anne!! I made mine plain jane (as this was my first cheesecake, ever!). But, wow am I inspired by your twist!

I hope 2000-fine is your best year yet!
xo Rachel
www.tangerine-tart.blogspot.com

Marie said...

Anne, thanks so much for picking such a delicious recipe! Your Peppermint Bark Version looks fabulous! What a fabulous idea! Well done you!!

Kaitlin said...

That looks amazing! YUM!

Marthe said...

Wow, this looks amazing!!! Thank you so much for picking this recipe!! I absolutely loved it!

HoneyB said...

Thanks for the pick Anne! The cheesecake was awesome - and I really love your twist on it!

chocolatechic said...

What a wonderful idea.

What a great pick.

I heart cheesecake.

Kimberly Johnson said...

Oh my .. your cheesecake looks heavenly! You are so creative! Thanks for a wonderful pick this week. I LOVED this recipe!

ostwestwind said...

Great choice Anne, unfortunately I ran out of time to do it just in time.

Best wishes for 2009!

Ulrike from Küchenlatein

Christine said...

This was a wonderful choice to wrap up the year! Congratulations on your new house your cheesecake sounds delicious!

Lady Baker said...

Anne--thanks so much for choosing this classic dessert!! It's now going to be a staple in my rotation once everyone raved about how yummy and perfectly creamy it was! I was so excited!

I love your holiday peppermint spin on it!

Happy New Year!!

Laura P. said...

this dessert looks amazing! Marcus is ADORABLE! Thanks for sharing : )

~TAMY 3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

Super choice - my family loved it! I made mine red velvet in honor of Christmas and it was a HUGE hit, but I love the soft lovely pink of yours. I hope you settle in to your new home quickly. Happy New Year!

Amy said...

Thank you for picking this recipe! It was awesome! My new favorite cheesecake recipe.

Love the peppermint bark idea! Yours looks incredible!

Karen said...

Oh my goodness!! That looks delicious!!!! Thanks for picking such a delish recipe for December!

Leslie said...

Anne, this was an amazing pick! I love your peppermint bark variation. Thanks so much for an inspired selection, and congrats on moving into your house!

Prudy said...

Deelish! I love peppermint and that just sounds wonderful. I absolutely loved this recipe.

SUGAR B said...

Thanks Anne for choosing this recipe! I was a cheesecake virgin until now. :) Your cheesecake idea with peppermint bark sounds too good. Care to share?

April said...

That is one amazing looking cheesecake! I bet it was fantastic. Thanks for a great pick!

Jamie said...

Great choice, Anne! We loved this one! Your cheesecake looks delicious...great idea!

vibi said...

Thank you so much, Anne for picking this recipe, just when I was truly in the mood for a great cheesecake!

I see you turned yours into a "death by calories" type... Beautiful! and totaly mouthwatering!

I wish you a very happy new year and many reason to smile and laugh throughout 2009!

The Food Librarian said...

Anne, Great pick! Everyone at work loved it! Thanks and Happy New Year!!!

rainbowbrown said...

Nicely done! This was a great choice, I loved it.

Maria said...

This looks so good! Very creative! Good luck with the new house, etc! I hope you get settled soon!

Di said...

I really enjoyed this one, Anne. I hope everything is settled in your house (and kitchen!) soon. =)

Erin said...

Peppermint bark is a great idea! I will definitely have to try it. Thanks for a great pick this week. I think it was a huge hit with everyone!

J.Danger said...

This looks so good! And that baby is pretty stinkin cute!

Spike said...

Thank you for picking this, it was so good!

Carla said...

Awesome pick - perfect for Christmas dinner :)

Jacque said...

Oh my, that does look good! Pretty too, I'll bet the mom to be was pleased.

Great pick! thanks :)

Carol Peterman said...

If any dessert could successfully compete for attention against a new baby, it is this one; yours looks especially beautiful. I loved this cheesecake - thanks for the great pick!

Jess said...

Wow - not only did you pick a great recipe (we'll all be making it for years to come, I'm sure), but you took your version over the top! You are running a Cheesecake Factory. Beautiful cheesecake and baby!

Pamela said...

It was a big hit and I LOVED it! :o)
Thanks again for a great pick!

Rhiani said...

Thanks for hosting this week Anne! Cheesecake is a long time favorite of mine so I was glad to see it get chosen.

Your Peppermint Bark Cheesecake looks very festive for this holiday season.

jillbert said...

I love the Cheesecake Factory, but yours looks even better! I had to skip TWD this week, but I'll be making this recipe in the future!

Joie de vivre said...

Holey moley that looks amazing.

Danielle said...

Very pretty cake. I love the pink even thought it should have been blue, it looks like they inhaled it so I dont think they noticed :)

Great job and great pick!

thumbbook said...

Happy New Year Anne! Great pick...yummy!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

this was a fabulous cheesecake recipe! thanks for the pick, and happy new year!

CB said...

Oh no you didn't! Peppermint cheesecake! I need to remember this idea for Xmas next year. Great pick this week. Thanks for hosting! PS. Your friend's baby is so adorable...
Clara @ iheartfood4thought

Madam Chow said...

Anne - FABULOUS pick! I am not usually big on cheesecake, but I ate so much of this one, that I have to spend more time in the gym! And I really like your peppermint idea.

kim said...

sorry i haven't had time to make the cheesecake, but it was a great pick! i'm enjoying all of the yummy-looking cheesecakes this week :) happy new year!

Melissa said...

Thanks for picking this! It was a huge hit in my house. Yours looks absolutely fantastic. And the baby is gorgeous!

Natashya said...

We did this for Christmas dessert, it was a real hit, thank you!
Love your peppermint bark version, very creative.
Have a wonderful New Year, settling into your new digs.

Mike and Elizabeth said...

I love your idea of peppermint bark cheesecake, I'll have to try it. I also LOVED LOVED LOVED this recipe you chose! Well done, and happy baking!

AmyRuth said...

Gosh Anne, I thought I left a comment earlier, oops! Anyway, I love how you dolled up your cheesecake. Very creative! Thank you SOOOOoooooo much for a fun selecion. I love cheesecake. Made zillions, always new things to learn. I made my fairly plain and simple with lime and ginger snap crust.
Thanks again and Happy New Year 2009
AmyRuth

mangomissives said...

Thank you very, very much for picking this fabulous recipe. I loved it. The guests at the NYE party I attended loved it too.

Your rendition looks very impressive and creative.

And that is a beautiful baby pic!

Dawn said...

That is simply stunning!
What a perfect and so pretty cheesecake.

Kayte said...

I didn't get to make the cheesecake yet, but now I am thinking...might just wait until next Christmas and make it the way you make it...OMW that looks so wonderful. You are a star!

Dolores said...

I'm way behind in the posting department thanks to a handful of critical post holiday deadlines at work. But I wanted to offer my belated thanks for choosing the last recipe of 2008. And for sharing your peppermint bark version -- which may make an appearance on my Valentine's Day menu.

MorenaTejana said...

This cheesecake was so good!! The caramel sauce made it a million times better. It almost tastes as good as the Snickers cheesecake I like at the Cheesecake Factory. If I had added Snickers, I know it would have been even better. Thanks!!

MorenaTejana said...

Oh!BTW, I made the plain version with caramel on top and with an oreo crust.

Marianne Rohde said...

will this recipe work just as well for mini cheesecakes or do time and ingredients need to be adjusted?
thank you!

Anne said...

This recipe would work just as well for little cheesecakes but you would probably need to adjust the timing (maybe compare a different mini cheesecake recipe or just watch them carefully?)