Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake

I needed to bring a non-pumpkin desert to Thanksgiving dinner, and I wanted to try something new. After thinking about it awhile, I settled on cheesecake. I've never made one before, and it is something I wanted to try. I used a water bath method, and the cheesecake turned out beautifully. I even used a lower-carb recipe for the cheesecake part (not the crust), and was very impressed with the taste - it was still very rich, and the chocolate added plenty of sweetness.

Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake
adapted from About.com

3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature (I used 1/3 less fat)
4 eggs (preferably room temperature)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/3 cups sugar equivalent of artificial sweetener (I used Splenda)
1/4 c. sour cream
1.2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

9 oz chocolate wafer cookies (I used Oreos)
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1. For the crust - process the chocolate cookies in a food processor to crumb stage. Drizzle in the butter and pulse a few times to mix. Press the crust mixture into the bottom and about 1.5 inches up the sides of a 9" springform pan.

2. Heat oven to 400 degrees F, or 350 degrees F if using a water bath.

**If you have bricks or a pizza stone or unglazed ceramic tile*, put them on the lower rack of the oven. This will hold the heat in the oven. This is good for cheesecakes not baked in a water bath. (I used a water bath, so I did not do this.)

3. Put cream cheese in mixing bowl, and beat until fluffy. Add other ingredients except the chocolate chips, scraping the bowl and beaters each time (this is very important), fully incorporating each ingredient. When all ingredients are combined, scrape one more time and beat one more minute. Reserve 1/2 c. of the mixture, and pour the rest into the pan over the crust.

4. Heat chocolate chips in microwave bowl until melted, about 1 minute. Mix with reserved cheesecake mixture and stir well to combine. Dollop over top of cheesecake, then use a knife to spatula to swirl into cheesecake.

Instructions for water bath: Wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan in foil, put it in a baking pan and pour boiling water around the sides. Bake at 350 F for 45-60 minutes, checking often. When the cake is firm to touch but slightly soft in the center, or the center reaches 155 F, remove from oven. (Mine took 45 minutes.)

Instructions for non-water bath: For this method, you start the cake at a high temperature, and it slowly drops. If you have stoneware, bricks, etc, this allows it to happen at a slower rate, and you get better results in less time. Put the cheesecake on a sheet pan in case of drippage. After putting the cheesecake in the oven at 400 F, turn the oven down to 200 F. Bake for 60 to 90 minutes, checking often after an hour. When the cake is firm to touch but slightly soft in the center, or the center reaches 155 F, remove from oven.

5. Chill completely before serving.REVIEW:
This was a great cheesecake! It was very tasty, and the texture was right on. The chocolate swirl was nice, and it worked well to mix in a little of the cheesecake mixture to make it combine into the cheesecake more smoothly. I'll definitely try some other variations of cheesecake in the future.

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