especial chocolate chip cheesecake

Recently the dr bob team eagerly acquired a newly published cheesecake book with a high density of beautiful photos to add to our already enormous selection of such specialty recipe books. But when it came down to choosing something that resonated with that inner cheesecake alarm, no bells went off. Maybe we need some food psychotherapy to overcome our hidden cheesecake demons. Nahhh...

So this Christmas we looked inside our sugar addicted imagination to try a simple variation of our standard base that would bring on the satisfied customer response from those in our inner cheesecake circle. We'd gone from losing track of where they keep the Nabisco chocolate wafers in supermarket shelve strategy (no longer with the rest of the cookies, usually) to buying the Oreo cookie crumbs ready to use for chocolate cookie crumb crusts back to rediscovering the chocolate wafers when our supply ran low and the supermarket was out of stock and a helpful store employee said why not just get the wafers and crumb them. Because we are lazy? But without any alternative other than wasting time stalking the user friendly crumbs in a series of other stores, we bought into the logic. Of course we had to add in hazelnut crumbs to maintain our loyalty to our favorite cheesecake nut additive.

We've been interested in espresso and cappuccino cheesecake recipes, and have had major success with a real labor intensive version of the latter, but until this experiment, were not inspired by what we had read. Of course, only by trying can one really know, but with limited opportunities to try, the choice is critical. Having acquired a new upscale Kahlua product Especial, this seemed to be the simple substitution we could make to our hazelnut starter recipe together with mini-chocolate chips and some artfully dribbled caramel sauce garnishing of the simple sour cream topping.

Since this effort had to supply a Christmas gift and a couple of dinner desserts, we went with a 6 package (=3 lb) cream cheese recipe, which is 50 percent more than the standard 4 package (=2 lb) recipe, and by eye split it among two 8 in pans and a 9.44 in (=24 cm) pan, using the extra crumbs for a low side crust, adequate since only about 4/10 the total went into the bigger target pan compared to maybe 3/10 apiece in the smaller ones, leading to a lower than standard height cake (about a 2.5 package recipe equivalent). Remember the motto "less is more", with rich desserts. We give the standard size recipe here and leave it to you how to distribute it or scale it up/down for the right portion for the right pan combination. Usually there are 4 eggs per standard recipe but by accident we only used 4 for the 50 percent scaled up batch, so maybe one less egg is okay at this batch size.

ingredients

9 to 10 in bottom only crust
1/3 lb butter (3/4 stick)
1 c chocolate wafers, crumbed or Oreo cookie crumbs
1/2 c ground hazelnut crumbs
2 T sugar
batter
2 lb cream cheese (4 8oz packages)
1 1/2 c sugar
pinch of salt
4 T Especial (upgraded Kahlua) liqueur
3 large eggs
1 c mini chocolate chip crumbs
topping
1.5 c sour cream
1/4 c sugar
1 t Tiramisu liqueur or some imaginative substitution
artful dribbling of fat free caramel sauce from a squeeze bottle

instructions

  1. Trace out the bottom of the spring-form pan on parchment paper and cut just inside the line to make a circular pan bottom liner.
  2. Crumb the skinless hazelnuts, and the wafers if necessary should Oreo crumbs not be available.
  3. Melt the butter, mix together wafer/Oreo and hazelnut crumbs with sugar and butter, and press into the bottom of a 9 to 10 in spring-form pan. A half-batter recipe would lower the nutritional damage. Adjust if you split the recipe into two smaller pans.
  4. Beat room temperature cream cheese and sugar together until soft. Then add the salt, the liqueur, and one egg at a time at minimum batter speed, followed by the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour into crust and bake 55 minutes in a preheated 350 F oven. Top should be just slightly golden.
  6. Remove for 10 minutes.
  7. Mix sour cream, sugar, and your choice of appropriate liqueur or vanilla extract or nothing and spread over cheesecake, artfully dribbling it with caramel sauce just before returning it to the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. The quantity of sour cream mixture should be such that you can just coax it to within 1/2 in of the border without it wanting to flow further, leaving a bit of the golden cheesecake rim framing your streaked white topping.
  8. Remove and chill overnight at least before serving.

notes

  1. This was the first time we used our new 5 qt KitchenAid mixer that we had been lusting after for years but never thinking it appropriate to acquire. Until a big pre-Christmas sale at Bloomingdales brought down the price by 75 bucks, enough to convince us to take the plunge. What a dream. The cheesecake batter is so effortless to do this way and so creamily uniform.
  2. You may have to use ordinary Kahlua coffee liqueur (or some competitor's offering) if this Especial upgrade turns out to be an abandoned test product. There is no longer any trace of it at their website, not a good sign.
  3. Maybe we really should have named this a chocolate bit recipe since the chips are minis, but this is a pretty small point, no?
  4. Illustrations available.
  5. This one is a crowd pleaser.
espchck.htm: 31-jan-2010 [what, ME cook? 1984 dr bob enterprises]