Cheesecake is one of those things that can only get better the more times you make it. I made my first cheesecake a couple years ago because it is my husband’s favorite dessert. I am happy to say that I have spent much time perfecting this recipe, and have made it more times to count. The chocolate coating is my doing, because well… it’s chocolate. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, whenever I get the chance to add chocolate to a recipe, I do.
This cheesecake is super rich and decadent, but surprisingly still manages to stay light and creamy. It really is just the perfect in between for those super dense cheesecakes and the ones that feel almost whipped. The best of both worlds, and I’m always happy with that.
Although there are a few steps, and it is definitely a make ahead recipe, it isn’t difficult by any means! It’s a piece of cake! (Pun intended)
Give it a try!
To start, I put about 2 cups of vanilla wafer cookies in a food processor and pulsed them until they were reduced down to tiny crumbs. I like to use the wafer cookies here instead of gram crackers because I think the flavor is much better, and it allows me to leave out the sugar in the crust since they are already sweet.
Next, I melted about 1/2 cup of butter and mixed it in with the cookie crumbs until the mixture resembled wet sand.
Here is the part where you should wrap the outside of your pan, before your start adding any ingredients. But hey, rules were made to be broken, and I did it later… so go on with your bad self.
I pressed the crumbs into a spring form pan, making sure it coated the bottom in an even layer. When I was happy with the crust, I put it in the fridge to keep cook for a few minutes while I whipped up the filling.
This is where I must have gotten too excited, and forgot to take step-by-step photos of the filling, but stick with me. I will explain as best as possible.
First, I took 4 packages of softened cream cheese and whipped them with a hand mixer for about 3 minutes to get the cream cheese nice and airy. (You want them really soft, so make sure to lay them out on the counter a couple of hours before you want to use them.)
Once they were whipped, I added 1 cup if sugar and beat it some more. Next I added the eggs one at a time on medium speed. Once the eggs were incorporated, I turned the mixer on low and added in the cream and vanilla. When all the ingredients were combined, I scraped the sides and folded everything together a couple of times to make sure I didn’t miss anything. The point is to add everything nice and slowly and in this order so insure everything gets mixed, or you could end up with clumps of cream cheese in your cake. You want creamy and silky smooth filling, so don’t rush it!
Here is where I actually added the tin foil coating to the outside of the pan. I somehow figured it out, without making a mess. I deserve a high five for that one.
Next, I placed the tin foil lined cheesecake into a slightly larger baking dish filled with about 1 inch of water. This technique is called a water bath, and allows for much more even and gentle cooking when it comes to delicate desserts like cheesecake and custards.
Then I carefully placed the cheesecake into the oven, preheated at 350F, for about 45 minutes. Normally I would suggest turning off the oven and opening the door, with the cheesecake still inside for about 1 hour. I don’t have to luxury of keeping a hot oven door open all day because of the little ones I have running around my kitchen all day, who would most certainly become far too interested of the inner workings of my oven. I just removed the cheesecake from the oven and let it sit in its warm water bath for about 1 hour before removing it and placing it in the fridge to cool.
After the cheesecake had cooled for a few hours, it was time for the best part. Chocolate. I took one of those packages of chocolate coating, usually used for fruit, and poured it over top of the cheesecake. You can make your own chocolate coating, but I find this is much easier, and is a great shortcut. I mean shoot, you just made a whole homemade cheesecake, I say take a little help where you can get it!
The cheesecake must be completely cold before you do this, or you will not get the layered effect you’re looking for.
Then, I took a spatula and smoothed out the top of the chocolate to make sure it was evenly coating the cheesecake. You want to bring it all the way to the edges; every bite should have a little chocolate!
Sometimes, running your spatula under hot water for a few seconds before smoothing the top can help created a smoother surface. I was okay with the texture on the top this time, and decided to leave it a little rustic looking.
After about 15 minutes, the chocolate had hardened and created a shell on top of the cheesecake. This is the most exciting part! The crunch from the chocolate shell makes it all worthwhile!
When you’re ready to serve, take your knife and run it under hot water for about 15 seconds before you slice. This will help your knife move easier through the hot chocolate without cracking it.
And don’t be afraid to add more! Any type of fruit would be a great addition to this cheesecake, as well as caramel sauce, or maybe before the chocolate cools stick on some broken up pretzels for a salty bite!
I hope you enjoy one of my absolute favorite recipes!
Chocolate Coated Cheesecake
Prep time: 4 hours Cook time: 45 minutes
2 cups vanilla wafer cookies
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 8oz blocks cream cheese
1 heaping tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
7 oz Baker’s dipping chocolate
Preheat oven to 350F. Wrap the bottom of a springform baking pan with two layers of aluminum foil. Set aside.
In a food processor, pulse the vanilla wafer cookies until small crumbs form. Mix the cookie crumbs with the butter, and press lightly into the bottom of the spring form pan. Set in fridge to cool. Next, in a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese for a 2 minutes, lightly whipping. Add in the sugar and beat again for another 2 minutes. Then, beat in the eggs at medium speed, one at a time until combined. After the eggs, add in the vanilla and cream and beat on low until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl and fold until there are no longer any lumps. Pour the mixture on top of the cooled cookie crust, and place the foil wrapped springform pan in a larger oven safe baking dished filled with about 1 inch of water. Bake for about 45 minutes on the middle rack, then turn off the oven, crack the door open, and leave the cheesecake for another 45 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer to the fridge to cool completely, usually about 3-4 hours. Next, take the dipping chocolate, and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between until melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate over the top of the cooled cheesecake and smooth the top with a spatula. Place the cheesecake back into the fridge for another 15-20 minutes. When the chocolate topping has cooled, and you are ready to slice, heat the knife under hot water for about 20 seconds before every cut, to insure the chocolate doesn’t crack. Serve and enjoy!