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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bailey's coffee cheesecake

Ever since I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it.  It was called Irish coffee cheesecake, but I read it as "Bailey's cheesecake," because besides coffee, my single most favorite ingredient in it was Bailey's.  I mean, honestly, how mouth-watering does that sound?!  It definitely helps that I think Bailey's is absolutely delicious.  And despite not being the ultimate cheesecake fan, I figured if anything could convert me to a cheesecake lover, Bailey's was definitely a great contender!  Put that on a chocolate graham cracker crust spiked with some espresso powder, coat it in a semisweet chocolate ganache (with or without some Irish whiskey....which I opted against)...well I was smitten before I even took my first bite!

Now a thing to note: while I do love Bailey's, I do not extend that love to all things alcoholic.  In fact, I'm not a huge drinker.  However, I strongly dislike whiskey.  In all actuality, I hate it, but since I like one specific type of flavored whiskey, I'm generally not a fan.  Plus, the leftover Irish whiskey I had from the car bomb cupcakes now has a new home at B's apartment, since all it would do in my apartment is gather dust.  So basically there was no way in hell I was buying more Irish whiskey for this recipe.  My strong dislike for the stuff coupled with the fact that I no longer had any in my apartment, was enough for me to decide that my version would be sans whiskey.

I wanted to top this with a little bit of homemade whipped cream and a few chocolate covered espresso beans, since I liked the way they would tie in the espresso from the crust and the semisweet chocolate in the gananche.  But since I wasn't actually serving the cheesecake at the time I was taking pictures, I left it without the whipped cream and the chocolate covered espresso beans.  However, I would recommend it for serving.

Please note: This recipe, like the hamentaschen I made earlier int he week, I set out to make as is, as in a regular sized cheesecake.  But apparently my springform pan was at my parent's house from back when I made that amazing Spiced Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake for Thanksgiving.  So I ended up making mini cheesecakes.  I got 5, plus I threw out a ton of crust mixture and a good amount of filling.  I ended up baking mine for 38 minutes.  I topped one with melted milk chocolate and the rest with the ganache.

Bailey's Coffee Cheesecake
Adapted from Buttercream Blondie's Irish Coffee Cheesecake


For the chocolate cookie crust:

2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (I read this literally, searched high and low for chocolate graham crackers, and ended up using Teddy Grahams for it....I had thought to use chocolate wafer cookies like I did for the personal cheesecakes over a year ago, but wanting to follow the rules properly, I didn't....they might give a slightly more chocolate-y taste to the crust)
4 oz unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder

For the Irish cream cheesecake:

24 ounces cream cheese
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 Tbsp instant espresso powder
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Bailey's Irish cream

For the chocolate ganache:

4 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate (I used semisweet)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp unsalted butter (I left this out, accidentally)
If you choose to make the original recipe, the Irish Coffee Cheesecake, add 2 tsp of Jameson Irish Whiskey


Extra cream, for whipping
Some powdered sugar (or granulated sugar, whichever you prefer), to sweeten whipped cream
Chocolate covered espresso beans, for garnish.


Start by making the crust.

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Melt the butter in the microwave.
Mix butter, graham cracker crumbs, and espresso powder.
Press into a 9-inch springform pan.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Once the crust has cooled, wrap the pan in plastic wrap and then wrap in aluminum foil.
Mix the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until fully combined.
Add corn starch and espresso powder.
Continue to mix until fully incorporated.
Add eggs and vanilla extract.
Stir in the Bailey's.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Place pan in a roasting pan, and fill it 1/4 of the way with hot water.
Bake at 350F for 55-60 minutes.

When the cheesecake is done, remove it from the water bath.
Place on a cooling rack.
Once the cheesecake has cooled to room temperature, put it in the fridge.

Lastly, make the ganache.

Bring the cream and butter to a scant boil.
Pour over shopped chocolate.
Stir to combine.
If using whiskey, stir it in.
Set aside for about 5-10 minutes, so that the ganache is not piping hot.
Pour the ganache over the cheesecake.  I wanted the ganache to run over the sides and drip down, so I spread it to the very edge and let it drip down in some places.

Make homemade whipped cream.
Pipe whipped cream onto cheesecake.
Garnish with chocolate covered espresso beans.

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