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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Brownie-bottom cheesecake....with homemade hot fudge!

Cheesecake isn't my favorite dessert.  I find it too rich and too dense.  I don't mind the flavor, just the fact that the cheesecake experience is overall, well, overwhelming.  Unless I make mini cheesecakes, with individual crusts, in cupcake tins (which is kinda a pain in the you-know-what, but sometimes worth the additional work); then I will have some.  But overall, if I had to choose a dessert, cheesecake wouldn't be my first choice.  I'm not going to lie, I've had some delicious cheesecakes over the years (remember that spiced pumpkin swirl cheesecake?!, among others), it's just not my go-to dessert.

But with the Jewish holiday of Shavuot rapidly approaching, and talk of cheesecake (it's the unofficial/official food of the holiday) floating around the office, I had the urge to bake a cheesecake.  Doesn't help that I recently stumbled across a list of cheesecakes you "have" to make, and some of them actually sounded delicious.  Like this brownie-bottom cheesecake.....covered in homemade hot fudge.  Not gonna lie, even was kinda drooling after I read that.

So fast forward to today - a short day at work, and I had all the ingredients on hand, and I had thoughts of cheesecake floating through my head - and a cheesecake was born.  Or rather baked.

Brownie-Bottom Cheesecake
From Fork vs. Spoon
(Homemade Hot Fudge Recipe follows this)


For the Brownie Crust:

3 ounces unsweetend chocolate
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

For the Cheesecake Filling:

5 8-oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups of hot fudge (see below for homemade version, or use store bought)


Make the Brownie crust.

Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pain with parchment paper.
Butter or spray the sides with cooking spray.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a double boiler (or in the microwave in 30 second bouts, stirring between each -- which I did) melt together the butter and chocolate.
Remove from the heat.

Stir in sugar until combined (it will look grainy).

Whisk in eggs and vanilla.

Whisk together salt and flour.
Fold dry ingredients into wet.
Mix until just combined.  DO NOT OVERMIX.

Pour batter into prepared pan and place in the preheated oven.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out nearly clean with just a few crumbs sticking to it.

Remove from oven and let cool (while preparing the filling).
Lower the oven temperature to 325F.

[The brownie crust can be made 1-2 days before the filling.  Keep at room temperature and cover tightly with foil/plastic wrap.]

Make the filling.

If you baked the crust before the filling, preheat the oven to 325F.

Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and flour until smooth.
Add vanilla.
Add eggs, one at a time.
Add yolks, one at a time.
Remember to scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl between each addition (I did it ever other addition, and it was fine).

Bake the cheesecake in a water bath.  It makes for more even baking.
Double wrap the pan in heavy duty aluminum foil (I placed 4 pieces of foil on the counter, overlapping horizontally and vertically, in a square.  I put the pan in the middle and then folded up the sides to make sure it was well wrapped.  Make sure not to let the foil overlap and go into the pan, since the filling will go to the tippy-top of the pan.).
Place the pan into a roasting pan (disposable works fine...actually my springform was a little bigger and the disposable pan was able to accommodate it).

Pour filling into the crust-lined pan.  The filling will reach the very tippy top of the pan.
Pour enough hot water into the roasting pain to reach about 1/2 way up the sides of the pan (I do this once the pan is in the oven....a heavy cheesecake in a pan filled with water is, well, pretty heavy.  And messy if the water splashes out.  So I put the pan in the oven and then add the water.  Just FYI.).
Bake for 75 to 90 minutes until the top of the cheesecake is browned/golden and the top is just barely firm to the touch (the center of the cake is just barely jiggly when the pan is nudged -- I didn't even use that as an assessment of done-ness, since the first two were spot on), and the top looks dry -- mine took 75 minutes.

Turn the oven off and open the oven door so that it is just ajar, and let the cheesecake sit in the warm water bath for an additional hour.
Remove from the oven and from the water bath and remove the foil from around the pan.
Let cool completely on a wire rack and then transfer the cheesecake to the fridge and chill completely for at least 6 hours.

If you're making the hot fudge from scratch, make it while the cake is chilling (see the recipe below).

Once the cake is chilled, remove it from the fridge and run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the sides of the pan, and remove the sides of the pan.
Transfer the cake to a plate.
Pour the hot fudge on the top of the cheesecake, spreading it to the edges, and allowing it to drip down the sides.
Return the cake to the fridge and allow the fudge to thicken/harden.
Let chill until ready to serve.

Homemade Hot Fudge


2/3 cup heavy cream (or half and half)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 oz chocolate, finely chopped and divided - milk, bittersweet, or a mixture
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a 1 quart pan, combine the cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and 3 ounces of the chopped chocolate.
Stir to combine.

Place over medium to moderate hear and stir mixture until chocolate melts and mixture comes to a boil..
Decrease hear and cook mixture at a low boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally - about a few stirs at each minute break works well.

Remove from the heat, stir in the butter, vanilla, and remaining chocolate (3 oz), and stir until smooth.

Let the sauce cool until it is warm (you don't want to pour hot hot fudge on a cold cheesecake).
Store any remaining (if there is any remaining...) sauce in a sealed glass container in the fridge.  It will keep for one week.

When ready to use leftovers, reheat the sauce in the microwave (1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds and again after the minute is up).

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