Cheesecake is my all time favorite dessert. Rich, creamy and super popular, it’s hard to go wrong with cheesecake. Although this recipe is for a Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake, it can easily be made into a standard New York style/vanilla cheesecake, or a chocolate cheesecake.
Although many cheesecake recipes call for sour cream in the mix. I have to say that I really can’t tell the difference between my straight cream cheese recipe, and one mixed with sour cream. That being said, a sour cream layer used as a topping is not only pretty, but adds another dimension that is divine!
One of the best things about cheesecake is that it doesn’t have to be too sweet, to be scrumptious. In fact, I find that most store bought and restaurant cheesecakes are waaay too sweet, and therefore often lose the true flavor and texture that makes cheesecake so good. Truth is, my cheesecake recipe makes for a fabulous diabetic friendly dessert option. Simply use a nut based crust (my Paleo pie crust recipe works well), and sweeten with Swerve, xylitol, or your favorite diabetic friendly sugar substitute.
If you think that making cheesecake is difficult, think again. It’s very simple to put together. Watch my quick video below for a few helpful hints that will ensure complete success:
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Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake (gluten free!)
1 hour 10 mins
Roughly 1½ cups cookie crumbs of choice (I use gluten free peppermint Joe-Joe's in the video)
4-6 Tbs. butter, melted
2- 8oz pkgs cream cheese (these MUST be at room temperature for best results)
3 eggs (room temperature is best)
1 tsp. peppermint extract*
2 Tbsp. half and half, milk or evaporated milk
Wrap a 9" springform pan in foil (see video).
Place oven rack to lower middle rack and preheat oven to 325° F.
Place the cookies in a food processor. Process into crumbs. Add melted butter (amount needed will depend on type of cookie used. Less for a sandwich cookie and more for a graham cracker type.) and process until you can press the mixture together into a crust.
Press mixture on bottom and sides of springform pan. Crumbs will only go about halfway up the sides of the pan.
Bake crust for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside while making the filling.
Place the cream cheese bricks in a large Kitchen Aid mixer type bowland beat until smooth, creamy and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down sides as needed.
Beat in the sugar until dissolved.
Add eggs, dash salt and extract and continue beating until smooth and well incorporated.
***If making a vanilla cheesecake, you'll stop at this point, pour into crust, and bake.***
For chocolate cheesecake:
In a small glass bowl or measuring cup, melt the chocolate and half and half in the microwave (stove-top double boiler method works too). As I show in the video, it's best to melt very slowly. Stopping after 30 seconds and mixing and mixing, and only microwaving longer in 10 second intervals if necessary.
Temper the chocolate by adding some of the cheesecake mixture to the chocolate before adding the entire chocolate mixture to the cheesecake batter.
Beat chocolate and cheesecake mixture until fully incorporated.
Pout batter into crumb lined pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until cheesecake is slightly wobbly in the middle, and an instant read thermometer reads 150° F. (see video for exactly what it should look like).
Remove to a wire rack and cool in pan for 2 hours. Cover and place entire pan in refrigerator for at least 4 hours (overnight is best) before serving (you can also freeze it at this point). Top with chocolate ganache and crushed peppermint candies (or candy canes).
Use vanilla extract if making a standard vanilla cheesecake, or 1 tsp. espresso powder if making standard chocolate cheesecake.