This is one of the very best — though not the prettiest — cheesecakes I’ve ever made. It’s not a mocha cheesecake. It’s an intense espresso cake with a rich chocolate swirl.  Beware, though: it cracks a lot, so you need heaps of whipped cream to cover the flaws.

Ingredients:

10 ounce package of gourmet shortbread cookies
6 tbs unsalted butter, melted
2 tbs espresso powder dissolved in 1 tbs warm water (Medaglia D’Oro is the best)
3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup of sugar
3 eggs
6 ounces Guittard bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream for the ganache

How I Made It:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare a 9 inch springform pan with baking spray, then wrap the outside of the bottom in foil (in case the butter leaks out when you set the crust).

Crush the shortbread in the food processor. When you have a nice batch of crumbs, drizzle the melted butter over the top of the crumbs. Cover and pulse a couple of times to combine the crumbs and butter.

Press the shortbread crumbs into the bottom of the springform pan.  Place the pan on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for about 5 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and set it aside to cool while you make the batter.

In a standing mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the sugar and beat the mixture until it is fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each into the batter completely before adding the next.  Add the espresso and continue to mix at medium speed.

** I tend to over mix my cheesecake batter, because I like an airier cake.  As long as you have a well-combined batter, you can reduce the mixer time to your taste. **

In a double boiler or heavy bottom saucepan, heat the whipping cream over medium heat.  Be careful not to let it get too hot or to scorch.  Add the chocolate to the hot cream, and remove the pan from the burner.  Whisk the chocolate and cream together until smooth.  Set aside.

Transfer half of your cheesecake batter to the springform pan.  Then, spoon five or six dollops of chocolate ganache on top of the batter.  With a thin bladed knife, swirl the chocolate into the batter. Espresso Cheesecake Part 1

Carefully pour the rest of the batter into the pan, and then repeat the chocolate swirl step.

Put the springform pan back on the cookie sheet and then put it in the center of the oven to bake.  Bake the cheesecake for 36 minutes or just until the edges start to turn a light brown and crack.  The center will not be set.  Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for another 15-20 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the oven. Gently release the sides of the pan.  If you are not going to serve it right away, put the cheesecake, covered, in the refrigerator until you’re ready.  When you’re ready, top with whipped cream and serve.

How It Turned Out:

Cheesecake Final

VOILA!  Scrumptious!

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