My coworker, Bill, had another birthday this week. They do that every year or so in my office. Maybe in yours, too.
Last year I made Bill this Lego cake, which you can read more about at this Lego Cake post.
Cool, right? Well I don’t like to repeat myself with birthday themes, but Bill is still a Lego lover, and I still have the Lego molds I bought for that cake, and I wanted to get some more use out of them. I’ve also been wanting to make a chocolate cheesecake for a few weeks now. So here’s my Lego/cheesecake birthday mashup.
First, I melted some semi-sweet chocolate chips in my little double boiler and poured the beautiful results into the molds. I then held the mold by the edges and tapped it down firmly on the counter at least 20 times to get the air bubbles out. There were lots of them.
Then I stuck it all in the fridge to set. I didn’t temper this chocolate, so almost as soon as I got the men out of the mold, they started to soften wherever I touched them. So I touched them as little as possible, using a toothpick to poke off the ragged edges, and put them in a container in the fridge.
The filling for this cheesecake was simple enough. Just make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature when you start or you’ll get lumps. Throw the wet ingredients in and mix, then add the chocolate. At that point I was tempted to stop and just have it be a marble cheesecake, because it looked so pretty.
But what to do about the crust. Hmmm. I went to three stores and couldn’t find the plain chocolate wafer cookies the recipe called for. They all had a filling, like Oreos, or a chocolate coating. I had some chocolate graham crackers though, so I crushed those up, and then I saw the green box on my counter.
Well hello there, Girl Scout Thin Mints.
The Thin Mints do have a chocolate coating, and I wasn’t sure how that would change the texture of the crust, but I was willing to experiment. Into the little food processor!
I wish this blog had smell-o-vision or something, because whizzing up the Thin Mints seemed to release their magical aroma. I mixed up the crushed grahams, the Thin Mint crumbs and the melted butter, and once it was all pressed into the springform pan it looked like a real enough cheesecake crust. Just make sure you pack it down tight, so that you get a nice, crisp crust, and not just crumbs that fall apart.
I poured in the filling and it looked gorgeous and ready for baking.
Coming out of the oven it still looked gorgeous, and I wish I’d taken a photo of it right then. Because when I came back 15 minutes later to start loosening the pan from the edges, there was a crack. Arg!
Supposedly this happens if you don’t grease the pan (because then as it cools it can’t shrink in from the edges because it’s stuck, so it cracks) or because you haven’t used a water bath. I’ve only ever made one other type of cheesecake and I’ve never had a problem with cracking before, but every recipe is different. If I try this one again, I’ll grease *and* bathe the cheesecake, just to be safe.
But now I have a cracked cheesecake. If this was another Doctor Who theme party I’d be fine. Perfect in fact. I’d just say it’s the crack in time that we saw all through Matt Smith’s first season:
Since this was supposed to be a grown up Lego cheesecake though, I needed another option. I could cover the crack with chocolate bricks. I could serve it with whipped cream all over the top. Or I could put the chocolate Lego men *in* the crack, like they were being swallowed by a sinkhole. Or maybe like they were in the trenches of a cheesecake turf war. Bill went to West Point, so I figured he’d be happy with either scenario.
Into the crack! (I waited until I got to work the next day and was ready to serve it up before doing this step, to avoid any melting.)
And yes, he was happy.
It didn’t turn out to be the loveliest dessert I’ve ever made, but it was super tasty. The Thin Mint crust was mild, but delicious. And when I told people what it was they all seemed to think that made the cheesecake extra decadent. As long as it all disappears into smiling faces, I’m happy.
1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate wafers/cookies
1/3 cup butter
4oz. semisweet chocolate chips
3 8oz. packages cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons flour
Make the crust by combining wafers and melted butter. Press into bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
Melt chocolate over low heat. Once melted, take off of heat to cool.
In a mixing bowl, beat softened cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, and vanilla with a mixer until smooth.
Add flour and mix well. Add the cooled chocolate. Swirl it in if you want a more marbled effect, otherwise mix it in fully. Add all three eggs at once and beat on low speed just until combined.
Pour filling over your crust. Put the pan onto a shallow baking pan or cookie sheet in case it leaks. (Mine always leaks at least a little butter.)
Bake at 375F for 45-50 minutes. It will be jiggly when you take it out but will firm as it cools.
Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge and slowly open and re move the sides of the pan. Cool for another 30 minutes then cover and chill for at least four hours.
Never give up, never surrender!
P.S: I can’t think of Bill without getting this stuck in my head. Maybe I’ll play it the next time I bake for him: