Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake

printed from melskitchencafe.com

*Note: I doubled the crust because I like a lot of crust-to-cheesecake ratio, but if you don't, no worries, the crumb crust ingredients list the amounts for a regular or doubled crust. Also, for the brownies, you can basically use any brownie recipe made for a 9X13-inch pan - I would suggest a recipe that is dense and fudgey like the ones below. The brownies can be made a day in advance of making the cheesecake and refrigerated if you want to minimize prep work. The entire cheesecake, itself, can be baked, cooled and refrigerated a day in advance of serving.

INGREDIENTS:

Brownies:

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

Crumb Crust:

1 1/2 cups or 5 ounces (3 cups or 10 ounces to double) finely ground cookies such as chocolate wafers or chocolate Teddy Grahams

5 tablespoons (10 tablespoons to double) butter, melted

1/3 cup (2/3 cup to double) granulated sugar

1/8 (1/4 teaspoon to double) teaspoon salt

Cheesecake:

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sugar

2 cups chilled brownie cubes (from recipe above)

Ganache:

3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (can use 1/2 cup chocolate chips)

4 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon confectioners sugar

DIRECTIONS:

For the brownies, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 13×9-inch baking pan with foil, with the ends of foil extending over the two short sides of the pan. Lightly grease foil. In a large microwaveable bowl, microwave the chocolate and butter on high for one minute. Stir. Repeat the process at 50% power until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the sugar. Blend in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour and salt, stirring to mix well. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.

Bake the brownies for 28-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Do not overbake! Cool the brownies in the pan on a wire rack. Once cool, use the foil handles to remove the brownies. Refrigerate the brownies until chilled (1-2 hours) and cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes. Refrigerate the cubes until ready to fold into the cheesecake. You'll have more brownie cubes than needed in the cheesecake recipe so use your best judgment about what to do with those leftover brownie babies.

For the crust, stir together the crust ingredients and press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of a buttered 10-inch springform pan. Fill right away with cheesecake or chill up to 2 hours.

For the cheesecake filling, preheat the oven to 350°F.

With an electric mixer or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat the softened cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla and sugar, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down the bowl between additions.

Fold brownie cubes in very gently and pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Place the filled springform pan on a larger baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes, or until the cake is set 3 inches from the edge but still slightly jiggly in the center (watch the time carefully, you may need more or less baking time based on your exact oven temperature).

Cool the cheesecake completely in the springform pan on a wire rack. When completely cool, top with the ganache glaze.

For the ganache glaze, scald (heat just below boiling) the butter and cream in a saucepan (or in a Pyrex cup in the microwave). Place the finely chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour the hot cream/butter mixture over the chocolate and let it sit for 1-2 minutes. Stir the mixture together until completely smooth and silky (it might look grainy at first but it will come together if the cream is sufficiently warm and the chocolate is chopped finely). Add the vanilla and sugar and whisk until smooth. Spread over the cheesecake. Chill until ready to serve.

To serve, unmold the cheesecake from the springform pan, cut the cheesecake into slices and serve.