Triple Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake

I’ve had this recipe on the docket for WEEKS. Aching to share this one with all of you, but my technology had a different plan. My laptop decided that turning on was something it simply did not want to do anymore. Long story short, I had to either invest money into a new laptop or get handy and fix my old laptop. I chose the former, it seemed much more cost effective. I can be handy outside the kitchen when I want to be. I’m proud to say that we are back up and running (for now).

On to more important topics like this Triple Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake. I love this cheesecake. It’s rich, decadent, and really makes the crowd go wow. I’m a pretty big chocolate fan and an even bigger espresso fan. These combined make one of my favorite desserts I’ve ever created. Plus, it was a huge hit everywhere I took it. Family asked for the recipe. Well fam, here you go.

I have to be honest with you, when I say I’ve been dying to share this with you for weeks, I really mean months. I created this back in December for a Christmas gathering with my brother, sister-in-law, niece, and my sister-in-laws brother. The food that night was AMAZING. I’m pretty fortunate to be surrounded by family that can cook. My husband and I were treated to the best prime rib. It was incredibly tender and juicy and cooked perfectly medium rare. I’m drooling just thinking about it. I kid you not, I have had dreams about this prime rib. It was so good.

My sole job for the evening was to supply the dessert. For prime rib I will do just about anything. Baking for prime rib is like heaven. I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, baking is my happy place. If I could do anything I would open a bakery where people would drink coffee and espresso and eat tasty pastries all while hanging out with their pupper. All the puppers would play and their humans would watch on, drinking coffee, reading a book, consuming a hearty piece of Triple Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake. This would be their happy place, because it would be my happy place. Food and dogs. What else do you need in life?

I know, I’ve gone off on a tangent. As I said, it was my job to supply the dessert. It’s winter so I wanted something rich and comforting. Also, I wanted to make sure that the dessert would compliment the main course. Hit the nail on the head with this one. I don’t have any prep pictures because I wasn’t entirely certain how this was going to turn out. A week or so prior I had set out to create another cheesecake for a holiday party we hosted. This cheesecake ended in disaster. Albeit thoroughly wrapping the springform pan in foil, water still managed to weasel it’s way in to through the foil and then into the pan. The result: soggy cheesecake. The only suitable place for this creation was in the trash. Suffice it say, when I started the Triple Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake I was still a little jaded, but I refused to be beaten.

I was tasting each element as I went and was so excited and hopeful that this cheesecake was going to be my crowning achievement, but I was afraid that if I snapped pictures I would jinx myself.

Things to keep in mind as you’re making this: room temperature cream cheese is essential. Don’t cheap out on the chocolate. Good, thick aluminum foil and a strong springform pan will be life savers. Lastly, patience is key. You absolutely cannot rush a good cheesecake. It takes time. Cheesecakes aren’t that hard to make but where we often fail is trying to rush the process. You need to let it sit in the water bath in the oven for a while after turning it off. It needs to sit in the fridge before you release it from the pan. You HAVE to wait to eat it with the guests you’re creating it for even though it will be incredibly tempting to go all Gollum on it. Cowered in a dark corner, just you, a fork and precious. Mine, my own, my precious.

Without further ado, the recipe..

Triple Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake



Ingredients


Crust

  • 2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 6 tbsp melted butter

Cheesecake

  • 24oz Room temp Cream Cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2tsp vanilla
  • 3tbsp Instant Espresso
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 10oz dark chocolate chips
  • 4 eggs

Chocolate Espresso Whipped Cream Icing

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp instant espresso

Chocolate Ganache

  • 4oz Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 1tbsp butter
  • Cocoa powder for garnish
  • Raspberries for garnish



Directions


  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. Throughly mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cocoa powder, and melted butter. You want a sand like consistency
  3. Pour graham cracker mixture into an un-greased springform pan. Firmly press down using the bottom of a measuring cup
  4. Bake crust for 8 minutes on the middle rack. Remove and allow to cool
  5. In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the room temperature cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until creamy. Add cocoa powder and espresso and beat until just combined
  6. Fill a pot with water and place a glass bowl over top. Be sure the water does not touch the bottom of the glass bowl. Add chocolate chips to bowl. Turn burner on to medium low, constantly stirring chips until completely melted. Once chips are melted stir in heavy cream. Remove from heat
  7. Add chocolate mixture and vanilla to mixing bowl. Beat until combined.
  8. Add eggs 1 at a time. Do not over mix. As with the previous steps mix only until combined. If batter is over mixed it can cause the cheesecake to deflate and crack
  9. Bring a large kettle of water to a boil
  10. While the water is preparing to boil, wrap springform pan with aluminum foil. Make sure foil comes up high enough on the sides of the pan to prevent water from seeping in
  11. Pour cheesecake batter over graham cracker crumbs crust and smooth out with spatula
  12. Set the springform pan in a large baking dish or roasting pan
  13. Carefully pour boiling water into roasting pan, making sure to not splash any into the cheesecake or into the aluminum foil surrounding the springform pan
  14. Transfer roasting pan to the oven and bake for 65-70 minutes. If it appears the top is baking too fast, tent the springform pan with aluminum foil
  15. After 65-70 minutes the center of the cheesecake should still be slightly wobbly
  16. Turn oven off, crack open the oveb door and allow cheesecake to remain in the water bath and oven for about an hour
  17. After an hour remove cheesecake from water bath and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cheesecake is completely cooled refrigerate for 3-4 hours before garnishing
  18. For the chocolate espresso whipped cream icing: Add heavy cream, powdered sugar, cocoa powder and instant espresso in a standing mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium-high until heavy cream forms stiff peaks. Spoon into a icing bag with an open star pastry tip
  19. Remove completely cooled cheesecake from fridge and carefully loosen edges of the cheesecake from the springform pan with a knife, then remove the rim
  20. Carefully pipe chocolate espresso whipped cream frosting in little circles on the edge on the cheesecake. Top each peak with a raspberry
  21. Dust with cocoa powder
  22. For the chocolate ganache: In a small microwavable bowl, melt chocolate and butter 30 seconds as a time. Stirring in between. Be sure to not over microwave or else the chocolate will burn and will loose sheen once hardened. The goal is to have the chocolate be a smooth consistency that drizzles off the top of a spoon
  23. You can either pipe the chocolate ganache using a pastry bag for a more controlled design. Or dip a spoon into the ganache and drizzle over top cheesecake
  24. Set cheesecake back in fridge for 30 minutes to allow chocolate ganache to set
  25. Enjoy!

Tiramisu Brown Butter Brownies

I have a confession, I love coming up with fun supper ideas, but desserts are my passion. A guilty pleasure if you will.

I think my passion stems from growing up watching my mom and my grandmother bake confectionary goodies for every occasion. Birthdays, Christmas, Easter, 4th of July, the weekend, a visit to the grandparents. I loved helping out in the kitchen (when desserts were involved). To me desserts allowed you to get creative and express yourself. Plus, licking the bowl was a tasty reward.

One of the household favorite desserts growing up was Tiramisu. Though, admittedly we never had Tiramisu as often as we would have liked. To this day, it’s still one of my guilty pleasures, which leads me to today’s post: Tiramisu Brown Butter Brownies (I’m a sucker for alliteration).

In comparison to my first post, these are a little more of a labor of love. BUT WORTH IT. I wish there was a magical way to make brownies under 30 minutes. I mean there is, but it usually involves a mug, a microwave, and sometimes a minor brownie explosion in said microwave. It may have happened to me once or twice in college.

While these may take more time, they are by no means overly complicated. First things first, preheat the oven to 350º. Next over medium-low heat melt the butter, stirring constantly. Once the butter is melted continue to let the butter simmer. Keep stirring! You want to slowly brown your butter, but don’t burn it. Brown butter is done when it turns a caramel brown and gives off a sweet nutty aroma. I like to use my cast iron skillet for several reasons. One, it’s well seasoned from years of use and adds to the flavor of the butter, in my opinion. Two, it adds MORE seasoning for the next time I use it. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet that perfectly fine! Brown butter is always tasty. If you’ve never made brown butter I recommend using a lighter skillet to you can see when the butter has browned. To strain or not to strain your brown butter? This my friends I leave to you. Some people don’t enjoy the solidified milk in their butter, some believe it adds to the flavor. I’m in the former camp, plus I think it adds a little texture. But to each their own. Let your butter cool slightly before going on to the next step.

In a medium bowl combine the sugars and the brown butter. Add the vanilla and the eggs one at a time. Mix well.

In a separate bowl combine the rest of the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt). Slowly incorporate the dry mixture into the wet mixture.

I did mention that these brownies were a labor of love, right? It’s worth it! I promise! For the filling, combine the room-temp mascarpone, eggs yolks, and sugar. Mix until just combined. If you over mix, the mascarpone becomes watery.

Next you’ll need to make the espresso and amaretto drizzle. You can use espresso or make espresso with instant espresso. Set aside.

Now for the fun part! Make sure you butter you 9×13 baking dish or else the brownies will stick to the pan. If the brownies stick to the pan, they don’t come out clean, if they don’t come out clean you leave part of the brownie behind which is a TRAVESTY. No, I’m not being dramatic. I just really love brownies, darn it. Add half of the brownie batter to the baking dish and smooth out. Next spoon on the the tiramisu filling. Smooth out, but don’t worry about creating a nice smooth layer. If you do try to smooth it out too much you run the risk of incorporating the filling into the brownie batter. Which isn’t necessarily the worst thing to happen. Drizzle on about a quarter of the espresso-amaretto mixture. Top of with the rest of the brownie batter. Once again, smooth gently, but don’t worry about creating a perfectly flat layer. Once the mixture heats up it will naturally start to expand and level out.

Stick the the baking dish in the center of the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. DO NOT OVER BAKE. If you do, you run the potential of drying out the brownies. Set aside brownies and allow to cool completely.

Cracked Rustic Brownies…they’re all the rage.

Once the brownies are cooled, move on to the frosting. Beat the butter in a standing mixer, until softened. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar, then the espresso. Leave the mascarpone cheese for last. You want to make sure the mascarpone is fully incorporated, but don’t over mix. Over mixed mascarpone breaks down and will water down your icing.

Nice and thick. You want the icing to keep its form when you pipe it on top of the brownies.

Before you pipe on the frosting, drizzle the rest of the espresso-amaretto mixture on to the brownies. I did individual piping “drops” (is that a good word for this technique? I don’t know, but I’m running with it), but you can smooth the icing on or pipe it on however you feel works or looks best. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what it looks like, it matters how it tastes. Now for the absolute last step, sprinkle on some cocoa powder. And voila! Your labor of love is ready for consumption. Whether or not you choose to eat these on your own or share them with the rest of the world is up to you.

Tiramisu Brown Butter Brownies



Ingredients


Brownie

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2tsp Vanilla

Tiramisu Filling

  • 1/2 cup room temp Mascarpone
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Espresso Drizzle

  • 3/4 cup espresso
  • 1tbsp Amaretto or Rum

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup room temp butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, plus some
  • 2 1/2tbps Espresso
  • 1/2 cup Mascarpone
  • Cocoa powder for dusting



Directions


  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. In a skillet add butter and melt over medium-low heat. Stirring constantly
  3. Once melted, continue to heat stirring constantly until butter is browned and has a nutty aroma
  4. Remove butter from heat and allow to slightly cool
  5. In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, and brown butter
  6. Incorporate eggs, one at a time
  7. Add vanilla and mix well
  8. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt
  9. Slowly incorporate flour mixture into the wet ingredients, mix well
  10. For the filling, combine the sugar and egg yolks
  11. Cream in the mascarpone. Be careful to not over mix
  12. In a small bowl mix espresso and amaretto, set aside
  13. Butter a 9×13 baking dish and add half of the brownie batter
  14. Spoon on Tiramisu filling, this does not need to be in a neat uniform layer
  15. Drizzle 1/4 of the espresso and amaretto mixture
  16. Top off with the remainder of the brownie batter. Once again, this does not need to be in a neat uniform layer
  17. Put on the center rack and bake for 20-25 minutes. Be sure to not over bake
  18. Remove from oven. The top should be slightly browned. Set aside and allow to cool completely
  19. In a standing mixer, cream butter until smooth
  20. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until fully combined
  21. Add espresso, mixing well
  22. Add room temp mascarpone and mix until just combined
  23. Drizzle the remainder of the espresso and amaretto mixture on top of the cooled brownies
  24. Pipe or spread icing on to the brownies
  25. Finish off with a dusting of cocoa powder