Hot Fudge Cheesecake w/ Brownie Crust

So, I had some hot fudge leftover this past week.
Awww shucks, right?
And, well…I was totally cool with just eating it by the spoonful.  Like, no problem.  What.SO.Ever.
But then I thought…
I could be eating this by the forkful…
Atop cheesecake…
Which lay atop a large, thick intense chocolate brownie.

And the fork wins again.
I get some really good thinking done in front of that fridge of mine.
Like, I don’t have a large enough butter reserve, I need more limes (gin and tonic too, for that matter), I need to stop by bags of carrots and bunches of bananas, and there is no use in hiding chocolate behind the yogurt …

Screw the shower.

Watch as an idea comes to life…it is kind of the greatest.  Even if it is just a cheesecake.
We build from the bottom up…brownie crust first.

Butter + unsweetened chocolate is the base to the base.

My go to double boiler – glass bowl and smallest saucepan I can find.  Same set up, each time. Works like a dream.

Sugar, eggs, and a bit of flour round out the brownie.  KISS….Keep.  It.  Simple.  Silly…..

First goes the sugar…

Eggs are whisked…one at a time…(and then vanilla….always, vanilla)

Flour and salt round out the brownie batter…heed the warning and don’t over mix brownie batter.  Like.  Ever.  This has been a public service announcement.

Springform pan it goes…and let bowl licking commence.

Just the basics for the filling: Cream cheese, sugar, eggs, flour, vanilla.  No more.  No less.

Ready for some magic?

Just like that…we have a baked cheesecake, a table set, and hot fudge at the ready.
Honestly…I lost natural light as the cheesecake was being mixed…so you missed cream cheese, sugar,and flour being beat until smooth; eggs added one at a time; a lot of bowl scraping – different from bowl licking.

And then you expose your chubby hand to the world and drizzle/pour/drench your cake in hot fudge.

Keep it coming…because we are going for this end result…

Hot fudge waterfall.

Fridge thinking has yet and probably will never produce any major breakthrough plans/skeems ending world wars or curing cancer…however, at least, every now and then I buy fewer bananas and you get a Hot Fudge slathered cheesecake with a rich chocolate brownie crust to drool over…In the short run, it is a total win win.

Hot Fudge Cheesecake w/ Brownie Crust
 
Ingredients
Brownie Crust
  • 3 Ounces Unsweetened Chocolate (not bittersweet/semi/milk)
  • 1 Stick (1/2 Cup) Unsalted Butter
  • 1+1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ⅔ Cup All-Purpose Flour
Cheesecake Filling
  • 5- 8 Ounce Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 1+3/4 Cups Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 5 Large Eggs
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • ½ Teaspoon Vanilla
Hot Fudge Topping - about 1+1/2 Cups (never had a problem with too much hot fudge!)
Instructions
Crust
  1. Line a 9inch springform pan's removable base with parchment paper. Butter sides or spray with cooking spray.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. In a double boiler (bowl sitting atop a pan of simmering water ) or in microwave in 30 second bouts, stirring between each, melt together butter and chocolate. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir in sugar until combined. (it will be rather grainy)
  5. Whisk in eggs and vanilla.
  6. Whisk together salt and flour. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients, and mix just until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX.
  7. Pour batter into prepared pan and place in preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, until toothpick comes out nearly clean with just a few crumbs sticking around.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare filling.
Note
  1. Brownie crust can be made a day or two before you prepare filling. Keep at room temperature and cover tightly with foil/plastic wrap.
Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Beat together cream cheese, sugar, and flour until smooth.
  3. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Remember to scrape sides and bottom of bowl between each addition.
  4. To bake cheesecake in a water bath (makes for even baking), double wrap springform pan in heavy duty aluminum foil. Place wrapped spring form pan in a roasting pan ( I used a disposable one )
  5. Pour filling into crust, the filling will reach the very brim of the springform pan. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to reach about ½ way up the sides of springform pan. Place roasting pan with cheesecake into preheated oven and bake for about 75 to 90 minutes until top of cheesecake is browned/golden, the top is just barely firm to touch (the very center of cake should giggle only slightly when pan is nudged), and the top appears dry. Turn oven off and open oven door so it is just ajar (I place a wooden spoon in oven door to keep it just barely open) and let cheesecake sit in warm water bath for an additional hour. Remove from oven and water bath and remove tinfoil from around pan. Let cool completely on wire rack and then transfer cake to fridge and chill completely for at least 6 hours.
  6. If you are choosing to make hot fudge from scratch, make it while the cake is chilling. Recipe on previous post and to follow...
  7. Once chilled, remove from fridge and run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from sides of pan, remove side of pan from cake and transfer cake to a plate. Pour hot fudge onto the top of the cheesecake, spreading the fudge to the edges of the cheesecake, allowing fudge to drip down sides. Return cake to fridge, allowing fudge to thicken/harden - let chill until ready to serve. Chilling once fudge is atop cake will allow for easier slicing.

 

Hot Fudge topping … recipe here (my last post) or head to the grocery/local ice cream shoppe and grab your favorite.  Either way, you can’t go wrong.

 

 

 

Basic Hot Fudge

I am not a picky eater.  It is probably an adjective (or adverb)…how about a descriptive term? – Picky is a descriptive term that has never been placed before my name…especially when it comes to food.  Another word that has never been used to describe me?  Grammar enthusiast.

I am the coworker eating the crust that has been carefully plucked off your pb&j…because we don’t agree on the fact that the crust is the best part.  I am the coworker eating your ‘too’ ripe banana or slightly bruised apple.  I am the co-worker eating the last of your funny tasting celery and peanut butter or the last few pieces of cubed cheese that no one wanted because apparently swiss cheese is ‘gross’.  Gasp!

Oh heavens, I am the resident goat.

I am the roommate insisting that the milk is still okay 3 days after the date stamped on the jug…as long as it smells alright.  I am the roommate eating yogurt and sour cream well beyond any sell by date…because it is just that, the sell by date…not the eat by date.  Green fuzzy growth is the natural eat by date and then, only then, shall it meet its final resting place at the bottom of the trash can.

I am the friend who can not, for the life of me, pick a restaurant for any meal during the day.  It is one part indecisiveness  and two parts non-picky.  I have never entered a restaurant and been unable to eat off their menu because nothing suited me.

I don’t mind leftovers for 2 nights.  Or egg sandwiches all week.  I have eaten tuna for dinner for an entire year of college, by choice- mercury levels are still pending.  I would never turn down eggs if they weren’t made to my liking – because I don’t have a liking.  I’ll take any piece of toast slathered with any type of jelly or pb or honey or cinnamon + sugar, or just salted butter.  I just like toast.  Same goes for donuts (doughnuts?).  I don’t care…it is fried dough covered in something made of sugar – glazed, cake, long john, jelly – okay!  Where is there room for picky?

Room for picky exists only in the sweet sweet world of desserts.

I see it as…if I am going to spend calories on a brownie or a cookie or a slice of pie…it had better be up to par and as good or better than what I can make in my own kitchen.  It should be to my specifications.  I want a brownie that is fudgy and chewy and well, chocolatey…I do not want a cake-like brownie that faintly tastes like chocolate was merely thought about during the baking process.  If I wanted a cake like brownie I would have chosen cake … and since cake is my 5th favorite dessert, I doubt I chose cake in the first place.  And speaking of cake, I am starting to prefer white to chocolate and I despise anything but a decadent thick sugary buttercream icing slathered atop it.  And I prefer cheesecake to any other cake and that cheesecake should have a vanilla or chocolate cookie crust … because graham crackers don’t belong on the bottom of cakes.  Pie is mainly about the buttery flakey crust and unless it is a slice of sugar cream pie, I will take fruit pie every time.   Preferably, blueberry.  And cookies…well, I have learned that if it is the size of my noggin, it will probably have me wishing I had opted for just the coffee.

And finally, if you are gonna take me out for ice cream…and it isn’t Dairy Queen where I will inevitably order a Blizzard with 4 different candies blended in because…I am indecisive – M&M’s, Snickers, Butterfinger, and Oreos.  I will love you forever if your ice cream parlor has a hot fudge that is thick and rich and becomes almost chewy when it hits the cold chocolate ice cream.   Think  more marshmallow cream consistency and less Hershey syrup.

Wanna hit the bar with me?  Sundae bar.  And with those extra cherries…well, I have bourbon too (passtt….they aren’t these fancy ones, but they’ll do the trick!)

Get your toppings lined up.  Like an army.  A bit of mise en place I can get behind.  Gotta keep and stay organized.

Step 1 : Find yourself some ice cream.  ( Anyone else have a song in their head? – Just me? )

 Step 2:  Creamy cream that is whipped, all light and fluffy….Or out of the can.  All light and fluffy.

Step 3:  Drizzle on the good stuff.  Spoon it on.  Ladle it on.  Pour it on.  Do it.

Step 4:  SPRINKLES!

Step 5:  With a cherry on top.

This life ain’t too shabby.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Basic Hot Fudge
 
Ingredients
  • ⅔ Cup Heavy Cream (or half and half)
  • ½ Cup Light Corn Syrup
  • ⅓ Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Cocoa Powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • 6 Ounces Chocolate, finely chopped and divided - used a mixture of milk and bittersweet
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. In a 1 quart pan, combine heavy cream (or half and half), corn syrup, brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and 3 ounces of chopped chocolate. Stir to combine.
  2. Place over medium to moderate heat and stir mixture until chocolate melts and mixture comes to a boil.
  3. Decrease heat and cook mixture at a low boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally - about few stirs at each minute break works well.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in butter, vanilla, and remaining 3 ounces of chopped chocolate and stir until smooth.
  5. Let sauce cool until it is warm before pouring over ice cream. Store in sealed glass container in refrigerator - will keep for one week. Reheat before serving (microwave for 30 second, stir, another 30 second, stir)

 

chewy chocolate toffee cookies

I just don’t feel like there is enough time in the day.  Mornings quickly are turning to evenings which are succumbing to earlier and earlier bedtimes because I seemingly can not keep my eyes open long after 930pm, that is, unless you offer me popcorn and another episode of Downton…but even then, I sometimes struggle to say ‘yes’ and before the final credit has drifted across the screen and the final notes of the theme song have reached my ears, I am up the stairs, buried under the covers, awaiting sleep…

 I finally just sat down for the evening, it’s going on 9… I spent a fairly normal day at the hospital, where I walked in and the fire alarms were going off and yet, everyone was going about their normal business…which is pretty par for the course in terms of fire alarm conduct.  It always worries newbies and students … coming out of their tiny conference room wondering if they should be darting to an exit somewhere.  I am curious if there is a different/louder/ominous alarm when there is a fire in which we do actually need to evacuate the hospital.  I pray we never have to learn this.

Traffic to and from work was not shabby, however the potholes created by this winter weather may swallow my car if the city of Cleveland doesn’t take action soon…and I spilled coffee on my car seat  - turns out my down parka is a suitable rag and warm winter coat.  Another reason why I only wear dark colors…I am a walking disaster.  I threw together a chicken mexican casserole that did not contain a cream of something soup and put to use leftovers that otherwise would have found themselves in the trash tomorrow morning…which reminds me, tomorrow is trash day.  As the casserole was bubbling over in the oven and the sharp cheddar cheese was browning to a lovely golden hue, I ran.  Three miles.  Nothing crazy, nothing fast.  But something.  Squeezed in.  That is what it has become lately.  Squeezed.  Scrunched.  Smooshed.  The fix to this – morning workouts.  Hahahahaha…I have tried.  I have turned off alarm clocks.  Alarm clocks in different rooms that required me to stumble out of my bedroom, the goal – wake my ass up.  Laughable.  I stumble back to bed and over sleep and just run while dinner is cooking or forgo a proper dinner and insert the go-to egg sandwich or bowl of popcorn.

It is well into the evening, dinner and shower are checked off the list, dishes may be done or I am putting those off until the following day because I can still see the counter and well, that means I still have spoons and a drinking glass or two, however just last week I caught a certain someone drinking out of the creamer cup (the one with the spout)…sadly, he wasn’t using the spout.

It is dark outside and has been since I left work at 4:30-5 and now is the time that I have to tinker around in the kitchen and here, my own small corner of the Internet…but the light is gone.  And I haven’t learned how to properly take pictures in my house with artificial light.  I know there are bells and whistles to make this easier, however I am stubborn and well, I just like my natural light and you wanna know what is so crazy?  I adore winter light, however I experience so little of it nowadays.  She describes it just perfectly.  A dish that in the summer and fall I could whip up and snap pics from start to finish in one evening during the week…takes me well, all week or something I can only accomplish on the weekends.

Winter just takes a whole new schedule that I never ever plan for and never organize until about Valentine’s Day … just when the days begin to become noticeably longer and the light reaches further into the evenings.  Just about the same time, energy begins to seep back into my bones and I begin to feel more like a human and less like a sloth in full hibernation.

Some nights though…some nights I get everything in plus a batch of cookies.  And I am satisfied with iPhone pics of the process…filters make a world of difference and with few other options, it just has to be OK.  In all honesty, it took me 2+ nights to bake them all off…because once it hits 9:30pm, I shouldn’t have the oven on, because I can’t keep my eyes open and I don’t respond to fire alarms.  I don’t like to live life so close to the edge.

I used leftover toffee that, well, didn’t exactly work out.  Don’t ask…Just know, you can’t win them all…but screwed up/leftover toffee or peanut brittle works wonders when stirred into cookies and brownies.  A change in expectations…that is all.  Don’t have screwed up toffee because you are a freaking rock star and you would never seemingly waste 2+ pounds of butter before succumbing to the fact that perhaps your mother’s stove just isn’t suited for candy making…well you will need to crush a few Heath bars.

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
chewy chocolate toffee
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups + 2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ Cup Dutch Process Cocoa Powder (I have also used Special Dark blend)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 + ½ Sticks Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, loosely packed
  • 1 Cup White Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Cup Crushed Toffee bits
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. Scrape down the bowl with rubber spatula.
  3. Reduce speed of mixer to low, and slowly add dry ingredients. Mix until combined.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips and toffee bits.
  5. Refrigerate dough for about one hour to firm up dough.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F.
  7. Shape dough into 1 to 1+1/4 inch round balls and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit on tray for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

 

Peppermint Infused Vodka // Peppermint Vodka Hot Cocoa

Can we discuss the fact that while backing out of my garage yesterday morning, and onto my  driveway  that was covered in snow and snow drifts that were up to my bum (I’m short, this isn’t an amazing feat by any means)…that I may have careened slighty into my yard…but who knows, my driveway could just be amazingly wide, it is anyone’s guess. Everything is just white and frozen.  There was no harm done, however, I am sure my neighbors are concerned about my driving skills, or lack there of…so perhaps my pride is a touch bruised.  It is probably best just to give me ample space and room…


You might be wondering why I haven’t shoveled or snow blown my drive and that is a legitimate concern/question and before Sunday, before we are blasted with another round of the fluffy white stuff, I will have to bundle up and find that darn snow shovel (which has been staring at me from the corner of the garage since well, last winter) and dust off the cobwebs and get in one hell of an arm workout.

But I haven’t done so yet, because I have a Jeep.  And well, it glides right over a good sized drift, but come Sunday…it might be a bit much and well I will feel bad for the pizza delivery man or even the postmaster, since I am not on good terms with him as it is.  Update…my drive was shoveled when I returned home from work.  I confess, I may have snagged a good one :)   So much for getting in that arm workout.

But right now, my driveway looks like I took a shot of this peppermint infused vodka and then quite possibly chased it with a spiked hot chocolate all before heading to work.  Which would have been a decent idea if I were able to work from home…which makes me believe that it is a good thing I don’t.

You might be thinking…peppermint – eh.  December is behind us and thus are the holidays and well, so should peppermint.  But I am guessing that you have dismantled the Christmas tree(s) and the like and have a few rogue candy canes laying about the house, taking up counter/drawer space until you get sick of pushing them aside and tossing them come Groundhogs Day.   I didn’t even have a Christmas tree this year and that is the truth…Candy Canes tend to materialize out of thin air and then linger well beyond their welcome.

Do me a favor, round up 5 candy canes, a mason jar (or any glass jar) plus lid, some vodka that I am sure lives in your freezer behind the frozen peas…and before no time (30 minutes actually), you will find yourself snuggled up on your couch with a mug of spiked peppermint hot chocolate, topped high with whipped cream…thinking of the new year and what lies ahead and perhaps taking pause and reminiscing on the year that has just passed …or you are just watching another Orange is the New Black or Downton Abbey on Netflix and need something to take off the edge of a crazy ass work week.  Either way, I get ya.  I totally do.


Peppermint Vodka // Peppermint Vodka Hot Cocoa
 
Ingredients
  • 5 Candy Canes
  • 1+1/2 Cups Vodka
Instructions
  1. Place candy canes in a plastic bag ( i.e. ZipLock) and using a hammer or rolling pin, crush candy canes until they are near a fine powder. Pulsing the candy canes in a food processor will also do the trick (but it makes more dishes)
  2. Place crushed candy canes in a quart sized mason jar and pour vodka over. Replace lid on mason jar and swirl contents gently.
  3. Let mixture infuse for 30 minutes.
  4. Once infused, strain contents through a cheese cloth. Return to original mason jar and place in refrigerator.
  5. Good for about a month if refrigerated and sealed.

 

For hot chocolate….

1 cup of your favorite hot cocoa – whatever type you are able/willing to make will do the trick.  I have used everything from homemade stovetop the way grandma used to make to packets of powder to K-cups.
2 ounce ‘shot’ of peppermint infused vodka
Whipped Cream
Crushed peppermint sticks (optional)
Shaved chocolate (optional)

Make hot chocolate in your favorite mug.  Stir in peppermint infused vodka.  Top with ample amounts of whipped cream.  Sprinkle on crushed peppermint and shaved chocolate.  Drink.  Repeat.

Toffee Candy with chocolate, pecans, and sea salt

Can I hibernate?  Like big ol bear style with fur and caves and brown fat.  I want the whole shin dig, brown fat and all.  Especially the eating in preparation for said winter hibernation.  Bring it on.  I am down for some total bear getting ready for a long winter inside a cold cave eating prep.  I can eat more than just berries and whatever else a bear might scavenge for…which would be…ummm.  OK, in whatever grade I was supposed to learn that information is failing me at the moment and I have little desire to Google this information because I am lazy that would give the impression that I know anything about bears, in which I do not.( or that I didn’t know basic information about a freakin’ bear)  Fish?  Yes, berries and fish.  I bet their cholesterol numbers are make your cardiologist happy good.   Because my idea of scavenging for a long winter sleep would include …  cookies and toffee and pizza and cinnamon sugar cake doughnuts (this is not an all inclusive list since I left out brownies, ice cream, and tootsie rolls).  But the idea you get.  Me and the bears in garbage cans would totally be friends…seriously, berries or leftover pizza?

I can only hibernate on weekends…from any given Friday night until the dreaded ugly face of Monday morning, in the dead of winter, I can be found in sweat pants and t-shirts, one in which might have a large steak on it with a face that says ‘Pleased to meat you‘.  (its a pun, I hope you get it…because it is hilarious!)  I am a proud owner of one too few t-shirts from woot.com.    There will be a go-to sweatshirt near by that I undoubtedly wore in high school 12 years ago and is way oversized because, well either I was a 6’2” giant in high school or oversized clothing was ‘in’…oy.  And I will be rotating between three activities….1.  Movie watching, anything from a Godfather marathon to Dirty Dancing.  2.  Reading/napping…the piles of books staring at me since mid-June start to diminish, however this list, whoa nelly!  3. Baking/cooking/eating – which should be of little surprise to anyone …i am writing a food blog/you are reading a food blog …for goodness sake.

Already this hibernation season…There has been this movie and this one.  I have started this book, in the middle of this book, and finished this one.  There has been cookies.  Lots of cookies. And brownies…Oh the brownies.  And toffee.  Several batches of toffee.  Because once you realize that toffee only takes sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt and merely 20 minutes of standing at the stove and a bit of patience…then, well …. you will find yourself in front of said stove more times than you would like to confess to.

It is a bit nerve-racking…the holy crap there is a pan of hot liquid sugar/molten lava on the stove top and a cat swirling between my legs and is the candy thermometer touching the bottom of the pan, because it shouldn’t be, so let me fiddle with it a bit more with the leet hand while I continue to stir with the right hand being careful not to splatter because have I mentioned the sugar is equivalent to stuff that flows from a volcano?  yeah…that is a bit sweat inducing.  And that cast iron skillet  - THE HANDLE IS SCREAMING HOT!  I need to paint a red STOP on that silly handle…or have a brain.  But, hey the end result toffee…worth every last sweaty second…and the more you make the toffee, well the more comfortable you become with the process and then the more toffee you make…and then the larger pants you will need come spring…oy.  Oversized sweatshirt?

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Toffee Candy
 
Special Equipment Candy Thermometer.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Granulated Sugar
  • 1 lb Unsalted Butter ( 4 sticks)
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 7 ounces Chocolate (milk or bittersweet - your taste preference prevails), finely chopped
  • 1 Cup Chopped Roasted Pecans
  • Flaky Sea Salt (Maldons) - optional
Instructions
  1. Line a small rimmed cookie sheet (about 10 x 15in) with parchment paper.
  2. In a 10 inch (or larger) cast iron skillet or large heavy bottom saucepan, melt butter over medium- high heat.
  3. Once melted, stir in sugar and salt using a wooden spoon and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  4. Cook over medium-high heat until candy thermometer reaches 300F. It will be deep auburn in color - be careful not to burn.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
  6. Pour mixture onto parchment lined cookie sheet. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle finely chopped chocolate onto toffee and let sit for about 10 minutes. With a butter knife, smooth chocolate out over toffee. Sprinkle chopped pecans over melted chocolate and lightly sprinkle several pinches of flaky sea salt over the chocolate and pecans.
  8. Let cool completely and set (several hours) before breaking into bit sized pieces.
  9. Store in air tight containers.