My mom made the best cheesecake. EVER. She didn’t make it often, but whenever she did it was my absolutely favorite—a rich, dense, creamy slice with cherry pie filling dripping over its edges. HEAVEN, I tell you, and the dessert highlight of my childhood.
When Steve and I got married, the cake HAD to be my mom’s cheesecake. So the day before our wedding, Mom and I spent the day baking a bunch of cheesecakes—maybe 6 or 7 of them? It was 19 years ago and the weekend was a whirlwind of good friends and good times, so I don’t remember exactly.
But I do remember all those decadent cheesecakes and the blueberry pie filling my mother-in-law made to adorn them. Not only is it one of my favorite desserts, it’s also a seriously warm fuzzy.
But…this is not that recipe.
(That was mean, I know, to set you up like that, but this is all going somewhere delicious. PROMISE. And I WILL post my mom’s recipe, too, at some point.)
This recipe, however, is based on my mom’s perfect cheesecake recipe, and was inspired by a slice of chocolate cheesecake made by the nuns at theNew Skete monasteries in Cambridge, New York. Steve’s parents frequently have a New Skete cheesecake in their freezer, and after getting a taste of their rich, deep chocolate cheesecake, I was HOOKED.
And INTRIGUED. I had a fabulous recipe for vanilla cheesecake, but clearly I needed a chocolate cheesecake recipe, too. And after sampling the New Skete cheesecake, it HAD to be good.
So I went to the magical internet and started looking.
But cheesecake is a tricky thing because it comes in different textures, and I do not happen to be someone who appreciates them ALL. I grew up on dense, creamy, and rich cheesecakes, so that’s what I want and expect. But there are also some lighter, fluffier versions, and I’ve never been a fan of them.
So I needed to find a recipe that would be the texture I wanted but also intensely chocolatey. I LOVE strong flavors. It’s why I bake, and why I tinker with recipes until they’re perfect.
After much hemming and hawing over the recipes I found online, not finding anything that I felt confident would give me what I wanted, I thought,what if I just adjust my mom’s recipe instead?I mean, really, what could go wrong? (Well, a LOT of things, probably, but that’s never stopped me before. Every time something doesn’t work, every time you fail, you learn and it makes you better at whatever you’re doing. Failure is progress!)
So, I jumped in. First thing I decided to do differently was add a crust. My mom’s cheesecake is crustless and perfect that way. But I did really enjoy the chocolate crust on the New Skete cheesecake, so I wanted to add that in. I also wanted this to be decadently chocolatey, so I knew I wanted to use really dark chocolate. What I found was that I get the best intense chocolate flavor from dark chocolate that’s 60-72% cocoa (or a combination that gets you in that range). I made it once with chocolate that was 80-90% cocoa, and it ended up having an aftertaste that was too bitter for my tastebuds. You can absolutely adjust the chocolate to your liking, too.
To get the smoothest texture, you want to make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature. I’ve also found that mixing the cream cheese, sugar, salt, and eggs in a food processor first gives you a much smoother batter than simply mixing it all in a stand mixer. I also discovered that if you let the stand mixer run on long or on high once you add the sour cream, you end up with a lighter and fluffier texture—I was not entirely pleased by that discovery, but like I said above, every time you fail, you learn something. You can bet I’ve not made that mistake ever again.
You bake it for an hour, then simply turn off the oven and leave it to cool slowly in the oven for another hour. Then, for the best flavor, it needs to cool completely and be refrigerated for hours (or overnight) before serving. A wet knife slices through it cleanly, and you can preserve slices in the freezer, separated with sheets of waxed paper between them, to be able to enjoy this treat any time.
I think this recipe could EASILY be made gluten free because it contains only 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour, but I haven’t made it GF so I cannot advise what to use instead of the wheat flour. A one-to-one baking flour may work just fine, and if you make it GF, please let us know what you used!
- 19-ounce package of chocolate wafer cookies(or homemade, of course)
- 6tablespoonsbutter, melted
- 48-ounce bars of regular cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 1/2cupssugar
- 4large eggs
- 16ozsour cream
- 1 1/2Tflour
- 12ounces60-72% chocolate, melted
Preheat oven to 325 F/163 C. Place a 10" springform cheesecake pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
In a food processor, pulse cookies until finely ground. Add melted butter, and pulse to moisten. Transfer to springform pan, and press crumbs firmly and evenly into the bottom (use the bottom of a metal measuring cup to help). Bake for 10 minutes, and set aside.
Wipe out bowl and blade of food processor. Add cream cheese, sugar, and salt; blend until smooth. With processor running, add eggs one at a time. Pour mixture into stand mixer (or mix by hand), then add sour cream, flour, and finally melted chocolate. Blend filling until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
Pour filling into pan over prebaked crust. Place baking sheet with cake pan in oven. Bake at 325 F/163 C until set (puffed up around the edges and center is set, but slightly wobbly), about 1 hour. Turn oven off, and let cheesecake sit 1 hour in oven, without opening door.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan just to loosen sides, then cool completely on wire rack. Cover loosely and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Cut with a wet knife for the cleanest cuts, and store covered in the refrigerator or in a container/ziptop bag in the freezer, slices separated by waxed paper.