Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake
Behold, a gorgeous four-part cheesecake in all of its glory:
Oreo crumb crust.
Chocolate ganache glaze.
WOW. Now, many of you know I am a self-professed Queen of Cheesecake. No, I’m not tooting my own horn about how fabulous my own cheesecakes always turn out, but cheesecake is by far my very favorite dessert. I’ll eat it before anything else laid in front of me. And so when I saw this cheesecake featured on Smitten Kitchen, there was no turning back. I had to make it. Immediately. And with no good reason whatsoever other than I wanted it. No company, no dinner party, no celebration. Just because it looked THAT good.
Although the cheesecake is comprised of four components, it wasn’t complicated at all to put together, so please don’t be intimidated! The recipe for one bowl brownies is ridiculously quick and can be thrown together in less than 15 minutes. You can make the brownies a day ahead and pop them into the fridge – they are easier to slice through when cold anyway!
We need to talk about the crust. Deb is a genius. DOUBLE THE CRUST! Doh! ::smacks self on forehead:: For someone who is ALL about the crust (be it cheesecakes, pies, pizza, anything that has crust), it never occurred to me to just go ahead and double the crust recipe. Simply brilliant, for sure. The original recipe calls for either chocolate wafer cookies or Teddy Grahams to use for the crust, but I used Oreos because, well, I just adore them. Oreo cheesecake is by far my favorite variety, so if I’m not going to have Oreos IN my cheesecake, I’ll definitely settle for them being my crust!
The cheesecake itself has the perfect texture – wonderfully creamy and melts in your mouth. Pair that with the double crust, a bite of fudgy brownie in every other forkful and a layer of rich, bittersweet chocolate ganache and really – cheesecake (or life, for that matter) does not get much better than that.
Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake
For the Brownies:
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
1¾ cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
For the Crumb Crust:
1½ cups or 5 ounces (3 cups or 10 ounces to double) finely ground Oreos, or other chocolate cookie
5 tablespoons (10 tablespoons to double) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup (2/3 cup to double) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspooon (¼ teaspoon to double) salt
For the Cheesecake:
3 (8-oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Ganache Glaze:
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1. To make the Brownies: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13×9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Grease foil.
2. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and salt; mix well. Spread into prepared pan.
3. Bake 30 to 35 minute or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove brownies from pan, using foil handles.
4. Cool brownies, then cut them into 3/4- to 1-inch squares for use in the cheesecake (I used a pizza cutter, per Deb's recommendation). You will have more than the two cups of cubes, loosely measured, than you will need, and I'm sorry, you're just going to have to decide for yourself what to do with the extra. Add cubes to cake batter as directed below.
5. To make the Crumb Crust: Stir together the Crumb Crust ingredients and press into bottom and 1 inch up side of a buttered 10" springform pan. Fill right away or chill for up to 2 hours.
6. To make the Cheesecake: Preheat oven to 350°F.
7. Beat together cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions.
8. Fold brownie cubes in very gently. Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust and place on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch drips) in middle of oven 45 minutes, or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken.
9. When completely cool, top with following glaze.
10. To make the Ganache Glaze: Place finely chopped chocolate in a medium size mixing bowl. Scald the butter and cream together in a saucepan (or in the microwave on HIGH for 1 minute). Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in vanilla and then whisk in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread over cheesecake while ganache is still warm. Chill until ready to serve.