It's that time of year again: Cheesecake Time (aka my husband birthday). Josh always requests cheesecake for his birthday, but he always lets me dream up the flavour (and somehow we both feel like we are winning). This year, prompted by some minty ingredients leftover from Christmas baking, I invented this pretty and tasty mint chip cheesecake.
1/2 C Ritz cracker crumbs
1/4 C butter, melted
(Little note on the Ritz cracker crumbs - I started using crackers in my crusts a while back because I find traditional crumb crusts like Oreo or graham be too sweet and overpowering. I like my crust to be a neutral backdrop for the cake itself, and I find the cracker crumbs really do that well. Give it a shot!)
3 pkg cream cheese (room temperature)
1 C white sugar
1 C sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 C cocoa
3/4 C mint chocolate chips
3 squares (3 oz) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 C whipping cream
1 Tblsp creme de menthe
(Little note on the ganache - though these measurements were recommended in a recipe for a ganache for a 10' cake, I found it to be way too much. Making half as much, but definitely keeping the same chocolate to cream ratio, would be sufficient. But feel free to go full-tilt if you are a REAL chocoholic!)
Mix cracker crumbs and melted butter together. Press firmly into the bottom of 10-inch springform pan. Bake at 350' for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar, sour cream, vanilla and peppermint extracts, and mix well. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each one is added. Divide batter in two. Add cocoa to one portion, and mint chocolate chips to the other portion.
Spread cocoa mixture on top of cooled crust. Carefully spoon mint chocolate chip mixture over cocoa mixture, and smooth with spatula. Bake at 350' for 55-65 minutes, until the centre is not quite set. Turn off oven, but leave cake to cool inside. do not remove cake from oven until it is cool enough to remove with bare hands. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and store in fridge.
In a small pot, bring cream just barely to a boil. Remove from heat, and pour over chocolate. Stir continuously until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in creme de menthe. Chill for 15 minutes before pouring over cake, working from the centre, and spreading to drip over the sides of chilled cake. Store in fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving to to set.