Friday, September 23, 2011

Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake

I love making cheesecakes. Really love it! Mostly because I love EATING cheesecakes. But I don't typically make them all that often because they're not as easy to pawn off onto people. My dear husband does a fantastic job of carting in and delivering cupcakes and cookies to his coworkers but I don't know if I can convince him to bring in a cheesecake. It's not really office-friendly, you know?

So, I don't get to make them unless I plan to have someone over that I can force feed a few slices to. And usually Dave (the husband) is really persuasive and gets the remainder sent home with the guests.

I've been eyeballing this cheesecake on Pinterest for awhile now and finally found an excuse to make it! My friend's husband just returned from a deployment of 6 months and I figured anything I served him MUST be better than food that sat on a boat for 6 months. So I had them over for dinner.

Turns out, I was wrong. Mostly because I apparently lost my mind while prepping for the two fabulous pizzas I was going to make. FYI, when making pizza dough and proofing it in the oven (the only really nice, warm place in my kitchen), it's typically a good idea to REMOVE the balls of dough while preheating your oven to 500°. I'm lucky the house didn't burn down, since I had a cotton towel covering the dough.

So off to a pizza joint for dinner. It wasn't as good as my planned goat cheese and roasted pepper pizza, but it wasn't half bad. And we came back for dessert!

Luckily, dessert WAS better than anything sitting on a boat for 6 months.

It was a bit more time intensive than other cheesecakes, but only because you have to make the brownies first. The brownies were good IN the cheesecake but they weren't great on their own. Not bad, and certainly better than a box, but not great. You will have more than you need for the cheesecake.

Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1½ sticks unsalted butter
1¾ cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line 13×9-inch baking pan with parchment.
  • Melt chocolate and butter together until smooth.
  • Stir in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt.
  • Bake 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature then chill in refrigerator.
  • Once chilled, chop into 1 inch squares. Measure two cups. Do what you will with the rest.

5 ounces chocolate graham crackers, crushed to a sandy texture
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Mix together all ingredients. Press into a springform pan lined with parchment. I only press into the bottom. If you want crust on the side, double the above measurements.
  • Chill 2 hours.


3 (8-oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla.
  • Fold in brownie cubes gently
  • Pour into pan.
  • Bake for 15 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 200° and bake another hour-1 hour 10 minutes. Center should still be just a tad wobbly.
  • Let sit in the oven with door open for about 2 hours or until room temperature. Remove then place in refrigerator 4 hours or overnight.

Ganache Glaze

3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ stick unsalted butter
¼ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

  • Place chocolate in a glass bowl. Scald the butter and cream then pour over chocolate. Let sit 30 seconds. Stir until smooth then add vanilla and powdered sugar.
  • Poor over cheesecake the place back in refrigerator to chill another 2 hours.

Note: I ALWAYS cook my cheesecakes without water baths and at a low setting for a long time. Every single time I try any other method, they crack. With this method, I've NEVER cracked a cheesecake. Even this one, which I overbaked by probably 10 minutes, didn't crack. I think lining the springform with parchment helps with this as well, since the cheesecake sides have some give this way (not stuck to the sides of the pan). To line a springform, I spray the pan with non-stick spray then place a sheet on the bottom piece. Clamp the sides on over the bottom piece of parchment, locking it in. Then I cut strips as wide as the sides and stick them on. The non-stick spray holds them on.

Slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

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