I've been holding out on you guys. Sorry about that. A friend of mine sent over a link to me ages ago to a recipe for this cheesecake on SmittenKitchen, I made it, fell in love with it, and never even told you about it. Not only did that event on Deb's beautiful blog inspire my own food blogging and experimenting, but this cheesecake changed my life in a very literal way. I am a better person for the experience, and like the selfish monster I am, I didn't share it with you at all.
Now, when the big guns came out for Thanksgiving, I knew this one had to make a reappearance after its months in hiding. It takes a lot of work, but the depth of flavor you achieve by slowly caramelizing the sugar first is incredible. It's worth the effort.
Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake
For the crust:
- 1 10-ounce box Chocolate Teddy Grahams (you really could use chocolate graham crackers if you wanted, but the Teddy's are so much more fun, plus they're a good source of calcium)
- 3/4 stick of butter, cut up
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces high-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped up
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 eight-ounce blocks of full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a heavy saucepan, heat the sugar over medium heat until liquid and golden. Turn down heat to low and add the cream (it will crack, hiss, steam, and make all sorts of a delightfully sugary ruckus). Stir until the caramel is dissolved into the cream. Add the chocolate and sour cream, and stir until melted and even throughout.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese for a few minutes until light (scraping down the sides as necessary). Reduce the speed to low and pour in the chocolate mixture; stir until incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for a few seconds in between each one. Add the vanilla. Continue stirring until even.
Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Set the springform pan into a large roasting pan, and pour about 1.5 inches of water in the roasting pan surrounding the springform pan. Bake for about 1 hour 20 minutes, or until the middle of the cake is not quite set.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight or several hours to set. I have served it plain, or topped with caramel sauce, and both are great. Do whatever sparks your fancy.