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Peanut Butter Brownie Cheesecake

October 30, 2012

I actually made this cheesecake last fall, but I just recently found the photos I took! I wish I had been able to get a picture of an individual slice, but that gets tricky when it’s a dessert that I’m taking to work. You’ll just have to imagine the peanut butter cheesecake center underneath the white topping. :)

This cheesecake has quite an unusual construction – most cheesecakes call for a crumb crust (usually graham crackers or Oreos) – but this one is encased in brownies. First the brownie batter is spread over the bottom of the springform pan and baked, then the remainder is spread on the pan sides and baked along with the filling. It sounds a bit complicated, but it was easier than I anticipated. If you can make brownies, you can make this cake! However, be sure to make it a day ahead of time as the completed cake needs to chill in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

Normally I’m a big proponent of natural-style peanut butter without all the sugar and additives: the kind you have to stir up. :) But for this recipe, you really need to use the processed variety; if you use natural peanut butter, the texture will be grainy. This is definitely a splurge dessert – nothing pretending to be healthy included! So make it for a special occasion and share with lots of other people. Enjoy!

Peanut butter brownie cheesecake

Serves 12

Ingredients

Crust

  • 3  ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4  cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2  cup sifted unbleached all-purpose flour (sifted, then measured)
  • 1/8  teaspoon salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon baking powder
  • 2  large eggs
  • 1  cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1½  teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2  ounce bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Filling

  • 12  ounces Philadelphia-brand cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1  cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 3  large eggs
  • 1/2  cup sour cream
  • 1⅓  cups creamy peanut butter

Topping

  • 3/4  cup sour cream
  • 2  teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2  cup creamy peanut butter

Directions

  1. Crust: Adjust rack to middle of oven and heat to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2¾-inch-high sides. Dust pan lightly with flour; tap out excess.
  2. Stir unsweetened chocolate and butter in a small heavy saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth; cool. Whisk flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and brown sugar in medium bowl until very thick, about 4 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Beat in melted chocolate mixture, vanilla, and chopped bittersweet chocolate. Add flour mixture and beat until just blended.
  3. Spread 1 cup brownie batter over bottom of prepared pan. Bake until firm, about 17 minutes. Cool bottom crust in freezer for 15 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.
  4. Filling: Blend cream cheese and brown sugar in processor until smooth. Add eggs and sour cream; using on/off turns, process until mixture is smooth, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Using on/off turns, blend in peanut butter. Using small knife, spread remaining brownie batter evenly around sides of pan, sealing batter to bottom crust. Pour in filling (filling will not be as high as brownie batter).
  5. Bake until center of cheesecake is gently set and brownie sides have fallen for form 1-inch-wide ring around filling, about 30 minutes.
  6. Topping: Whisk sour cream and sugar in small bowl to blend. Spread evenly atop hot cheesecake to within ¾ inch of the edge. Bake cheesecake 1 minute longer.
  7. Set cake on rack. Cut around top edge of pan sides to loosen cake. Cool cake completely. Place peanut butter in pastry bag fitted with small (No. 1) star tip. Pipe tiny rosettes of peanut butter around edge of sour cream. Chill cake until rosettes are firm, about 30 minutes. Cover pan tightly with foil and chill cake overnight.
  8. Cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Remove pan sides. Transfer cheesecake to platter. Cut into wedges and serve.

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