Peanut butter and chocolate might be my favorite combination. Actually i'm pretty sure it is, Reese's stole my heart at a young age and I've been spreading nutella and peanut butter on bread for the last 10 years and it is one of my favorite "snacks". I have serious sympathy for anyone who is allergic to peanuts because I just can't imagine not being able to indulge. mmm... As I sit here and type this I'm thinking about how good this cheesecake was and totally wishing I had more in the fridge. Do you have a special occasion coming up? I mean aren't all fridays special? You should totally whip up this peanut butter cheesecake with chocolate ganache. You won't be disappointed, I promise.
Can I tell you about the cardinal rule of cheesecake making? I totally broke it when I was making this cheesecake and although it still tasted good it wasn't perfect. The cardinal rule that should never be broken is to make sure your cream cheese is completely softened and at room temperature. I forgot to pull mine out of the fridge that morning and was in a hurry so I plopped it strait from the fridge into a bowl and into the microwave for 10-15 seconds. I thought it was softened enough but truth is it was only soft on the outside not the inside and thus my batter had chunks of cream cheese that don't even out when baking. Hence the little flecks in the cheesecake, not intentional and totally annoying to someone who knows what they did wrong. So there, don't be like me, get your cream cheese out hours in advance so your cheesecake tastes and looks perfect!
For the crust:
1 1/2 packages (sleeves) of graham crackers
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a food processor, grind graham crackers to crumbs. (If you’re using premade crumbs, you want about 8 oz or 2 cups, and you’ll want to do all these steps in a bowl.) Add salt and pulse to combine. With motor running, add butter through feed tube. Process for another few seconds until combined.
2. Transfer the mixture to the large round demarle mold or a 9” or 10” springform pan sprayed with cooking spray. Pat crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan, and up the sides about 2”. Don’t worry if it’s not perfectly even around the top; you just want to be sure it’s deep enough to hold all the cheesecake mixture.
3. Bake crust until slightly brown. You’ll just be able to smell it. This will take anywhere from 10-12 minutes. Remove crust from the oven and allow to cool on a rack. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
For the cheesecake:
3 8oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1. In a stand mixture fitted with the paddle attachment beat cream cheese until smooth, add peanut butter and beat to combine.
2. Add flour and salt, beat to combine, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Beat until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. There should be no lumps. If your cream cheese is at room temperature you will have no problem getting the lumps out- its the key! but if its cold you’ll end up with little white chunks of cream cheese, which sometimes still happens to me because i’m impatient!
3. Add the sugar and beat to combine.
4. Add the vanilla, and then beat in the eggs one at a time until just combined, about 30 seconds each. Don’t over beat once the eggs are added; the cheesecake will puff up too much while baking, and the top will crack.
5. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the cooled crust and smooth the top.
6. Bake at 300 degrees F for 55 – 65 minutes. The center will seem to be only slightly set, and will be wobbly if you nudge it. The sides will puff slightly.
7. Cool completely on a rack, then cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
*When you use a demarle mold taking the cheesecake out is SO easy, it just peels right off and gives you perfect results. As you can see in these photos the outside is perfectly browned, i love my demarle molds if you can’t tell
for the chocolate ganache:
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup nutella
1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat melt the chocolate, when its mostly melted add the cream and nutella and stir until combined. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes to room temperature. Pour over the top of your cooled cheesecake and put back in the fridge to cool longer- at least an hour before serving. I topped mine off with a few salt flakes for just a hint of saltiness. Enjoy!