SUGAR CREAM AND PEONIES

EST 2017

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Chocolate Cherry Ginger Cheesecake


Up next in the cheesecake series is this pink beauty! This is my classic creamy new york style baked cheesecake with a crushed ginger snap crust and homemade cherry sauce on top.



Cheesecake is my husbands favorite and he is always helping me come up with new flavor ideas. And because we are so close to Valentine's Day I added a pretty piped chocolate heart on top lined with sprinkles that just so happen to perfectly match the color of the cherry sauce which totally made me OCD heart happy.



I know there's lots of different versions of cheesecakes, like no bake and ones without eggs and so on and so on. My baked recipe that I use as my base for pretty much all my cheesecake recipes is that thick creamy kind that uses eggs, sour cream, and cream cheese. I add a few little secret ingredients too of course. ;) And don't be afraid of it! It's so much easier than you think. You can find my cheesecake guide here to help you make it perfect!



I used frozen sweet cherries to make my sauce but you can also use sour canned cherries or go the easy peasier route and use a can of cherry pie filling and skip this step. Aint no judging happening here, sister. I heated my bag of cherries on the stove with sugar, a dash of vanilla, and couple tablespoons of cornstarch. You need the added cornstarch with cherry sauce/filling because they just release so much juice that if not, it will be super watery and not thicken enough. The cherries will break down a bit but try not to over cook it until they are disintegrated. Pour your sauce in a covered bowl and place in the fridge to cool. Once your cheesecake is cooled and set, you can remove it from the fridge and add your cooled cherry sauce.



The pretty chocolate heart decoration on top is super simple too. I find it easiest to pipe chocolate decoration on silicon baking mats but you can also use parchment paper. I melted real dark chocolate chips smoothly in a bowl over a pot filled with about 2 inches of water on my stove. Basically, like a homemade double boiler. You don't really want to heat up chocolate in the microwave because it heats so unevenly and once you overheat some of it it's pretty hard to recover. You do need 100% REAL chocolate for this to work by the way. The reason for this is that fake chocolate will not ever harden back up for you to be able to handle it properly. You can check if it's real chocolate by looking at the ingredients. If it has cocoa butter in it then you're good.



I poured my melted chocolate into a plastic squeeze bottle. You can get them from Michaels, Walmart and other craft stores. Mine are made by Wilton I think and they are only a dollar or so for a pack of 2. You can also use a piping bag if you wish. I free handed drawing my heart in a large enough size that would fit on top of the cheesecake. Then I use sprinkles to outline it. The tube sprinkles I ordered from Sweetapolita but you can use any sprinkles of your liking. You can set your chocolate faster by setting it in the fridge to harden. Just keep it level obviously.



When it's done you should be able to easily peel it off your mat and handle it. It will sit right on top of your finished cheesecake.



It's also easy to slice and enjoy! So go surprise your fam or your babe with this simple and beautiful Vday treat! Galenetine's day totally works too. Cheese and wine always go well together ;)





Chocolate Cherry Ginger Cheesecake

PREP TIME: 2-3 hours (including thawing out of ingredients)

BAKE TIME: 55-60 minutes

MAKES: 1 9inch cheesecake

INGREDIENTS:


CRUST:

1/2 bag to 3/4 of a bag of ginger snaps

6 tablespoons melted butter


CHEESECAKE:

1 lb softened cream cheese (2 packages)

3 eggs

1 cup white granulated sugar

1 pint sour cream

1/2 lemon zested

1 tablespoon vanilla paste (or extract)

sprinkle of nutmeg


TOPPINGS:

1 bag frozen cherries or 1 can sour cherries or 1 can cherry pie filling

1/4 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2.5 tablespoons cornstarch


FOR THE HEART:

1 cup real chocolate chips (melted)

sprinkles (optional)


DIRECTIONS:

1. Thaw all cold ingredients to room temperature (cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs).

2. Spray a 9 inch spring-form pan lightly with cooking spray.

3. Put all your ginger snaps into a food processor and pulse until ground into crumbs. Pour into medium bowl.

4. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter. Mix the melted butter with your graham cracker crumbs with fork until it comes together. You want it to be moist enough that if you press it against the side of the bowl it holds it shape fine, like wet sand.

5. Pour crust mixture into your greased spring-form pan and use the bottom of a glass to press the mixture evenly around and up the sides to create your crust. It doesn't need to be perfect or very high up the sides. It really just depends on how thick you want your crust. I try to get mine about an inch up the sides and keep it about 1/8 inch think throughout.

6. Place prepared crust in freezer to set.

7. While the crust is setting, fill a pan or glass dish with water about 3/4 of the way full and place it on a rack in your cold oven. Just leave room for your cheesecake pan. This is to create your water bath effect for baking your cheesecake. I usually place it on a rack under my cheesecake.

8. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

10. In a stand mixer, add your 2 packages (1lb) of softened cream cheese. Beat this alone with a paddle mixer attachment to cream.

11. Add eggs one at a time and beat until smooth. Scrape your bowl frequently.

12. While mixer is on low, slowly add your sugar until combined.

13. Stop mixer and add your sour cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and nutmeg. Beat until combined. Again, scrape the bowl frequently.

14. Do not over mix. You want a smooth creamy consistency. It shouldn't have lumps except maybe the random tiny dot here and there.

15. Remove your crust from the freezer. It should be hard like a cookie. Pour cheesecake mixture into your prepared pan. Tap gently on the counter to remove air bubbles.

16. Place your cheesecake on a rack in your preheated sauna oven. Bake for 55 minutes. Check consistency and bake for another 5 minutes or until done. You want it to be set but still a slight jiggle when moved a bit, like a jello jiggle. Turn oven off, prop open oven door slightly and let cool inside oven for at least an hour. This prevents the top from cracking.

17. After it's cool and set here you will transfer to your fridge to get cold and finishing setting for 1-4 hours. It's really up to you here. We have eaten it after an hour in the fridge and after overnight in the fridge. It's good either way. The longer it's in there the more firm it will be though but still yummy none the less.

18. While your cheesecake is cooling add your cherries to a saucepan to make your sauce. Add your sugar, vanilla, and cornstarch. Stir and heat on medium low until combined and sauce has thickened a bit. Once done, place your sauce in a covered bowl in fridge until cooled.

19. Place your chocolate in a glass or metal bowl that fits over a saucepan but doesn't touch the bottom of it. Fill your pot with about 1-2 inches of water and heat on stove till a low boil. Place your bowl with chocolates on top and stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and transfer your melted chocolate into a plastic squeeze bottle or piping bag. Set out your silicon baking mat or parchment paper and start piping out your heart. I made mine large enough to sit on top of the whole cheesecake. Once you're done piping out your chocolate heart, add your sprinkles if you want. Then place it in the fridge to set the chocolate. This won't take that long, maybe 20 mins or so.

20. Once you cheesecake is set, remove it from fridge and pour your cherry sauce on top. Next, remove your chocolate heart from the fridge, carefully peel it off your mat and place it right on top of your cheesecake. You're ready to serve! Or you can place back in the fridge until you are ready for it. This is definitely a dessert you could make ahead. Enjoy and score some brownie points!


STORAGE: It should be fine in your fridge covered up to a week but good luck if you get it to last that long! ;)



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