I adore cheesecake and if you’ve been around Dianne’s Dishes for a while you’ve probably heard me say that before! Seriously a cheesecake food group? Anyone??
Essentially I have a basic cheesecake recipe base that I tweak to make different varieties. The base is the most important part of a cheesecake to begin with. You want something that is creamy, yet firm, but not so firm that you have to really push your fork through it to eat it. You want firm, yet soft…Confused yet? 😉 But trust me this cake base never fails! You get a perfect cheese cake every time and after all that’s exactly what you want!
A peanut butter cheesecake has been on my list of things to play around with for a while. So when we had dinner guests on Tuesday night (With whom we had a fabulous time I might add!) I decided it was the perfect time to see what I could come with! I must say I was really pleased. The peanut butter is there, but not overpowering and the chocolate crust, along with the hot fudge drizzle and whipped cream just all came together so well! I even made Jamison a crustless, gluten-free version (see below) that was pretty good too! What’s not to like about that?
What You’ll Need for the Crust:
1 sleeve chocolate graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1 stick of butter, melted
Crush graham crackers and place in a medium sized bowl. Add sugar and stir to mix. Pour in melted butter and stir until it all comes together. Press into a 9-inch spring form pan that has been generously sprayed with non-stick spray. Set aside.
Note: The most important part of making a cheesecake, other than getting everything blended well, is making sure that you preheat your oven first! Preheat your oven to 325 F and don’t try to skip this step. It’s essential!
What You’ll Need for the Cheesecake:
4 – 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened (Note: This go around I used regular cream cheese, but I’ve used low-fat and fat free in the past when making cheesecake and they both have worked.)
1 cup ricotta (Note: I use fat free, but any variety will work.)
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 cup peanut butter powder
1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
As I mentioned above preheat your oven to 325 F.
In the bowl of your mixer cream together cream cheese, eggs, ricotta and sugar until completely smooth. Add peanut butter powder and beat until completely mixed. On low speed add flour and mix until just incorporated.
Pour batter into the pan with the crust and spread it out evenly. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to make sure there are no air pockets. Wrap the bottom of the pan in aluminum foil and place the pan into a baking dish. Pour warm water into the dish until it comes at least half of the way up the side of the pan. (Note: The aluminum foil keeps the water from ruining the cheesecake, while allowing you to bake it in a water bath.) Bake for 1 hour.
At the end of 1 hour turn the oven off, but leave the cheesecake where it is. Open the oven door to the broil position and let the cheesecake sit in the turned off oven for an additional hour. Once that hour is over remove from oven and place in the fridge. You want to chill the cheesecake for at least 8 hours. Overnight is best.
What You’ll Need for a Gluten Free Alternative:
1 – 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup of organic cane sugar
1/3 cup ricotta (Note: Again I used fat free, but any variety will work fine.)
2/3 cup peanut butter powder
1/3 cup sweet potato flour
Cream together cream cheese, eggs, ricotta and sugar until smooth. Add peanut butter powder and beat until it is completely mixed. Add sweet potato flour on low and mix until just incorporated. Pour into two small 6 inch glass dishes that have been sprayed with non-stick spray. Follow the same directions for baking as above.
(Note: With the glass dishes you don’t need to wrap the bottoms of the dishes in aluminum foil since the water can not penetrate them.)
After the hour of sitting in the oven that is turned off turn cheesecake out of their dish and put in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 8 hours before serving.
Now let’s talk a little hot fudge shall we?
What You’ll Need for the Hot Fudge Sauce:
8 ounces of baking chocolate (Note: I used 60%.)
1 cup of sugar
1 stick of butter
2 cups of half and half
1 tablespoon of vanilla
Melt everything together in a medium sized pot. Bring to a quick boil. Boil for three minutes and then remove from heat. Add vanilla and stir to mix. Let cool and serve.
Note: You can store the hot fudge in the fridge when you’re done. When you put the hot fudge in the fridge it turns to a fudge like consistency. Simply take out a few scoops, put it into a glass dish and microwave for 20-30 seconds to melt again.