Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cheesecake

Wow, it's sure taken me awhile to get this up here.  Life has just been.....busy.  What can I say?

In fact, as I'm typing right now, there's a writhing, squirming 6-month old on my lap that would like to direct my attention elsewhere.  She's doing a pretty good job, actually. 

One day later....see, I told you she did a good job.  Another day of blogging neglect.  Another day of baby winning. 

So this was my birthday dessert!

Because my favorite flavor combination is chocolate and peanut butter, I dreamed up this creation. 

It starts with a dense fudgy brownie, followed with a delectable peanut butter frosting, then vanilla cheesecake studded with Reese's peanut butter cups, topped with a rich semi-sweet chocolate ganache and garnished with more peanut butter frosting. 

To say that it was rich is a bit of an understatement.

Not that I was deterred in my consumption of it in any way.  

I actually can't think of a dessert I've ever sampled that I thought was "too rich" to finish.  It's a gift, I know.  

So I really loved every single bite of this dessert.  And I'm seriously looking forward some more decadent indulgence whenever we take the chunk we saved out of the freezer.  Yes, we did show a little restraint.   

So obviously there are several steps to this dessert.  I made the brownies and cheesecake the day before, refrigerating the cheesecake wrapped in foil until I needed it.  The brownie was fine left covered at room temperature.  
The day we ate it, I made the frosting and ganache and assembled everything.

Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cheesecake:  Brownie from  Baker's Chocolate, Peanut butter frosting from Ina Garten 

Brownie Layer: 
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I used Baker's), chopped
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla 
1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350°.
Line the bottom of a 9" spring form pan with parchment paper and gently grease it. (I place the bottom circle of the pan on the paper, trace around it, and then cut it out).
Heat the chocolate and butter together in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stovetop until butter is melted. Stir together until chocolate is completely melted as well.  
Add sugar and stir.  Mixture will be grainy.  That's okay!
Add in eggs and vanilla and stir well.  Add flour and stir just until combined.  
Spread in the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out  nearly clean.  Please don't over bake!  Dry brownies aren't good.  
Allow to cool completely.  Remove from pan. 

Cheesecake Layer: 
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
15 miniature Reeses peanut butter cups (or generic equivalant), cut into sixths

Prepare the 9" spring form pan as you did for the brownies.  
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition.  Add the vanilla and stir.  
Pour the cheesecake into the prepared pan and then sprinkle the peanut butter cup pieces over the top.  Gently press some of them into the batter.  
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the center is just set.  
Allow to cool completely. Remove from pan and wrap in foil to refrigerate or freeze if making ahead.  

Peanut Butter Frosting:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 Tbs. unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work.  Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

4 oz. good quality semi-sweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli)
1/2 cup heavy cream

Chop the chocolate finely.  Place in a bowl.
Heat the cream just until simmering (not quite to a boil yet) and pour over the chocolate. 
Allow to sit for a few minutes, then stir until the chocolate is melted.  
Cool to room temperature.  

To assemble:
Place the brownie on your serving dish/cake stand.  If you place a dab of frosting in the center of the stand before putting the brownie down, it will help it not slide around.  I forgot to do that and regretted it later. 
Top with a 1/2 inch layer of peanut butter frosting.  
Place the cheesecake on top.  If you notice there are edges of the brownie sticking out further than the cheesecake (mine did), feel free to carefully cut them off to make everything even.  (Hint: Dipping the trimmed brownie chunks in the leftover peanut butter frosting is a great idea.  Just sayin'.)
Pour the ganache over the top of the cheesecake, allowing some of it to drip over the edges if you desire.  
Put it in the fridge for a few minutes for the chocolate to harden a little.  
Put the rest of your peanut butter frosting in a decorating bag and pipe swirls on top of the cheesecake and around the edges if you desire.  
You could even garnish with additional peanut butter cups if you wanted to live on the wild side.  I decided to keep it simple.  Ha.  :)  

                 Crazy Sweet Tuesday


  1. Yea that is definitely my kind of cake!!!! Peanut butter and chocolate will always be my favorite!!

    And I have to admit I am with you...I haven't found a dessert too rich to finish yet!!!

  2. Oh. My. God. This is...unbelievable. I need this...badly! I'd love for you to join my linky, Crazy Sweet Tuesday sometime! :)

    1. Thanks! I just did - you have a great round-up of sweets there - wow!!

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you!! And to tell you the truth, it tasted better than it looked!

    2. I believe:) I must say you've got a lot of nice recipes on your blog!

  4. I'm drooling. This looks sooo good! Anything with Peanut Butter and Chocolate is my kind of dessert, and then you added cheesecake. This is the dessert I imagine will be served in heaven all day everyday. haha. Thank you so much for sharing. :)

  5. Rebekah-

    I came over here to pin this amazing creation that I have to make someday, and then was humbled to see Preschoolers and Peace on your favorites list. Thank you <3 You've blessed me twice today!


    1. Thanks, Kendra! I've loved your blog for a few years now....don't know how I found you initially but I follow you on facebook also. :) I really need to get better about leaving comments for people - I've been touched by many different things on your blog and should have been letting you know!

  6. My goodness woman that seriously looks like the nicest dessert I have ever laid eyes on. Also well done on creating this with a 6 month old. It does get better I have a 7, 5 and 3 year old and they can be hard work at times but it does get easier than when they were babies. I seriously don't think I should try and make this cake as I would probably gorge the whole thing myself haha. I will save the recipe for a special occassion. Thanks for sharing. xxx

    1. Thanks, Andrea! Glad you liked the recipe - I hope you are able to enjoy it sometime.
      I know it does get easier in some ways - but I must admit that our strong-willed 2 year old can be even more demanding than the baby sometimes! But having the older siblings to take her outside to play definitely helps. So does the occasional lollipop. :)

  7. This cake is unbelievable! I am your newest follower and I can't wait to share more recipes!!!

  8. I saw this amazing dessert on Pinterest and just had to come check out your blog. I'm now a follower and pinned several of your sweet treats to try. You have a beautiful family too!

    1. Thank you, Rhondi! Sweet treats are definitely my favorite - no doubt about it. :)

  9. Oh yeah! I am so with you. No dessert is too rich for me ;) this looks divine and I will be making it soon!

    1. I'm so glad I'm not the only one! I hope it turns out great for you!

  10. Oh Gosh!!! That looks fantastic!!! Love your blog and the recipes you have here.
    Your new follower!

  11. This looks wonderful

  12. Made this today at the request of my 10 year old. He wanted it for his birthday cake as well :) HUGE hit with the peanut butter cup fans in my house, who have also never been one to turn down cheesecake or brownies either. Not nearly as complicated as I thought this may be, and a lot of fun to create! Slice small, as it's very rich. That didn't stop them from eating a second slice, but they were all holding their bellies later ;) Thanks for sharing!

    1. SO glad it was a success with your family! Thanks for letting me know!!

  13. Help! I'm trying to make this for my husband's birthday. Luckily I always give myself trial runs with new recipes. I baked the brownie portion for 35 minutes and it still didn't seem done but I didn't want to cook it longer since as we do all know overcooked brownies are no good and the recipe had 30 as the cap. Well...they were definitely not done. After sitting for an hour the center still looked like batter, not brownie. I don't get it! I know ovens can vary but I would say it easily needed another 10 minutes which seems like a pretty big variation. Any thoughts?? I will be making it again tomorrow for real, so I guess I will just bake it for as long as it takes for the toothpick to come out mostly clean and not pay attention to how long it's been. I have high hopes for this because it looks AMAZING and my husband will love it since he is a huge peanut butter cup fan!

  14. Just wanted to let you know I did the brownie again tonight, bakwd it about 40-45 minutes and it was perfect! Done but not overdone at all! The cheesecake portion is in the oven now and I can't wait to try this. It looks so fabulous!

    1. I'm so sorry the first brownie didn't work out! I don't know what the baking issue could have been - was it a 9" pan? I always try to give baking times on the lower end, because if an oven does run hot and people start with the upper time, they'll burn something. Personally, I always start checking something at least 10 minutes before the recommended time, unless it's something I've made before and know already. So sorry for the difficulty.

      I hope your husband loves it!! It's definitely a decadent dessert and so irresistible! Best wishes!

    2. No worries, it all worked out ok in the end and that's all that matters. The brownie was absolutely perfect! I actually made 2 versions of peanut butter cup cheesecake for him (he's a little bit spoiled), and while he said the other was a 10 out of 10, he said this was an 11 out of 10. haha. I have to agree with him too. This was just perfect. The textures work so well together and the cheesecake is so nice and creamy. Absolutely delicious! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe.

    3. oh and yes, it was a 9" pan. Weird!

    4. I am SOOO glad!! Thanks so much for telling me what a success it was. :) Makes my day! (and now I'm craving some chocolate and peanut butter......)


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