Friday, March 8, 2013

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cheesecake

You know the old saying, "Better late than never"?  

So totally applies here. Nearly three months has passed since we indulged in this incredible cheesecake.    
This was the dessert I made for Christmas Eve......and I made a second one as a Christmas gift for my brother and his girlfriend.  

However, I think that peppermint is a perfectly acceptable flavor all year round, and I refuse to wait till next Christmas season to share this recipe.  

It certainly takes several steps and requires at least a couple of days to make, since you have to make the peppermint bark a day before making the cheesecake.  (Well, I suppose you could toss the bark in the freezer to firm up faster, so you could rush the process, but it doesn't hurt to plan ahead. )

But it is definitely worth the wait.  

Here's the breakdown:

Creamy white chocolate cheesecake on an Oreo crust, studded with chunks of white and dark chocolate peppermint bark, topped with a luscious white chocolate mousse, and garnished with those scrumptious little Andes peppermint baking bits (or peppermint candies if you prefer).  

Yep.  Pretty hard to resist.  And a perfectly festive finale to a Christmas Eve dinner, or a Christmas dinner, or a Tuesday night dinner.  Just sayin'.

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cheesecake 
(adapted slightly from Baked by Rachel)

Peppermint Bark: 
4 oz milk or dark chocolate
4 oz white chocolate
1 tsp. oil, divided
1/4 tsp peppermint extract, divided
Crushed candy canes or peppermint candies, powder removed

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. 

Prepare candy canes by unwrapping and tossing in a ziplock bag.  Smash with a meat tenderizer, rolling pin, or other heavy object.  Don't pulverize the candy, but don't leave any huge chunks either.  Place in a fine-mesh strainer and shake gently (over the sink or garbage) to remove the dust.  

In a medium sized bowl, place milk or dark chocolate and 1/2 tsp. oil.  Melt in the microwave in 30 second intervals at 50% power.  Stir well after each 30 seconds.  When fully melted, add 1/8 tsp. peppermint extract. Stir well.  Spread out evenly on prepared pan.  Sprinkle with crushed candies. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until chocolate has set.  

Repeat process with white chocolate.  Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (or 22 regular Oreos with filling - not double stuffed)
3 Tbsp. butter, melted

3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
4 oz. white chocolate, melted (I used a Ghirradeli bar)
1-1/2 Tbsp. flour
1-1/2 Tbsp. heavy cream
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. peppermint extract
3 eggs
Peppermint Bark Recipe, broken into chunks 

1/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 oz. white chocolate, melted
1-1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Peppermint pieces, Andes peppermint baking bits, or shaved chocolate for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°.  In a blender or food processor, blend cookies until they're fine crumbs. Stir together with melted butter.  Press into the bottom of a 9" springform pan.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Set aside.

Reduce oven temp. to 325°.  

Cut up peppermint bark into small pieces.  Set aside

Melt 4 oz. white chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler.  Stir until smooth.  

In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and mix well.  Scrape bowl well prior to each new addition and as needed.  Add melted chocolate, flour, heavy cream, salt, and peppermint extract.  Mix well.  On medium/low speed, add one egg at a time.  Mix until smooth, but don't overbeat. 

Stir in peppermint bark pieces by hand. 

Pour filling into crust and bake at 325°F. for 1 hour.  Turn off the oven.  Keeping the door shut, leave the cheesecake in the oven for an additional 45 minutes.  Remove and allow to sit for at least 1 hour before chilling.

Chill 4 hours or overnight before adding the mousse.  

To make the mousse, begin by making whipped cream. Pour the heavy cream in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.  

In another medium bowl, beat softened cream cheese, melted white chocolate, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Fold in whipped cream until fully incorporated. 

Carefully remove the side of springform pan.  Spread mousse mixture evenly over cheesecake. Chill for at least a couple of hours before serving.  

Serve slices with Andes peppermint baking bits or crushed peppermint candies and chocolate shavings if desired.

Store covered in the refrigerator.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, peppermint and Oreos and cheesecake work anytime of the year. Beautiful photos!


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