Dessert Wars is on again and February's Theme is Dark Chocolate and Hearts! I was super excited to participate in the first month of Dessert Wars hosted by Renni from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice and Christine from The Cupcake Bandits and enjoyed participating in the second month of Dessert Wars! It was a blast seeing what everyone made in January and I am sure it will be the same for February!
The February prize package includes:
Whisk & Cupcake Necklace from Moon & Star Designs
The Smartshopper Electronic Grocery List Organizer
Beanilla Sampler Pack of Vanilla Beans
Lenox Personalized Musical Cupacake
1,000 Ideas for Decorating Cupcakes, Cookies & Cakes
Endless Vanilla & Cinnamon Extract
Unlimited Layers: A Recipe for Turning Your Passion into Profits
$50 Coupon Redeemable for Organic Valley Products
$50 Coupon Redeemable for Organic Prairie Products
$50 Gift Certificate to Theme Kitchen
BEKA Cookware Crepe Pan
After discussing the theme for February with several wonderful friends, I decided on cheesecake, which meant that I was going out on a limb because I had NEVER made a cheesecake before, much less one with dark chocolate (which I am not a fan of). But I must say that I really did enjoy this cheesecake!! Plus they were super cute when I cut out heart shapes with my large heart cookie cutter.
Chocolate Crumb Crust (see below)
3 packages cream cheese, softened (8oz each)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
12-oz. pkg. HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips
Prepare Chocolate Crumb Crust.
Heat oven to 350° F.
Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in eggs, heavy cream, vanilla and salt, beating until well blended; set aside.
Place chips in large microwave-safe bowl. Heat over a double-broiler and stir until chocolate is melted.
Gradually blend 1-1/2 cups cheesecake batter into melted chocolate. Spread 2 cups chocolate mixture in prepared crust.
Blend additional 2 cups plain cheesecake batter into remaining chocolate mixture; spread 2 cups of this mixture over first layer in springform pan. Stir remaining cheesecake batter into remaining chocolate mixture; spread over second layer.
Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from oven to wire rack. With knife, immediately loosen cake from side of pan. Cool to room temperature.
Cover; refrigerate several hours until cold. Use large heart shaped cookie cutter and cut out heart shapes from the cheese cake. Place back in the fridge while preparing the Dark Chocolate Ganache. Once ganache is ready, pour over the cheesecake hearts and store in the fridge.
Chocolate Crumb Crust
1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (about 45 wafers, crushed)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup Cocoa
1/4 cup melted butter
Stir together the first three ingredients and then add in the melted butter. Combine well. Press mixture onto bottom and 1-1/2 inches up sides of 9-inch springform pan.
Dark Chocolate Ganache
8 ounces dark chocolate, cut into small pieces (I used Nestle brand)
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter
Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth.