This year my kids had a special, albeit brief, eight-week summer vacation — the normal amount of weeks is twelve. Well, school has started now, and it’s been a big adjustment for all of us.
Just as we were getting in our groove of pajamas all day, late breakfasts and late bedtimes, we found ourselves back in the grind. I thought I was ready for our busy schedules to return. I thought I’d welcome early mornings and early bedtimes.
Turns out, not so much.
It still feels like summer vacation around here, but really it’s just still summer. . . now with school and all of its corresponding activities.
If I sounds like I’m complaining, I suppose I am. I’m just being real.
You don’t even have to turn the oven on. (Which, since it still is summer, you might not want to do.)
I’m going to serve this over the weekend at a barbecue and pretend we’re still on summer vacation. It’s the kind of dessert one permits themselves to have on vacation, after all. Indulge!
- 3 dozen Oreo cookies
- ½ cup, plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons instant espresso powder (such as Medaglia D'oro)
- 10 ounces finely chopped semisweet chocolate, divided (I like Sharffen Berger)
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
- 2 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder, divided
- 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- Use a food processor fitted with the blade attachment to finely grind the Oreos. You want the result to be smooth and without large cookie chunks.
- Pour the ground Oreos into a large mixing bowl and fold in the espresso powder and the melted butter.
- Add this mixture to a 9-inch X 3-inch springform pan. Using your hands, gently press the mixture to evenly coat the inside (bottom and almost all the way up the sides), to form the crust. Set aside.
- Add 8-ounces of the finely chopped chocolate to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the remaining 2-ounces to a small bowl and set aside for later.
- In a small saucepan, scald the cream with 1 teaspoon of the vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the espresso powder. Tiny bubbles will appear on the edges of the pan and it should be very hot, but not boiling. Pour the cream over the chocolate. Do not stir it yet – wait about 4 minutes and then, use a wooden spoon and gently stir to combine. It will take a few minutes of mixing before you’ll see it come together. (This is just like making Ganache, only a slightly thinner consistency.)
- Let the chocolate cool slightly, then pour about 1 cup directly on the bottom of the crust. Place the pan on a baking sheet in the refrigerator until this thin layer of chocolate solidifies, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to blend the softened cream cheese with the sweetened condensed milk, 1 tablespoon of the espresso powder, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of the vanilla. Blend until it's silky smooth, about 1 minute.
- Remove the pan from the refrigerator, and pour the cheese mixture over the solidified layer of chocolate in the crust. Return the pan to the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Then pour the remaining chocolate mixture evenly over the top, to coat the entire surface. Again, return the pan to the refrigerator -- this time for about 20 minutes.
- Now mix the 2-ounces of chocolate you set aside earlier, with the remaining 1 teaspoon of espresso powder, and sprinkle this mixture evenly on top of the cake.
- Refrigerate for another 3 hours, and ideally overnight.
- Carefully and gently, run a sharp knife along the inside of the pan, around the crust. Then loosen the spring of the pan, slowly. Keep the cake on the bottom of the springform pan and place it on a serving platter or plate.
- Remove the cake from the refrigerator about 1 hour before you are ready to serve.
To make a gluten-free version of this cheesecake you can use Glutino Chocolate Cream Cookies.