Chocolate Crumb Crust:
- 1 3/4 cups chocolate wafer or cookie crumbs
- 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, almonds, pecans or walnuts – blended or processed to a fine grind (optional)
- 7 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup butter
- 7/8 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken up, or 1/2 cup dark chocolate morsels
- 2 oz. butter
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
Chocolate Crumb Crust:
- Combine wafer/cookie crumbs, nuts (if desired) and melted butter and press evenly onto bottom and sides of buttered 9 1/2-inch spring-form pan.
- Chill pan while preparing remainder of cake
- Preheat oven to 350. Butter 8-inch square pan and line with parchment paper; butter paper.
- In a 2-quart saucepan over low heat, melt together the chocolate and butter. Stir to blend, then stir in sugar. Remove pan from heat. Add the eggs, stirring constantly until well blended.
- Add remaining ingredients, stirring until smooth.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake in the center of the preheated oven for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out just slightly moist rather than completely clean. The top should look shiny with a slightly crackled surface. Do not over bake; the brownies should be moist rather than dry.
- Cool in the pan on a rack for a few minutes, then invert and peel off paper. Cool brownies, then cut them into 3/4- to 1-inch squares for use in the cheesecake. You will have about 2 cups of loosely measured cubes. Add cubes to cake batter as directed below.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Attach the flat paddle to your electric mixer. In the large bowl of the mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and soft. Add sugar and salt and beat until mixture is very creamy and smooth. Stop the mixer and scrape down the beater and the inside of the bowl several times.
- Add eggs, one at a time, and beat after each addition. Add 1 cup sour cream and the vanilla and beat until well combined.
- Fold brownie cubes in very gently and pour mixture into prepared pan.
- Set filled pan on jelly-roll pan for ease in handling. Set cake in center of pre-heated oven to bake for 50 minutes, or until the top has a dull finish but is dry to the touch; the surface should move slightly when you tap the side of the pan, but it should not jiggle in waves as if it were liquid. Remove cake from oven and set on rack in a draft-free location to cool thoroughly.
- When completely cool, top with following glaze.
- Grind the chocolate into powder in the food processor, scald the butter and cream in a saucepan.
- With the machine running, pour the hot cream/butter mixture slowly through the feed tube onto the chocolate. Blend until completely smooth, stopping machine to scrape down sides once or twice.
- Add the extract and sugar and process until smooth.
- Spread over cheesecake while ganache is still warm. Chill until ready to serve.
Recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen.