Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bailey's Chocolate Cheesecake

So what did I do this weekend?  I ran a 15K.  Yes, that's right, a 15K.  That's 9.3 miles.

9.3 miles is a LONG way, in case you were wondering.

I am lucky to live in a city that is on the coast-- Jacksonville has a beach, a big river, and seven major bridges that cross that river.  The 15K that I was in is called the River Run, and in it, you run across two of those seven bridges.  You also spend some time running through some of the more picturesque neighborhoods that border the river-- or so they tell me.  When I run, I end up staring at my feet.  (Yes, I am aware that you aren't supposed to watch your feet.)  It's a pretty major event-- apparently, it's also the national championship race for the 15K, so there were upwards of 20,000 people running with me.  I should also probably point out that I didn't RUN the whole thing-- although I did run more of it than I thought I'd be able to.  When people asked me what my goal time was for the race, I laughed.  I had three goals for this race: 1) Not to die. 2) To cross the finish line. 3) To not be last.  Since I am here writing this, obviously I achieved goal 1.  Luckily, I also managed goals 2 and 3, so I'm a pretty happy camper!

Pre-race.  Also, at 7 am, pre-caffeine.  I was also ridiculously nervous.
I'm pretty dang proud of myself, as I'm sure you can tell.  But what's the point of a blog, if not to talk about yourself?  :)  I know, I know-- the cheesecake is the important thing here.  So-- this week I am planning to make Guiness and Bailey's cupcakes, and in consequence there is a whole bottle of Bailey's hanging out in my kitchen.  We went to my in-laws' house for dinner tonight, and I thought I'd make something else with the Bailey's, since I was dying to use it.  This cheesecake is incredibly easy-- and the great thing is that with the ganache on the top, it doesn't matter if it cracks when you bake it.  Mine was definitely cracked-- but you can't tell at all.  So, happy 15K, happy pre-St. Patrick's Day, and happy weekend!

Bailey's Chocolate Cheesecake
(Adapted from gimme some oven)
Makes one 9-inch cheesecake

Chocolate Crust
1 1/2 cups crushed Oreos (about half a package)
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 Tbsp melted butter (1/2 stick), melted

3 8-oz bricks cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Bailey's Irish cream liqueur

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream

For the Crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a food processor, finely chop/crush the Oreos.  In a large bowl, stir together the Oreos, the sugar, and the cocoa powder.  Add the melted butter and stir until well combined. Press this mixture into the bottom of a greased 9-ince springform pan.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

For the Cheesecake:
Turn oven tempreature up to 450 degrees.  In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese, cocoa powder, and sugar until smooth.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition until well combined.  Add the sour cream and Bailey's liqueur, then beat until smooth.  Pour filling into baked crust in springform pan.

Note:  The original recipe here gives directions for a water bath to prevent cracks in the cheesecake-- it says to simply put a 9x13 glass pan of water in the oven, on the rack below the cheesecake, as it bakes.  I tried this, and still ended up with cracks.  Like I said, I wasn't too worried about it.  So try this if you want-- let me know if it works for you!

Bake the cheesecake at 450 for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 250 and continue baking for an additional 60 minutes. 

After removing the cheesecake from the oven, run a knife around the edge to loosen.  Let the cake cool before removing the outer edge of the springform pan. Pour the ganache over the top, then chill for a few hours before serving.

For the Ganache:
Place the 4 oz of semi-sweet chocolate in a heat-proof bowl (I've found that a large glass measuring cup is ideal for this).  In a small saucepan, heat the cream until almost boiling, then pour over the chocolate.  Let this sit for at least 30 seconds, then whisk together the cream and chocolate.  Pour over the top of the cheesecake.  If you have bubbles in the ganache, use a toothpick to pop them.

Not my best pictures, but you get the idea. :)

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