Wow, it's sure taken me awhile to get this up here. Life has just been.....busy. What can I say?
In fact, as I'm typing right now, there's a writhing, squirming 6-month old on my lap that would like to direct my attention elsewhere. She's doing a pretty good job, actually.
One day later....see, I told you she did a good job. Another day of blogging neglect. Another day of baby winning.
So this was my birthday dessert!
Because my favorite flavor combination is chocolate and peanut butter, I dreamed up this creation.
It starts with a dense fudgy brownie, followed with a delectable peanut butter frosting, then vanilla cheesecake studded with Reese's peanut butter cups, topped with a rich semi-sweet chocolate ganache and garnished with more peanut butter frosting.
To say that it was rich is a bit of an understatement.
Not that I was deterred in my consumption of it in any way.
I actually can't think of a dessert I've ever sampled that I thought was "too rich" to finish. It's a gift, I know.
So I really loved every single bite of this dessert. And I'm seriously looking forward some more decadent indulgence whenever we take the chunk we saved out of the freezer. Yes, we did show a little restraint.
So obviously there are several steps to this dessert. I made the brownies and cheesecake the day before, refrigerating the cheesecake wrapped in foil until I needed it. The brownie was fine left covered at room temperature.
The day we ate it, I made the frosting and ganache and assembled everything.
Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cheesecake: Brownie from Baker's Chocolate, Peanut butter frosting from Ina Garten
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I used Baker's), chopped
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
Preheat oven to 350°.
Line the bottom of a 9" spring form pan with parchment paper and gently grease it. (I place the bottom circle of the pan on the paper, trace around it, and then cut it out).
Heat the chocolate and butter together in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stovetop until butter is melted. Stir together until chocolate is completely melted as well.
Add sugar and stir. Mixture will be grainy. That's okay!
Add in eggs and vanilla and stir well. Add flour and stir just until combined.
Spread in the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out nearly clean. Please don't over bake! Dry brownies aren't good.
Allow to cool completely. Remove from pan.
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
15 miniature Reeses peanut butter cups (or generic equivalant), cut into sixths
Prepare the 9" spring form pan as you did for the brownies.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition. Add the vanilla and stir.
Pour the cheesecake into the prepared pan and then sprinkle the peanut butter cup pieces over the top. Gently press some of them into the batter.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the center is just set.
Allow to cool completely. Remove from pan and wrap in foil to refrigerate or freeze if making ahead.
Peanut Butter Frosting:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 Tbs. unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
Place the sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.
4 oz. good quality semi-sweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Chop the chocolate finely. Place in a bowl.
Heat the cream just until simmering (not quite to a boil yet) and pour over the chocolate.
Allow to sit for a few minutes, then stir until the chocolate is melted.
Cool to room temperature.
Place the brownie on your serving dish/cake stand. If you place a dab of frosting in the center of the stand before putting the brownie down, it will help it not slide around. I forgot to do that and regretted it later.
Top with a 1/2 inch layer of peanut butter frosting.
Place the cheesecake on top. If you notice there are edges of the brownie sticking out further than the cheesecake (mine did), feel free to carefully cut them off to make everything even. (Hint: Dipping the trimmed brownie chunks in the leftover peanut butter frosting is a great idea. Just sayin'.)
Pour the ganache over the top of the cheesecake, allowing some of it to drip over the edges if you desire.
Put it in the fridge for a few minutes for the chocolate to harden a little.
Put the rest of your peanut butter frosting in a decorating bag and pipe swirls on top of the cheesecake and around the edges if you desire.
You could even garnish with additional peanut butter cups if you wanted to live on the wild side. I decided to keep it simple. Ha. :)
Linked to Trick or Treat Tuesday