Today seemed like a good day for cheesecake. I hadn't made one in a while, so I decided to go with a something simple yet interesting called Chocolate Velvet Cheesecake, an old Philadelphia brand cream cheese recipe. The picture in my cookbook shows the cheesecake garnished with chocolate leaves. Normally, I'd skip making chocolate leaves, but something came over me and I felt compelled to give the leaves a try. The directions were pretty straightforward - brush melted chocolate over leaves, chill until firm, then peel away leaf. The book suggests rose or lemon leaves, but I used leaves from the oak tree in my back yard.
Slice of cake. This slice looks kind of hokey with the big leaf lying on it, but it gives you an idea of the texture. It's hard to believe something so creamy and delicious took only twenty minutes to prepare. Add 10 if you make the chocolate leaves.
Chocolate Velvet Cheesecake
28 vanilla wafers (Nilla wafers)
½ cup chopped, toasted pecans
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons amaretto
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
2 cups sour cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Crush vanilla wafers into crumbs. Stir together crushed wafers, pecans, sugar and butter. Press mixture into bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake at 325 degrees F. for 10 minutes.
Prepare filling. Using high speed of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, brown sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. By hand or using lowest speed of mixer, stir in the eggs, one by one. Stir in amaretto and melted chocolate chips. Pour over crust and bake for 35 minutes.
After cake has baked for 35 minutes, remove cake from oven and raise heat to 425 degree F. Stir together sour cream and sugar. Spread sour cream mixture over cake. Return to oven and bake at 425 degrees F. for 8-10 minutes.
While cake is hot, gently loosen cake from sides of pan by sliding a knife or an offset spatula between cake and pan. Let cake cool in pan, set on a rack, for about 2 hours. Transfer to refrigerator and chill until very cold (about 3 more hours).