Cheesecakes are one of those sweets that I don’t mess with very often, and not just because I run the risk of eating the entire thing myself. They’re kind of time consuming with the whole chilling process, and results can be a mixed bag – raise your hand if you’ve had a cheesecake with a giant sunken hole in the middle? *raises hand* And again, the risk of the I’ll eat the entire thing factor…
On the other hand, they’re relatively easy to make using just a few ingredients. And, well – when it’s done right, it’s hard for any other dessert to touch it in my book. When I found this basic cheesecake recipe years ago (word to Ina), I stuck with it. It’s never let me down, and it’s easy to tweak the flavor profile and turn it into something completely different. All my boys are huge fans of peanut butter, so I thought that would be a welcome twist…
Turns out I was right! Rich, thick, and silky – this cheesecake packs a wallop of peanut butter flavor. I topped it with a simple chocolate drizzle, and crushed up Butterfinger bars. But, chopped up peanut butter cups would be an awesome choice as well…I mean honestly, when is it not?
I haven’t been in the kitchen much these past couple of month – with so much going on with boating and beaching (half the time we were cooking dinner on the beach itself!), and just summertime livin’ in general. I’m sure many of you can relate, in one way or another. But this is the time of year where I really love getting back in the kitchen, and spending more time on recipes and cooking in general. Now that chillier temperatures have arrived, I’m looking forward to doing just that. And, this cheesecake was a great place to start!
Peanut Butter Cheesecake
For the crust:
18 Oreo cookies, finely ground
4 Tbsp butter, melted
small pinch salt
For the filling:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate
1 tsp shortening
1 cup crushed Butterfinger bars (or peanut butter cups)
Place one oven rack in the middle position, with one rack below. Preheat oven to 350. Place a 13×9 baking dish on the bottom rack and fill with water – this will act as our water bath.
In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the crust with a fork until evenly moistened. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Pour the crumbs into the pan and, using the bottom of a glass, press the crumbs down into the base and 1-inch up the sides. Refrigerate for 5 minutes.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter on low speed for 1 minute until smooth and free of any lumps. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined. Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy, for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the sour cream, and vanilla. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. The batter should be well-mixed, but not overbeaten. Pour the filling into the crust-lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
Place on the top oven rack above the water-filled baking dish, bake for 1 hour. The cheesecake should still jiggle a little in the center (it will firm up after chilling), so be careful not to overcook. Let cool in pan for 30 minutes.
Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours. Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim. Un-mold and transfer to a cake plate.
To make the drizzle, microwave the chocolate and shortening in 30-second intervals until melted. Drizzle over the cooled cheesecake and top with crushed peanut butter candies before serving.