The most majestic chocolate cheesecake: this tall beauty is housed by a crunchy, oreo hazelnut crust. The filling is tangy and creamy, equal parts dark chocolate and cream cheese. It’s speckled throughout with flakes of sea salt for a most decadent treat.
This chocolate cheesecake recipe came about while I was faffing around the kitchen. Sometimes I find myself wanting to learn more about a particular ingredient (scm in this case) so I’ll use it in a recipe where I haven’t tried it before. Normally I make cheesecakes with just cream cheese and sour cream but I had seen this recipe and decided I’d love to jazz it up, ‘sam style.’
This is a basic cookie crust (crumbs & butter) but we’ll add ground hazelnuts to it to make for a crust that really stands out. Nutella lover? You’ll love this crust and rejoice when there’s extra crumbs on the plate waiting to be scraped up.
I think most of us agree that chocolate & cream cheese are a wonderful combination. Sometimes you’ll do this with cocoa (like in buttercreams) but here we’re using melted chocolate so the cake doesn’t dry out. In the recipe I mentioned above, the baker used only cream cheese but I always add sour cream to my cheesecakes so I swapped a block out for sour cream.
This filling isn’t as softly creamy as my usual cheesecakes when chilled (see: pistachio, apple cider, bars) and that is because of all the chocolate that’s added here which causes the pie to stiffen a bit. If it warms up though, it gets creamy again. I also, tbh, don’t think that this one particularly has to be creamy as there is something wonderful about the dense, but melts-in-your-mouth texture.
Here’s a few things you want to get right to get that perfect filling:
See those rustic crinkled edges? Pretty non-traditional for a cheesecake right? At some point last year, I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle to use a springform pan which I’d have to wrap super, super carefully in foil to prevent any water from seeping in from the water bath. Instead I’d do what I did with a flourless cake or basque cheesecake: use a cake pan and some parchment paper.
A water bath to bake cheesecakes is always recommended; it allows the cheesecake to bake very evenly without browning or cracking because the water surrounding the pan never gets too hot. But it can also be a very annoying process because you’ll have to wrap the springform pan well with foil to prevent any leakage. To get around this I use parchment paper and a cake pan. The sides aren’t perfectly straight, and instead are pleated in this lovely, rustic way. Also, the parchment protects the sides of the filling that are exposed to the pan from drying out. It’s a win win!
In a nutshell, I use this easy water bath hack:
Oreo crumbs: You need two cups of cookies for this crust, about 24 oreos should get you there (remove the filling). If you like, you can use another cookie like a graham or digestive.
Hazelnuts: You can use any nut you like but I think the hazelnut oreo combination is really amazing. If you want a nut-free version you can skip the nuts, and reduce the butter to 8 tablespoons (one stick, half a cup).
Cream cheese: In the US cream cheese is sold in blocks of 7 ounces each. As for brands, generic brands are usually a bit soft, so I prefer the firmness of Philadelphia.
Sour cream: Whole fat so you get more creaminess. You could substitute with labne or even a full fat greek yogurt though they will both be tangier.
Sweetened condensed milk: This is milk that has been cooked with sugar to the point of removing most of its water. No substitutes.
Dark chocolate: If you are using chips, make sure they are good quality. Most chocolate chips are made with added wax and sugars to keep them from melting. Preferably use a bar of good quality dark chocolate. I wouldn’t use milk here, there is milk and sugars coming from other ingredients.
Eggs: Eggs are a big part of the creaminess and structure of a cheesecake, no substitutes for the eggs unless you are making a no-bake cheesecake.
Flaky sea salt: This peppers the filling and adds so much dimension to the taste. Find the flaky sea salt usually sold by Maldon in the spice section of the store or on Amazon.
Yes, make it in a 6” cake pan.
Yep, just skip the hazelnuts.
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