like I said, my Thanksgiving job was a vegetable, and a dessert. So, when it came time to decide on a dessert, I went to an old standard. It's my sisters favorite thing that I make; they always ask for it whenever we are in town together, and they would request me to bring it to dinner parties to dazzle our friends. Well it is a dazzler.
It's my Champion Chocolate Orange Cheesecake! If you enjoy the chocolate orange combination, then this is cheesecake for you.
A quick note before I give you the recipe. Make this the day before you have to go somewhere. It takes about five hours in the fridge after baking for an hour, and sitting out for half an hour. You don't want to rush any of this.
- 1.5 cups chocolate graham crumbs (I use annie's chocolate bunnies)
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 4 boxes Philadelphia cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 16 oz. container sour cream
- 4 eggs
- zest of 4 large oranges (separated 3 to 1)
- 1.5 cups dark chocolate chunks or chips
Using the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan as a template, trace the circle onto a piece of parchment paper, and cut it out. I fit strips of parchment paper around the sides of the pan that extend past the top of the pan, for none stick protection, and! your cheescake will rise, and this will protect it! Place circle in the bottom of the pan and close it.
In a small mixing bowl combine chocolate crumbs with melted butter. Once fully incorporated, put half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. With the bottom of a measuring cup, press the crumbs flat on the bottom of the pan. Add more if you need it to cover the bottom, and save the rest. Don't press the crumbs on the sides.
In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese and sugar until fully combined. Add vanilla, mix again until fully incorporated (beat about two minutes). Now add the sour cream a little at a time, until completely blended. Then add each egg one at a time, making sure each one is mixed in before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure you haven't missed any rogue bits of cream cheese. Once everything is combined, add zest of 3 oranges, and beat for about 3 minutes.
In a microwave safe bowl, microwave chocolate for 2 minutes. When it comes out, it might appear that it isn't all melted. Do not stick it back in the microwave. Just stir it up, and they will quickly all melt. Add remaining zest to the chocolate. Let it sit for a couple of minutes so that it can cool down.
Add about a 1/4 of a cup of the cheesecake mixture to the chocolate. Stir quickly. This is to tempur the chocolate and the cheesecake, making their temperatures more even, so your eggs won't curdle. Add another 2 cups of cheesecake to the chocolate, stir until combined.
This is the part where you get to choose. Do you make the whole cheesecake chocolate? or do you marble it? If you want the whole thing chocolate, then pour the chocolate mixture into the large mixing bowl with everything else and beat until combined. If you don't, however, then keep them separate and marble them before baking.
preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Put down 3 or 4 dollops of the chocolate mixture into the bottom of the spring form pan. Then pour some of the plain mixture over it. With a skewer, pull gently through the mixture for desired appearance. Repeat this process until the pan is 3/4 full. I usually put some foil around the bottom of the pan, just to protect it, in case it should leak.
put it in the oven, and bake for 45 -80 minutes depending on your altitude. After 45 minutes, check on it every 15 minutes. The top will be golden brown, and when you move the pan, most of the jiggle should be gone and the center set.
When it is down, pull it out and leave it alone! It will have risen mightily and will proceed to deflate. Just let it do its thing. After 30 minutes to an hour. You can carefully remove the outer ring, keeping the paper intact. Place in the fridge, for at least 5 hours or over night.
Dazzle and charm your friends!