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Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecakes

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Level: Easy

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Description

These cheesecakes are about as good as they come in so small a size. Consisting of four(!) different layers (double chocolate crust, a layer of ganache, peanut butter cheesecake, and topped with an espresso-infused ganache), this is a treat you won’t want to miss!

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CRUST:
  • 9 Chocolate Graham Cracker Sheets
  • 3 ounces, weight Chopped Bittersweet Chocolate (or Bittersweet Chocolate Chips)
  • 2 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
  • 4-½ Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
  • FOR THE GANACHE LAYER:
  • ½ cups Heavy Cream Or Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 8 ounces, weight Chopped Bittersweet Chocolate (or Bittersweet Chocolate Chips)
  • FOR THE CHEESECAKE LAYER:
  • 6 ounces, fluid Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
  • ½ cups Peanut Butter
  • 6 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
  • ⅓ cups Sour Cream
  • 2  Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • FOR THE GANACHE TOPPING:
  • ¾ cups Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips (or Bittersweet)
  • 2 teaspoons Espresso Powder Or Coffee Granules, Optional
  • ¼ cups Heavy Cream Or Heavy Whipping Cream

Preparation

For the crust:
Spray a 12-cup muffin tin lightly with baking spray (or line with paper liners) and set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, blend chocolate graham crackers, chopped chocolate, and brown sugar until ground into fine crumbs. Pour melted butter in a steady stream and continue to process until crumbs begin to stick together. You may need to scrape the bowl a couple of times to ensure that the butter gets thoroughly combined.

Place about 2 tablespoons of crust into each muffin cup. Using your fingers, press and spread crusts evenly over the bottom of each cup. Place in freezer while preparing ganache layer.

For the ganache layer:
Place cream in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Remove pan from heat and whisk in chopped chocolate until mixture is completely smooth.

Remove crusts from freezer and pour about 1 tablespoon ganache over each crust and spread. You will probably have some ganache left over; I will leave what becomes of it to your discretion (eating it with a spoon or dipping in graham crackers is totally allowed in my book).

Return to freezer to chill while making cheesecake layer, at least 15 minutes.

For the cheesecake layer:
Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a medium or large size mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer (or you can use a stand mixer, but I think the handheld might be better in this case), beat cream cheese, peanut butter, and granulated sugar until thoroughly combined and fluffy. Mix in sour cream and then the eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla and mix until smooth.

Remove crusts from freezer and divide cheesecake batter evenly between the crusts. Bake cheesecakes for 25 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch and tops appear dry. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for about 45 minutes then transfer to fridge. Allow to chill in fridge for at least 2 hours, but preferably 3 to 4 hours or more.

For the ganache topping:
Place chocolate chips and espresso powder or coffee granules in a small bowl. Heat cream in a small microwave safe dish or bowl or cup for about 30 seconds. Pour over chocolate chips and let sit for about 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth.

Run a small knife (a grapefruit knife works well, if you have one) around the edges of each cheesecake and transfer to a serving plate or platter. Top each cheesecake with ganache and gently spread, leaving some room on the sides. I would say use probably no more than 1 tablespoon of ganache on each cheesecake. (You may end up with a little extra ganache. I won’t judge if you use the rest of it on your own personal cheesecake.)

Place cheesecakes in fridge for about 30 minutes to allow ganache to set (alternatively, you can freeze for 15 minutes for speedier ganache setting). Keep in fridge until ready to serve.

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