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Could cheesecake get much sweeter?
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Fold a 16″ long piece of foil into an 8″x16″ strip and place in an 8″ square baking pan, leaving overhang on 2 sides. Repeat with another sheet of foil placing it in the opposite direction so that you are lining the pan completely. Spray bottom of foil lightly with nonstick spray and set aside.
For the crust:
In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, cocoa powder, espresso powder, sugar, and salt. Add the melted butter and stir to completely combine. Press firmly and evenly into the prepared pan. Place pan in freezer to chill.
For the filling:
In a small bowl, gently melt the white chocolate in the microwave, taking care to not let it scorch. Just heat it for 30 seconds at a time, stir in between each additional 30 second increment and stop once it’s almost smooth. Set aside to cool completely.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs and sugar and beat on medium speed until just combined. Add the cooled white chocolate (you can place in the refrigerator for a bit if it’s still warm) and vanilla, and beat again. Spread mixture evenly over the cooled crust and tap the pan gently on the counter to settle it in.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until cheesecake wobbles just slightly through the center, and the edges are just a bit golden. The edges will puff up when baking, and then settle back down once cooled. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
For the strawberry glaze:
Put the jam into a bowl. Briskly stir the jam until it is very smooth. Then spread evenly onto the top of the cheesecake. There will be a small raised edge of cheesecake filling around the pan sides, which will get cut off if you want to achieve the perfect red tops on the squares. Don’t spread jam onto the raised cheesecake edges.
Place pan in refrigerator to cool completely, 4 hours or overnight.
Once set, carefully remove the cheesecake from the pan by pulling up on the foil lining. Cut off the raised edges (eat them and enjoy!) and then slice the cake into squares, in your desired size. I cut mine into 25 squares. To get clean cuts, dip your knife into a warm glass of water and then wipe knife clean after each cut.
For the white hearts:
In a small bowl or cup, stir together the powdered sugar and milk. You want it to be pretty thick. Place in pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip. I used a Wilton #2 tip. Pipe a heart shape onto the center of each cheesecake square. Once this white frosting has been piped onto the jam, it can be coaxed with a toothpick to perfect the heart shape.
Note: The little hearts, admittedly, take a little patience. But they are fun. And the cuteness factor is huge. But, if you’re not up for that sort of thing, you could easily top each cheesecake square with a candy heart or a random drizzling of frosting. Or just leave them unadorned, all red and shiny and gorgeous.
Store refrigerated. Can be prepared the day prior to serving.
Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!