Heavenly Kahlúa Cheesecake

Need I say more about a cheesecake?  It’s so wonderfully decadent it feels sinful to eat.  Yet, the name is heavenly so it’s got to be ok, right?  Herein lies three different layers of yum.  You’ve got the sweet chocolaty graham cracker crust (yum) which is crunchy to contrast the smooth silky cream cheese filling (yum) with a hint of coffee bitterness.  Top it off with a slight sourness of the sour cream topping (yum) to cut the sweetness of the bottom two layers.  I’m salivating as I type this.  Permission to wipe off the drool off my laptop. *wipe* *gets second towel* *wipe*

Ingredients: (halved from original recipe for my mini pans)
Crust:

5/8 cup crushed graham crackers
1/8 cup sugar
1/8 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/6 cup butter or margarine, melted

Filling:
1 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/8 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1 large egg
1/8 cup coffee, brewed
1/4 cup Kahlúa
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:
1/2 cup (4-ounces) sour cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
milk chocolate candy bars, grated

Most the ingredients.  I use a lot of brand name ingredients.  The Magic Bullet in the back is my “food processor”.  Start by preheating your oven to 325°F (160°C)

Making the crust:

I’m using my mini spring form pans to create this cheesecake so I can give them to people.  In the pans, I put parchment paper at the base so it would be easier to remove the cake from the pan.

Melt the butter and crush the graham crackers.  Save money by buying whole crackers and crush them yourselves.  Observed in my grocer is a box of graham cracker crumbs: 4.67 USD, whole graham crackers same net weight: 2.25 USD.  Run it through a food processor at home, or in my case, the Magic Bullet!

Combine, the sugar, cocoa powder, butter, and cracker crumbs.

Mix well until it looks like this.  All the cocoa is distributed.  Tip: Save time? Buy chocolate graham crackers and omit the sugar and cocoa powder.  But I like the taste of the Ghirardelli chocolate in the crust.

Evenly distribute the crumb crust and gently press into the pans.  Put it in the oven for 5 minutes, remove and let cool on a wire rack.  Raise the oven’s temperature to 375°F (190°C).

Cheesecake Filling (works best if you a stand mixer)

In a separate bowl, cream the room temperature cream cheese with a beater until smooth.

While the beater is still beating, slowly pour the sugar into the cream cheese.

When the sugar is well distributed, the mixture becomes extra smooth and creamy.

Add more of the cocoa powder and beat the powder in.

Make sure no white color is showing

Beat in the coffee, the Kahlúa, egg, and vanilla until smooth and creamy.  Pour the batter on top of the cooled crust and bake for a second time in the oven for 30 minutes.  It’s done when a toothpick comes out clean.  Place the pans on the wire rack again.  Raise the temperature of the oven one last time to 425°F (220°C).

Sour cream layer:

While the cheesecake is cooling, we’ll start making the third layer, the sour cream topping.  In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, vanilla and sugar.  Once all the sugar has dissolved, top the cheesecake in the pans.  Put it in the oven one more time for 8 minutes.  Remove and place on the wire rack and cool until room temperature.  This was about 1 hour in my home.  But could be quicker if placed under a fan.

Once it has cooled, wrap up the pans and place in the refrigerator over night.  It is REALLY important to cool it down completely before wrapping them up in foil because the steam from the warm cake will condense under the foil and drip back down onto the cheesecake.  The water will break down the sour cream topping and thus ruining your cake.

Finishing up:

After being in the refrigerator overnight, bring out the pans to put on some final touches.  Before removing the spring form pan, run, your knife between the cake and the pan.  This prevents the edges from sticking.  Grate some milk chocolate over the cake for a nice garish.  When slicing the cake, make sure you have a HOT or WARM knife.  I run my knife under hot water from the sink, wipe off the liquid with a paper towel and slice down into the cake.  To make another slice, run it through the water steps again.  It makes clean cuts without the cheesy filling transferring to the topping and making it ugly.

Serve cold and enjoy! Yum yum yum!

Original Recipe: http://cooksrecipes.com/dessert/heavenly_kahlua_cheesecake_recipe.html

Notes:
— Halving the recipe was hard since there is no 1/6 cup nor 3/8 cup.  I just eyeballed it since I make this recipe so many times.  But here is a trick I learned a while ago with measuring cups.  If you hold the cup at 45 degrees, have the thing you are measuring touch the inner edge while just barely touching the outer edge, you’ll get half that cup’s measurement.  Don’t believe me?  Try it out with a ½ cup and ¼ cup ☺.
— Of course you don’t have to use the brands in the picture.  It just so happens that I like these tastes.
— Also, it’s safe to use the 1/3 less fat cream cheese and low fat sour cream if you want to save on calories and fat.  The texture and the taste are the same as regular.  I’d advise against using nonfat items, however.  Some things need a little fat to stay true to form.
— Even though it has coffee liqueur, I think it’s ok to serve it to kids.  A good amount of alcohol burns off in the oven and my nephew and niece haven’t become impaired after consuming.
— Looks like a lot of steps, but it’s not that bad.  Read the original recipe and it’s really only 7 steps. ☺

– Max

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