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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Blackberry Chocolate Cheesecake

That's right. Blackberry. Chocolate. Cheesecake. Yep; I went there.

Recently, we were headed to my mother-in-law's for her birthday. I volunteered to bring a cake, but I was in the mood for something other than your basic layer cake with frosting. Don't get me wrong; I could eat frosting by the spoonful. But a few weeks before, I had made these amazing six-layered cheesecake cupcakes and couldn't wait to try something similar.
Rainbow layers of cheesecake-goodness. Mmmmm...
I knew the birthday girl likes cheesecake and chocolate, and that her favorite color is purple. It seemed obvious to have a chocolate crust, a layer of chocolate cheesecake, and a layer of purple cheesecake. To add a little kick, blackberry preserves seemed like the right choice.

First, wrap your springform pan in aluminum foil, to protect it later in the water bath. Next is the  chocolate graham cracker crust which gets pressed into the bottom and sides of the pan. Then the blackberry preserves get heated in the microwave until liquified and easily spreadable on top of the crust. Stick the pan in the fridge at this point while preparing the remaining layers.
Next comes the creamy cheesecake filling.
Then the fun part! Divide the layers and start adding the mix-ins. I kept one white layer for the top, to cover up the surprises beneath. Two layers were dyed purple with food coloring, and the last layer was mixed with 2 ounces of melted chocolate.
Time to layer: spread the filling carefully, one layer at a time. Try to get all the way to the edges.
Keep layering. Then place the pan into a water bath and into the oven for 50 minutes.
After the 50 minutes are up, turn off the oven and open the door for one minute to cool a bit. Then close the door again and leave the cheesecake alone for one hour. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then refrigerate (loosely covered) for at least four hours. Run a thin knife around the edges to loosen the cake, unmold, and transfer to a serving plate.
Slice cheesecake with a thin non-serrated knife; wipe clean after each cut. If you have difficulty cutting, dip the knife in hot water before each cut. (Ugh! I can't believe this came out so blurry!)
Enjoy the deliciousness. Yum!

Blackberry Chocolate Cheesecake
Serves 12

Hands-on Time: 30 minutes
Baking Time: 50 minutes
Cooling/Chilling Time: 5 hours

30 chocolate graham cracker squares
1/2 c. unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into chunks
12 oz. seedless blackberry preserves
3 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese* (24 oz. total), softened
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. sour cream**
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Remove cream cheese packages from refrigerator and keep at room temperature to soften while preparing everything else. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a 9-inch springform pan by wrapping the bottom with aluminum foil. Have a roasting pan ready for the water bath; set aside.

2. In a food processor, pulse graham crackers until they are crumbs.
KIDS CAN HELP: Carefully put graham crackers into the food processor (keep it unplugged while the blade is exposed). Once closed, kids can push the button to turn on/off the food processor.

3. Melt butter in the microwave: 30 seconds, stir, 15 seconds, stir. Continue in 15-second intervals until melted. Pour into food processor with graham cracker crumbs; pulse until crumbs are moistened.
KIDS CAN HELP: Carefully pour the butter into the food processor, and push the pulse button once the food processor is closed.

4. Pour crumbs into prepared pan and use the smooth bottom of a glass to press down into the base and about one inch up the sides.
KIDS CAN HELP: Pour crumbs into pan.

5. Heat preserves in the microwave: 30 seconds, stir, 15 seconds, stir. Continue in 15-second intervals until liquified and spreadable. Pour into crust and carefully spread around to edges. Refrigerate while preparing cheesecake filling.

6. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat softened cream cheese on low for 2 minutes, until free of lumps. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat on low until combined.
KIDS CAN HELP: Dump cream cheese into bowl; pour eggs into bowl (TIP: For less mess, crack an egg into a cup and let the kids use the cup to pour the egg into the bowl.)

7. Add sugar, sour cream, and vanilla. Continue to beat 1-2 minutes until well combined but not over-beaten, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
KIDS CAN HELP: Add ingredients to the bowl.

8. Meanwhile, using a tea kettle or pot, start boiling water for the water bath.

9. Pour 3/4 of the cheesecake filling into a separate bowl, reserving 1/4 of the filling in original bowl [BOWL #1]. To the 3/4 of the filling, add 2 drops each of red and blue food coloring; mix until blended evenly.
KIDS CAN HELP: Stir the mixture until the color is even.

10. Pour 2/3 of the purple filling into another bowl, reserving 1/3 of the light purple [BOWL #2]. To the 2/3 of the filling, add 3 more drops each of red and blue; mix until evenly blended.
KIDS CAN HELP: Stir the mixture until the color is even.

11. Pour 1/2 of the dark purple into a separate bowl, reserving 1/2 as dark purple [BOWL #3]; the other 1/2 will become chocolate-dark purple filling [BOWL #4]. In a separate microwave-safe container melt chocolate chips in the microwave: 30 seconds, stir, 15 seconds, stir. Continue in 15-second intervals until melted. Temper the chocolate by adding a few spoonfuls of dark purple cheesecake filling from Bowl #4 into the chocolate. Stir and then pour this mixture into Bowl #4; stir to mix evenly.
KIDS CAN HELP: Measure chocolate chips into microwave-safe container. Kids can also stir the chocolate-cheesecake mixture until fully combined.

12. Remove pan from refrigerator; carefully spread contents of Bowl #4 (chocolate-dark purple) evenly over the blackberry layer, spreading to the edges. Next, carefully spread contents of Bowl #3 (dark purple) evenly over the chocolate layer, spreading to the edges. Then carefully spread contents of Bowl #2 (light purple) evenly over the dark purple layer, spreading to the edges. Lastly, carefully spread contents of Bowl #1 (white) evenly over the light purple, spreading to the edges.

13. Place filled springform pan inside a larger baking pan or roasting pan. Carefully pour boiling water into baking pan until halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake 50 minutes. Do not over bake; the cheesecake will still jiggle but will firm when chilled.
KIDS CAN HELP: Set the timer.

14. Turn off oven and leave door open for one minute to cool slightly. Close over door and let cheesecake rest for one hour.

15. Remove cheesecake from oven and from water bath. Let cool 30 minutes on wire rack. Loosely cover and refrigerate at least four hours.

16. Run a thin knife around edges to loosen from sides; unmold and transfer to a serving plate. Slice cheesecake with a thin non-serrated knife, wiping after each cut. If it is difficult to slice, dip knife into hot water and wipe dry before each slice. Enjoy!

* TIP: I used 1 package of fat free cream cheese and 2 packages of reduced fat cream cheese.
** TIP: I used reduced fat sour cream. Using all fat-free dairy products will affect the texture of the cheesecake filling; I recommend reduced fat instead.

This is such a delicious dessert, I hope you have a reason to celebrate soon! Be sure to Post a Comment if you make Blackberry Chocolate Cheesecake and let us know how you like it. As always, thanks for reading.

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