Monday, December 24, 2012

Peppermint Bark Cheesecake

6 TBS butter, softened
1 c. flour
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. cocoa powder

4 - 8oz packages of Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
1 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. flour
2 TBS cold whipping cream
2 tsp pure vanilla
4 large eggs
4 oz. good quality white chocolate pieces, melted

1/2 c. 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli)
1/4 c. heavy whipping cream
4 oz. (1/2 bar) Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark, broken into pieces

Preheat oven to 325. Place one rack on bottom level, one in center. Lightly butter a 9-in. springform pan. Place on a double thickness square of heavy-duty foil. Securely wrap foil around bottom & sides (about 1/4 inch up) of pan.

In a small mixing bowl, soften butter (do NOT melt); add the flour, sugar and cocoa; mix on medium speed until crumbly. Gently press onto the bottom of prepared springform pan. Bake in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven & set to cool slightly on wire rack.

Pour water into an 8-inch metal pie pan until half full. Place on bottom rack of oven after baked crust is removed. (This will keep the cheesecake from cracking when it bakes.)

Place white chocolate pieces in small micro-proof bowl & heat in microwave until smooth. Set aside to cool.

In a large electric mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugars on medium speed until smooth & creamy. Add flour, whipping cream & vanilla; beat until well combined & smooth. Add eggs one at a time; beating on low speed of mixer until well blended. Add melted white chocolate & blend on low just until incorporated.

Gently pour cheesecake batter over warm crust. Place springform pan on center rack of oven. Bake at 325° for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until center is just set and top appears evenly dull. The top of the cheesecake should be at an even height & turning just lightly golden around the edges.

Remove cheesecake from oven & set on a wire rack to cool. Loosen sides from pan with a sharp knife; cool 1-1/2 hours.

In 2 c. glass measuring cup, heat 1/4 c whipping cream until very hot but not boiling. Quickly stir in 1/2 c bittersweet chocolate chips. Continue stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool, stirring occasionally to keep smooth. When measuring cup is warm to the touch (no longer hot), spread ganache evenly over the top of the cheesecake. Sprinkle evenly with broken Peppermint Bark pieces. Refrigerate several hours or overnight until cheesecake is well chilled. Carefully remove sides of springform pan to serve.