Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cheesecake

serves 12-16

For the Crust

2 cups finely crushed peanut butter-filled sandwich cookies (about 18 Nutter-Butters)

1/4 cup (2-ounces) unsalted butter, melted

Pinch of kosher salt

For the Filling

12 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 cup heavy whipping cream

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar

3 extra large eggs

Pinch of kosher salt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Garnish

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar

6-8 miniature peanut butter cups, cut in half

For the Crust

Preheat the oven to 350º F.  In a medium bowl, combine the crushed cookies, melted butter, and salt.  Press the mixture onto the bottom and about 1 1/2 inches up the sides of a 9-inch spring-form pan.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

For the Filling

In a small saucepan, cook the chocolate and cream over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.  Pour 1 1/2 cups of the chocolate mixture into the crust-lined pan, spreading evenly.  Place in the freezer for 20 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter with a hand-held mixer on medium-high speed until smooth.  Beat in the brown sugar.  Add the eggs and salt, beating just until combined.  Stir in the vanilla extract.  Pour the cream cheese mixture over the chocolate layer in the pan, spreading evenly.  Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until a 2 1/2-inch border around the outside edge appears set when gently shaken, about 45-55 minutes.  Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

Once cool, spread the remaining chocolate mixture (rewarm slightly in the microwave until spreadable if necessary) on top of the cheesecake.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.

For the Garnish

In a medium bowl using a wire whisk, beat the cream and sugar until soft peaks form.  Transfer the cream to a pastry bag fitted with a fluted tip.  Pipe 12-16 rosettes around the edge of the cheesecake.  Place a chocoalte-peanut butter cup half on top of each rosette.  Enjoy!

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