When Paul was wasting time last week, looking at PeopleofWalMart.com, he found another website, owned by the same people, called DamnThatLooksGood.com. (Personally, I could think of about a thousand better names, but whatever.)
My brother calls such websites (and also Food Network) "food porn." I would have to agree. If you are trying to lose weight, don't click over to that website. You will gain 10 pounds just looking at the pictures. And then go eat gross leftover Christmas food, when what you're really craving is a huge hamburger smothered in cheese and sauteed onions on a toasted ciabatta bun.
So of course, Paul found something there that he wanted. Badly. Peanut Butter Brownie Bottom Cheesecake.
Like, he printed off the recipe, wouldn't stop talking about it, and was dropping totally un-subtle hints. I had tons of baking to do, so I told him it wasn't going to happen until after Christmas. And that was true - I had no intention of even attempting it, because for the first thing, I didn't even have the springform pan needed to make it in the first place.
Paul and I didn't get each other Christmas presents this year, because we bought concert tickets to see his (our) favorite violinist in February in Omaha. I kind of planned on getting him a little something, but couldn't think of anything, and ran out of time. So, on a trip to the store, I bought the ingredients for the cheesecake. My original plan was to wrap them up and have that be his gift. But then on Christmas Eve, I decided I'd just go ahead and make it. It wasn't completely finished by Christmas morning, but close enough.
This was quite possibly the richest, most decadent dessert I've ever eaten, and most definitely the richest I've ever cooked. I couldn't even finish one piece, and Paul requested I take the leftovers to my family gathering (he worked Christmas weekend) to try to get rid of them, because he wouldn't be able to eat more than one piece a day. He called it "the 12 days of Christmas."
Changes I made to the recipe:
- I baked the brownie crust 20-22 minutes (reduced from 25-30 min), to make it a little more fudge-y.
- I only used half the amount of chips on top of the crust, because my pan was too shallow - had I used the full 2 cups, I wouldn't have had room for the filling. I thought it tasted perfect this way. (As it was, I made two "tart" pans of filling-only cheesecakes.... This recipe really needs an extra-deep 5" springform pan.)
- I didn't set the springform pan in water. I didn't trust my old pan (borrowed from my sister) to not leak, so I set a 9x13 pan of water on the shelf below the shelf the cheesecake was on. Same principle: moist heat keeps the cheesecake from cracking. I don't really know what actually setting the pan in water would accomplish that my method didn't.
- Because I beat the filling too much (trying to get the cream cheese chunks out), the batter had too much air in it, and fluffed up during baking. The top also got pretty brown (presumably for the same reason), so I took it out at just over an hour, because it seemed to be set. It wasn't undone, but it could have been more done. (I read afterwards to mix on the lowest setting, and only until the ingredients are just mixed. Oops.)
- I only made a half recipe of the chocolate topping, because the recipe said it made so much. It was the perfect amount.
And even though my diet/excercise commitment started today, I had to have another piece. Before it went bad in the fridge, you know.