Monday, January 3, 2011

Butterfinger Cheesecake

This year I took advantage of the day after Halloween candy sales and stocked up on a lot of candy, it is kept in the freezer to keep any temptations at bay.  I pulled out the first bag for New Year's Eve and made a butterfinger cheesecake, and oh yum.  I could live on cream cheese it is just heavenly.  It can be eaten anytime, day or night.  Throw a hunk on a plate pour on some chutney, jam or salsa and you have a wonderful snack, schemer some on a bagel add some lox and you get the best brunch, mix in some sugar and eggs and you get cheesecake, oh cream cheese you sweet, tangy, velvety goodness!  And don't even get me started on my love of butterfingers.

Anyway,  I decided to combine these two luscious treats for our New Year's eve dessert.  It was a great cake and a nice way to end 2010.  I didn't plan very well and made the cake late in the afternoon, so my cooking time conflicted with dinner prep.  I had to rush the amount of time it was in the oven and wound up with a sunken cake with a giant crack in the middle.   It wasn't pretty, but it still tasted good, probably because of all the candy I put on top.  There was a great deal of discussion on how to best incorporate the butterfinger,  but after much debate decided to go for the trifecta.  Medium sized pieces sprinkled on the bottom, finely chopped pieces mixed into the batter and some more medium chopped pieces sprinkled on top.  The pieces I put in the cake melted and left just a hint of flavor, while the pieces on top gave a nice crunch, which contrasted nicely with creaminess of the cake.

For the crust  I used a standard, ground Nabisco Chocolate Wafers mixed with a little melted butter.  I baked the crust for a few minutes and then while the crust was still hot I sprinkled some candy over the bottom.  There are thousands of  cheesecake recipes, but I like to keep it simple - cream cheese, sugar, and  eggs.  Sometimes I do add heavy cream or sour cream for an added creaminess or tang.  And if I'm adding a liquid flavoring, like a jam or liquor, I will add a little flour to help bind everything and give it support.  For the most part tho,  I like to keep the base as "pure" as possible so I can really get that yummy cream cheese taste and texture.

If you have never made a cheese cake or if it has been awhile go ahead and do it.  It is a nice light way to start the New Year (ha, ha, ha) and they are always well received.  Weather you make a sweet or savory cake there are a couple of things you want to keep in mind.  One, always bring your ingredients up to room temperature before you begin mixing everything together.  Cream cheese is best when it hasn't been over mixed and having things at temperature allows them to mix together easier.  You want it smooth and creamy, over beating it can make your cake tough and ugly.  Second, you need to give your cake time.  This is the one I usually forget - like I did on New Year's.  Cheesecakes need time they like to cook slowly and then cool slowly, and then they like to have a little time to rest before they meet their audience.  But because they like to  take their time getting prepared that means you get to take your time eating.  No need to rush, sit back and enjoy all that sweet creamy goodness.

Butterfinger Cheesecake
  2 c. crushed Chocolate Wafer Cookies
  4 Tbs. Butter, melted

  2 lbs. Regular Cream Cheese
  1 1/2 c. Sugar
  4 Eggs
  1 bag fun size Butterfinger Candy Bars finely chop half the bars and roughly chop remaining half

Preheat oven 325.  For the crust combine crushed cookies and butter.  Press into 9 or 10 inch springform pan.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with some of the finely chopped candy.  Cool.
Preheat oven 400.  In mixer combine cream cheese and sugar.  Mix until blended and smooth.  Scrape down bowl. Lightly whisk eggs together then add to cream cheese.  Beat until just combined, do not over mix.  Scrape down bowl and gently fold in remaining finely chopped candy.  Pour into crust lined pan.  Bake at 400 degree oven for 10 minutes; reduce temperature to 250 degrees and continue to bake 60 minutes or until just barely set, edges will look slightly dry and firm middle will move slightly.  Turn off the oven, leaving door slightly ajar, let cake cool in oven for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and let cool completely, then chill.   Just before serving top with melted chocolate and remaining roughly chopped candy bars.

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