1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, for preparing pan
Chocolate Cookie Crust:
18 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (such as Oreo cookies,) crushed to make about 1½ cups crumbs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, room temperature
Tip: See Melting Chocolate – How to Melt Chocolate
6 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
¾ cup whipping (heavy) cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Chocolate Shard Garnish:
About 2 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate
About 2 ounces white chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare one 9 inch round cheesecake pan or springform pan with 3-inch sides; use a pastry brush to lightly butter the pan with about 1 tablespoon of melted butter.
Chocolate Cookie Crust:
- Crush or grind the whole cookies, including the cream filling, to make crumbs. Tip: place whole cookies in a food processor or small grinder. Add melted butter; stir until thoroughly mixed and mixture is crumbly.
- Pour the cookie crumb mixture into the springform pan. Using the back of a large spoon or the flat bottom of a measuring cup or drinking glass, press the crumb mixture firmly and evenly across the bottom of the pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet; bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire cooling rack to cool.
- When cooled, wrap bottom and sides of pan in a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil to prepare for the bain marie water bath. The foil is to prevent any water from seeping into the cheesecake through the pan seams.
- Reduce oven to 325 degrees F.
- In top of a double boiler over hot water, melt the semisweet chocolate. Or, place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, use 50% power and stir frequently just until the chocolate is melted; do not overheat as chocolate will burn easily. Set aside to cool slightly. Tip: Create a double boiler by filling a saucepan with 2 inches of water and bringing it to a simmer. Turn the heat off and place a stainless steel, ceramic, or glass bowl on top of the hot water, the upper pan should not touch the water.
- In a large bowl, add the cream cheese and sugar; mix on medium low speed with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly and there are no lumps.
- Add the vanilla and flour; beat until mixed. Add the melted chocolate; continue beating on medium low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.
- Add the eggs 2 at a time, beating until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute, scraping the bowl between additions. Tip: crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk with a fork to thoroughly break up the egg before adding to the cheese mixture.
Tip: Do not overbeat the cheesecake batter. Blend the ingredients quickly to add as few air bubbles as possible. The ingredients must be well blended, but excessive beating creates too many air pockets which can cause the cheesecake to puff up too much during baking, and then crack during the cooling process.
- Let the filling rest about 5 minutes to allow air bubbles to rise to the surface.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil to use for the bain marie water bath.
- Pour the cheesecake filling into the cookie crust.
- Set the foil wrapped springform pan in a larger pan or roasting pan and transfer to the oven. Carefully pour boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan, and close the oven door. Bake 60 to 70 minutes.
Tip: The Cheesecake is done when the edges are set but the center 2 to 3 inches are still a pool of liquid batter. The cake should look as though it has puffed a little and just barely beginning to brown. The center will still be soft and jiggly when the pan is lightly jarred or tapped with a spoon.
- Remove from oven, place springform pan on a wire cooling rack to cool. Immediately run a thin knife around the edge of the pan, gently pressing into the side of the pan to avoid gouging the cake. This allows the cake to contract away from the sides of the pan as it cools, helping to prevent cracks.
- When cheesecake is completely cooled, cover the pan and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours before serving. Try to avoid having the covering touch the top of the cheesecake as this may mar the surface.
- In a medium heavy-bottom pan, combine the chocolate, whipping cream, and sugar. Heat and stir over low heat until chocolate is melted and topping is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool about 20 minutes or until starting to cool and thicken.
- Pour over center of cheesecake; use a small offset spatula to spread the chocolate to the edges, letting some of the topping drip down the sides of the cheesecake.
- Refrigerate the cheesecake until the topping is set, 20 to 30 minutes.
Chocolate Shard Garnish:
- In top of a double boiler over hot water, melt the semisweet chocolate. Spread the melted chocolate in a thin layer on a cool flat surface such as a marble slab or wooden board. Work quickly so the chocolate can be spread evenly before it begins to set.
- In top of a double boiler over hot water, melt the white chocolate. Spread melted white chocolate over the semisweet chocolate and spread with a spatula.
- When the chocolate is set but not hard, hold a wide spatula at a slight angle to the chocolate and push along the top of the chocolate for 1 to 2 inches to form a thin roll of chocolate or shards. Don’t worry if they don’t curl. The broken shavings look just as nice on top of the cake.
- When ready to serve, decorate with chocolate curls or shards. Refrigerate leftovers.