Monday, October 20, 2008

Birthday Cheesecake

About 6, maybe 8, months ago I was testing cheesecake recipes for a wedding and my boys were really bummed that they couldn't eat the cheesecake.  I would have been upset, too. 

A peanut butter cheesecake with a pretzel crust?  It's like heaven.  So they made me promise that for their 9th birthday I'd make them a peanut buttter cheesecake.  And I totally forgot.

So last week when I asked what kind of cake they wanted for their birthday, they both immediately responded that they wanted "that different kind of cake that has peanut butter that they didn't get to eat last time I made it".  My suggestion: let's add a layer of chocolate!

Of course, promptly after suggesting this idea I realized that it was not a new one- Lori from Quirky Cupcake make a cheesecake like this just last month that looked incredible.  It must have been lurking in the back of my mind.  But this one will be vegan and I'm pretty partial to my recipe.

First the crust:
2 cups of pretzel crumbs (if you can find gluten free pretzels, then everyone can eat it!)
1/2 tsp salt (reduce if PB is salted)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. canola oil
3 Tbsp. peanut butter

I usually start with a clean food processor and make the pretzel crumbs by whizzing the pretzels in there for a while.  Then I add the remaining crust ingredients right in there and pulse until it starts to clump together slightly.  The little bit of PB with the pretzels tastes like a Butterfinger bar.  Don't leave it out!

Press the crust into the bottom of a springform or tart pan.  Mine is a 10" size and this is plenty of crust.  
Then make the chocolate layer:
In a double boiler-type set up, melt 1 cup of chocolate chips and 3 Tbsp non-dairy milk together, stirring frequently.  Then pour over crust and smooth evenly.
For the cheesecake:

12 oz. silken tofu
2 x 8 oz packages non-dairy cream cheese
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup peanut butter

Preheat oven to 250F.  You'll need to clean out that food processor for this part.  Whiz together the tofu and cream cheese until completely smooth.  Really, don't settle for ANY lumps!  Add sugar, vanilla, and peanut butter and process until fully incorporated.  I think this is plenty sweet, but feel free to add a little more sugar if you want.

Pour cheesecake batter over the chocolate-covered crust and smooth with a spatula.  I like to place my cheesecake pan on a baking sheet to make it easier to handle.  Then put the pans in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.  The cheesecake should be moderately firm when it is done.  It will still juggle slightly if you shake it, but it should be definitely solid.  Chill completely before serving.  Really.  Like overnight.

And now I'm not even going to post the inside shot becaust it turned out really blurry and bad.  But you can imagine it, right?  And, yeah, it's as good as you imagine.


Lily Girl said...

That sounds amazing. I think I just found the cake for my boyfriend's next birthday. Thanks for sharing, and happy birthday to your boys!

jessy said...

happy birthday to the boys! yay! that's too awesome that you made them scrumptious cheesecake per their request. w00t!

thanks for the recipe, Liz. i have seen other cheesecakes before but i've been really intimidated by them - yours looks awesome and you break it down and make it look so easy! i might just have to give it a shot one day. hooray! and thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic! Not only does this sound amazing, but it actually seems quite easy to make. I've got a birthday coming up, maybe I'll make this for myself! ;-)

Al said...

Dear readers,

As one who has tried Liz's peanut butter pretzel cheesecake (sans chocolate), let me tell you that you imagination will not do it justice. It's not as good as you can imagine. It's better. It's like dream-state cheesecake good. It's so good, that you will not have words to describe it once you've tasted it. Your eyes will just roll back in your skull and you will utter a moan that will make you blush if amongst mixed company.

If I didn't make peanut butter chocolate balls last night, I'd totally be making this today.

Liz, I can't believe you're giving this recipe out. I swear, it's like the key to the universe. It's the meaning of life. Thank you for being so generous.

Lisa -- Cravin' Veggies said...

Tomorrow is MY birthday and I am making this for myself TONIGHT!!!

TY for the recipe!

Erin said...

The cheese cake looks amazing, thanks for the recipe! Glad the boys got what they wanted.

aTxVegn said...

Happy birthday to the boys. They will love their cheesecake!

allularpunk said...

my friend, this sounds like the most awesome and easy cheesecake recipe i have ever seen. i must must must try this!

Sanja said...

O gosh, that looks scrumptious!

Liz said...

Thanks everyone- Especially Al! If I ever get around to writing a cookbook, I'll have you write all the reviews.
I did find that the crust fell apart a bit when slicing, so you might try adding more peanut butter into the crust. I'm also going to try adding the melted chocolate directly to the pretzel crumbs for a solid chocolate/pretzel crust.

Lisa -- Cravin' Veggies said...

Liz- I finally made this last night (and had it for breakfast this morning...) and it is AMAZING! Seriously delicious. Thanks for the recipe. It's definitely a keeper!!

Al said...

Just made this yesterday and hot damn! Sooooooo good, as I already knew it was.

I agree with you on the crust, but I wonder if whatever is done to make it bind better would cause it to lose some of it's charm? I mean, the taste is perfect and I'd be afraid to toy with it. Anyway, I'm subscribed to the comments here, so if you ever figure out a solution let us know!

And Anna gave me an idea this morning when she saw the cheesecake in the fridge. She asked what it was and I told her. She then said, "Daddy make pumpkin..." and trailed off. And I thought, holy crap! I could throw a can of pumpkin pie mix in there! I might experiment with it. I'm thinking maybe some of the cream cheese would have to be taken out of the ingredients? I'm concerned it wouldn't hold together or firm up enough.

So, ideas? On how to convert this perfect peanut butter pretzel cheesecake recipe into a perfect pumpkin cheesecake recipe? Would pumpkin and salt even go good together, I wonder? Am I delusional?

Celia Marie (W.) B. said...

Thanks for the crust recipe. Just used it on a marbled nutella cheesecake. I only used the 1/4 c. oil and left out the last 2 TBsp. and it worked out just fine. It was delicious.