S’mores Cheesecake

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When I was a little kid I remember sleeping over at my friends house.  We would stay up super super late and wake up super super early.  I’m not really sure why.  I guess we were just so excited about sleeping over we didn’t want to sleep! But during the sleepovers we would braid each others hair, watch movies (she had a HUGE television downstairs) and play boardgames.  And my favorite part of the night…when it would get dark out, we would go outside by her roasting pit and roast marshmallows for homemade s’mores.  There’s something about a s’more that is so comforting and so delectable.  Is it the perfect crunch and crisp texture of the honey-graham scented cracker?  Or is it the warm, slightly melted Hershey’s chocolate squares that leak out the sides and run down your fingers? (Giving you an excuse to lick them.)  No wait, it must be the roasted, toasted, caramelized taste of the slightly charred marshmallows. Yeah. That is what makes a s’more a s’more.  Any dessert can have the combo of chocolate, marshmallow, and graham crackers.  But a true s’more has the roasted and toasted marshmallow that has that perfect golden brown crust on the outside.

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When we would roast marshmallows over a real fire on vacation and various trips it was always so incredibly difficult to roast the perfect marshmallow.  Some wouldn’t want to take the risk of plunging their roasting skewer straight into the flame.  But they would end up with a pathetic, very pale looking blob on the end of their stick.  Those that risked it all, by diving marshmallow first into the fire, had a chance of getting burned (literally!). But, if they did it just right, they struck gold.

I could describe s’mores all day long.  But the real reason I dove into so much detail was to paint the perfect picture of what a true s’more is.  It is more than three ingredients.  It is the masterful way you combine and cook each ingredient.  And that is what I have done with this cheesecake.  The cheesecake filling is marshmallow-esque with the sweet and vanilla scented taste. But mini chocolate chips stud the actual filling.  To recreate the chocolate square on the base of the graham cracker, there is a chocolate ganache that covers the bottom of the cheesecake and creates a luscious creamy and chocolatey layer.  And because I use dark chocolate, the sweetness level doesn’t rise too high.  The star of the show is really the marshmallows on top.  I find that actual mini marshmallows opposed to fluff hold on and stick to the actual cheesecake better. Those babies get piled high atop a fully cooked cheesecake and get broiled to perfection in the hot oven. If you happen to have a blow torch, now would be the time to whip that out.  But if you are behind the times, like me, the broiler will work perfectly fine.  (It’s just not as cool.) I used an 8 inch spring form pan to get a really dramatic and tall cheesecake.  But a standard 9 or 10 inch spring form pan will work perfectly well. The cooking times will just have to be adjusted.

Garnishing the cheesecake is completely up to you.  I top it with a drizzle of that dark chocolate ganache that is underneath the filling and sprinkle some toasted graham cracker crust crumbles.  The look of this cheesecake is absolutely spectacular!  I don’t want to brag, but this would look very nice in that ostentatious looking case at a certain factory that has cheesecake in its name…

Cook Time: 45-75 minutes (depending on pan size)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Crust:

  • Two sleeves of graham crackers
  • 3/4 cup melted butter melted (can substitute for Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Dark Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate discs or chopped chocolate
  • 1/4-1/2 cup scalded milk or cream

Filling:

  • 2 8-oz blocks of cream cheese (can be low fat, not fat free)
  • 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Topping:

  • 1 cup mini marshmallows (or as many as it takes you to cover the entire cheesecake)
  • Extra dark chocolate ganache (optional), toasted graham cracker crust (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and spray a spring form pan with non stick cooking spray

2. In a ziplock bag smash the graham crackers until a fine meal (can be done in a food processor as well)

3. In a bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar and stir until well combined. Press into prepared spring form pan making sure the crust goes all the way up the sides.  Set aside the extra (if you have any extra)

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4. In a small measuring cup microwave the milk or cream on high for 1-2 minutes or until very hot and slightly bubbly. Pour hot milk or cream over chopped chocolate or discs in a small bowl. Let stand for 3 minutes.

5. Whisk the chocolate and milk/cream vigorously until a smooth and glossy ganache is achieved.

Pour the ganache until the entire base of the crust is covered in the ganache.  Set aside any leftover ganache. Refrigerate crust.

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6. In a large bowl or a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Add the sweetened condensed milk and beat again, scraping the sides down to ensure a uniform and smooth texture.

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7. Add the eggs one at a time and beat in between each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract and mini chocolate chips.

8. Pull the refrigerated crust out and pour the filling into the crust.

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9. Bake for 45-75 minutes or until the edges are fully set and the center jiggles slightly.

10. Set the oven to broil.

11. Spread an even layer of mini marshmallows over the top of the cheesecake and return it to the oven.  Watch it carefully and pull the cheesecake out once the marshmallows have toasted the desired amount.

12. Let cool in the oven with the oven door cracked for one hour.

13. Refrigerate over night.

14. When ready to serve, take the cheesecake out and drizzle some of the leftover ganache over the top using a fork in a back and forth motion.  Sprinkle some of the toasted graham cracker crust over the top.  Set in the fridge for five minutes for the topping to set.

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