Tuesday 20 December 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas Goodies ~ Day 8: White Chocolate Candy Cane Cheesecake

I made this cheesecake for a big family Christmas Eve dinner last year and it was amazing! The combination of flavors is succulent and refreshing and the candy cane texture is a fun and festive addition. My guests adored it and there was not even a sliver left over. I will definitely be making this one again and again. And an added bonus? It needs to be made a day in advance, freeing up your time on the day of to focus on the rest of the meal. Simply pull it out of the fridge 20 minutes prior to serving for best results.

8 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped, or 1-1/3 cups white baking pieces
2 cups finely crushed graham crackers
½ cup butter, melted
2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 3 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 8 ounce carton mascarpone cheese
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
3 eggs
¾ cup finely crushed hard peppermint candies (such as candy canes or striped round peppermint candies)
2 ounces white baking chocolate, or 1/3 cup white baking pieces
Crushed hard peppermint candies

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a heavy small saucepan, heat and stir 8 ounces white chocolate over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat; set aside. For crust, in a medium bowl, stir together graham crackers and melted butter until combined. Press crumb mixture firmly onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (do not go up the sides of pan.) Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool on a wire rack.

For filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar, and salt with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Beat in melted chocolate and peppermint extract until smooth and combined, scraping bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Stir in 3/4 cup candy. Pour filling into crust-lined pan. Place pan in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a 2-1/2-inch area around the outside edge appears set when gently shaken. The middle will appear not cooked, but it is. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a sharp small knife, loosen cake from pan; cool for 30 minutes more. Remove sides of pan and cool completely. Cover cheesecake with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight.

To serve, cut cheesecake into wedges using a sharp knife dipped in warm water. In a heavy small saucepan, melt 2 ounces white chocolate over low heat. Spoon melted chocolate over cheesecake slices. Sprinkle top with additional candy. To store any remaining cheesecake, cover and chill in refrigerator up to 2 days. Makes 12 servings.

Nutritional Information (per slice) Calories 629, Fat 43g, Carbohydrates 54g, Cholesterol 151mg, Sodium 400mg, Protein 11g.

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