Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
For the Brownie Crust
6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted + Extra for greasing
1-¼ cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
2 whole Eggs
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons Flour
â…“ cups Unsweetened Cocoa
½ teaspoons Baking Powder
½ teaspoons Salt
1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup Peanut Butter Chips
6 whole Peanut Butter Cups, Cut Into Quarters
For the Cheesecake Filling
2 pounds Cream Cheese, Softened
5 whole Eggs, Room Temperature
1-½ cup Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
1 cup Smooth Peanut Butter
½ cups Whipping Cream
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
For the Decoration
1/4 cups Whipping Cream
1/2 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Peanut Butter Chips
7 Peanut Butter Cups, Cut In Half
For the Brownie Crust:
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a deep 9-inch Springform pan with extra butter. (We use this one from Wilton. It is 9" diameter and nearly 3" tall. If you use one any smaller, you'll need to reduce the cheesecake filling or it will overflow! It's a tight fit to begin with...ours barely fit!)
Stir together butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with spoon or wire whisk. Add eggs; stir until well blended. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; blend well. Spread in prepared pan.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until brownie begins to pull away from side of pan. Meanwhile make cheesecake layer (see step #1 below).
Immediately after removing brownie from oven, sprinkle milk chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and peanut butter cups over brownie surface. Spoon cheesecake mixture over chips. Turn down oven 325° and continue with cheesecake filling step #2 below.
For the Cheesecake Filling:
Beat cream cheese in bowl of electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sugar, peanut butter and cream; mix until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour filling into prepared crust.
Double-wrap Springform pan with aluminum foil to prevent water seeping in. Place Springform pan into a larger baking pan. Pour hot water into the larger pan so that the water comes 1 inch up the sides of the Springform pan.
Bake at 325 degrees 1-1/2 hours, or until firm and lightly browned.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for one hour. Run a knife along the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan somewhat. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before decorating. I tend to make cheesecakes a day ahead to let things set.
Remove cake from pan and put on a pretty plate.
Chris' Cheesecake tip: to get the cake off you just need to heat up the bottom of the pan a bit and the cake should come off easily. I remove the sides, then hold the pan over a burner on my stove â€“ set to LOW â€“ for about 15 or so seconds. Then run a long cake spatula under the cake and it should slip easily off the pan. Just be careful â€“ the bottom of the cake is now very slippery.
For the Decoration:
Bring whipping cream to boil in a small saucepan.
Remove from heat and add semi-sweet and peanut butter chips. Stir, stir, stir until melted and smooth.
Drizzle over cake and then add peanut butter cup halves around the edge of the cake.
Chris' Decoration tip: I dipped the cut edge of the peanut butter cups into the ganache before placing it on the cake. This served as a sort of "glue" to hold the decorations in place!