Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake

This is not only scrumptious, it is gorgeous! It may become your new favorite Christmas dessert.

Ingredients:

Crust:

2 cups classic Oreo cookie crumbs (about 2/3 of a 20 ounce package)

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons salted butter, melted

FOR THE CHEESECAKE FILLING

1 cup white chocolate chips, melted and cooled

24 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons peppermint extract

4 eggs

1 cup sour cream

Optional: 1/4 teaspoon gel based red food coloring

For the ganache:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

4 regular-sized (1.4 ounces) York Peppermint patties, coarsely chopped

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Instructions:

For the crust:

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. Or, melt it in a mixing bowl by microwaving it in 30 second increments, stirring between each time until smooth. Set aside.

Place Oreo cookies in food processor and process until fine crumbs. Add in sugar and melted butter and pulse until mixture is fully combined. Reserve 1 cup of cookie crumb mixture. Press the remaining crust mixture into the prepared springform pan, coming up the sides of the pan about halfway.

For the filling, use a hand mixer to beat melted, slightly cooled white chocolate with the sugar, cream cheese, and flour until smooth. Add in peppermint extract. Add in one egg at a time, stirring gently by hand until fully incorporated. Fold in sour cream.  Then add food coloring, if desired. Pour half of the filling mixture into the prepared pie crust. Sprinkle the reserved 1 cup of cookie crumbs over the cheesecake filling. Top with remaining cheesecake filling and spread to smooth out.

Wrap the pan in aluminum foil on the bottom and up the sides to prevent leaking. Place a small oven proof bowl, such as a custard cup, filled with water in the oven next to the cheesecake.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or a bit longer until the center is set. The cheesecake should no longer be shiny across the top but will still jiggle a little. Turn off the oven, leaving the door closed for an hour and a half. Remove from the oven and allow to coll for 30 minutes on the counter. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours before adding ganache.

For the ganache, combine chocolate chips and chopped peppermints in a small mixing bowl.

Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Pour cream over the chocolate and place a plate over the bowl to trap the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk chocolate/cream mixture until it is fully smooth and a thick glossy chocolate. Allow ganache to cool and thicken for about 15 minutes. Then, pour it over the top of the chilled cheesecake.

Use a spatula to spread it over the entire top. Serve immediately or return cheesecake to the refrigerator to chill until serving.

*Photo by Isabella and Zsa Fischer on Unsplash

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