Do you dream in chocolate? If you do, good for you. I happen to dream in chocolate, caramel and cheesecake. Smooth, velvety cheesecake. I can't think of anything better as a sweet treat for DH and I during Valentine's week.
Before I get to that though, have you noticed how every talk show this week is featuring these "surprise proposals"? It's annoying and endearing at the same time. Annoying because this kind of thing always looks a little fake to me, especially when the guy delivers his lines in that rehearsed, monotonous voice. It would probably be better if they did it off-camera. But it's still endearing because the woman always (repeat, always) bursts into genuine tears of joy. Or is she upset that he got an ugly ring and now she's stuck with it?! Can't even say "no" because she's on TV! Hmmm, you men are pretty crafty.
The funniest proposals are the ones where the guy sneaks the ring into her food, and she literally has to spit it out. Oh that's romantic. Mush-and-saliva-covered jewellery is so attractive. I know it would be a real problem if DH had proposed to me that way. Especially if he had hidden the ring in a slice of this Red Velvet Cheesecake (with an Oreo crust no less!). The way I dig into this thing, there is no way I'd even know there was a ring inside. Only the X-ray would show me, once I got rushed to the hospital. Then of course, there's the morning after ... ugh, this train of thought is going down a terrible road. Best to stop now!
Back to this cheesecake. My hat's off to Peabody for inspiring me to finally make this. That woman is a master with all things baked. Her photographs and recipes are designed to knock you off any ridiculous diet you may be on (so diabetics, beware!). Annie over at Annie Eats also made this cheesecake, and for this version I used her clever switcheroos in the ingredients - that Oreo crust is genius.
Luxurious Red Velvet Cheesecake (adapted from the blog Culinary Concoctions by Peabody and Annie Eats)
For the Crust:
1 ½ cups Oreo cookie crumbs
¼ cup butter, melted
1 TBSP granulated sugar
For the Filling:
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 TBSP unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup sour cream
½ cup whole buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
2 (1 oz) bottles red food coloring
For the Topping:
4oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tbsp butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
Planting soil? Nope - Oreo cookie crumbs!
2. Stir together cookie crumbs (if you're making the crumbs at home from whole Oreo cookies, there's no need to remove the cream filling), melted butter and 1 TBSP sugar; press mixture onto bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (it's fine if you have an 8-inch pan or a 10-inch one).
3. Bake the crust for 8 mins, then take it out and leave to cool.
4. In a blender, add eggs, unsweetened cocoa, sour cream, buttermilk, vanilla extract, vinegar, cream cheese, and sugar. Mix until fully combined. I had to do mine in two batches, because my blender just couldn't contain all that filling.
5. Pour the mixed batter into a large bowl and add the food coloring. Mix well with an electric beater.
Oops, look what I just did! How silly of me!
6. Pour batter into prepared pan woth crust. Put it on a baking sheet (very important, in case you get any leaks!). Bake at 325F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 300F, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until center is firm.
Look, she's smiling at me! You madam, are F-I-N-E!
7. Turn oven off, prop open the oven door a little bit, and let cheesecake stand in oven 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven; cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 more minutes. Then cover and chill for 8 hours.
8. For the topping: Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth; gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth. Remove cheesecake from refrigerator and spread topping evenly over top of cheesecake. Remove sides of springform.
Oggle your supernaturally gorgeous creation for a while, then cut yourself a nice big honkin' slice and dig in!
Verdict: That color, OH that color! Retina-searing awesomness! It drives me mad! I love it, and I really love the flavor of this cheesecake. Usually, it's the filling that's the star of the show, but this time, the winning flavors came from that insanely delicious Oreo crust, and that devious frosting. The buttermilk gives it an additional tanginess, while the cocoa powder counters it by its mellowing effect. I might even add an another tbsp of it next time. In case you're curious, DH pronounced that he "really liked it" but didn't "love" it. Funny how he still managed to finish the entire big slice I cut up for him though. Like I said ... men ... crafty little creatures.
Looks like a blood bath!