Graveyard Chocolate Cheesecake

The world of cheesecake is a very new territory for me. I have never been a huge fan so naturally cheesecake is not something I make on a regular basis. Plus, I have always heard that cheesecakes are hard to master, not exactly your typical fool proof cookie. This cheesecake came about for two reasons: It was a friends birthday, she happens to love cheesecake, and we were having a halloween party. I figured I would combine the two and make a spooky birthday cheesecake for the celebrations! I did some research and called a cheesecake master from my hometown for some advice.

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One of the main issues with cheesecake is cracking down the middle. This happens when the cheesecake is cooling. After some internet research I found there are a million “best ways” out there to eliminate the crack. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed so I gave Nancy, my expert, a call to sort out some of my questions. After my talk with her I felt a lot more confident as she definitely veered me in the right direction. We decided that I should do an Oreo crust and chocolate cheesecake with a caramel swirl in on top. Nancy said the crack isn’t the end of the world and adds a little character to the cheesecake. I agreed but still wanted to have a minimal crack.

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I set off into the world of cheesecake making and knowing my first one wouldn’t be perfect by any means. I used the Newman O’s in place of Oreos and chopped them up in the food processor to make the crust. I didn’t need to use any butter but I melted 2 tablespoons and drizzled it over the crust for a bit of extra flavor. The crust was the easiest part. Moving on, I melted the chocolate and beat the cream cheese and then added all the ingredients. Then I sat back and hoped for the best. The cheesecake took longer than the one hour cook time the recipe called for. I kept checking to see if it was almost cooked but still jiggly in the middle. After about 1 hour and 20 mins it seemed ready for the heat to be turned off. In my attempt to minimize the crack I turned off the oven and left it open a bit. My theory was that it wouldn’t cool off as quickly and prevent it from cracking. Well I was very wrong. I went back to the oven an hour later it seemed as though the crack was the size of the Grand Canyon.

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With my tunnel vision in full effect I spaced the caramel. To remedy the situation I decided it would be a nice topping for the cheesecake. At first it covered the crack well enough but when I checked the next morning all the caramel had soaked into the massive gorge ripping my cheesecake in half. At that point I decided that the crack added to the spooky Halloween theme. And to make this cheesecake a little extra spooky I used homemade chocolate tombstones on the top for a fun graveyard look. On one of my Michael’s shopping trips I found chocolate gravestone molds and couldn’t resist buying them.

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Once the grave stones where put on and caramel was poured over the top the crack looked very fitting, almost like a grave being dug. The birthday girl loved the cheesecake and I was extremely excited that it came out delicious. It was a hit at the party!

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