Monday, July 3, 2017

Brownie Mousse Cheesecake

I should be posting red, white, and blue things right now. Instead I'm posting chocolate and cheesecake, and more chocolate. I still think it's pretty American.

My friend made a recipe similar to this for a party she threw a few months ago and it was so amazingly delicious that I knew I wanted to make it too. But when? My family is a little picky about cheesecake. So I worried that I would make this lovely, delicious thing, and have to eat it all by myself. There are worse fates in the world. But, well, I did turn 40 this year. And eating entire cheesecakes on my own didn't seem like the responsible thing to do. So I waited.

And then my niece visited. We had a birthday party for her. And she wanted cheesecake. Done and done. (P.S. EVERYONE--even devout cheesecake haters liked this recipe)

Now, I'm not gonna lie, this is fussier than a normal batch of cookies or wacky cake or whatever. BUT it is less fussy than something with three layers might normally be. The brownie is easy to throw together. The cheesecake is easy to throw together. The mousse is easy to throw together (and it doesn't have to be cooked).

That said, even though there is not too much hands on work, there is a very long, low cook time for the cheesecake, and several cooling periods. This needs to be made a day ahead when you have time to let things cool off. It just can't be rushed.

Now for a confession: I accidentally bought TWO fat free cream cheeses without realizing it. I pretty much consider fat free cream cheese Satan's cheese. But I unknowingly made my cheesecake anyway, and the texture was a little different than it should have been (which led us to discover my mistake). BUT it was STILL amazing. Even with the devil's cheese at its center. I'm sure there's a moral here somewhere, but I can't quite find it. Anyway, the point is that this is so good that even less than perfect ingredients will not destroy it (though, really, people, when making a brownie mousse cheesecake, please, just do the world a favor and use full fat cream cheese).

Brownie Mousse Cheesecake
makes 1 10-inch cake
Prep time: 30-40 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours (yup, you heard me)
Cost: Let's not talk about it on birthdays. Seriously, though--the total is about $8.50 or the cost of ONE slice of cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory, so it could be worse, right (unless you eat the whole thing yourself like an irresponsible adult, in which case, I cannot help you, friend)
Brownie layer: $1.50, cheesecake layer: $4.00, mousse layer $3.00 (Aldi prices)


1/2 C butter (1 stick, partially melted)
1/2 C cocoa
1 C sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 C flour
3/4-1 C dark chocolate chips

Combine butter and cocoa. Add sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in flour just until combined. Add chocolate chips.

Spread batter in a greased  9 or 10-inch springform pan.

Bake for only 10 minutes. It's going to look raw-ish. It's going to be raw-ish. That's because you're going to bake it more when you add the cheesecake layer, so don't fret.

Allow to cool (or mostly cool) before adding the cheesecake layer.


3 packages cream cheese (24 oz total)
3/4 tsp lemon zest
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp whipping cream

Beat cream cheese. Add zest. Then eggs. Add vanilla and whipping cream.

Pour this mixture on top of your partially baked brownie.

Now you are going to do something slightly odd. You're going to bake it at a very low temperature for a very long time. This is going to keep your brownie from burning or overcooking while allowing your cheesecake to cook into velvety perfection.

Bake at 250 for about 2 hours or until the temperature at the center reaches 160. It'll still jiggle. [Note: Since I did make this with the wrong kind of cream cheese, you might want to check this before 2 hours to make sure that the weird fatless cheese didn't mess with it's cooking time somehow. I doubt it did but one can never be sure with the devil's cheese.]

Take it out and allow it to cool. This will take a few hours, so plan for that, my friends.


2 Tbsp cocoa
5 Tbsp hot water
7 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghiradelli)
1 1/2 C heavy cream
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Combine cocoa powder and hot water; set aside.

Melt chocolate in microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Set that aside too.

Whip the cream, sugar, and salt. Instructions for whipping cream here if you need them.

Whisk the cocoa water into the melted chocolate. Be sure both have cooled somewhat (they can be warm, but not hot). Then fold part of the whipped cream into the mixture. Fold more in, and more again until it's a lovely chocolatey yum. This is mousse.

Spread it on the cooled cheesecake.

But you're still not done. It needs to set for about an hour. Otherwise it won't be as firm as it should be.

You can top this with a ganache or whipped cream and chocolate shavings (which is what we chose) or nothing at all).

All that waiting has been worth it. Enjoy!


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