Bittersweet Chocolate Cheesecake
Heat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with aluminum foil and coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Crush the biscotti into fine crumbs. (You should have about 2 cups of crumbs; adjust the number of biscotti as necessary.) Combine the melted butter with the biscotti crumbs and press into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes, until just slightly golden with a sandy appearance. Set aside and reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
Finely chop the chocolate. In a small bowl, combine the chocolate with the cocoa powder. Add the boiling water and whisk to combine. Make sure all of the chocolate melts; if not, microwave on low briefly until the mixture is smooth.
In a medium bowl, using a mixer on low speed, combine the cream cheese and chèvre. Add the sugar, honey, and salt; beat until smooth but not fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition, and then the vanilla extract. With the mixer running, slowly add the chocolate mixture and blend until smooth. Pour over the prebaked crust. Place in the middle of the oven and bake until the center sets but the edges haven’t yet browned, about 30–35 minutes. The top of the cheesecake will still appear shiny, but the edges will have slightly pulled away from the pan.
Cool on a rack to room temperature, then refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Once the cheesecake has been thoroughly chilled, lift the foil from the pan and cut the cheesecake into bars.
BETTER BAKING TIPS
For lump-free cakes, mix the cream cheese briefly before adding anything else. This helps to soften it up a little so it blends more smoothly with the other ingredients. Scrape the bowl frequently while mixing. After each ingredient is added and mixed, stop the mixer and use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
If all else fails and you notice that the batter seems lumpy after all of the ingredients have been added and mixed together, pass the batter through a fine strainer before pouring it into the pans.
If you’ve baked the cake for the recommended amount of time and it’s still not set in the middle, turn off the oven and leave it in for an extra 10 to 20 minutes. It won’t overbake, and you can be sure that it’s done.
All of these recipes are best made a day ahead to allow for complete cooling. They can also be made up to a month ahead and frozen. Wrap well, first in a layer of plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. To defrost, let them sit in the refrigerator overnight.
By Emily Gold
Emily can be found experimenting with flour, sugar, and paper art (not all at the same time!) in her Vermont home kitchen. She bakes professionally at Mezze Catering in Williamstown, Mass., and for the local farmers’ market. See Emily’s work at emilygold.com.