Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecakes:These cheesecakes are about as good as they come in so small a size. Consisting of four(!) different layers – double chocolate crust, a layer of ganache, peanut butter cheesecake, and topped with an espresso-infused ganache – this is a treat you won’t want to miss!
Hey, February, why do you always take so long to get here? Nothing against you personally January, but you’re kind of a long month.
The rest of the year can fly by just like that, but it seems like time makes up for its yearly absence in January. Am I the only one who feels this way? Am I the only one who by the third week just wants to get to February already?
OK, now let’s talk about Valentine’s Day. I must confess to this not being one of my favorite holidays and I’m not sure why, it just doesn’t thrill me a whole lot. I mean, even the candy options aren’t good, IMO. Wait, please tell me you measure your holidays by candy too?
Since Valentine’s Day is coming whether I like it or not, I figured I should probably get with the program and offer some treats appropriate for the occasion.
That said, I am super excited to share this recipe with you! These cheesecakes are a peanut butter and chocolate lover’s paradise. There’s a lot of palatable goodness packed into such a small size: first, you have the crust which consists of not only chocolate graham crackers, but also chopped chocolate as well! Then there’s the ganache layer – I’m totally drooling right now – followed by the most lovely accompaniment of peanut butter cheesecake and then finished with an espresso-infused ganache topping.
Do I have your attention?
Another thing to love about these Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecakes is not only the obvious (hello? peanut butter + chocolate x 3??), but they are perfect for VD (gimme one of these and I’ll love you for life) as well as any other time of year. They are also great for gatherings (I hear the Super Bowl is coming up), etc.
Don’t you just love multi-purpose desserts?
If you take a quick glance at the recipe, it may seem a bit daunting. But really the hardest part about this recipe is in the waiting. Trust me, you can make these – I have faith! And when it comes to the waiting? Well, all I can say is hang in there. Perhaps dip some graham crackers into leftover ganache?
Whatever it takes.
Peanut butter desserts can often lend themselves to being very rich, which usually means smaller portions (not so bad, I suppose). However, while these are indeed rich, they are just the right size making for a pleasurable indulgence but without being overboard.
2 tsp. espresso powder or coffee granules, optional
Spray a 12 cup muffin tin lightly with baking spray (or line with paper liners) and set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, blend together chocolate graham crackers, chopped chocolate, and brown sugar until ground into fine crumbs.
Pour melted butter in a steady stream and continue to process until the crumbs begin to stick together. You may need to scrape the bowl a couple of times to ensure that the butter gets thoroughly combined.
Place about 2 tbsp. of crust into each muffin cup. Using your fingers, press and spread crusts evenly over the bottom of each cup.
Place in freezer while preparing ganache layer.
Place cream in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
Remove pan from heat and whisk in chopped chocolate until mixture is completely smooth.
Remove crusts from freezer and pour about 1 tbsp. of ganache over each crust and spread. You will probably have some ganache leftover - I will leave what becomes of it to your discretion (eating it with a spoon or dipping in graham crackers is totally allowed in my book). ;)
Return to freezer to chill while making cheesecake layer, at least 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325° F.
In a medium/large sized mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer (or you can use a stand mixer, but I think the handheld might be better in this case), beat together cream cheese, peanut butter, and granulated sugar until thoroughly combined and fluffy.
Mix in sour cream and then the eggs, one at a time.
Beat in vanilla and mix until smooth.
Remove crusts from freezer and divide cheesecake batter evenly between the crusts.
Bake cheesecakes for 25 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch and tops appear dry.
Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for about 45 minutes then transfer to fridge.
Allow to chill in fridge for at least 2 hours, but preferably 3-4+ hours.
Place chocolate chips and espresso powder/coffee granules in a small bowl.
Heat cream in a small microwave safe dish/bowl/cup for about 30 seconds.
Pour over chocolate chips and let sit for about 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth.
Run a small knife (a grapefruit knife works well, if you have one) around the edges of each cheesecake and transfer to a serving plate or platter.
Top each cheesecake with ganache and gently spread, leaving some room on the sides. I would say use probably no more than 1 tbsp. of ganache on each cheesecake. You may end up with a little extra ganache - I won’t judge if you use the rest of it on your own personal cheesecake…
Place cheesecakes in fridge for about 30 minutes to allow ganache to set (alternately, you can freeze for 15 minutes for speedier ganache setting). Keep in fridge until ready to serve.
You probably noticed in the photos the powdered sugar dusting the cheesecakes? I’m sorry to say I did that purely for photography purposes (shame on me, I know) and wouldn’t recommend actually doing it, as it will seep into the ganache topping. If you do, please dust right before (and I mean right before) serving. :)