March 17, 2010

Peanut Butter Cheesecake "Enlightened"

A few weeks ago I was visiting with my father and my grandparents for dinner and the subject of cheesecake came up. My dad had asked if I had ever made a peanut butter cheesecake? He had asked, because The Cheesecake Factory use to offer a peanut butter cheesecake that he was fond of and he recently discovered that they pulled it from the menu. It didn't surprise me, because how many of us think "peanut butter," when cheesecake comes to mind. I was intrigued by the notion because I love peanut butter and being intimately familiar with making cheesecake, I've never made a peanut butter one. I'm typically not a big fan of cheesecake because they are usually unnecessarily and overwhelming heavy. And if you are a fitness junkie like me, cheesecake is hardly ever on the menu, unless I'm making it. I received a text shortly after that evening from my father, "commissioning" me to make a "light" peanut butter cheesecake.

One of the things I love about making cheesecake is the ability to adapt and make them light. If I'm baking for family, I usually go for light desserts and often times with no sugar added. I know many people would scoff at the idea, but It's an excellent alternative if diabetes, high cholesterol, or hypertension is problem for members of your family. I also, love to challenge myself to the traditional ideas that suggest that everything has to be "full" fat to taste extraordinary.

I decide to prepare a cinnamon graham cracker crust which I thought would go well with peanut butter.

Creaming together cream cheese, peanut butter, and salt.

Here i'm added vanilla and almond extract, egg whites, and sour cream blended just until combined.
Everything is mixed together and is ready for prepared pan

filling transferred to prepared pan

in the oven we go...

Cinnamon graham crust
1 2/3 cup crushed graham crackers
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup splenda
1/4 cup butter or maragine, melted

3 8 oz packages fat free cream cheese
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup splenda
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
3 eggs or 3/4 cup egg whites or substitute
2/3 cup sour cream

Sour Cream Ganache
6 oz of semi chocolate chips
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extact
1/2 tsp corn syrup

1/2 cup toasted pecans(optional)

1. preheat oven 350 and prepare 9' or 10' springform pan.

2. combine graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, splenda, and melted butter in a small bowl, mix until moist. Press into a 9' or 10' spring form pan. Prebaked for 8-10 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

3.Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, peanut butter, splenda, sugar, milk, and salt. Blend on medium - high, until light and fluffy (mixture will be stiff). Then add vanilla, almond extract, and slowly add egg whites blending until just combined. Turn the blender off and with a spatula, gently fold in sour cream until combined.

4. pour mixture into prepared pan. Set the pan on a criss-cross sheets of tin foil bring it up the edges to form a boat. Put the pan in a larger man and add enough simmering water to come up half the sides of the pan. Transfer dish to then oven a bake for about
40mins or until center is set(it will bake faster than most cheesecakes).Take the cheesecake out of the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Prepare ganache. In a small bowl melt chocolate chips in the microwave on high 2 minutes with 30 second bursts, taking care not to burn chocolate. Add sour cream and mix until combine add vanilla extract and corn syrup. Next top cheesecake with ganache and sprinkle with toasted pecans. Chill in the frig over night. Enjoy!

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