Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

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Stop me when you’ve had enough: Yoga. Wine. Sweet Potato Fries. Salmon Burgers. Avocado. Gouda cheese. Chocolate Mousse. Cheesecake. That was my Tuesday night. I brought one of my good friends to my yoga studio to take a class with my favorite teacher. The thing I love most about her class is that each class she always tailors it slightly to make it really challenging for me (often involving lots of arm balance sequences). But this time I told her to do something with handstands because that’s my friends favorite and she came up with another amazing sequence.

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(All of the good things. Except chocolate of course)

Then we went home and she made salmon burgers for dinner and this chocolate mousse cheesecake for dessert. We didn’t give the cheesecake quite enough time to set because waiting overnight just wasn’t going to happen and we were in a rush to get to yoga so it ain’t the purdiest but damn was it good! The whole night was definitely a sensory overload and left us both feeling slightly cracked-out.

It’s a pretty involved recipe so it was nice to have 4 hands on it but you could use a few shortcuts like buying already made cookies and mixing them with a little butter and sugar for the base.

(She was also having a lot of fun with taking pictures  so all the artsier ones are hers)

Adapted from The Flour Sack

Chocolate Cookie Crust
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat the softened butter and sugars until light and creamy. Add the vanilla and milk and mix until well combined. (Mixture may look curdled.) On low speed, add the flour mixture just until incorporated.

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Use a small cookie scoop to drop little mounds of dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Using lightly floured hands, press the mounds of dough into 1/4-inch flat disks. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, remove and let cool.

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Place cooled cookies in a food processor and process until cookies are evenly and finely crushed. Pour the melted butter on top of the crushed cookies and pulse until well mixed. Dump the cookie mixture into the springform pan. Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan.

Wrap the bottom of the springform pan in a double layer of aluminum foil. Place the crust in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove the crust from the freezer and bake for 10 minutes, until set and dry to the touch. Let the crust cool on a wire rack while you make the cheesecake.

Cheesecake
1 pound (2 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup heavy cream

Decrease oven temperature to 325°F. Put a pot of water on the stove top boil.

Beat the cheese with a hand mixer or stand mixer at medium speed until it is very soft and smooth, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and salt, and continue to beat at medium speed for another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition to yield a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer to low speed and mix in the heavy cream.

Scrape the batter into the cooled cookie crust. Place the springform pan in a roasting pan large enough to give at least a 1-inch space between the cheesecake and the roasting pan. Place in the center of the oven and then carefully pour the boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

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Bake the cheesecake for about 45 minutes, at which point the top will be ever so slightly browned and the cheesecake will have puffed a little.  Remove cheesecake from from the roaster pan – be careful of the hot water – and remove the foil. Place cheesecake on a wire rack. Prop a large bowl over the cheesecake, leaving a 1-inch crack to let the cheesecake cool slowly.

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When the cake is cool, cove with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

*** Make the mousse once the cheesecake has cooled.***–>(We didn’t wait and it still turned out fine)

Chocolate Mousse
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Set a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Put the chocolate and butter into the bowl. Melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring with a whisk, until smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add the egg yolks to the chocolate one by one, beating with a whisk until incorporated. Set aside.

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In another bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat. Gradually add in 1/4 c granulated sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

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In another bowl, beat the heavy cream until it begins to foam. Add the vanilla and remaining 2T sugar. Continue to whip the cream until it holds soft peaks. Set aside.

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Gently fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining egg whites then, delicately fold in the whipped cream. Take care to not over work the mousse, but make sure the cream is blended in well.

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Using a rubber spatula, spread the mousse on top of the cooled cheesecake while still in the springform pan. Cover with plastic wrap.

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*** If making the ganache immediately, place the mousse-covered cheesecake in the freezer as you make the ganache. (The cheesecake should NOT be in the freezer for more than 30 minutes.) If making the ganache later, place the cheesecake in the refrigerator for a few hours. ***

Ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place the chopped chocolate and vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat the cream in a double boiler. Pour hot cream over chocolate and vanilla. Whisk the mixture until smooth. Allow ganache to cool for about 15 minutes.

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Remove mousse cheesecake from the freezer or refrigerator. With an offset spatula, smooth the ganache while starting at the center of the cake and working outward. Be aware that the cold temperature of the cake will cause the ganache to firm up, so work fairly quickly.

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Release the springform pan and cut cheesecake with a sharp knife to serve. Store cheesecake in the refrigerator, covered tightly with plastic wrap.

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Oh ya, and then there was this

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