This recipe is derived from one from food.com. There are several variations listed later in the recipe. The primary recipe is a Chocolate-Guinness recipe. Typically, brand names don’t matter. The ones listed are because the off-brands do not perform as well.

This recipe will take approximately 30 minutes to an hour to prep and 2 hours to bake. The cake will need to cool at least 4 hours (preferably overnight) before depanning.

Preheat oven to 350°. Place a cake pan or roasting pan on the center rack and fill with about an inch of water. The intent is to have the water reach about halfway up the springform pan. Alternately, you can heat water in a kettle to pour into the pan once you have the cheesecake set in it.

Butter 9” ring of 9” springform pan. Line bottom of the pan with parchment paper (if you intend on transferring the cheesecake to a serving dish) by cutting a piece larger than the bottom of the pan, wrap this around the bottom, and clamping the bottom and parchment in the ring. Trim off excess parchment, being careful not to trim too close.

Using a double layer of foil (2 layers compensates for potential leaks in the first layer, wrap the springform pan to create a shell that will prevent water from infiltrating the bottom of the pan while it is baking.

Crust

5 oz (wt)         chocolate animal crackers

½ stick           butter, melted

2 Tbs.             sugar, granulated

¼ tsp.             cocoa powder, unsweetened

Pulse animal crackers in food processor until fine. Add sugar and cocoa powder and pulse until well blended. Add butter and pulse until uniformly blended (may require stopping and scraping sides and bottom). Pour mixture into springform pan and press evenly (a smooth bottomed glass works well) to form a uniform crust. Set aside.

Filling

1 1⁄2 lbs.        Philadelphia cream cheese, @ room temperature

1 cup              white sugar

3                     eggs @ room temperature

1⁄2 lb.             good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 Tbs.             heavy cream

1 cup              sour cream

1 pinch           salt

3⁄4 cup           Guinness Stout

2 tsp.              vanilla paste (or extract)

Place the cream cheese in a large bowl (or the work bowl of a stand mixer) and beat with an electric mixer set to low speed until smooth. Slowly add 1 cup sugar, then the eggs, one at a time. Continue beating until smooth.

Combine the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave until the chocolate is completely melted,

stirring every 30 seconds. Beat the chocolate into the cream cheese mixture. Add the sour cream, salt, beer, and vanilla; blend until smooth. Pour the mixture over the crust.

Place the pan into the large, deep baking dish. Place the pan on the middle rack of your oven. Fill the dish with boiling water halfway up the side of the springform pan.

Bake the cheesecake in the water bath in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour (my oven takes an hour). Turn oven off, leaving the cheesecake in the oven with the oven door propped open with a towel another hour; remove from oven. Chill in refrigerator at least 4 hours. Release the springform, run a knife around the pan, then push the cheesecake and bottom up through the ring.

Place plastic wrap over the top of the cheesecake, invert onto a flat plate or pan, then lift off the springform pan bottom from the parchment paper. Gently peel the parchment paper from the crust. Place the serving dish or cake round on the crust and flip back over.

To slice (with papers between), cut 4 1/2 inch squares of parchment. Score the top of the cheesecake where you would like the cuts to be. Wrap the paper over the sharp edge of a thin 5” or bigger blade and press the paper fold through the cheesecake. Repeat as needed.

Variations

Chocolate Amaretto

  • Substitute 3/4 cup of Amaretto (like Disaronno) in place of beer.

Chocolate Irish cream

  • Substitute

Mocha

  • Add 2 Tbs. Espresso Powder to the crust
  • Substitute 3/4 cup of coffee liqueur (like Kahlua) in place of beer.

Chocolate Hazelnut

  • Add 1/8 cup chopped hazelnuts to the crust
  • Substitute 3/4 cup of Frangelico in place of beer.
  • Drizzle heated Nutella over cooled cake and top with chopped hazelnuts

Peanut butter and Chocolate

  • Add 1 cup powdered peanut butter to cream cheese and sugar mixture and blend well
  • Eliminate the chocolate and cream mixture.
  • Substitute 3/4 cup of heavy cream in place of beer.
  • Top with chocolate ganache.
    • Ganache is a weight ratio. For a glaze for this cheesecake, use a 1.1 to 1 ratio, by weight, of chocolate to cream, Use the highest quality chocolate available, chopped fine.
    • 1/2 cup Heavy cream
    • 110% of cream weight in chocolate
    • Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl
    • Heat cream to just before boiling
    • Pour cream over chocolate and stir with a spatula until smooth
    • Stirring occasionally, allow to cool until thick enough to not just run off the cheesecake, but thin enough to still pour.
    • Pour over cheesecake, allowing to run over the sides a bit.

(Good Ganache instructions)

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