Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Cheesecake

I have some advice for you. Are you ready?

Do not read the ingredient list for this cheesecake. Look at the pictures, but don't click that little link on the bottom that says "Get the Recipe."

Instead, open your email and email this recipe to someone you love.

Someone who will make it for you.

Someone who will let you take several slices home with you. 

Someone who will promise not to rattle off the full ingredient list to you while you're eating it.

Because while this cheesecake is absolutely delicious, it is absolutely not healthy.

Not that it stopped me. 

I ate several slices fully cognizant of what was in this bad boy. It's tasty enough to do it. And it was also my birthday, the time of year when overindulgence is completely permissible.

But I think it was easier for all my guests, who could dig in and not think about what was in it.

It's got a peanut butter bottom crust made out of Nutter Butters and a side chocolate crust made out of chocolate Teddy Grahams. That's covered with vanilla cheesecake filled with chunks of chocolate and peanut butter brownies. That's smothered with a chocolate and peanut butter ganache and chopped Reese's Peanut Butter cups.

It's heavenly.

If you HAVE to make it for yourself, make sure you invite friends over to help you eat it. I'm not sure it's a good idea to eat this all on your own. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Cheesecake
recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen, Brown Eyed Baker, and Scrumptious and Sumptuous

This cheesecake serves 12-15 with generous slices. You will have extra of the bottom and side crusts. I'm using mine to make mini chocolate peanut butter tarts! I made this over one day, but you might want to make it over two. The brownies could easily be made the day ahead and frozen so the chunks are ready to go in the cheesecake.

Bottom Crust:
16 ounces Nutter Butter sandwich cookies
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Side Crust: 
10 ounces Chocolate Teddy Grahams
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Peanut Butter Brownies:
Chocolate Layer
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark, unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Layer:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
5 1/3 large eggs (I used all of 5 eggs, and part of the white of a sixth egg)
1 1/3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 cups chopped peanut butter brownies, frozen (see above ingredients)

1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
20 small Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, chopped into fourths

Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan with high sides.

Bottom Crust: In a food process, combine Nutter Butter cookies and cooled, melted butter. Process until a fine crumb is formed. Press the mixture into the bottom of your cheesecake pan.

Side Crust: In a food processor, combine Chocolate Teddy Grahams, butter, sugar and salt. Process until a fine crumb is formed. Press the mixture into the sides of your cheesecake pan.

Peanut Butter Brownies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the sides and bottom of  9x13 inch pan. Line the pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Whisk the flour, salt and cocoa powder together in a medium bowl.

In a double boiler, combine chocolate, butter, and instant espresso powder over a saucepan of boiling water, stirring regularly until the mixture is melted and smooth.

Turn off the heat, but keep the pan over the water. Add the sugars and whisk together until smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan. Allow the mixture to cool slightly to room temperature.

Add three eggs to the chocolate mixture. Whisk well until combined. Add the remaining eggs, whisking until combined. Add the vanilla, and whisk again until combined. Do not overmix.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture, and fold the flour in using a rubber spatula until the flour is barely visible.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Use a spatula to smooth the top.

Prepare the peanut butter layer: In a medium bowl, whisk together butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla, whisking until the mixture is smooth. Using a large spoon, place dollops of the peanut butter mixture all over the brownie batter. Use a butter knife to swirl the chocolate and peanut butter mixture together, running the knife all through the mixture.

Bake the brownies for 30 to 45 minutes, checking regularly after 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.

Allow the brownies to cool completely, and then lift them from the pan. Slice the brownies into 1x1-inch cubes. Place them on a baking tray, and freeze the brownies for at least 30 minutes. This will keep crumbs from spreading through the cheesecake. You will have extra brownies. Do not fret. Eat them or save them.

Cheesecake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on low speed and scrapping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and sugar, and mix well.

VERY GENTLY fold in the frozen brownie cubes. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Place the pan in a shallow baking pan to catch any drips. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the filling is set three inches from the edge but the center is still wobbly.

Cool completely.

Topping: Combine bittersweet chocolate, peanut butter and vanilla extract in a large glass measuring cup. Heat the heavy cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring the cream and butter until it scalds. Pour the heated heavy cream over the chocolate/peanut butter mixture. Allow the mixture to sit for 2 to 3 minutes, and then mix until the chocolate and peanut butter is melted.

Pour the chocolate and peanut butter ganache over the top of the cheesecake, and smooth the top.

Allow the ganache to cool for about 10 minutes, and then top it with chopped Reese's Peanut Butter cups.


  1. Happy Birthday! I'm glad you got to have your (cheese)cake and eat it too. Your advice is very sound . . . I will hold on to this one until I have a group event because with chocolate and peanut butter - I know I can't be trusted!

    1. Thank you! I can't be trusted with it either. Having this AND those chocolate peanut butter crispy bars in my fridge all week has made for quite the unhealthy eating feast.

  2. OH! My! Goodness!! This sounds excellently decadent and perfect for birthdays. Only birthdays!! Have a great one.

    1. Thank you! Decadence is what every birthday deserves.

  3. As one of your guests I was very blissful in my ignorance of the ingredients! As most things that are bad for you it tasted awesome. I savored my left overs for the next few days eating a little bit at a time to make it last!

    1. Oh, thank you! I have been picking at it for the past week, and it's been deadly. There's just a bit left in the fridge, and I think I should probably throw it away. :(

  4. Hi Katie! I'm seriously drooling. This looks too too good. I'm already a sucker for cheesecake, and this looks heavenly. Thank you for sharing with me! I'm glad I stumbled on your blog tonight. I hope you have a great end to your week!

    1. Thanks Monet! I'm so glad you stopped by. I had forgotten how much I loved cheesecake until I made this and couldn't stop myself from eating it!

  5. Wow, I am sorry, but I just have to click on the "get the recipe". This looks perfect. In every way. I love it

    1. Thanks Cathleen! That's certainly a forgivable offense!

  6. Is it bad that baked goods full of absurd amounts of bad-for-you ingredients don't even phase me anymore? I'm just like, oh 1 lb of butter, no biggie.

    I need this in my life. ANd I don't care the toll it takes on my arteries in order to have it.

    1. I feel that same way. It doesn't sink in what's actually in the dish until I start typing it up. And I think our arteries need to be used a little.

  7. Hi Sweet Katie

    So, if I'm to follow your advice, do I need to send you this recipe in order for you to bake it again and send me a few slices?

    It looks beautiful.


    1. I would make it for you, but I'm not sure it would ship well. Maybe I could send brownies, and you could put them in the cheesecake?

  8. What a decadent cheese cake…absolutely yummy looking!