Friday, March 12, 2010

Bailey's Irish Cream Cheesecake

The O'Farrell/McGeehan in me is wanting to bring you a fabulous St. Paddy's Day dessert. This Bailey's Irish Cream cheesecake bakes slowly above a water bath. It's creamy, smooth, and rich in flavor. There's a hint of chocolate, but not so much as to overwhelm the distinctive flavor of this cheesecake's namesake. After years of experimenting, I have devised a very successful formula for cheesecake which adapts well to most varieties. My formula is that for every 8 oz. of cream cheese, there's 1/4 cup sugar and 1 egg. This recipe makes a BIG cheesecake, but you can scale it down to suit your self. Just remember to proportionately decrease the other ingredients as well.

Oven 350 degrees F

Place top rack in middle of oven. Set bottom rack below, and place a cake pan half-filled with hot water (hot tap water is fine) to act as an indirect water bath. (This will minimize cracking after baking.)

Makes one 10-inch cheesecake (if using a 9" pan, you'll have some batter left over.  You can save it and later bake mini cheesecakes in a muffin pan!)

  • Chocolate cookies (wafers or Oreos are fine) crushed to make 2-2 1/2 cups crumbs (in blender or food processor)
  • 1 bar butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Mix all ingredients together. Pour into base of 10" spring form pan. Using the bottom of a metal measuring cup or a cylindrical drinking glass, press crumbs on bottom and up sides of pan. Make sure the crumbs are tightly packed. Place pan in freezer while you prepare the batter.

Cheesecake batter:
  • 2 lbs. cream cheese (4 8 oz. packages), softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder mixed with 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup plus two tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream
Beat cream cheese with sugar until light and fluffy. Add cocoa/cornstarch mixture and beat well.Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add sour cream; beat well.Add Bailey's and beat until very smooth, scraping sides of bowl to incorporate all ingredients well.

Pour cheesecake batter into prepared crust. 

On upper rack of oven (over lower rack with water bath) place cheesecake on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Turn heat down to 320 degrees and bake for another 45 minutes. Turn oven off and leave cheesecake in oven, door propped open an inch, for an hour. Remove from oven. Let cool completely on wire rack. Run thin knife around outside edge of cheesecake. Release spring form.
Sprinkle top with shaved chocolate or mini-chocolate chips.

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