I love making a show stopping dessert when we have friends over. The extra company is a great excuse to make a large layer cake or cheesecake, since I’m usually able to convince our guests to take some of the leftovers home with them! Today’s decadent cheesecake was inspired by Trader Joe-Joe’s chocolate sandwich cookies stuffed with chocolate crème. I’ve recently decided that I have a very important mission. It’s my duty to feature every flavor of Trader Joe-Joe Cookies in a cheesecake! It all began when their vanilla cookies inspired this strawberry cheesecake, and this time I went with the classic and always delicious peanut butter and chocolate combo.
I baked up some brownies in a mini muffin pan and stirred the brownie chunks into a peanut butter cheesecake batter. The crust features the chocolate Joe-Joes, of course, and I topped the cheesecake with a luscious chocolate ganache, more Joe-Joes, and a peanut butter drizzle. Very over the top and perfect for a celebration or just a small dinner party with fabulous friends!
Peanut Butter Brownie Chunk Cheesecake
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1-ounce square unsweetened chocolate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
24 Trader Joe-Joe Chocolate Sandwich Crème Cookies, pulsed in the food processor into crumbs (2 1/4 cups crumbs)
3 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Peanut Butter Cheesecake:
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream
6 chocolate Trader Joe-Joe Chocolate Sandwich Crème Cookies, cut into fourths
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon milk
To make the brownie bites, heat oven to 350°F. Microwave the butter and unsweetened chocolate in a microwavable bowl at high power until the butter is melted, about 1 minute. Stir until smooth, then mix in the vanilla extract. Meanwhile, beat the sugar and eggs in a large bowl and then add in the melted chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir in flour, cocoa powder, and salt until a smooth batter forms. Evenly spread batter into 14 cups of a greased mini muffin pan. Bake at 350°F for 13 to 17 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Let brownies cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan and place on a cooling rack and let brownies cool completely, about 30 minutes.
To make the crust, mix cookie crumbs and melted butter in a medium bowl. Transfer the mixture to a greased 9-inch springform pan, and press into a uniform layer over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes at 350˚F.
To make the cheesecake, combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl and beat on medium-high speed with a mixer for 3 minutes or until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in peanut butter and vanilla until smooth. Gently fold in the mini brownies. Pour into prepared crust, making sure the mini brownies are evenly distributed, and bake at 350˚F for 45 to 55 minutes or until edges are set and middle is slightly wobbly. Cool to room temperature, about one hour. Place in the refrigerator for several hours or until chilled.
In a small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and cream uncovered on high for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds; stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Spread chocolate ganache over cooled cheesecake. Sprinkle chopped cookies evenly on top. Place powdered sugar, peanut butter, and milk in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Drizzle peanut butter frosting on top of the cheesecake. Refrigerate at least one hour or until ganache is set. Remove cheesecake from pan and cut into wedges. Makes 16 servings.