Bittersweet Cheesecake Torte (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Baking 2007)
2/3 c. whipping cream
8 oz. dark chocolate (chopped)
Nonstick cooking spray
2 boxes of your favorite brownie mix
3 8 oz. packages of cream cheese (softened to room temp)
3/4 c. sugar
2 t. vanilla
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 oz. milk chocolate, melted
3 oz. white baking chocolate, melted
(optional) chocolate "pencils" or rolled cookies to garnish
1. For ganache: In a small saucepan, heat cream over med-high heat until just boiling. Remove from heat. Add 8 oz dark chocolate. Don't stir yet. Let stand 5 min. Then stir until smooth, and transfer to bowl. Cover and chill 2-3 hours.
2. Prepare two 9 1/2" cake pans by spraying with cooking spray, and preheat oven to 350. (I used a 10" springform...same pan twice for brownie layers). Make brownies according to package directions, EXCEPT, only bake for 25 min. until outer edges are done. Cool, and remove from pans.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and beat until combined. Beat in eggs until combined. Divide mixture evenly into two bowls. Into one bowl, add 3 oz. melted milk chocolate. Add melted white chocolate to other half of cream cheese mixture. Stir each until smooth.
4. Preheat oven to 350. Wrap heavy foil around an 8" springform pan, making sure doil come at least an inch up the sides of pan. (I used a 9 1/2" springform.) Using a sharp knife, cut (using the pan bottom as a guide) the brownie layers the size of the springform you are using, Place one of the brownie layers in your foil-wrapped pan. Pour over the chocolate cheesecake batter. Place the next brownie layer on top. Add the white chocolate cheesecake batter. Place your filled springform pan into a large roasting pan. Pour enough water around the edges to go up the sides half way. CAREFULLY, place roasting pan in oven, and bake for 60 min. Carefully remove pan from water (I poured water out so I could get my potholders around springform). Cool in pan for 15-20 min. Using a small, sharp knife, loosen cake from edges of pan. Cool for another 30 min. Remove springform edges, and cool completely on wire rack. Cover and chill overnight.
Remove ganache from fridge. Beat with electric mixer until smooth and fluffy enough to spread. If it is stiff, add a splash of cream. Spoon into pastry bag, and pipe decoratively on top of cheesecake using large star tip, and make mounds around edge of cake.
For chocolate "pencils" (I ordered them from Bristol Farms bakery by the box), I used a little ganache as "glue" around the edges of cake, then stuck them on, close together. You can break them into any height.