We are already halfway through October, which means that Halloween is quickly approaching. I just purchased a gigantic bag of Halloween candy for our trick-or-treaters yesterday. We have a lot of kids in our neighborhood, but I think I still went a little overboard on the amount of candy I bought. Since I’m not a fan of sweets, I decided to come up with some different recipes using leftover Halloween candy that I can give away.
The first recipe is a spin on my classic cheesecake (similar to the one I used in my pumpkin cheesecake recipe). I wanted to incorporate Reese’s, so I added a bit of peanut butter to my cheesecake batter. Just enough to add a bit of flavor, but not enough to overpower the dessert. I still wanted it to taste like cheesecake.
For the glaze or icing, I settled on a chocolate ganache. A ganache is just a mixture of chocolate and cream, but you may also add extracts or liqueur. To make the ganache, place a heatproof glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add the heavy cream and chocolate to the glass bowl, stirring slowly. This will allow the temperature of the chocolate and cream to increase slowly, preventing the chocolate from becoming too thick, lumpy, or grainy. I also use a spoon instead of a whisk to avoid incorporating air bubbles into the ganache.
The ganache makes this peanut butter cheesecake very rich, but so good. I think I need to run an extra mile today just looking at it.
It’s so worth it though. Trust me.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 12 mini cheesecakes
Serving Size: 1 cheesecake
- 1 cup graham crackers, finely crumbled
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup half & half
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup Reese's peanut butter cups, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the graham crackers and melted butter with a spoon. Place muffin liners into each cup and add about 1-2 teaspoons of the crumbled graham crackers to the bottom of each cup. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes.
- While the crust is baking, prepare the cheesecake batter. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the 2 packages of softened cream cheese with the peanut butter and sugar with the flat beater attachment. Mix well. Add the flour, half & half, and vanilla extract and mix until just combined. Finally, add the eggs and stir with a spatula until incorporated.
- After the graham cracker crusts have been removed from the oven, lower the temperature to 350 degrees. Spoon the cheesecake batter into the muffin tin with the prepared graham cracker crusts. Fill the cups almost to the top. Bake for about 15 minutes in the preheated oven. To test the doneness, gently shake the pan. The center should barely jiggle when done.
- Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecakes to slowly cool (this will help prevent the cheesecakes from cracking). Open the oven door a few inches to allow the heat to escape. Once the cheesecakes are near room temperature, place them into the refrigerator to cool for at least 2 hours.
- Once the cheesecakes are cool, prepare the ganache. Add water to a large pot and bring to a simmer. Place a heatproof glass bowl over the pot and add the chocolate and heavy cream. Slowly stir with a spoon until the chocolate has melted, careful not to incorporate too much air. Once melted, remove from heat.
- Dip the cheesecakes into the chocolate ganache or spoon the ganache over the cheesecakes. Sprinkle with chopped Reese's peanut butter cups.
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