Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Torte (Cheesecake)

Recently at school, it was my team members birthday and I knew that I wanted to make her something special.  We've worked together for a little over 5 school years now, which is one of the reasons that I know she's a fan of chocolate and peanut butter.  I had a couple of recipes that I was debating between, so I presented them all to her, and this is what she settled on.  I'm glad that she did too, because I've been wanting to try this recipe for awhile now.  There has been only one downside to it.  The torte was pure deliciousness and I already find myself wanting to make it again.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Torte (Cheesecake)
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For the Crust:
34 Oreo cookies, finely processed into crumbs
5 ¾ Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
dash of salt

For the crunch:
1 ¼ cups lightly salted peanuts, divided
½ cup mini chocolate chips
2 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. espresso powder
¼ tsp. cinnamon
dash of nutmeg

For the filling:
2 cups heavy cream
1 ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
12 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ cups creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp. milk (I used skim)

For the Topping:
½ cup heavy cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

To make the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9-inch springfoam pan.  In a small bowl, combine the Oreos, butter, and salt.  Stir together with a fork until the Oreos are well moistened.  Press the mixture into a thin layer that completely covers the bottom and the sides of the springfoam pan.  Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.  Transfer the crust from the freezer, to the oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove the crust from oven and place on a wire rack until completely cool.  (This is very important, so that the filling will not melt)

To make the crunch:
In a small bowl, combine ½ a cup of the chopped peanuts, mini chocolate chips, sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Stir together with a fork and then set aside.

To make the filling:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, and set on a medium speed, whip the 2 cups of heavy cream until it holds medium peaks.  Now, beat in ¼ cup of the confectioners’ sugar and continue to whip on medium-high speed until the cream holds firm peaks.  Gently scrape the cream into a separate bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Wipe out the mixing bowl (But DO NOT wash).  Replace the whisk attachment on the electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar on a medium-high speed until it looks satiny smooth.  Once ready, beat in the peanut butter, milk, and ¼ cup chopped peanuts until well blended.

Gently stir in ¼ of the whipped cream mixture, using a large spatula, just so that it lightens the mousse.  Continuing to work with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, and then lightly fold in the remainder of the whipped cream.  Pour the mousse into the crust and spread around using the spatula, making sure the top is nice and smooth.  Refrigerate for 4-5 hours or overnight.  Cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse begins to firm up.

To finish:
Place the chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl.  Using a double broiler, bring ½ cup of heavy cream to a full boil.  Pour over the chopped chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes.  Slowly whisk together until the chocolate is well blended with the cream and it forms a smooth consistency.

Pour the ganache over the torte and spread around with a spatula.  Now, sprinkle the remaining peanuts over the top and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  Once the ganache is firm, remove the torte from the springfoam pan and continue to refrigerate until ready to be enjoyed!  

Very Slightly Adapted from: Annies Eats  


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