Peppermint Mocha Cheesecake for December!

It’s December, which means it’s time for a new cheesecake! So far I’ve done Funfetti, Candy Corn, Sweet Potato… and there was a bit of a choice for this month: Egg Nog Cheesecake or Peppermint Mocha Cheesecake? (I know you wanna “Jump, jump!” to the recipe.)

While there wasn’t an official poll, Peppermint Mocha Cheesecake won out. I don’t often make chocolate cheesecakes. Notably, the last time I made one was for this guy I was dating who was a chocoholic, and I made him a triple chocolate cheesecake for Valentine’s Day, drove to deliver it to him at work, and while I got major points, we broke up not too long after. I never even got my Tupperware back! I’m glad I didn’t use a nice pie plate!

But I digress… Peppermint Mocha Cheesecake was the move for December. I confess that I’m not super feeling the holidays this year. I know that the pandemic has given us all such odd relationships with time. Plus staying mostly inside and isolated means I’m not seeing holiday decorations anywhere, in stores or on city streets. I don’t have cable TV, only streaming, so I’m not encountering tons of holiday ads either. No tree, no lights, until this morning, barely any plans for a holiday meal. It’s just… December, y’know?

As before, here’s the nitty gritty. The recipe that I use for inspiration, and the recipe that I use for the base:

In general, I look for a cheesecake recipe that has the right flavors for the theme, then take those ingredients out and add them to the Junior’s cheesecake base. I’ll get a little more specific for what I did this time, but it’s all very open to your own interpretation. It’s really, really hard for you to come out with a “bad” tasting cheesecake. Trust me.

So, from the Peppermint Mocha Cheesecake recipe above for the crust:

  • Dark Chocolate Oreos, and
  • Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Elements I used to add to the Junior’s base filling:

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (per Junior’s)
  • 1 tablespoon peppermint extract (for an extra kick)
  • 1½ tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used a 10 ounce bag of Ghiradelli 60% cacao chips)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

The main thing was melting the chocolate, which I did in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time. Then the chocolate and other ingredients were added after the Junior’s recipe says, “beat in the remaining sugar,” so before the last two steps of beating in the eggs and heavy cream.

Note: Don’t do what I did and forget to add the heavy cream, because you’ll have a minor panic, then realize you can pour the filling out of the mold and whisk the cream in by hand. But you should just skip all that and remember to do it in the first place. 😅

I’m not a big chocoholic myself, but I love how simple using a base recipe as a template makes adding in other flavors, whether it’s an entire melted bag of candy corn, or a can of sweet potatoes, or a ton of chocolate. The resulting cheesecake will still be light and fluffy and produce a fantastic dessert. And, you know what? If it’s only kinda good? Use a cookie dough scoop to turn the cheesecake into balls, and dip them in chocolate and serve them up as cheesecake truffles with the remains of the crust crumbled over top. Look… I’m a problem solver!

The only problem I can’t solve is how to make enough freezer space for these cheesecake slices. Because they do freeze really well, vacuum-sealed or not. I put them in takeout containers with parchment paper or plastic wrap between each slice. There’s no way I can finish an entire cheesecake a month on my own, but it’s also nice to freeze them so I can bring some to friends!

Peppermint Mocha Cheesecake in a ceramic cake pan. One slice of cheesecake has been cut and set atop the rest of the cake.
Peppermint Mocha Cheesecake – and a perfect first slice!

I haven’t thought about January’s cheesecake yet, but I’m wondering about perhaps a smaller size, and a more savory cheesecake. I’ve never done one that wasn’t sweet and I’ve seen recipes using different kinds of cheese and fillings that make for excellent appetizers and even complete dinners. Ooh, imagine mini savory cheesecakes on a cheese board? Hmm, thoughts are now brewing! 🤔

This may well be my last blog entry of 2022, so I hope that everyone has a lovely holiday, safe travels, good vibes, excellent food and inspiring cocktails. I look forward to what 2023 may bring (even if it’s not one cheesecake per month) and hope it treats us all well! 💖

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