National Cheesecake Day

July 30 marks National Cheesecake Day. If you been participating in Couch Olympics, slice a piece of cheesecake to bring festivity to your TV-watching.

Eat Run Read
Celebrate National Cheesecake Day with a slice of cookie dough fudge cheesecake.

It all started, like so many Eat Run Read baking adventures do, with an e-mail and a baking challenge from a friend. Within the hour we had a time, we had a plan, and we were ready embark upon the most epic baking adventure yet to grace the Eat Run Read kitchen: a cookie dough fudge cheesecake.

My friends knocked on my door late that Saturday afternoon. They came bearing a bag of groceries: heavy cream, cream cheese, chocolate, etc. (all the most important things in life). They joined my roommates on my couch, opened a bag of chips, and settled in to observe an afternoon/evening of baking.

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This is pretty usual for us. I love cooking, and I like when other people are around, but I do not like other people in the kitchen with me. I just don't understand how one bakes with someone else. As far as I'm concerned, it's a one-person endeavor. And quite the process it was! This cheesecake is not that difficult, it just has a lot of steps. But all the best things in life are worth the time, right? And yes, I do include this cheesecake as one of the best things in life. It may be the best thing I have ever made. It's definitely the prettiest.

I only slightly modified the recipe. I didn't have enough Oreos, so I did half Oreo, half crushed graham crackers for the crust. This cake's only flaw was that the crust came out soggy. (Ugh, why is crust always so difficult?) I suggest baking the crust for 10 minutes before adding the ganache. And also, when you take the cake out of the oven, immediately unwrap the foil and cool the cake on a cookie rack.

And this recipe made way too much ganache. We're talking twice the ganache you need. Not that I'm really complaining. But if you want to avoid that chocolatey temptation, halve the ganache recipe. 

I made the crust, ganache, cheesecake, sour cream, and cookie dough on Saturday. Then on Sunday I assembled. I laid the cookie dough on top of the cheesecake, and re-heated my ganache (in the microwave) to decorate. Then everyone ate. Oh. My. Goodness. Like I said, best cake ever.

Cookie Dough Fudge Cheesecake
Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking
Yields: one 9-inch cheesecake

Crust Ingredients:
32 chocolate sandwich cookies, finely processed into crumbs
5-1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt

Ganache Ingredients:
1-1/2  cups heavy cream (I used 2 cups heavy cream. But like I said earlier, you can easily half the ganache recipe and have enough for the cake.)
20 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (I combined both)

Filling Ingredients:
3 (8 ounces) packages cream cheese, at room temperature (I used whipped cream cheese and it worked fine. But do not try to use light cream cheese. Trust me, it just won't work.)
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 teaspoons mild-flavored (light) molasses (I didn't do this)
3 large eggs

Topping Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cookie Dough Layer Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips.)
4 to 6 tablespoons water

For the complete baking instructions, please visit Willow Bird Baking.

Related post on Eat Run Read: Caramel Apple Eggnog Cheesecake

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