Love and Chocolate . . . Irish Cream Cheesecake

It’s that time of year again when thoughts turn to love — love AND Champagne, hearts, flowers and, of course, chocolate. Try this yummy Irish cream-laced chocolate cheesecake for a delicious Valentine’s Day treat. You’ll find other recipes like this in my Favorite Flavors of Ireland cookbook. To order, visit www.irishcook.com

CHOCOLATE-IRISH CREAM CHEESECAKE WITH WALNUT CRUST

SERVES 14 TO 16

Crust

1 1/2 cups digestive biscuit crumbs, such as McVitie’s brand 

1/2 cup toasted walnuts, ground (see Note)

3 tablespoons sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped

Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur

2 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Coffee beans, for garnish (optional)

Steps

  1. Make crust. Preheat oven to 325° F. In a small bowl, combine crumbs, walnuts, sugar, and melted butter. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack; maintain oven temperature.
  2. Make filling. Microwave chocolate in a glass bowl on HIGH for 1 minute. Stir once, and then return to microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate is completely melted; cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium until smooth. Add melted chocolate and then mix in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until smooth; stir in Irish cream.
  4. Pour mixture over crust and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until nearly set. Remove from oven, run a knife around rim to loosen, and then transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour before removing side of pan. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, or overnight.
  5. To serve, combine confectioners’ sugar and cocoa and sprinkle over top of cake; decorate with coffee beans, if desired. Cut cake into slices.

Note: To toast walnuts, preheat oven to 375° F. Put walnuts on an ungreased baking sheet and toast, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool. 

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