As I was entering our local grocery store a couple of weeks before Christmas, I noticed a sign posted. It touted “A Chocolate Christmas on the Square” in my part of our little town. I think I noticed this sign amongst the many, many others on the huge bulletin board because it had my favorite word, chocolate, on it. If “peanut butter” were also listed, it might have stood out in neon colors in my mind. But I digress.
I completely ignored the listing of fun activities to focus in on the Baking Competition invitation. The public was invited to submit a favorite “something chocolate” treat to be judged. The winner would get a $25 gift certificate to local merchants and a hand-crafted ornament. They were also giving prizes for second and third place. I love to bake. I love chocolate. This sounded like a winning combination to me!
You had to register in advance and they wanted to know what you were making. I hadn’t made up my mind yet and they allowed me to leave this section blank on my form. It was my husband who suggested that I make a Brownie Cheesecake.
1-1/2 cups crushed vanilla wafers (about 45 wafers)
6 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
6 tablespoons baking cocoa
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup baking cocoa
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 cups crumbled brownies
Whipped topping and pecan halves, optional
In a small bowl, combine the wafer crumbs, confectioners’ sugar and cocoa; stir in the butter. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9-in. springform pan; set aside.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in milk and vanilla. Beat in cocoa until well blended. Add eggs; beat on low just until combined. Fold in brownies. Spoon into crust. Place pan on a baking sheet.
Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen. Cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
Remove sides of pan. Garnish with whipped topping. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 10-12 servings.
I had a small snag as I didn’t have any vanilla wafers on hand to crush for the crust. Not wanting to make a trip to the store just for them, I ended up substituting animal crackers. I don’t recommend this as the taste, texture, and hold-togetherness of them is not as good as the vanilla wafers. But, it worked in a pinch.
Results? As I was told afterwards, the six judges originally had some bon bons and my cheesecake in a tie for first. In the taste off, the cheesecake lost and I ended up with second place. This was absolutely acceptable and I was glad I entered.
Sorry no pictures of the entry as I was in a hurry that night to get everything done and it over to the judging location. I completely forgot to take any pictures.