Here are a few writing prompts to go with it:
Cheesecake for breakfast
I love you, but you’re evil
Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate
In our family, if something is so delicious that you can’t stop eating it, we call it “evil.” There’s really no religious connotation here, but we use “evil” as an adjective with subtext: it’s so damn good it has power over you. It’s one of the highest compliments we can give a cook or a baker. My sister often says this to me right after taking her first mouthful of my chocolate fudge cake. “Oh my God,” she’ll say, closing her eyes and savoring that first bite. “You’re evil.”
My father was a great baker, and cheesecakes were his forte, but for me, this recipe was his most evil. I’m crazy about peanut butter as it is, and cheesecake is my favorite dessert, so when he combined the two (and topped it with a chocolate sour cream), he really hooked me.
It must be twenty-five years since I first tasted this, but even today, as I write this, I clearly remember anticipating my next slice. One morning I awakened and had a slice right after breakfast. (This is admittedly over the top. I mean, I have to draw the line somewhere, don’t I?) The following morning I simply had a slice for breakfast, with a cup of strong coffee, of course. Nutritionally speaking, it’s not my proudest moment, but it is at the top of my list of extremely pleasurable food memories. And there’s nothing evil about that.
Evil Peanut Butter Cheesecake
For the Crust:
12 oz. vanilla wafers (or a comparable crunchy cookie)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons butter
For the Filling:
16 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
For the Topping:
8 oz. sour cream
3/4 semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup sugar
Prepare the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Combine all ingredients in a food processor until the crumbs are uniform and the mixture begins to get sticky. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared springform pan.
Mix the filling: Combine all the ingredients in a food processor (or use a standing mixer/hand mixer). Spread filling evenly in the pan with the prepared crust. Bake until the center is firm, about 70-80 minutes (the center may crack a bit; this is normal for cheesecakes, so don’t worry). Remove cake from oven, but leave oven set at 350. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before adding topping (you will bake it 10 minutes more after you add the topping).
Prepare the topping: Blend all ingredients using a standing mixer/hand mixer. Spread evenly over cheesecake, and bake 10 minutes in the 350 degree oven.
Let cake cool completely before running a knife around the edge and releasing from the springform. Refrigerate at least three hours before serving. Can be made the day before.