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Chocolate Cheesecake "Petit Fours"

While many chocolate desserts are rich, this one is so rich that some years ago we devised a special way of serving small portions; bake the cheesecake in rectangular pans, then cut it into 1 1/2 inch squares (“Petit Fours”), topping each with a chocolate coffee bean. Serve the “Petit Fours” on a large platter and let people help themselves to as many as they want.

Recipe Ingredients

Chocolate Cookie Crust

2 dozen chocolate sugar cookies (recipe follows) or 8 1/2 ounce package chocolate wafers

8 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch bits and chilled

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cheesecake Filling

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee dissolved in 1 teaspoon hot water

2 cups sour cream

Optional Decoration

Chocolate coffee beans

Method

Heat oven to 325 degrees F.

Use 3 disposable aluminum “roll” pans 8 5/16 x 5 5/16 x 1 inch, or two 9-inch springform pans.

To make the crust, chop the cookies in a food processor until fine crumbs are formed. Add the chilled butter cubes and cinnamon, and process until evenly blended. Divide this mixture equally among the pans and, using your fingers, press evenly on the bottom to form a crust.

Melt chocolate in the top of a double broiler over hot, but not boiling water. Remove from the heat and cool.

Please the softened cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and, gradually increasing speed, beat until smooth and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed and beat in the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, then the eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in the cocoa, vanilla, coffee, sour cream and finally the chocolate, making sure the mixture is well blended after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally with a spatula. Pour the mixture into the prepared pans.

Bake for a half hour, turn off the heat and leave the cakes in the over another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool and refrigerate until well chilled.

Just before serving, unmold the cakes from the pans and place them on a cutting board. Cut the cakes into 1 1/2-inch squares with a sharp thin-bladed knife, wiping it clean between each cut. Top each square with a chocolate coffee bean.

Yield: 45 “Petit Fours” or two 9-inch cakes

Note: Baking the cheesecake in disposable aluminum pans makes unmolding quite simple; snip the corners of the pans with scissors, bend the sides down and unmold the cake.

This cheesecake keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week and freezes beautifully. Defrost before serving.

Source: Mountains of Chocolate (1981)

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