We couldn’t let St. Patrick’s Day slip by without a nod to the great patron saint of Ireland. And what could be better than to salute the Emerald Isle’s grand celebration with …… Irish Chocolate Cheesecake! I’m quite sure you’ll agree.
I have to admit though, St. Paddy’s has been on the back burner a bit this year. Normally I’m right on it and ready to start celebrating as soon as the calendar rolls around to March. In past years I’ve had all sorts of Irish fare on the brain like Colcannon (a delicious Irish concoction of mashed potatoes, cabbage and scallions), Irish Roasted Salmon, Bailey’s Irish Cream & French Silk and Irish Blackberry Soup w/Buttermilk Custard ……….. to name a few.
But this year we’ve been a bit distracted, as we’ve been preparing for a fun one-year-old birthday celebration for our granddaughter, Emery Kate. Her birthday was Tuesday, but we’re having a party on Saturday. Things have been whirring here at The Café as we’ve been preparing to celebrate with sweet family and friends. In order to not let St. Paddy’s day slip by in the midst of the birthday celebration, I decided to make something fun for the party that would also be a hats-off to Ireland.
I tossed around a few ideas and decided on a creamy chocolate cheesecake that would include a splash of Irish whiskey. Since we’ll be entertaining a crowd on Saturday, I made these Irish Chocolate Cheesecakes in individual size servings using small jelly jars. We’re also serving birthday cupcakes, so the dessert course will be quite simple and everyone can serve themselves.
I adapted this recipe from a favorite Irish cookbook, Irish Pub Cooking. It’s rich and creamy with a no-bake Oreo crust, making it super simple to put together. I decided to throw the mixture in my pastry bag fitted with a large decorating tip (1M) and pipe it into the little jars for a pretty presentation, but you could just as well spoon it in. Garnish the delicious mini cheesecakes with either tiny chocolate chips, Oreo crumbs, fresh berries or a drizzle of caramel sauce.
Well, I need to run and finish getting things ready for the party. Oh yeah, if you’re hearing a funny sound in the background as you read this post, it’s probably my refrigerator calling me. It’s been trying diligently to coerce me into sampling one of these Irish Chocolate Cheesecakes. I’ve been trying really hard to resist, but I think perhaps my resolve is weakening …
- 1 14- ounce package chocolate sandwich cookies like Oreos
- 2 ounces butter
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 16 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate chips
- 12 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons Irish whiskey
- Place chocolate chips in a medium-size microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute and stir. Return to microwave for another 30 seconds and stir until completely smooth. If there are still a few chocolate lumps, return to microwave for 15 seconds and stir again. Mixture should be really smooth. Set aside to cool while preparing crust and whipped cream.
- Place Oreos in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse once or twice to combine. Add melted butter and process for 15 seconds.
- Place 10-12 4-ounce jelly jars or ramekins on a sheet pan. Divide crumb mixture equally, about 2 tablespoons in each jar. Reserve a small amount, if desired for garnish. With the bottom of a small flat bottom glass, gently tamp crumb mixture in the bottom each jar to create a smooth, even crust.
- Whip cream until soft peaks form. This can be done with a mixer, a whisk or with this method. Refrigerate whipped cream till ready to use.
- Place cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a mixer. Beat on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cooled chocolate and beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, stopping once or twice to scrape down sides of bowl. Add Irish whiskey and beat a little longer till well incorporated.
- Remove bowl from mixer. Use a large spatula fold prepared whipped cream into chocolate cream cheese mixture. Continue to fold the whipped cream in until the mixture doesn't have streaks of cream.
- Scoop mixture into prepared jars. You can also put 1/2 of the mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a large pastry tip of your choice. I used a 1M. An open star tip would also work well. Be sure your tip has a fairly large opening, otherwise tiny bits of chocolate might clog it.
- Garnish with cookie crumbs, tiny chocolate chips or fresh berries. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.