German Chocolate Cheesecake

“You know, it doesn’t really matter,” I said with a shrug.

The AT&T tech looked perplexed by my indifference. I guess customers usually start foaming at the mouth when he tells them he can’t get their internet connection up and running. I explained: “I really don’t want the internet. You’d be amazed at how much you get done without it.”

I’m going to be eating these words once my students turn in the first project for me to grade, but for now, I can’t believe how many hours there are in the day. I mean, I don’t know what I did on the internet all day to eat up the amount of time I’ve found myself with in its absence. Some worthy things, obviously: recipe research and development, writing about food, lesson planning, emailing students and their parents. But what consumed the rest of my time? Facebook? People.com? A prolonged email-checking stupor?

Actually, I know exactly why the internet was able to fill my schedule: my insidious addiction to multi-tasking.

I’ve spent the last, oh, sixteen years of my life running around like the proverbial headless chicken, completing each responsibility roughly 5 milliseconds before its due, and dealing with the not-infrequent crisis when a deadline slips by. I work on at least two things at a time, but usually five or six. For instance, right now I’m writing this, posting comments on two friends’ blogs, and reading the comments on Willow Bird Baking’s latest Facebook status. I’ll do each activity for a few seconds before switching to another, throwing in a glance at my email every few cycles for good measure. Why does my brain think this is an efficient way to manage tasks? And why must there be so many useless tasks available on the internet?

German Chocolate Cheesecake
German Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 package (about 38) chocolate sandwich cookies, finely processed into crumbs (cream and all – it’ll disappear when you crush them up!)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Small pinch of salt

Ganache Ingredients:

  • 3/8 cups heavy cream (6 tablespoons)
  • 5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used half semisweet and half Ghirardelli 60% Cacao chocolate chips)

Cheesecake Ingredients:

  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 ounces or about 6 tablespoons chocolate chips, melted and cooled (I used half semisweet and half Ghirardelli 60% Cacao)

Cake Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/8 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/8 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/8 cup plus 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/8 cups warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Filling Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 ounces butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted

Instructions

  1. Make the cheesecake crust: Combine the chocolate cookie crumbs, melted butter and salt in a small bowl. Toss with a fork to moisten all of the crumbs. Press into a thin layer covering the bottom and sides of the springform pan (at least 3 inches up the sides). It’s hard to get the crust up that high, but keep pressing the crumbs up from the bottom with a smooth-sided glass (twisting the glass as you do so, so the crumbs don’t stick) and working them around — you’ll want it that high to hold the cake layer. Patience helps with this step.
  2. Make the ganache: Bring the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan (or heat in the microwave for about a minute, watching to ensure it doesn’t boil). Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Once the cream reaches a simmer, pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand 1-2 minutes. Whisk in small circles until a smooth ganache has formed. Pour the ganache over the bottom of the crust. Freeze until the ganache layer is firm, about 30 minutes.

You can find complete recipes of this German Chocolate Cheesecake in willowbirdbaking.com

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