Reece’s Brownie Bottom Cheesecake

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Total Time: about 2 hours + chilling
Servings: 12-16
Cuisine: American
Recipe Info

Brownie Crust:
1 18.4-ounce box brownie mix (I used Betty Crocker ~ Milk Chocolate)
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup water
1 egg, slightly beaten
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup peanut butter chips
Cheesecake Layer:
3 8 ounce packages cream cheese (full fat), softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs room temperature
1 T vanilla extract
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup heavy cream
10 peanut butter cups, chopped
Chocolate Ganache and Peanut Butter Cup Topping:
1 cup (8 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup heavy cream
24 peanut butter cups, chopped


BROWNIE LAYER: Preheat oven to 350F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper cut into a circle to fit the inside bottom of the pan. Lightly spray the pan with non-stick spray and set aside. Using a medium sized mixing bowl, stir together the boxed brownie mix, vegetable oil, water and beaten egg just until ingredients are combined. Pour batter into prepared springform pan. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate and peanut butter chips onto the top of the hot brownie, in an even layer. Allow the brownie crust to cool on the counter while preparing the cheesecake filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 325F.

Using a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl with a hand held mixer on medium speed, cream together the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and continue to mix on medium-high speed for another 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl when needed, until the mixture is smooth. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Do not overmix. Keep the mixer speed low, add the creamy peanut butter and the heavy cream. Continue mixing until everything is completely incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups. Wrap the springform pan in a double layer of aluminum foil. Spoon the cheesecake batter on top of the brownie layer. Place the springform pan into a large roasting pan. Carefully pour hot water in the roasting pan, being very careful not to get any water in the cheesecake filling, about 1 inch up the side of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour.

PRO-TIP: It is important to keep the water until 1 inch high because if you put too much water in then you risk getting water into your springform pan. The reason for the water bath is to create a nice moist cooking environment for your cheesecake (eggs and dairy don’t like high/dry heat when baking).

Once the cheesecake has cooked for the hour, turn off the oven and crack the oven door open about an inch and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 30 minutes.

PRO-TIP: To make sure the cheesecake is done, do a Wobble test ~ basically when your cook time is up, your cheesecake center will just ever so slightly jiggle, or wobble when you give you cheesecake a little jiggle. DO NOT PANIC AND OVER COOK IT (it will set when it is in the refrigerator cooling over night)! If it is really super jiggly, you can give it a little more time. Note: Always make sure your oven temperature is accurate and some ovens just cook either at a higher/lower heat than others so it is best to not go completely by time on a recipe but go by if the cheesecake is cooked through. ** Temps and times will always vary depending on ovens**

Remove the roasting pan from the oven then remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan and allow the cheesecake to cool on the counter for another 1 hour, or until cool enough to place into your refrigerator to continue to cool completely overnight. After the cheesecake has chilled overnight, gently run a knife along the sides of the cheesecake and gently release the sides of the springform pan and remove it from the cheesecake.

Using a medium sized heat safe bowl, combine the heavy cream and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Heat in the microwave for 45 second intervals (or if your microwave has a melt setting), stirring after each interval until the chocolate is smooth.
Pour the ganache slowly on to the top of the cheesecake and gently smooth it on top.
Evenly sprinkle the top of the ganache covered cheesecake with the chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups.

More Tips and Tricks:
– It is best to use full-fat (or regular) Philadelphia cream cheese for this recipe. Low fat cream cheese usually has about 1/3 less fat than regular and more moisture content, therefore making the cooking and setting of the cheesecake inconsistent. It usually won’t firm up as much as a full fat version.
– A 9″ springform holds approx. 10 cups & a 10″ holds approx. 12 cups by volume of batter. When you change pan sizes you will need to scale back on the bake time approx. 15-20mins and just keep checking for doneness. If you use the same volume batter then your cheesecake will essentially be shorter and wider.
– Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature, so there are no lumps in your cheesecake.
Refrigerating the peanut butter cups for 10 minutes makes them much easier to chop.
– Make sure you wrap the pan very well so that the water doesn’t leak in.
– You can save any leftover ganache in a sealed jar, like a mason jar, in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. It is delicious, warmed, and spooned over ice cream.
– Instead of the chopped peanut butter cups, you could use the remaining peanut butter and chocolate chips, to top the ganache-covered cheesecake.
– You can layer full-sized Reese’s cups, in a single layer, on top of the hot brownie instead of the chips then spoon over the cheesecake batter.

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