This month’s Progressive Eats event is being hosted by Heather from the blog All Roads Lead to the Kitchen and Heather has chosen for her theme to have a Pretzel Party. Now…I have no say in what one of our team members picks and this one had me flummoxed for a bit. I’m just not a big pretzel fan. If you see someone hunched over that bowl of Chex Mix picking out the pretzels…that would be me! I might enjoy the perfectly baked version from the mall (and I’m betting some of our contributors) but the normal crunchy pretzel? Not so much. Still with a bit of an observation and a twisting of my own arm I think I did the pretzel proud with this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust.
When I finally had a moment of clarity I realized that pretzels appealed to me more when they are combined with sweet elements. I LOVE these Bacon Wrapped Pretzel Rods with Brown Sugar and Cayenne Pepper. I wanted to hide my updated version of The Strawberry Pretzel Salad when I made it, it was that good. So it seems I do like pretzels OK… I just need some sugar!
While I love cheesecake, I prefer it relatively simple. This Lemon Cheesecake is my all time favorite but I have made a few others that I enjoy too. I’m not big on piling them with candy from the checkout lane at the grocery but I was OK with making one that mimicked my favorite candy bar. I suppose I could have called this a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake except for the pretzel component so there really is no namesake; it’s just a really nice, rich cheesecake with a decadent ganache topping all surrounded by the slightly salty and crunchy pretzel crust and the whole thing is garnished with some peanuts and pretzels. Sort of a ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ cheesecake; so perfect for summer! If you’re thinking YUM at the thought of this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust…you would be right.
I’ve never got a lot to say in my blog posts; I really just want to share a great dish with you but tonight I’m exiting even sooner. I was a bit too social this past weekend to get this post done (and I plan to do that more often!) and then tonight? After I had 95% of my post completed I lost power for a second and everything disappeared. It’s 9:25pm and I’m done and done in and my poor cat is literally crying for me to come into my bedroom…that boy is used to curling up by me and getting some attention and I’m not there yet…uh oh! So please just trust me on this. This Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust is a very very good cheesecake. Yummalicious even! 🙂
For the crust
- 2 cups (about 7 ounces) crushed pretzels
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
For the Cheesecake
- 24 ounces (3 - 8oz packages) cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
For the Ganache Topping
- 2/3 cup heavy or whipping cream
- 4 ounces dark chocolate
- 4 ounces milk chocolate
For the Garnish
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pretzels
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped peanuts
To make the crust:
- Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9- or 10-inch springform pan.
- Combine pretzels, melted butter, brown sugar and salt until well mixed.
- Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Press evenly into bottom and up sides of pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
To make the cheesecake filling:
- Place cream cheese and both sugars in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a handheld or stand mixer on medium speed, beat until smooth. Mix in sour cream and vanilla extract.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add peanut butter and mix thoroughly.
- Pour filling into crust and spread evenly.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 200°. Bake for 2 hours, or until the center is firm and the cheesecake no longer looks shiny or wet.
- Remove cheesecake from the oven and run a knife around the edge of the pan.
- Turn off the oven. Place the cheesecake back into the oven for 2 hours. Then, remove the cheesecake, cover, and chill overnight.
To Make the Ganache Topping:
- Heat cream in a small saucepan until simmering.
- Off the heat add the chocolate and whisk together with cream as it melts. Pour onto top of chilled cheesecake and spread to the edges; reserving excess for drizzle.
- Mix together the peanuts and pretzel pieces and garnish the outside edge of the cheesecake. Drizzle ganache over garnish and down sides of cake.
- Return cheesecake to the fridge until the ganache sets, about 30 minutes.
- To Serve, slide large knife into very hot water and cut a slice. Clean off knife, slide it into water again and repeat.
I used half dark chocolate and half milk chocolate for the ganache but use what you prefer...all dark or all milk or a mix like mine. All personal preference!
Lots of great Pretzel Party foods…hope you find the perfect one for you!
Pretzels as an Ingredient
- Almond Pretzel Bread Pudding from All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
- Beer & Pretzel Cupcakes from Stetted
- Margarita Pie with a Pretzel Crust from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Peanut Butter, Pretzel, Chocolate Chip Energy Bites from Healthy Delicious
- Pretzel and Mustard-Crusted Fish Fillets from Mother Would Know
- Triple Berry Pretzel Dessert from Miss in the Kitchen
Pretzels from Scratch
- Bread Pretzels with Beer Cheese from Pastry Chef Online
- Gluten Free Pretzel Dogs from The Tomato Tart
- Homemade Philly Style Soft Pretzels from The Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine
- Pretzel Bites with Honey Mustard Dip from The Redhead Baker
- Pretzel Rolls from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month we’re having a Pretzel Party hosted by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez, who blogs at All Roads Lead to the Kitchen. Since today is National Pretzel Day, we thought it was the perfect chance to feature all sorts of fabulous homemade pretzel recipes, recipes that feature pretzels (both soft and hard), and pretzels dips/condiments. We have a varied and delicious menu for today that we hope you’ll enjoy!
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.
We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact me for more information.