How can eating a slice of coconut cheesecake feel so rewarding?
Maybe it has something to do with those famous chocolate wafers. Have you ever had those, from Nabisco? It comes in a yellow box, and each chocolate wafer taste like a flattened Oreo (just the cookie part, no cream filling).
I remember looking for these famous chocolate wafers about a year ago and my grocery store was constantly out of stock (are they that famous?). I remember bookmarking recipes to make homemade chocolate wafers but never getting around to it. And I remember the slight high I felt once I found those wafers. Because I knew they would make the perfect base for icebox cakes and chocolate crusts.
So when I decided to make cheesecake again and used those chocolate wafers in the crust, I felt a small sense of victory.
Those famous chocolate wafers lent a deep, almost bitter, dark chocolate flavor to the milky coconut cheesecake. In hindsight, I would’ve added coconut flakes to the crust, too (I have a thing for double coconut treats). But I didn’t need to; the cheesecake had plenty of coconut flavor in the batter and in the whipped cream.
As some of you know, I don’t have a fancy mixer (or even a non-fancy mixer) – I mix everything by hand. Even when I’m creaming butter, it’s all old-school muscle power. However I haven’t yet attempted to make whipped cream without a mixer, so I just buy the ready-made stuff from Whole Foods or sometimes Cool Whip. I mean Cool Hwip.
I also don’t have a spring form pan, so I made cheesecake bars instead of the 9″ round cheesecake in the original recipe. I like bars better anyway, they are a little more low maintenance. (In all honesty, I’m a little scared of springform pans. Check out this post on A Plum By Any Other Name – I have a feeling something similar could easily happen to me.)
So this coconut cheesecake -
With a wallop – not just a dollop – of sweet, coconut flavored, semi-homemade whipped cream,
And a dense, dark, deep chocolate crust,
Made me feel like I can do anything.
Like I can easily cream together sugar and cream cheese until they turn smooth and silky. Like I can always pound out my stress onto helpless chocolate wafers and end up with a delectable crust. Like I can really bake cheesecake without being scared. Without a springform pan. Nor a mixer. And I did. Easily, always, really.
Sure, those are small victories. But my point is… eating just one bar of this coconut cheesecake feels really rewarding. Now how can other cheesecakes compare to that?
(recipe adapted from Saveur’s Smoked Coconut Cheesecake)
1 package chocolate wafers, crushed
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) butter, melted
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 cups ready made whipped cream (or make your own from scratch)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
Preheat oven to 300 F.
Make the crust. Mix chocolate wafer crumbs and butter in a medium bowl. Transfer crumb mixture to a 13x9x2 baking pan (I lined mine with parchment paper and lightly buttered it). Press evenly onto bottom of pan. Bake until set, about 15 minutes; cool.
Make the filling. Cream together cheese and sugar until smooth. Add coconut milk, heavy cream, salt, vanilla, eggs, and yolk. Mix well until smooth. Pour cream cheese custard over cooled crust; bake until cheesecake jiggles slightly in center, about 1 hour, 15 minutes. Cool, and chill for 4 hours.
Make the whipped cream. Whisk cream, coconut milk, and confectioners’ sugar until stiff peaks form. Dollop over each square and serve immediately.
Do you have a favorite cheesecake recipe? Please share in the comments section!