Cheesecake, Fully Loaded

This Shavuot, embrace all-out decadence for 48 hours.

Jewish Week Online Columnist
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I try to eat fairly healthy a good chunk of the time, but cheesecake is a major weakness of mine. Though I avoid it most of the year, when it comes to Shavuot I feel fully justified in giving in.

While dreaming up how to top some of my epic cheesecakes from years gone by, like Caramel-Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake, Mini Oreo Cheesecakes, Strawberry-Lime Cheesecake and Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake, I figured: why not throw the sweets I absolutely love into the mix? For me, that means cookie dough and peanut butter cups. Hence, this completely decadent, over-the-top cheesecake was born. It's actually a pretty simple recipe, and you can even cut preparation time in half by using store-bought cookie dough in place of homemade. To make things even speedier, cut the filling recipe in half and bake it in a storebought graham cracker crust.

If you do want to think a little bit lighter this Shavuot, I've had success swapping out 25 to 40 percent of the cheese with fat-free Greek yogurt. You'll get a lighter, fluffier texture but still gobs of cheesy flavor. Chag sameach!

Amy Spiro is a journalist and writer based in Jerusalem. She is a graduate of the Jerusalem Culinary Institute's baking and pastry track, a regular writer for The Jerusalem Post and blogs at bakingandmistaking.com. She also holds a BA in Journalism and Politics from NYU.

Ingredients: 
For the Crust:
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) butter, melted
For the Filling:
20 ounces (2 1/2 packages) cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup mini peanut butter cups, roughly chopped
For the Cookie Dough:
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1/3 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Chocolate ganache, for serving (optional)
Recipe Steps: 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Make the crust: Mix the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter together and press in to the bottom of a greased 9x13" pan. Set aside.
Make the cookie dough: Beat together the butter, sugars and salt until well mixed. Add in the vanilla and mix to combine. Add the flour and mix, then stir in the chocolate chips. Let chill in the fridge while you make the filling.
Make the filling: Beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Add in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add in the vanilla and mix until combined. Pour into the prepared pan and spread until smooth.
Drop chunks of cookie dough and pieces of peanut butter cup randomly over the cheesecake. Press down into the filling.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until filling has set but remains slightly jiggly in the center. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold. Top with chocolate ganache before serving, if desired.