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Boozy Baked Goods: Cherry Chocolate Stout Cheesecake + Starr Hill Brewery Shakedown

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Happy International Stout Day friends! Today we’re celebrating with one of the most delicious Stout’s we’ve ever tried, Starr Hill Brewery’s Shakedown, an Imperial Chocolate Cherry Stout. But that, that just wasn’t enough for us on this sacred day of Stout drinking. No siree! So, how about we give you a Chocolate Cherry Stout Cheesecake to go along with that delicious beer? Yes, please! If you love cherry and you love chocolate, this beer paired with this heavenly, rich and decadent dessert will have you salivating in no time. It’s November. It’s the time of year where a little indulgence is OK. It’s encouraged!

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This cheesecake. Where do I even begin? Oh I know where. I’m going to sing my praises for just a second and tell you how proud of myself I am today. This is the first time in my life I have baked something that no only came out tasting amazing but also looks so fucking good! Guys! I’m a baking disaster, a kitchen’s worst nightmare. Cody may or may not have mentioned after this little experiment that the kitchen needed a “husband’s elbow grease” to get it clean with all of the chocolate sauce dripping everywhere, the whipped cream dribbled all over the counter tops, fighting off the pups for the bits of candy bacon sprinkled on the floor. But it was worth it!

Chocolate lovers, after a slice of this beast, you’ll think you have died and gone to confectionery, cocoa heaven. It has a chocolate graham cracker and pretzel crust which adds a salty, chocolate crunch to the cheesecake. The actual cheesecake layer is light and fluffy with a dark chocolate cherry stout mixture blended in. Teeny bits of candied bacon (OMG! Candied bacon!) are mixed in, adding into every other bite a touch of candy, smoky sweetness. Then you have the top layer with a cherry Stout chocolate sauce, more candied bacon goodness and light and fluffy homemade whipped cream along the edges. Did the button just bust off your pants? Well…be prepared. It’s going to!

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I had been reading a bit about Starr Hill Brewery’s Shakedown this week before picking it up, and as I said above, it’s delicious! Kudos to Josh of Swill and Swine VA for recommending I try it! You aren’t going to be hit with a lot of cherry flavor, so don’t let the thought of overwhelming fruit flavors scare you off from trying it. With the cherry taste very subtle, it’s still enough to have a bit of a different flavor profile than your typical chocolate-tasting Stout. I didn’t find the Starr Hill Shakedown particularly very heavy; it’s actually refreshing and easy to drink! Aromas of coffee and chocolate hit your nose, and notes of bittersweet, dark chocolate and mild tart cherry combine on your palate. There’s some roasted coffee notes in the background, and there’s little to no bitterness. For 9.0%, there’s no boozy flavor whatsoever. The alcohol is well hidden.

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Using the Stout in the cheesecake added richer chocolate-cherry notes to it, in addition to some lovely coffee and espresso flavors. Again the cherry is very subtle, and you really taste it more in the chocolate sauce on top of the cheesecake than in the fluffy, middle layer. Since the cherry notes are less prevalent in the dessert, drinking the Stout with the cheesecake changes the game. The Stout isn’t too rich or heavy, so it’s a nice complement to the decadent and dense cheesecake. The beer flavors blend right into the cheesecake flavors, only enhancing the chocolate cherry goodness. The beer isn’t too filling, and it won’t keep you from enjoying every last bite of the cake! Which you will enjoy. Every. Single. Last. Bite.

So tell me, what are you drinking to celebrate today’s Stout Holiday? Cheers!

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Cherry Chocolate Stout Cheesecake
 
Cheesecake recipe adapted from Tide and Thyme. Chocolate sauce recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.
Ingredients
Crust Layer
  • 6 full sized chocolate graham crackers
  • 2 cups pretzel rods (not pretzel sticks)
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
Cheesecake Filling
  • 8oz dark chocolate (2 chocolate baking bars)
  • 1 cup of your favorite Stout
  • 3 (8oz) packages of cream cheese, softened to room temp
  • 1¼ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup beer candied bacon, chopped into pieces
Chocolate Sauce Topping
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 10oz bittersweet chocolate chips (1 bag)
  • ¼ cup Stout
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup candied bacon, chopped
Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp sugar
Instructions
Crust Layer
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Place oven rack in the middle of oven with a second rack directly below.
  2. In food processor, add graham crackers, sugar and pretzels. Process until reduced to crumbs. Turn food processor back on and slowly add melted butter. Process until crumbs begin to form together.
  3. Spray the inside of a 9-inch spring form pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour crumbs into bottom of the pan. Using the bottom of a heavy, flat bottom glass, press crust into bottom of pan until firm and compact.
Chocolate Filling Mixture
  1. In a pot over medium high heat, add beer and chocolate. Stir until melted and remove from heat. Allow to cool.
Cheesecake Filling Mixture
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add cream cheese and sugar. Mix until smooth and combined. One at a time, add eggs, scraping bottom of the bowl between additions. Pour cooled chocolate filling mixture into the mixer and beat until well combined. Add flour, cocoa powder and bacon over the batter. Stir on low speed until combined.
  2. Pour the batter into the pan over the crust.
  3. Place pan in oven in the middle of the middle rack. Place baking dish on rack below the cheesecake. Fill baking dish with water underneath.
  4. Bake cheesecake until center no longer jiggles when you shake the rack, about 45-50 minutes. You can remove from oven, but I typically turn off the heat and let the cheesecake sit to avoid it sinking and cracking. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.
Chocolate Topping
  1. Bring sugar, corn syrup, cocoa powder, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer until it begins to thicken, about 10–12 minutes.
  3. Add chocolate, beer, and salt and return to a simmer, whisking.
  4. Cook, whisking, until sauce is thick and glossy, about 5 minutes.
  5. Let cool slightly before topping cheesecake.
  6. When slightly cooled but still warm, pour onto center of cheesecake and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Top the chocolate sauce with the rest of the chopped candied bacon.
Whipped Cream
  1. In a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks begin to form.
  2. Add sugar and continue whipping until high, stiff peaks begin to form.
  3. Place whipped cream around edges of cheesecake with knife or using a piping bag.

 

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