Andes Mint Cheesecake

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I have mentioned before that a few of the recipes on this blog were inspired by my Mom's baking. This recipe is one of those. We didn't have it that often, maybe only three or four times, but every time we did I remember loving it. It actually was one of my first experiences with cheesecake, and every cheesecake I have had since I compare to this one. After talking with my mom about it, I learned that the original recipe came from the (unfortunately) no-longer-in-print magazine McCall's, specifically from the December 2004 issue.

The texture is silky smooth, and the flavor divine. I love it because the mint flavor is just strong enough to be dominant, but subtle enough to not be dominating.

In fact, I love this cheesecake so much that I figured out how to make it in a smaller size just so I could justify making it for myself. If you are also so inclined, I will include the ingredient amounts for a 6-inch cheesecake at the end of the recipe.

As a note, the original recipe called for 1 1/3 cups coarsely chopped Andes mints. I don't know if you have ever bought Andes mints before, but to get enough for the recipe you need about 3 boxes, which will run you around six bucks. On the other hand, a 10 oz bag of Andes mint chips only costs around $2.50, and is more than enough for this recipe.

Trust me, if you make this recipe you will fall in love with it, and if you bring it anywhere don't expect to take home leftovers, because it will be completely gone.
Skip the tutorial and go straight to the recipe.


Step 0:

Prepare a chocolate crust by pulsing 1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1/3 cup melted butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles sand. Press into a tall 9-inch pan and bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Step 1:

Melt 6 1/2 oz Andes mints or Andes mint chips along with 2 Tbsp water.
You can either do this in a double boiler (recommended), or attempt it in the microwave. Either method will work, just make sure not to burn the mints.

Step 2:

Cream 2 lbs of softened cream cheese until smooth.
I learned this tip from a friend of mine. She said to cream the cheese by itself until all the lumps are gone because no amount of mixing later will get those cream cheese lumps out. But don't worry, this cheesecake is worth the extra couple minutes mixing. Having the cheese at room temperature wouldn't hurt either.

Step 3:

Add 1 3/4 cups sugar and cream again. Scrape down the bowl, then stir in 1 tsp vanilla extract and 2 tsp peppermint extract.
About the extracts, the vanilla is mandatory, but the peppermint I have mixed feelings about. Personally, I feel the cheesecake is minty enough without it, but if you really want a big hit of flavor, by all means add the peppermint extract. Just make sure it is peppermint: other types of mint won't work here.

Step 4:

Add 3 eggs, one at a time. Make sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next.
According to Alton Brown of "Good Eats" fame, cheesecake is more like a custard pie than a cake, and as such, making sure that the eggs are completely mixed in is important.

Step 5:

Set aside 2 cups of the batter. Pour the remaining batter into the prepared crust.

Step 6:

Stir the reserved batter in to the melted chocolate. Pour the chocolate batter on top of the plain batter in the shape of a cross.
Now to create the marble. Here are the directions from the original recipe: To marble, scoop some white batter over the chocolate in a few spots. Then, holding a knife vertically, gently swirl together.

Step 7:

Place the cheesecake pan in a larger vessel and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake at 325°F for 50-60 minutes, or until the edges start to color.
The center may be a little wobbly, and this is okay. As mentioned before, cheesecake is really a custard, and with all custards, they will cook to doneness as they cool.

Step 8:

Allow to cool completely at room temperature, then chill overnight before serving.
Believe it or not, this is important enough to deserve it's own step. Letting the cake cool slowly should prevent the cake from cracking, and will help it keep it's velvety texture.

Andes Mint CheesecakeYields one 9-inch cheesecake (6-inch cheesecake)
1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers (1/2 cup)
1/3 cup cocoa powder (2 Tbsp)
1/3 cup sugar (2 Tbsp)
1/3 cup butter (2 Tbsp)
6 1/2 oz Andes mints (2 oz)
2 Tbsp water (2 tsp)
2 lbs cream cheese (10 oz)
1 3/4 cups sugar (1/2 cup sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract (1/4 tsp)
2 tsp peppermint extract (1/2 tsp)
3 eggs (1 egg)

In a food processor, combine graham crackers, cocoa powder, sugar, and butter until the mixture resembles sand. Press into a deep 9-inch (6-inch) round pan and bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Melt mints and water in a double boiler or microwave until smooth. Set aside. Beat cream cheese in a stand mixer until no lumps remain. Add sugar and cream until smooth. Scrape down the sides and add in vanilla and peppermint extracts. Add eggs one at a time, waiting until the previous egg is completely incorporated before adding the next egg, and scraping down the sides of the bowl in between eggs. Reserve 2 cups (2/3 cup) of batter and pour remaining batter into the cooled, prepared crust. Mix reserved batter with the melted mints and pour in a cross shape over the plain batter. To marble, To marble, scoop some white batter over the chocolate in a few spots. Then, holding a knife vertically, gently swirl together. Place the cheesecake pan in a larger vessel and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake at 325°F for 50-60 minutes (30 minutes), or until the edges start to color. The center may jiggle slightly. Allow to cool at room temperature, then chill overnight.

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