My New Cheesecake: Of Zebras & Chocolate Kisses

The most popular recipe on Dessert Comes First gets a makeover.

My cheesecake recipe is the most downloaded recipe on DCF. I get the most emails about it than any other recipe I’ve shared, pleas for help, questions about procedure, but mostly, praises for the recipe. This cheesecake recipe is what I call a real crowd-pleaser, one of those that beginner bakers and non-bakers alike can do and be successful, even on the first try.

So when KitchenAid asked me to do a baking demo, I knew that I had to include a cheesecake recipe. As I stressed during the demo and will repeat here, I believe that a cheesecake – a really good one – must be made with a stand mixer. A hand mixer will take hours to achieve that silken smoothness, I don’t care if you’ve got guns (arms) of steel. I was also very happy to have Hershey’s sponsor the chocolates for my demo so I decided to incorporate their Dark Chocolate Kisses into the recipe.

This redux I did on my cheesecake recipe is a riff off of my bull’s-eye cheesecake . This version 2.0 which I demonstrated at the KitchenAid event is essentially alternating cheesecake batters of vanilla and chocolate cushioned by a graham cracker crust lined with Kisses. The batters make a beautiful flower pattern at the start and the resultant marbling effect is stunning for the minimal amount of skill required. The participants at the demo were very thrilled with the contrasting batters and how they looked. One participant even emailed me to say that she’d already made it at home and it was a hit with her family.

Try out this recipe of mine and don’t worry about the different batters. As I said at the demo, let the batters go where they will, it’ll still taste fabulous. And if you need help or have questions, I’m just an email away!

You can use any variant of Kisses you prefer. I used the Dark Chocolate variant.
Finishing up with a whimsical marbling. It reminds me of a zebra pattern, thus the recipe’s name.
The sweets I demoed at the KitchenAid event, flanked by my favorite spatulas and a selection of sea salts. The cheesecake is on the upper left.

Zebra Kisses & Chocolate Cheesecake

2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
½ – ¾ cup melted butter
20-24 pieces Hershey’s Kisses, any variant, unwrapped
2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened (use the best brand you can afford)
1 300-ml can condensed milk (Milkmaid brand preferred. No, I’m not connected to their company but this is the only condensed milk that’s 100% dairy)
3 eggs
¼ cup Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup

Preheat oven to 300ºF.

Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with foil. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine crumbs and sugar and gradually add the butter. Test the mixture by grabbing some crumbs in your hand. If crumbs clump up when pressed firmly, then it is ready. If not, continue to gradually add more butter until desired texture is reached. Press crust mixture onto bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until fragrant. When slightly cool, position the Kisses on the bottom of crust, either vertically or in concentric circles.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese on medium-high speed in large bowl until fluffy, about 2-4 minutes. Mixture should be very smooth. Lower speed to medium-low and gradually beat in condensed milk. Add the eggs one at a time making sure each is incorporated fully before adding the next one. Stop mixer and scrape bowl down with a rubber spatula. Mix batter on low for a few more seconds.

Divide cheesecake batter into 2 glass measuring bowls, preferably with a spout. Stir chocolate syrup into one bowl of batter. You now have two types of batter: vanilla and chocolate. Carefully pour vanilla batter into prepared pan and alternately add the chocolate batter, creating a bulls-eye pattern. Try not to let the succeeding batter overlap or “overtake” the preceding batter. You may not need all the batters. Place pan on a baking sheet.

Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until center is slightly jiggly but perimeter is set. Turn oven off but leave cheesecake in oven with door open to cool 1 hour. After one hour, let cool completely on a cooling rack. Chill at least 4 hours to let flavors develop before serving. Cheesecake will keep, well-wrapped, for 2 weeks in the refrigerator and 1 month in the freezer.

Leave a Reply