Candy Cane Cheesecake

A red and white, candy-cane striped cheesecake with a peppermint crunch!  Layered over a chocolate cookie crust and draped with a dark chocolate ganache.   

Mint and chocolate, together.

Though it’s not a new flavor combination by any stretch, it’s always been difficult for me to strike just the right balance when baking with the two.

I like my mint to be subtle (nobody wants to feel like they’re biting into toothpaste) in such a way that it complements the chocolate and helps draw out the best qualities of it, but doesn’t overpower.  It always helps if there’s a nice crunch in the mix as well.

This recipe manages to strike just that balance.  A half teaspoon of peppermint extract and crushed candy canes are added to the red “stripes” of the cheesecake

Never mind that the “red” candy cane stripes came out more of an Easter pink, it’s difficult to find the balance between using just the right amount of food dye to achieve the right color without adding an acerbic taste to your baked goods, and with no color is this harder than red (which desperately wants to be pink, anyway).

The cheesecake has just the right amount of mint, a tingly lilt on your tongue amidst creamy classic cheesecake.

As for the crunch, the crisp chocolate cookie crust covered by a sprinkling of peppermint candy has you covered, as does another sprinkling over the rich dark chocolate ganache.

If only I could strike such a perfect balance in all aspects of my life.

Happy Friday, everyone 🙂

Candy Cane Cheesecake

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Ingredients

Crust

  • 22 Oreo cookies
  • 4 Tbsp butter melted

Cheesecake

  • 4 8- oz packages of cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cups sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • Red food coloring about 3 drops of gel food coloring
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp crushed candy canes

Chocolate ganache

  • 1 1/3 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp crushed peppermint candy for sprinkling

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • In food processor, pulse cookies until fine crumbs form.
  • Add butter and pulse until well-combined.
  • Press cookie crumbs evenly into the bottom of a 10” springform pan. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of crushed candy cane over the crust.
  • In KitchenAid, beat cream cheese until smooth.
  • Add sour cream and sugar and stir on medium-low until well-combined, pausing to scrape down sides.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  • Add vanilla and stir until combined.
  • Split the batter by transferring half to a clean bowl.
  • To one half, add ¼ cup crushed candy canes, peppermint extract, and red food dye until desired color is reached (caution: too much dye can give the cheesecake a bitter flavor. If not using color, there is no need to divide the batter, simply stir the crushed candy into the original bowl).
  • Layer the cheesecake over the prepared crust, alternating colors (first an even layer of the white batter, using about 1/3 of that batter, then spread about 1/3 of the red batter over that, repeating until all batter is used).
  • Bake on 350 for 40-45 minutes, until center is set.
  • Allow to cool at room temperature completely before transferring to fridge and allowing to chill 6 hours (or overnight).
  • Once chilled, prepare ganache by heating chocolate and heavy cream in small saucepan over medium-heat, stirring frequently until chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool 2-3 minutes. Pour over cheesecake, lightly nudging mixture over the edges as desired. Sprinkle with the 2 Tbsp crushed candy canes. Allow ganache to harden in fridge for at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
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