Mexican Brownie-Bottom Cheesecake

Source: Buns in My Oven

Mexican Brownie-Bottom Cheesecake

For the crust:

1/2 c butter, cut into pieces
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, cut into pieces
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
pinch of salt
1/2 c semisweet or milk chocolate chips (optional)

For the filling:

3-8-oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 T cinnamon
1/2 c sour cream
3 eggs
More cayenne pepper for garnish, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare an 8 or 9-inch springform pan with non-stick spray.

To prepare the crust, melt the butter over med-low heat. When butter is melted, reduce heat to low and add chocolate, stirring constantly until melted. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing between each addition. Add vanilla. Stir in the flour, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt, and stir vigorously for 30 seconds until batter is smooth. Stir in chocolate chips, if using.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, until the center is barely set. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Store at room temperature until filling is ready.

Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees F or preheat again, if necessary.

To prepare the filling, mix cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla with mixer until well blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Blend in sour cream. Add eggs, mixing on low speed just until blended. Pour over brownie crust.

Place springform pan on a rimmed cookie sheet and place in the oven. Pour about 3/4-inch of water into the baking sheet. Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until center is almost set. The very center of the cheesecake should jiggle slightly, but the outer 3 inches or so should be firm. Turn oven off and crack oven door. Leave cheesecake to cool until it’s OK to pick up without hot pads. Transfer to the counter-top until cooled to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake. Remove outer rim of pan, slice, and serve with a dusting of cayenne, if desired. Makes about 12 servings.

1. You can use a 10-15 ounce package of brownie mix instead of making the brownies from scratch. Just add the cinnamon and cayenne to the dry ingredients and bake in the springform pan as directed on the package.

Sources: Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz and a Pillsbury Annual Recipe cookbook.