“It has to be special….”
The ending of a year can generate different emotions. Sadness if the year was especially good. Relief if the year was especially difficult. Anticipation for the possibilities of a new year. Frustration about unfinished items. Guilt about lost opportunities. Joy for upcoming planned opportunities.
When the ending is also the ending of a decade (depending on how you count, that is), those emotions can sometimes be compounded because now we may be looking back at ten years instead of one and experiencing all the same emotions. For me, my husband and I celebrated a milestone this month – 25 years of marriage – so, for me, I find today holding all the joy, sadness, frustration, guilt and anticipation of and for two and a half decades.
As such, when the family talked about what food to have to celebrate tonight’s festivities, the word “special” kept coming up. A special dinner, a special dessert, special treats and snacks. The family wanted something we do not usually have and which would make tonight feel different and festive.
So, to celebrate, I made a dark chocolate cheesecake which is dairy and gluten free, and in case anyone decides they want something “special” in 2020, I am sharing it below. Happy New Year!
Dark Chocolate Cheesecake
2 cups Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips
3 pkgs dairy free 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup coconut sugar or monk fruit sweetener blend
1/2 cup dairy free sour cream, at room temperature
2 tbsp unsweetened Hershey special dark cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips
chopped Enjoy Life chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch spring form pan with your preferred method and cover the bottom of the pan with two layers of aluminum foil. Boil water, and get out a pan large enough to fit the spring form pan inside.
- In a microwave safe container, melt the chocolate chips for a minute and stir until the chips are completely melted and smooth. If you need more time, microwave 15 seconds at a time until you can stir the chocolate to smoothness. Then set aside to cool.
- In a mixer, blend together the cream cheese until smooth.
- Add the coconut sugar and blend well, scraping the bowl as needed.
- Temper the chocolate mixture by stirring in a spoonful of the cream cheese mixture. Then add all of the chocolate into the cream cheese mixture and blend well.
- Mix the sour cream with the cocoa powder until completely blended. Then add the chocolate sour cream to the cream cheese batter and mix well.
- Add the vanilla and blend.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, scraping the bowl as needed.
- Pour the chocolate cream cheese batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
- Place the pan into the larger pan and place into the oven, pouring the boiling water into the larger pan to cover up to at least the halfway point of the spring form pan.
- Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake the cheesecake for 50 to 65 minutes until the cheesecake is mostly firm with the center being still a bit jiggly.
- Turn off the heat and allow the cheesecake to finish cooking and cooling in the oven with the heat off and the door open for about an hour.
- Remove the spring form pan from the oven and remove the aluminum foil and put the cheesecake into the fridge to completely cool, at least four hours, preferably overnight.
- Put the dark chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl with the coconut milk and microwave for a minute. Stir until the chips are completely melted and chocolate begins to glisten and become smooth.
- Remove the cheesecake from the spring form pan and carefully pour the chocolate ganache over the cheesecake to your liking.
- Sprinkle the top of the ganache with chopped chocolate and enjoy!