Baked Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 10.1:
 
Prototype 10.1?? What's that??

The batter for this recipe is derived from a line of cheesecake prototypes that I made back around the late 1980's. The crust is derived, scaled down to a one-third recipe—with extremely small deviations on the cottage cheese and Bran Buds—from that used in Prototype 3 of the Chocolate Bran Buddy Bars.

More specifically, around 1987 or 1988, I began experimenting with a "Baked Cheese Pie" recipe in a cookbook from the American Heart Association. This initial recipe was not chocolate flavored, but supposedly meant to be plain, although it actually turned out too lemony. I referred to it as "Prototype 1". From there, I went through a number of different cheesecake prototypes, with a few different flavors, incrementing the "prototype" number as I went along. "Prototype 4" was my first chocolate attempt (it ended up having way too much cocoa powder). A number of prototypes later, I had a much improved chocolate cheesecake, "Prototype 10", and continued on with additional flavors. I hardly gave consideration to the crust, as I wanted to focus on the batter.

The recipe presented here uses this "Prototype 10" batter, but with a relatively minor swap. The original version used margarine. The updated version presented here uses butter instead. Since I am adding crust, I felt that I would also implement a minor variation for the prototype number. "10.1" is the result.

This one is a baked recipe (as opposed to "refrigerate until firm").
 
Crust:
2 oz. melted, semi-sweet chocolate
4 teaspoons skim milk, heated
4 teaspoons cocoa powder. Fully dissolve this in the chocolate and milk, then gradually blend in...
5 oz. whipped, lowfat cottage cheese. Then add...
3/8 cup granulated sugar. Blend thoroughly, then add...
1 teaspoon vanilla (next to last ingredient here). Blend this in, then finally mix in (quickly and vigorously, all at once)...
2.9 oz. finely ground Bran Buds

Press this crust mixture into the bottom of a lightly buttered 9" cheesecake pan (such as removable-bottom or spring-form). There is no need to press the crust up the pan's sidewall.

Batter:
2 cups lowfat cottage cheese
2 tablespoons melted or softened butter
2 eggs
7/8 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup skim milk
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cocoa powder

Blend all these ingredients together thoroughly, particularly the butter and eggs (an electric mixer or food processor may be needed for this), then pour this batter into the pan (on top of the crust, of course). Promptly place this into the oven—preheated at 300 degrees—and bake for 100 minutes (or until cake tester comes out clean). Remove from oven, cool down to about room temperature, carefully remove from pan, and refrigerate (perhaps at least three hours is a good suggestion at this last step).

Baked Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 10.2:
 
This is a tastier version. The crust is somewhat richer, due to inclusion of the "filling" ingredients of the Prototype 3 Chocolate Bran Buddy Bars. Essentially, what goes into this cheesecake's crust is a one-quarter recipe of the Chocolate HiFi Buddy Balls (Prototype 1). Remember, that's a quarter recipe, not a third, as I felt that the crust needed to be cut down a bit. Another change is the addition of vanilla to the batter.

Despite this batter modification, I have chosen to keep the "10" in "Prototype 10.2" rather than up this number to 11. Not only is this more in keeping with the 1980's prototype numbering, but the vanilla addition is an extremely small change anyway—small enough that I would rather consolidate this modification with that of the crust, resulting in a ".2" (up from ".1") after the "10".
 
Crust:
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate. Heat only until it just becomes fully melted, then mix in...
1 tablespoon cocoa powder. Heat this mixture a little more, then blend in, as thoroughly as possible...
1 tablespoon skim milk. Heat this mixture a little more, mix it more thoroughly, then gradually combine...
4 oz. lowfat cottage cheese, whipped. Then add...
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Blend thoroughly, then add...
1 teaspoon vanilla (next to last ingredient here). Blend this in, then finally mix in...
2.2 oz. finely ground Bran Buds. Mix quickly with vigor.

Press this crust mixture into the bottom of a lightly buttered 9" cheesecake pan (such as removable-bottom or spring-form).

Batter:
1/2 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
7/8 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups lowfat cottage cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Blend all these ingredients together thoroughly and pour into pan. Promptly place into 300-degree oven (preheated), and bake for 100 minutes (or until cake tester comes out clean). Remove from oven, cool down to about room temperature, carefully remove from pan, and refrigerate.

Baked Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 10.3:
 
I felt that the crust's texture was somewhat too dry on the previous version. While the Chocolate HiFi Buddy Balls may have been moist enough, baking their same set of ingredients for a cheesecake was apt to produce dry results. So I needed to find a "wetter" approach for the crust.
 
Repeat the previous version, but make these changes for the crust:
Boost semi-sweet chocolate by 1 ounce, to 4 ounces.
Boost skim milk by 1 tablespoon, to 2 tablespoons.
 
I think that this one is almost on target. I felt that the crust could use a little more moisture.
 
Baked Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 10.4:

Repeat the previous version, but boost the crust's skim milk by 2 tablespoons, to 1/4 cup. Tip: Immediately after adding the Bran Buds to the crust's other ingredients, act real fast! Get the Bran Buds soaked and mix quickly, yet thoroughly. The resulting crust mixture should have a thick, liquid texture. But this is not going to stay this runny for long. So before it hardens, dump it into the bottom of the pan, and tilt this pan in various directions until the mixture has coated the entire bottom. If necessary, carefully spread this mixture (using something small, such as a finger) to close any remaining gaps, but be as quick as possible. Give the pan a slight shake as needed to help level out the crust.
 
The crust's texture was considerably better.
 
Baked Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 10.5:

The quest is still on for crust improvement! Repeat the previous version, but boost the crust's skim milk, by 4 teaspoons, to 1/3 cup. Increase the granulated sugar as well, by a tablespoon, to 3/8 cup for a tastier crust. Finally, use the bath approach for this cheesecake (i.e., wrap foil around the pan, and place it in a hot "tub"—see Baked Eggnog Cheesecake, Prototypes 8 and 9, below, for more info).
 
A huge improvement for the entire cheesecake, especially the crust! "Tubbing" makes a world of difference! Could it be that the bath separates the pros from the rest? Maybe I should become a "tub-thumper" for cheesecake baking (not quite the "Chumba-cheese-wamba-cake" variety, inasmuch that my non-bath cheesecakes got "knocked down" upon removal from the oven after "getting up" in the baking process—but the bath approach would "keep" the batter "down" throughout...so..."When we're baking, we'll be winning, if we're bathing—Cake gets knocked down, but it gets up at first, if cake you're gonna keep un-bathed/Oh, bain marie, bain marie, bain marie").
 
Baked Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 11:
 
The crust's sugar and, especially, its milk got boosted in the last few prototypes. I felt that the cocoa should be given a little boost as well. Cutting down the batter's salt (see Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 10, for more info on this change) also seemed like a good idea.

With this change affecting both the crust and the batter, and in light of my wanting to revert at some point to whole-numbered prototype designations, I felt that I would move the
Baked Chocolate Cheesecake designation beyond the "10.x" series and call this version "Prototype 11", rather than "Prototype 10.6". By now it was time to get out of the "late 1980's cheesecake prototype numbering system" and bring things up to date for this 21st century scrapbook.

Upon checking my 1980's cheesecake prototypes, it looked like 7 of them were specifically chocolate ("Prototype 4" through "Prototype 10" under that arrangement), and I did not (from what I best recall) get involved with crust experiments back then. If I were to resume prototype numbers solely for the chocolate batter in this 21st century scrapbook (i.e., pick up on the chocolate batter where the 1980's experiments left off, calling the first chocolate cheesecake prototype of this scrapbook "Baked Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 8"), then "Scrapbook Prototype 10.1" could be thought of as "Prototype 8" (butter replacing margarine), "Scrapbook Prototype 10.2" (as well as "10.3", "10.4" and "10.5") could be thought of as "Prototype 9" (1 teaspoon vanilla being added), and "Scrapbook Prototype 10.6" (this current recipe here, which I wanted to rather call "11") could be thought of as "Prototype 10" (salt being reduced to 1/4 teaspoon), the integers 8, 9 and 10 all being in sequence with the 1980's chocolate experiments. But the "10 series" designation had already been in use by the
Baked Chocolate Cheesecake "21st century scrapbook system", so that would present a problem in calling this latest version "Prototype 10" here. What if I were to further bump up the number each time for changes made solely to the crust (not to the batter)? That's 3 "crust-only" modifications ("10.3", "10.4" and "10.5"), so this recipe's proposed "Prototype 10" designation could instead be "Prototype 13".

The batter votes for a not-so-eligible "10". The crust, not wanting to be "counted out", casts its ballot for a more-eligible "13". The midpoint would be "11.5", but I wanted only an integer. Since the batter dominated over the crust, I thought it would be a good idea to move from "11.5" to the nearest integer in the batter's direction, and this resulted in yet another reason to go with the number "11" (in addition to it being the lowest eligible integer here). So "Baked Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 11" it is for this particular version in this 21st century recipe scrapbook. For now, I felt that this number was a reasonable compromise. Should I make subsequent variations for
Baked Chocolate Cheesecake (whether for the batter only, crust only or both of them), the plan would be to use "12", "13", "14", etc.
 
Repeat Prototype 10.5, but...
For the crust, boost cocoa powder by 1 teaspoon, to 1 1/3 tablespoons.
For the batter, reduce salt by 1/4 teaspoon, to 1/4 teaspoon.

The latest update for the ingredient lists...

Crust:
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1 1/3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/3 cup skim milk
4 oz. lowfat cottage cheese, whipped (no-salt-added recommended)
3/8 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (next to last ingredient here)
2.2 oz. finely ground Bran Buds

Batter:
1/2 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
7/8 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups lowfat cottage cheese, whipped (no-salt-added recommended)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
 
This one went over very nicely at the Sports Page, and Steve, in particular, could hardly stop raving about this Prototype. Of all the treats that I brought—for him, Lesa and others in their company to enjoy—this seemed to be one of his favorites, perhaps even his #1 favorite, at least up to this point. I myself felt that both the filling and the crust were terrific!
 
Baked Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 12:
 
Inasmuch as the crust had a nice chocolate taste to it, I wanted a richer cheese presence as well. I decided to swap out the 1/3 cup skim milk, replacing it with an additional 4 ounces—i.e., about 1/2 cup—of cottage cheese. It was a painstaking experience for me to arrive at this amount. But not only was this easier than attempting an equal "1/3 cup for 1/3 cup" exchange (or boosting the cottage cheese by an oddly 2 2/3 ounces!), but the amount of liquidity (or moisture) for the overall mixture would hopefully remain close (replacement of 1/3 cup of a thin, wet ingredient with about 1/2 cup of a somewhat thicker one).
 
Repeat Prototype 11, but...
For the crust, eliminate the skim milk, and boost the whipped cottage cheese by 4 oz., to 8 oz.
 
This resulted in a thicker crust. I think the taste may have indeed been slightly richer, perhaps with the cottage cheese's flavor barely being present—not easily detected, due its mild characteristic.
 
Baked Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 13:
 
Back in the 1980's I aimed to get my chocolate cheesecake to taste very much like that of a certain brand that I enjoyed at the time: Alden Merrell. My efforts back then were for a healthy answer to a high-fat treat. Inasmuch as I came close, tartness was one of the taste issues that I was grappling with. My earlier prototypes included lemon juice and lemon peel, which I ended up outright eliminating in the later chocolate cheesecakes at the time.

My goals have shifted more recently, and I reasoned that tartness had an important contributing role to the cheesecake flavor, particularly when using cottage cheese, whose taste I felt was relatively mild. In light of my giving lemon juice a try in my latest combination "chocolate-and-peanut-butter" cheesecakes—with successful results—I thought that I would utilize it here in this latest chocolate-only prototype as well.

In another move to better ensure the cheese presence in the batter, the cottage cheese was boosted as well. To compensate for this, I also increased the flour.

In fact, the chocolate batter of Prototype 13 here is identical to that of Prototype 3 of Baked Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake (see below), with the only exception being the amount of flour (I used slightly more in the latter recipe, due to its deeper height in the baking process). The chocolate crust is the same for both recipes!
 
Repeat Prototype 12, but make these changes for the batter:
Boost whipped cottage cheese by 4 ounces (1/2 cup), to 20 ounces (2 1/2 cups).
Boost flour by 4 teaspoons (1/12 cup), to 1/3 cup.
Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.

Bake this cheesecake for two hours (at 300 degrees, with hot water bath), then remove from oven, and allow about two hours for cooling before removing from pan. NOTE: If using a 9 1/2" pan (instead of 9"), cut this baking time to 110 minutes.

Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 13

The batter had a delicious cheese presence. It also had a nice tart taste, without being excessive (and I felt that the sweetness wasn't deficient either). This prototype went amazingly fast at a church event that involved only a small crowd.

This is a very popular one. I think that I have baked this particular prototype more than once using an older 9" pan in the past. I have more recently started using my newer, 9 1/2" Frieling pan on this cheesecake.
 
Baked Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 14:
 
It had been a while at this point since I initially made Prototype 13. Yogurt cheese would make its chocolate cheesecake debut with the 14th prototype. This recipe would also be, to the best of my knowledge, the very first one in my entire recipe scrapbook to be done outside of my home—with the only exceptions likely being some pancake recipes, at least the chocolate version, done a number of times over the past few years at my cousin Rachel's house in Vermont (as well as at my own place) and one of the Fluffernutter HiFi Buddy Bar prototypes, being prepared elsewhere in my hometown probably about 3 years ago. Not only would Prototype 14 of my chocolate cheesecakes be the very first item in my recipe scrapbook that I produced outside of New England—it would be prepared and served at my brother Eric's house in Tahoe—more specifically, in California! This was done at a cousins reunion held there in late August of 2012. To help make things easier, I skipped the crust—but I nearly doubled up on the batter. I also made modifications based upon some recent yogurt cheese efforts, such as with Prototype 8 of my plain cheesecakes and Prototype 16 of my eggnog ones.
 
Batter only:
4 tablespoons melted/softened butter
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
32 ounces nonfat yogurt cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs

Pour into buttered 9-inch springform pan, place into hot bath and bake for the first 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Then lower temperature to 300 degrees and bake for 45 more minutes. Cool outside of oven and bath for about 1 1/4 hours, then refrigerate. For a nicer touch, place semi-sweet chocolate chips, flat-side-down, in a circle around the cheesecake's top surface at its outer edge shortly after removal from the oven (avoid burns—be careful not to touch the pan's hot sidewall while placing the chocolate chips).

Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 14

At first, I got the impression that this cheesecake had a very long way to go in its baking when I checked it at, from what I best recall, about 50 minutes. But at 75 minutes this one was nearly overflowing the 9" pan that Jean, Eric's wife, provided to me (my trusty, 9 1/2" Frieling—a gift from them and their daughters—was back home). I thought that the oven at the Tahoe house may have been using convection to speed up the baking. Anyway, I quickly took the cheesecake out. It was perhaps around this point that the idea of chocolate chips entered my mind. I found some Nestlé's Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chips lying around and was pleasantly surprised that they were "all-natural" (at least according the package's claim). So I put a "ring" of them on my cheesecake while it was still hot, and these chips sat nicely on the top surface.

While a number of guests at the reunion expressed appreciation for this prototype, I felt that the taste was rather somewhat too tart, at least for a chocolate cheesecake (I personally still liked it, but I—and probably the other guests—would have enjoyed it considerably more if the taste wasn't so tart).

Normally I used the Market Basket brand of yogurt back home, and this brand would strain so well that I would have to add back some whey to get the weight I wanted. But at Tahoe, I used a different brand whose name I could not remember (from what I best recall, it was organic—a bonus), and this seemed to strain relatively slowly. I started with 64 ounces (in the form of two 32-ounce containers) of plain, nonfat yogurt, allowed about 24 hours of straining time and ended up with considerably more than the 32 ounces of yogurt cheese that I was targeting. So I had some left over.

Perhaps if I allowed much more time (which I wasn't in a position to do), more whey would have drained out, and maybe the resulting cheese would have been a little less tart, but I wasn't sure. But I also reasoned that while tartness was good with certain cheesecake flavors such as plain, lemon, orange and other citrus varieties, perhaps I needed to ease up on it when dealing with flavors such as chocolate. Another thing that I considered was that this bought-in-California brand of yogurt was perhaps more tart than Market Basket's.

Anyway, having given thought to Lesa's friend Steve commenting about "lemon" tastes in my recent yogurt cheese prototypes made back at my home in Massachusetts—Market Basket yogurt usage and all—despite my not adding any lemon juice or other specifically-lemon ingredients to them, I contemplated a partial return to cottage cheese—such as a 50/50 blend of this cheese and yogurt cheese—for future cheesecakes.
 
Baked Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 15:
 
After more than half a year, I felt that I would make another chocolate prototype. This one reflects updates such as those included in Prototype 5 of my chocolate peanut butter cheesecake, (e.g., arrowroot, yogurt-cottage cheese blend).
 
2-to-1 Blend of Yogurt Cheese and Cottage Cheese:
Prepare ahead of time 32 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from two 32-ounce containers (that's 64 ounces altogether) of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 32 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine one 16-ounce container of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese.

Grease a 9 1/2" (or 9") pan, but do not wrap foil around it until just before the batter is added (spreading the crust in an already wrapped pan can result in greater disturbance to the foil, thus increasing leakage risks).

Chocolate Crust:
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1 1/3 tablespoons cocoa powder
8 oz. (1 cup) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
3/8 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2.2 oz. finely ground Bran Buds

Place resulting mixture in 9 1/2" (or 9") pan.

Chocolate Batter:
4 tablespoons melted/softened butter
3/8 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons arrowroot
1/2 teaspoon salt
40 ounces (5 cups) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs

Pour the batter over the crust and bake this cheesecake in a hot water tub at 300 degrees for 100 minutes (if using a 9 1/2" pan). Then shut off oven and cool cheesecake down while still in it (and in tub), with door slightly ajar, for an hour. Afterwards, remove from oven and tub and (a border of chocolate chips can be added at this point) continue to cool down at room temperature for another 100 minutes, then remove from pan and refrigerate.

Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 15 Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 15 (top view)

I had been decorating the top of some my cheesecakes with semi-sweet chocolate chips for some time. For this latest prototype, I felt that I would add alternating "white" chocolate chips to liven things up a bit. But they were so small, roughly half-height, compared to their semi-sweet counterparts, so I doubled up on the whites (both kinds of chips used here came from Trader Joe's).

This one tasted terrific! The amount of tartness was just right—not too much, not too little. There seemed be a nice balance of "tang", sweetness and chocolate. Even though the gathering for refreshments (after worship services) in Living Hope Church's fellowship hall was not a full-fledged community/communion meal, there was a somewhat moderate amount of snack competition. Anyway, Prototype
15 was devoured in probably less than 15 minutes (Gaynell, in particular, called this chocolate cheesecake a "favorite"). I myself, finding the taste of this particular treat to be extraordinary, got an urge to hasten plans for making another one in the future.
 
Baked Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 16:
 
This repeats Prototype 15, but with a couple of changes that I made to the chocolate crust, as reflected in Prototype 8 of my cookies+creme cheesecake. And for the batter, I boldly decided to try a new trick—some really cool, dark stripes and swirls, using chocolate syrup. I felt that this would give the cheesecake a more tantalizing look.
 
2-to-1 Blend of Yogurt Cheese and Cottage Cheese:
Prepare ahead of time 32 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from two 32-ounce containers (that's 64 ounces altogether) of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 32 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine one 16-ounce container of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese.

Grease a 9 1/2" (or 9") pan, but do not wrap foil around it until just before the batter is added (spreading the crust in an already wrapped pan can result in greater disturbance to the foil, thus increasing leakage risks).

Chocolate Crust:
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
8 oz. (1 cup) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
3/8 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. finely ground Bran Buds

Place resulting mixture in 9 1/2" (or 9") pan.

Chocolate Batter:
4 tablespoons melted/softened butter
3/8 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons arrowroot
1/2 teaspoon salt
40 ounces (5 cups) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs

Chocolate syrup (Trader Joe's Organic Midnight Moo recommended), about 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) altogether

Expect more than 7 cups of the resulting batter, but do not add this to the pan all at once (otherwise, the syrup, which is also added here, may end up floating—or perhaps sinking—too much to a single level, due to density differences). Rather, this needs to be done in four installments. Wrap the pan in foil just before adding the first installment. Minimize the foil's disturbance in order to minimize its leakage risk.

For each of the first three installments, scoop about 1 3/4 to 2 cups of batter into the pan. Then add about 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup (close to 1 1/3 ounces by weight if using the TJ's brand recommended above). The best way to do this is to squirt some thick, parallel stripes of it throughout the pan (the TJ's syrup, as of this writing, comes in a squeezable bottle with a squirt nozzle). Then pull a knife in perpendicular directions through these stripes in the batter (just deeply enough for the installment being added) in order to produce a wavy, swirl pattern (see photo below for an example).

Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 16 (top view)
(Top view of finished cheesecake, with a suggested pattern)

Use extra care in the later installments when adding batter (i.e., gently scoop it) into the pan. After adding an installment, bake the pan with its contents at 325 degrees for 15 minutes, in a tub filled with at least 1/4 to 1/2 inch of boiling water. To reduce spillage risks, do not fill the tub all the way at this point, because the whole tub-and-pan assembly is going to need to be removed from the oven (in order to comfortably add contents to the pan) between installments.

After all this is done, there should be about 1 3/4 to 2 cups of batter remaining, with 45 minutes of baking time reached at this point (15 minutes for each of the first three installments). Now comes the fourth installment—add the batter and syrup in the same way as with the earlier three installments. But try to place (and swirl) the syrup as neatly as possible on top, because this is what is going to end up being exposed. So appearance is particularly important for this final installment. Next, return the entire pan-and-tub assembly to the oven. At this point, fill up the tub generously with boiling water. Resume baking, but with the oven temperature lowered to 300 degrees, for about another 75 minutes (based upon usage of a 9 1/2" pan).

Afterward, shut the oven off, and leave its door slightly ajar, with the cheesecake still inside—and in the tub—for an hour. Next, remove the cheesecake from the oven and tub, and—if desired—add a border of chocolate chips around the edge of this cheesecake. Continue to cool it down at room temperature for another two hours. After doing so, remove the cheesecake from pan and refrigerate.

Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 16 Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 16 (sliced)

This cheesecake fared well at Living Hope Church and was gone probably within 45 minutes (almost all of it within 30), amidst a very modest selection of snacks.

However, I was rather surprised that the chocolate syrup hardly made distinct appearances
inside the batter. Maybe it somehow got too easily dissolved. But the cottage cheese's curds didn't. What happened was that I took a chance on a mixer, rather than a blender, to accomplish this, but the mixer was not thorough enough. Some white specks could still be seen in the batter and crust. Nevertheless, I found the taste of this chocolate prototype to be irresistible. For the sake of inner appearance, I have given thought to using more chocolate syrup, in the form of thicker, unswirled stripes for the inner installments—and a blender for the cottage cheese—next time.
 
Baked Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 17 (7-Way Chocolate):
 
Now things are really getting chocolaty here—a chocolate cheesecake (interpret that as chocolate batter and chocolate crust, of course) with chocolate syrup and double-chocolate sandwich cookies (chocolate cookie outsides with chocolate creme in the middle)—and don't spare the chocolate chips (two kinds) border! Did you count all that? I counted seven. That's one loaded cheesecake!

Although I tried to pursue a fairly exact Oreo-like taste in my all-natural quests for a vanilla creme sandwich cookie in the past (see
Cookies+Creme Cheesecake for more information), I made no effort to approximate Oreo's chocolate creme version. Why?

Oreo's vanilla creme sandwich cookies have stood the test of time. This classic has become one of America's top cookies. On the other hand, I have reasoned that its chocolate creme counterpart did not have anywhere nearly as much "seniority". With this later Oreo product being not much older than competing brands (perhaps even being younger in some cases?), I felt that I should not regard it as an established standard by which all other brands are to be compared. In light of this, I chose to simply consider a natural brand without performing any comparison tests against Oreo. As long as the natural brand's taste was good enough, that would be my choice.

In fact, I bought two natural brands for consideration—Newman-O's and Joe-Joe's. After taste-testing both, I could not come up with a preference for one brand over another. So I used both of them on a 50-50 basis in this cheesecake—at least for the first time that I prepared Prototype 17.

Note also the crust's Bran Buds being replaced with regular ("Original") All-Bran, as well as the batter's omission of salt. These changes are derived from recent updates that I have done on other cheesecake flavors.
 
2-to-1 Blend of Yogurt Cheese and Cottage Cheese:
Prepare ahead of time 32 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from two 32-ounce containers (that's 64 ounces altogether) of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 32 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine one 16-ounce container of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese.

Grease a 9 1/2" (or 9") pan, but do not wrap foil around it until just before the batter is added (spreading the crust in an already wrapped pan can result in greater disturbance to the foil, thus increasing leakage risks).

Chocolate Crust:
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
8 oz. (1 cup) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
3/8 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. finely ground All-Bran

Place resulting mixture in 9 1/2" (or 9") pan. Allow mixture to get firm. See note in comments below for more information on this.

Chocolate Batter:
4 tablespoons melted/softened butter
3/8 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons arrowroot
40 ounces (5 cups) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs

Double-chocolate sandwich cookies, about 2 dozen

Chocolate syrup (Trader Joe's Organic Midnight Moo recommended), about 6 tablespoons altogether

Expect more than 7 cups of the resulting batter, but do not add this to the pan all at once (otherwise, the cookies and syrup, which are also added here, may end up floating and/or sinking too much to a single level, due to density differences). Rather, this needs to be done in five installments. Wrap the pan in foil just before adding the first installment. Minimize the foil's disturbance in order to minimize its leakage risk.

For each of the first four installments, gently scoop about 1 1/2 cups of batter into the pan. Add about 6 cookies (don't bother breaking them up—keeping them whole is fine and, in fact, recommended), ensuring that they are fully coated and immersed. Then add a generous amount, close to 1/4 cup, of chocolate syrup (almost 3 ounces by weight if using the TJ's brand recommended above)—but add this syrup only for the second installment (of the first four installments described here). The best way to do this is to squirt some thick, parallel stripes of it throughout the pan (the TJ's syrup, as of this writing, comes in a squeezable bottle with a squirt nozzle). But—do not swirl the syrup with a knife on this second installment.

After adding an installment, bake the pan with its contents at 325 degrees for 15 minutes, in a tub filled with at least 1/4 to 1/2 inch of boiling water. To reduce spillage risks, do not fill the tub all the way at this point, because the whole tub-and-pan assembly is going to need to be removed from the oven (in order to comfortably add contents to the pan) between installments.

For the fifth (and final) installment, gently add the remaining batter to the pan, but do not add any more cookies. Instead, add some more chocolate syrup on the top surface. Squirt thick, parallel stripes of this syrup, about a couple of tablespoons altogether (almost 1 1/2 ounces by weight if using TJ's), throughout the pan. Then pull a knife in perpendicular directions through these top stripes in the batter (just deeply enough for the uppermost installment's surface) in order to produce a wavy, swirl pattern (see photo below for a suggestion). Do all this as neatly as possible (avoid cutting into the lower installments underneath).

After the fifth installment (including the syrup) is in place, return the entire pan-and-tub assembly to the oven. At this point, fill up the tub generously with boiling water. Resume baking, but with the oven temperature lowered to 300 degrees, for about another 65 minutes (based upon usage of a 9 1/2" pan).

Afterward, shut the oven off, and leave its door slightly ajar, with the cheesecake still inside—and in the tub—for an hour. Next, remove the cheesecake from the oven and tub. Now, for the final chocolate touch, add a border of chocolate chips, semi-sweet and white, around the edge of this cheesecake (see photo below). Continue to cool it down at room temperature for another two hours. After doing so, remove the cheesecake from pan and refrigerate.

Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 17 Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 17 (sliced)

Of all the cheesecakes that I have brought to family/relatives' occasions up to this point, it appears that Prototype 17 of my chocolate cheesecakes ended up being the most successful one ever—by far! By the time I finished serving this one at our annual cousins' summer reunion in 2013 (held at my cousin Robin's home in Manchester, New Hampshire, for the first time—after many years at my cousin Joanne's in Peabody, Massachusetts), this dessert was nearly 2/3 gone—which, for a get-together like that, was really terrific! In the past, I had brought to other family/relatives' occasions a number of other cheesecakes hardly any larger than half the size as this latest one, and those were often less than halfway gone—many of those times with my eating the "bulk" of whatever was consumed (and with there being no more than a tiny handful of other takers). With my later cheesecakes in big sizes like the latest one presented here, it certainly was not unusual for me to have an overwhelming amount left over at a cousin's house. While many of my cheesecakes were hugely successful at Living Hope Church, I had yet to achieve a real winner with my relatives. It looked like I had finally scored one here.

I personally enjoyed this very chocolaty prototype myself. Much of what was left over from the reunion went to some of my friends for their enjoyment. So this cheesecake didn't last very long (I did
not have to "stomach" the "bulk" of it). In the end this loaded, chocolate cheesecake was...a loaded success!

In fact, I decided to repeat Prototype 17 nearly a week later for Living Hope Church as well. The cheesecake was almost completely gone within a half hour (among a modest snack selection). One last tiny piece remained for perhaps an additional half hour. I ended up finishing off that one.

In light of all these things, this extremely chocolaty cheesecake may go down as my most successful cheesecake ever, at least up to this point.

Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 17 (almost 1/6 gone) Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 17 (about 1/2 gone)
Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 17 (about 1/2 gone w/ sign) Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 17 (about 2/3 gone)

This cheesecake was so good (as well as so complex on the inside) that I was moved to include additional pictures here.

Sign—Chocolate Cheesecake 17 (LOADED!!)
Here is more complete portrayal of the sign I provided with this cheesecake!

Any more encores? Yes! A few weeks later, I asked my cousin Joanne to select a cheesecake for me to bring to a Rosh HaShanah lunch at her house (hosted each year for her relatives, plus some friends). She enjoyed this chocolate prototype served at the annual cousins' reunion so much that she chose this one (this is the same Joanne who hosted that summer event in the past before letting Robin take over for this year).

And it ended up being a great hit at Joanne's home (about 2/3 of it gone, which for a rather small gathering was impressive). What a sweet way to start off 5774 (the Jewish new year)!

So what did I do with the rest? It somehow got a little further reduced until about 1/4 of the entire cheesecake was left. That was probably because I myself ate more of this irresistible treat.

I froze this remaining leftover for nearly a week, then I thawed it in order to bring it to darts at the Italian Community Center in Beverly. Lesa's friend Steve was wowed by it. Melissa, the wife of another one of the players on Lesa's team, tasted my cheesecake and rated it considerably better than that of The Cheesecake Factory (and that was supposedly on taste alone). Now that's a real compliment and a half (particularly for something nutritionally superior as well)! All of the cheesecake was finished off before we left the club that night.

NOTE: With this third preparation of Prototype 17, I made a small change in how I firmed up the crust before adding the batter to it. Rather than refrigerating it, I pre-baked the crust (without a tub at this step) at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes. Then I let the pan cool off until it could be comfortably touched. This was done in order to make it easier, later on, to separate the finished cheesecake from the pan's bottom.
 
Baked Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 18:
 
With the latest refinements over my cheesecakes in general, I felt that I would make a "back-to-basics" chocolate cheesecake.
 
2-to-1 Blend of Yogurt Cheese and Cottage Cheese:
Prepare ahead of time 32 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from two 32-ounce containers (that's 64 ounces altogether) of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 32 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine one 16-ounce container of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese.

Grease a 9 1/2" (or 9") pan, but do not wrap foil around it until just before the batter is added (spreading the crust in an already wrapped pan can result in greater disturbance to the foil, thus increasing leakage risks).

Chocolate Crust:
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
8 oz. (1 cup) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
3/8 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. finely ground All-Bran

Place resulting mixture in the greased pan and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 10 minutes, then cool enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

Chocolate Batter:
4 tablespoons melted/softened butter
3/8 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons arrowroot
40 ounces (5 cups) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs

Wrap the pan in foil at this point. Carefully pour the batter over the crust and bake this cheesecake in a hot water tub at 300 degrees for 105 minutes (if using a 9 1/2" pan). Then shut off oven and cool cheesecake down while still in it (and in tub), with door slightly ajar, for an hour. Afterwards, remove from oven and tub and continue to cool down at room temperature for another 105 minutes, then remove from pan and refrigerate.

Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 18

It looked like my chocolate cheesecakes have recently been turning into classics. This latest one, served at Living Hope Church in early November of 2013, was gone in what seemed to be less than half an hour—among a somewhat modest selection of snacks.

At a later point, I made this prototype again. But I felt that I would add a somewhat simple enhancement. I topped the cheesecake with a thin coating of melted, semi-sweet chocolate (about 2 ounces).


Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 18 (chocolate-topped, warm)
The chocolate was melted and placed on the still-warm cheesecake.

Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 18 (chocolate-topped, cooled)
This is the cheesecake, with the chocolate firmed up, after refrigeration.

Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 18 (chocolate-topped slice)
And here is a close-up of a slice.

The result was another very successful cheesecake at Living Hope in late April of 2014.

I repeated this now-classic prototype with a top border of chocolate chips and brought it to a mid-October 2014 event—for which I volunteered—at Barrington Baptist Church, in Rhode Island.

Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 18 (with chocolate chip border)
Prototype 18, bordered with chocolate chips and brought to Rhode Island.

A concert was performed there by a Christian parody band, ApologetiX. The cheesecake was enjoyed by many members of this band—and the drummer's wife, Eve (who was particularly enlightened by this recipe's more extensive details)—as well as some people from this church, including Holly, who had the main role in promoting this concert. We had a great time!
 
Baked Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 19:
 
It has been better than two years since I last updated my chocolate cheesecake. The latest prototype presented here is based on my major cheesecake batter overhaul of 2015.
 
3-Cheese Blend (1CT-1NC-4YG):
Prepare ahead of time 32 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from two 32-ounce containers (that's 64 ounces altogether) of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 32 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 8 ounces of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese and 8 ounces of softened Neufchatel cheese ("light cream cheese").

Grease a 9 1/2" (or 9") pan, but do not wrap foil around it until just before the batter is added (spreading the crust in an already wrapped pan can result in greater disturbance to the foil, thus increasing leakage risks).

Chocolate Crust:
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted
3/8 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
8 oz. (1 cup) 3-cheese blend (see above)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. finely ground All-Bran

Place the resulting mixture in the greased pan and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 5-10 minutes, depending on the mixture's thickness (closer to 10 minutes if thin enough to be fully distributed across the pan's bottom by gentle shaking, closer to 5 minutes if thick enough to require spreading out this mixture by pressing on it with a utensil and/or fingers), then cool enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

Chocolate Batter:
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/8 cup cocoa powder
40 oz. (5 cups) 3-cheese blend (see above)
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (5 tablespoons altogether) arrowroot
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 eggs

Wrap the pan in foil at this point. Carefully pour the batter over the crust and bake this cheesecake in a hot water tub at 300 degrees for 105 minutes (if using a 9 1/2" pan). Then shut off oven and cool cheesecake down while still in it (and in tub), with door slightly ajar, for an hour. Afterwards, remove from oven and tub and (at this point, add a border of chocolate chips if desired) continue to cool down at room temperature for another 105 minutes, then remove from pan and refrigerate.

Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 19

I used milk chocolate chips for the border of this cheesecake. The batter included Philadelphia Neufchatel cheese.

The taste, I felt, was terrific! This prototype was very well received at my cousin Joanne's place, where I went for a Rosh HaShanah (5776) lunch. There was, if I remembered correctly, nearly a dozen people present, and the cheesecake ended up being roughly halfway consumed. Before I headed home, Joanne took about half of the remainder, and I brought the rest home.

For Memorial Day Weekend of 2017, I repeated Prototype 19 with Market Basket Neufchatel cheese (instead of Philadelphia, Market Basket's version being typical for usage in my cheesecakes around that time) and two borders of chocolate chips (Trader Joe's semi-sweet for the outer, Hershey's milk for the inner)—and brought this one to The Home Depot for my fellow associates to enjoy along with the store's tasty barbecue on the holiday itself.

Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 19 (2017 repeat)
 
Baked Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 20 (7-Way Chocolate):
 
This one is an update from the loaded Prototype 17. A particular feature is a new approach to using chocolate syrup (with the hope that the swirl pattern does not sink too deeply into the batter's top surface).
 
3-Cheese Blend (1CT-1NC-4YG):
Prepare ahead of time 32 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from two 32-ounce containers (that's 64 ounces altogether) of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 32 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 8 ounces of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese and 8 ounces of softened Neufchatel cheese ("light cream cheese").

Grease a 9 1/2" (or 9") pan, but do not wrap foil around it until just before the batter is added (spreading the crust in an already wrapped pan can result in greater disturbance to the foil, thus increasing leakage risks).

Chocolate Crust:
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted
3/8 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
8 oz. (1 cup) 3-cheese blend (see above)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. finely ground All-Bran

Place the resulting mixture in the greased pan and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 5-10 minutes, depending on the mixture's thickness (closer to 10 minutes if thin enough to be fully distributed across the pan's bottom by gentle shaking, closer to 5 minutes if thick enough to require spreading out this mixture by pressing on it with a utensil and/or fingers), then cool enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

Chocolate Batter:
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/8 cup cocoa powder
40 oz. (5 cups) 3-cheese blend (see above)
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (5 tablespoons altogether) arrowroot
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 eggs

Double-chocolate sandwich cookies (such as Newman's Own), about 2 dozen

Dark Decoration Batter (thoroughly blend these two ingredients together):
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup (such as Trader Joe's Organic Midnight Moo)
2 tablespoons chocolate batter (see above)

Expect more than 7 cups of the resulting chocolate batter (and reserve 2 tablespoons of this for the dark decoration batter), but do not add this to the pan all at once (otherwise, the cookies, which are also added here, may end up floating and/or sinking too much to a single level, due to density differences). Rather, this needs to be done in five installments. Wrap the pan in foil just before adding the first installment. Minimize the foil's disturbance in order to minimize its leakage risk.

For each of the first four installments, gently scoop about 1 1/2 cups of batter into the pan. Add about 6 cookies (don't bother breaking them up—keeping them whole is fine and, in fact, recommended), ensuring that they are fully coated and—as much as possible—immersed.

After adding an installment, bake the pan with its contents at 325 degrees for 15 minutes, in a tub filled with at least 1/4 to 1/2 inch of boiling water. To reduce spillage risks, do not fill the tub all the way at this point, because the whole tub-and-pan assembly is going to need to be removed from the oven (in order to comfortably add contents to the pan) between installments.

For the fifth (and final) installment, gently add the remaining batter to the pan, but do not add any more cookies. Instead, add the dark decoration batter on the top surface. From a beaker, pour thick, parallel stripes of this decorative batter throughout the top surface in the pan. Then pull a knife in perpendicular directions through these dark stripes in the lighter-colored batter (just deeply enough for the uppermost installment's surface) in order to produce a wavy, swirl pattern (see photo below). Do all this as neatly as possible (try to avoid cutting into the lower installments underneath).

After the fifth installment (including the dark decoration batter) is in place, return the entire pan-and-tub assembly to the oven. At this point, fill up the tub generously with boiling water. Resume baking, but with the oven temperature lowered to 300 degrees, for about another 65 minutes (based upon usage of a 9 1/2" pan).

Afterward, shut the oven off, and leave its door slightly ajar, with the cheesecake still inside—and in the tub—for an hour. Next, remove the cheesecake from the oven and tub. Now, for the final chocolate touch, add a border of chocolate chips, semi-sweet and white, around the edge of this cheesecake (see photo below). Continue to cool it down at room temperature for another two hours. After doing so, remove the cheesecake from pan and refrigerate.

Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 20

For some reason, the cheesecake's middle decorative swirl "line" seemed to somehow run too deep into batter, ultimately leading to a crack. I would simply have to remember in the future to take additional precautions when transferring a cheesecake like this from one surface to another.

I brought this one to my annual family reunion in July of 2016 at my cousin Robin's place, where it ended up being a great success. About 5/8 of it got taken before I brought the rest back home.

I should also mention here that this cheesecake was the very first one that I made after having heart surgery, in which my mitral valve was successfully repaired. It was only about two weeks after this surgery that I made this dessert. What a speedy recovery!
 

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