Baked S'mores Cheesecake—Prototype 1:
 
In light of making my first s'mores cheesecake, I looked back and felt that whatever baked cheesecakes I made with a crust, that crust was always based on a Kellogg's All-Bran product—either Original (regular) or Bran Buds—because I wanted more fiber in my recipe than the norm (at least I could not recall basing the baked crust on something else). Then again, my usage of such a high-fiber product was likely influenced by my earlier Bran Buddy/HiFi Buddy efforts.

But for this new cheesecake flavor, I felt that I needed to "shift gears". There has been a wide consensus of the standard s'more consisting of the following three items: chocolate (quite possibly with a further specification that this be
milk chocolate), marshmallow and—graham cracker! And it was this last item here that would move me to make a change in the crust. More specifically that meant swapping out the All-Bran in favor of grahams. The usage of such crackers also happened to be commonplace in traditional cheesecake crusts. But for the sake of fiber, I at least sought out graham crackers that had relatively more of this nutrient. This led me to whole wheat grahams by Mi-Del. Not only did they have a relatively high amount of fiber, but they were all-natural.

Finding all-natural miniature marshmallows was also a challenge. I found a package of them, imported from Israel, at Whole Foods Market. The price wasn't cheap.

I fared better with all-natural milk chocolate chips. I managed to pick up a Ghirardelli package at Market Basket—at a "More for Your Dollar" price. Whew! However, I did not find the Mi-Del grahams there. I managed (barely!) to pick those up at a Stop & Shop store (whose prices I have generally found to be quite a bit higher than Market Basket's, but not as high as at Whole Foods).
 
2-to-1 Blend of Yogurt Cheese and Cottage Cheese:
Prepare ahead of time (allow at least 24 hours) 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") springform 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).

Graham Crust:
2 oz. melted, white chocolate
8 oz. (1 cup) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Completely blend the above ingredients first, then continue with the ingredient below, mixing it in quickly.
3 oz. graham crackers, ground up (Mi-Del 100% Whole Wheat Honey Grahams recommended)
Note: Because this crust already includes cinnamon in the ingredients shown above, non-cinnamon graham crackers are strongly recommended. But if cinnamon grahams are going to be used, omit the 2 teaspoons of cinnamon (also, the sugar listed above, granulated and/or brown, should probably be somewhat reduced in such a case).

Place resulting crust mixture into bottom of the springform pan and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 8 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

2 cups miniature marshmallows

Expect about 7 to 7 1/2 cups of the resulting batter, but do not add this to the pan all at once. Rather, this needs to be done in six installments.

Wrap the pan in foil just before adding the first batter installment.

For each of the first four installments, gently scoop about 1 1/4 cups of batter into the pan. Add about 1/2 cup of the marshmallows, 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.

After all this is done, there should be about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of batter left, with 60 minutes of baking time reached at this point (15 minutes for each of the first four installments). Now comes the fifth installment—carefully add about half of this remaining batter (do not add any more marshmallows at this point) on top of the pan's other contents. Try to fully coat the entire surface, especially wherever marshmallows may be showing, some of which may keep on floating to the top—but do not be too concerned about this. Next, return the entire pan-and-tub assembly to the oven, but with the temperature lowered to 300 degrees, for 15 minutes. Then take this assembly out and add the last of the batter (the sixth installment), coating the remaining exposed marshmallows as much possible. At this point, fill up the tub generously with boiling water. Resume baking at 300 degrees, for another 60 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 add a border of milk chocolate chips 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.

S'mores Cheesecake—Prototype 1 (whole) S'mores Cheesecake—Prototype 1 (sliced)

To my surprise, the marshmallows appeared to get fully dissolved into the chocolate batter upon baking. At least I could not see any "whites" remaining.

But this one was a runaway success. It was gone in hardly more than 15 minutes at Living Hope Church (although this cheesecake was served among a snack selection that was not all that big). I myself could easily detect the chocolate. But I had difficulty picking up enough of a marshmallow taste, and I suspected that the aforementioned dissolving was the biggest reason why. The graham crust, however, was very tasty.
 
Baked S'mores Cheesecake—Prototype 2:
 
Okay, this time, let's go with regular ("full size") marshmallows and hope that they do not completely "disappear" into the batter. For this prototype, I was able to find such marshmallows at a (hopefully) better price (than what I paid for those used in the earlier prototype) at Whole Foods.

However, I did not shop for the graham crackers until roughly a few weeks later, at a Stop & Shop, where (unlike a few months ago) I did not succeed in finding the same grahams that I used earlier. I ended up settling for Annie's Homegrown Organic Cinnamon Grahams Whole Grain Graham Crackers, which contained somewhat less fiber (compared to the whole
wheat grahams used earlier). Due to these already featuring cinnamon, I modified the crust ingredients by adjusting the brown sugar downward and omitting the cinnamon which I myself added in the previous prototype.
 
2-to-1 Blend of Yogurt Cheese and Cottage Cheese:
Prepare ahead of time (allow at least 24 hours) 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") springform 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).

Graham Crust:
2 oz. melted, white chocolate
8 oz. (1 cup) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Completely blend the above ingredients first, then continue with the ingredient below, mixing it in quickly.
3 oz. cinnamon graham crackers, ground up (such as Annie's Cinnamon Grahams)

Place resulting crust mixture into bottom of the springform pan and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 8 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

18 - 20 marshmallows (regular size)

Expect about 7 to 7 1/2 cups of the resulting batter, but do not add this to the pan all at once. Rather, this needs to be done in four installments.

Wrap the pan in foil just before adding the first batter installment.

For each of the first two installments, gently scoop about 2 1/2 cups of batter into the pan. Add about 9 or 10 marshmallows, ensuring that they are at least fully coated (they do not need to be fully immersed). After adding an installment, bake the pan with its contents at 325 degrees for 25 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 to 1 1/2 cups of batter left, with 50 minutes of baking time reached at this point (25 minutes for each of the first two installments). Now comes the third installment—carefully add about half of this remaining batter (do not add any more marshmallows at this point) on top of the pan's other contents. Try to fully coat the entire surface, especially wherever marshmallows may be showing, some of which may keep on floating to the top—but do not be too concerned about this. Next, return the entire pan-and-tub assembly to the oven, but with the temperature lowered to 300 degrees, for 15 minutes. Then take this assembly out and add the last of the batter (the fourth installment), coating the remaining exposed marshmallows as much possible. At this point, fill up the tub generously with boiling water. Resume baking at 300 degrees, for another 60 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 add a border of milk chocolate chips 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.

S'mores Cheesecake—Prototype 2 (whole) S'mores Cheesecake—Prototype 2 (sliced)

Despite the larger size of the marshmallows, these still dissolved too much into the batter! Only a tiny visual presence could be detected.

But it did not take long for this cheesecake to disappear. It was gone, likely within 45 minutes, at Living Hope, among a not-so-small selection of snacks.
 
Baked S'mores Cheesecake—Prototype 3:
 
This one involves a different approach—mix the marshmallows, miniature ones in this case, into the crust, rather than into the batter—plus some other minor modifications.
 
2-to-1 Blend of Yogurt Cheese and Cottage Cheese:
Prepare ahead of time (allow at least 24 hours) 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") springform 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).

Graham Crust:
2 oz. melted, white chocolate
8 oz. (1 cup) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Completely blend the above ingredients first, then continue with the next ingredient, shown immediately below.
2 cups miniature marshmallows
Fully combine this with the other above ingredients, then continue afterwards with the last crust ingredient below, mixing it in quickly.
4 oz. cinnamon graham crackers, ground up (such as Annie's Cinnamon Grahams)

Place resulting crust mixture into bottom of the springform 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 110 minutes (if using a 9 1/2" pan). Then shut off oven and cool the cheesecake down while still in it (and in tub), with door slightly ajar, for an hour. Afterwards, remove this cheesecake from oven and tub, and add a border of milk chocolate chips on top, around the cheesecake's edge (see photo below). Continue to cool it down at room temperature for another 110 minutes. After doing so, remove the cheesecake from pan and refrigerate.

S'mores Cheesecake—Prototype 3 (whole) S'mores Cheesecake—Prototype 3 (sliced)

I seemed to pick up a hopeful marshmallow presence in this one after I made it. The "marshmallowed" crust was particularly tasty. But upon pouring the chocolate batter onto this crust, quite a bit of it loosened up and promptly floated upward, especially with a number of marshmallows reaching the top. I reasoned that I would have to take a more careful approach in the future if I wanted the marshmallows to stay down (time to bring back batter installments).

I served this at a Living Hope barbecue-style meal. Other desserts were served. There ended up being a modest baked goods selection. About 1/6 of the cheesecake itself was left over. I took that back home, and the next day I brought it to a Memorial Day cookout at The Home Depot for my co-workers to enjoy.
 
Baked S'mores Cheesecake—Prototype 4:
 
This one involves an effort to keep the marshmallows from floating up too high.

The batter has undergone major changes as well.
 
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") springform 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).

Graham Crust:
2 oz. melted, white chocolate
8 oz. (1 cup) 3-cheese blend (see above)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Completely blend the above ingredients first, then continue with the next one below.
4 oz. cinnamon graham crackers, ground up
Get this fully mixed in (moistened) with the other ingredients above. Afterwards, promptly add in and fully coat the last crust ingredient below.
2 cups miniature marshmallows

Place resulting crust mixture into bottom of the springform pan and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 15 minutes, 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

Expect about 7 to 7 1/2 cups of the resulting batter, but do not add this to the pan all at once. Rather, this needs to be done in four installments.

Wrap the pan in foil just before adding the first batter installment.

For each of the first three installments, gently scoop about 1 cup of batter into the pan while trying to coat—as much as possible—the previous crust or batter layer below, especially the marshmallows that are still exposed on top (it's okay if some of them end up not being completely coated at first—the later a given installment, the more likely that these marshmallows are going to get fully immersed). After adding an installment, bake the pan with its contents for 25 minutes—at 325 degrees for the first two installments and at 300 degrees for the third—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 close to half of the batter left, with 75 minutes of baking time reached at this point (25 minutes for each of the first three installments). Now comes the fourth (and last) installment—carefully add this remaining batter on top of the pan's other contents. Try to fully coat the entire surface, especially wherever marshmallows may still be showing. Next, return the entire pan-and-tub assembly to the oven, fill up the tub generously with boiling water, and resume baking at 300 degrees for another 95 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 milk chocolate chips (or use another variety—but milk chocolate is recommended for s'mores!) 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.

S'mores Cheesecake—Prototype 4 (whole) S'mores Cheesecake—Prototype 4 (sliced)

This one was the very first cheesecake that I ever brought to my dad's family synagogue. The event there followed a funeral for one of my cousins. The cheesecake fared well, with more than half of it consumed (with a number of my relatives commenting favorably on it). For this initial effort, I added the marshmallows before the ground-up grahams to the crust mixture then pre-baked all this for only about 10 minutes.

A few weeks later, I made this prototype for a lunch (a farewell party for one of our associate pastors) following a Sunday service at Living Hope Church. The whole cheesecake (served among a reasonably generous selection of baked goods) was gone, probably within an hour. Only about 1/4 of it was left by the time I got to it (after having my main course first). And this time, per the "Graham Crust" instructions above, I added the marshmallows
after the ground-up grahams to the crust mixture and increased its pre-bake time to 15 minutes—which I felt yielded better results.
 
Baked S'mores Cheesecake—Prototype 5:
 
This prototype featured a new kind of experiment, in a quest for a simpler approach to restrain those rising marshmallows. There would be two crust layers at the bottom, one immediately on top of the other. The lower layer would include the marshmallows, and the layer just above it would act as a restrainer.
 
3-Cheese Blend (3CT-1NC-2YG):
Prepare ahead of time 16 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from one 32-ounce container of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 16 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 24 ounces of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese and 8 ounces of softened Neufchatel cheese ("light cream cheese").

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

Graham Crust—First Layer:
2 oz. melted, white chocolate
8 oz. (1 cup) 3-cheese blend (see above)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Completely blend the above ingredients first, then continue with the next one below.
4 oz. cinnamon graham crackers, ground up
Get this fully mixed in (moistened) with the other ingredients above. Afterwards, promptly add in and fully coat the last crust ingredient below.
2 cups miniature marshmallows

Place resulting crust mixture into bottom of the springform pan and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and cool at least slightly.

Chocolate Batter:
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/8 cup cocoa powder
40 oz. (5 cups) 3-cheese blend (see above)
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 eggs

Reserve some of this batter for the second crust layer, as indicated below.

Graham Crust—Second Layer:
1 1/2 cups chocolate batter (see above)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Completely blend these two ingredients first, then continue with the next one below.
3 oz. cinnamon graham crackers, ground up

Combine these three crust ingredients and promptly place this mixture into the pan on top of the first crust layer. Try to conceal, as much as possible, every trace of marshmallow that is showing through the top of the first layer, then immediately put the pan back into the oven. Bake this, still without tub, at 300 degrees for another 15 minutes, then cool it enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

Next, wrap the pan in foil. Carefully pour the remaining chocolate batter over the second crust layer and bake this cheesecake in a hot water tub at 300 degrees for 70 minutes (if using 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 (milk chocolate strongly recommended in keeping with the s'mores tradition!) 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.

S'mores Cheesecake—Prototype 5

For the first instance of this prototype, I was beforehand afraid that I would end up possibly under-baking it. I therefore ended up going with 75 minutes for the final baking phase (rather than 70). As it turned out, it looked like I rather slightly overbaked the cheesecake (in the sense of producing some undesirable cracking).

But this one went over quite well for the 2018 Memorial Day barbecue at my Home Depot workplace.

A few weeks later, I made this prototype again, this time with a 70-minute final baking installment. There were still some cracks, but they were fairly minor. I somehow reasoned that the major causes here were probably some marshmallow remnants that still managed to float upward (not much more that I could do on that).

S'mores Cheesecake—Prototype 5 (2nd instance) S'mores Cheesecake—Prototype 5 (2nd instance, sliced)
Second time around (70-minute version)—this one also had bigger chocolate chips.

I brought this second cheesecake on Father's Day to Living Hope Church, where nearly 75% of this prototype was gone in roughly 20 minutes. It was served among a big selection of cupcakes and a good number of whoopie pies, plus other treats. I managed to get another congregation, Christian Renewal Church (which met later on at Living Hope's facility) to take the rest off my hands.
 

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