Baked Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake—Prototype 4:
This one was my first cheesecake of 2017. It was also my first cookie dough update in more than two and a half years. A lot has changed since then, especially the batter. But with this prototype, I also felt that I would try something very new—make the chocolate crust with milk chocolate chips, instead of semi-sweet (although I still used those for the border on top).
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 yet (see below).

4 oz. milk 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.

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

Cookie Dough:
1 16-ounce package of chocolate chip cookie dough, separated into 24 pieces (many packages are already like this, i.e., portioned to make 24 cookies).

Expect about 7 cups of the resulting batter (not including any cookie dough, of course), but do not add this to the pan all at once. Rather, this needs to be done in five installments. Wrap the pan in foil just before adding the first installment (to minimize the foil's disturbance and therefore its leakage risk, do not put it on any earlier).

For each of the first four installments, gently scoop about 1 1/2 cups of batter into the pan. Add about 6 dough pieces (don't bother breaking them up—keeping them whole is fine and, in fact, recommended—but if the pieces have a tall, chunk-like form, flatten them into cookie-like shapes), ensuring that they are fully coated and—as much as possible—immersed. After adding an installment, bake the pan with its contents for 15 minutes. For each of the first three installments, bake at 325 degrees. For the fourth installment, reduce the temperature and bake at 300 degrees. For all four installments here, bake with the pan in a tub filled with at least 1/4 to 1/2 inch of boiling water, but (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 a cup 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 the last of this batter (do not add any more cookie dough at this point) on top of the pan's other contents. Try to fully coat the entire surface, especially wherever cookie dough pieces may be showing. Next, return the entire pan-and-tub assembly to the oven. At this point, fill up the tub generously with boiling water. Resume baking at 300 degrees for another 80 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 Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake—Prototype 4 (whole)

Again, I used Market Basket Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough for this one. Aside from that, I had a much more serious issue to deal with here...

Q: What is worse than a cheesecake with an excessively tart taste?
A: A cheesecake with a hint of a sour milk taste! (What??!!)

Yet that was what I personally picked up somehow in this latest prototype—even if I did not get that kind of feedback from others (even despite my asking some) at Living Hope Church, where this dessert was served among a modest selection of sweets and other snacks. Close to half of this cheesecake was left, which I considered to be a below-average outcome.

What went wrong anyway? Did I end up using a somewhat spoiled/defective dairy product without my detection at the time? Was it perhaps one of the containers of yogurt? I was somehow at a loss. Inasmuch as I had memories in the past of a couple of "California" cheesecakes coming out too tart (my fourteenth chocolate prototype in 2012 and a 2015 repeat of my first whoopie pie prototype, originally done in Massachusetts in 2014), this more recent "Make it in Massachusetts" effort had a tinge which I felt was embarrassingly unacceptable (yes, I still used Market Basket yogurt, which I had trusted in my cheesecakes baked in this home state of mine throughout this decade up to this point).

This incident has compelled me to more strongly consider what I already had been contemplating for some time—overhaul the basic batter composition again after having done so less than two years ago (i.e., back in mid-2015), including with the intent of reducing the tartness (and thus, hopefully, the acidity). While I had wanted to get the tartness somewhat increased back around the earlier 2010's, I was by late 2016 starting to consider backing down a bit. Perhaps it was now time to make plans for my next cheesecake, whatever the flavor would be, to be formulated with less yogurt cheese. Sit tight!

One-day-later update: After having taken back home nearly 1/4 of this cheesecake, I thought that I would try it again a day later. I was unbelievably surprised—the cheesecake tasted great! I could
not detect a sour-milk tinge! So what happened???

My guess was a probable unusual condition with something in my mouth the day before, but I hardly had any idea what it was (maybe a temporary taste bud problem?). Anyway, I became much more satisfied with this latest cheesecake, and even the milk chocolate crust, while not overwhelmingly different from its semi-sweet counterpart, still had a decent taste in its own right. Maybe I should not jump too quickly into a major batter revamp after all (well, let's wait and see on that one).

Back to my bushy homepage