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.

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