Baked Chocolate Banana Cheesecake—Prototype 1:
This flavor combination was hardly on my radar, so how did I come up with this one?

The MacKays, a couple that I had been friendly with at Living Hope Church, were relocating, and this church decided to have a send-off cookout in their honor. In keeping with this, I asked these two, Jim and Jennie, to choose a cheesecake flavor. What I had in mind was for them to select one of the flavors that I had already done in the past. Jim ultimately left this choice to Jennie. At first she immediately opted for chocolate. So I mentioned other flavors to broaden her considerations, including, of course, a handful of 2-flavor combinations that I had accomplished, as well as single-flavored cheesecakes such as banana—but I never paired up this fruit with another flavor. I had put out quite a few chocolate combos—but not together with banana. So, per her idea and request, the chocolate-banana pairing would make its debut here. To put it humorously...Yes, we have new bananas—I mixed these bananas today!

This has resulted in a number of updates for the banana batter (its last prototype was #3—well over a year ago—and that one was also by request, per my niece Rebecca). The chocolate only needed minor tweaking at this point.
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 any foil around it yet—see below for that step (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. All-Bran, ground up

Place the resulting mixture into the greased pan. Allow this mixture to get firm (if needed, chill it for this purpose, perhaps about 30 minutes minimum).

Chocolate Batter:
2 tablespoons melted/softened butter
7/8 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot
20 oz. (2 1/2 cups) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Wrap the pan in foil, and carefully pour the chocolate batter on top of the crust. Then place all this in a tub—filled only about halfway, or about half an inch, with boiling water. Bake at 325 degrees for about 40 minutes. Afterwards, take the whole pan-and-tub setup out of the oven, and carefully get it to a comfortable place. Promptly add the banana batter as indicated below.

Banana Batter:
2 tablespoons melted or softened butter
5/8 cups granulated sugar
8 ounces of banana puree
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons arrowroot
20 oz. (2 1/2 cups) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Carefully scoop this on top of the chocolate batter.

Here is a decorative option for the upper layer at this point. Add some chocolate syrup (Trader Joe's Organic Midnight Moo is recommended) on the top surface. Squirt thick, parallel stripes of this syrup, about a couple of tablespoons altogether (close to 1 1/3 ounces by weight if using TJ's), 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 upper layer's surface) in order to produce a wavy, swirl pattern (see photo below for an example). Do all this as neatly as possible (avoid cutting into the chocolate layer underneath).

Next, return the pan-and-tub setup to the oven, this time at only 300 degrees, and add more hot water to the tub (at this point, go ahead and fill it all the way). Bake for about 80 more minutes.

Turn the oven off, leaving the cheesecake in it (still in its tub as well), with the door slightly ajar, for another 60 minutes.

Then remove this cheesecake from the oven and tub. At this point, a border of chocolate chips can be added to the cheesecake's top surface around its outer edge, if desired (but use care in avoiding burns—the pan's sidewall may still be hot). Continue letting the cheesecake cool in its pan at room temperature for another 120 minutes.

Afterwards, remove this cheesecake from its pan and refrigerate.

Chocolate Banana Cheesecake—Prototype 1

This one had a great taste, with both the chocolate and banana flavors present, although I ended up suspecting that the banana was somehow overpowering. But many at Living Hope enjoyed this cheesecake. This included, of course, Jennie and Jim themselves.

The dessert selection was not all that large. There were only about four kinds of sweet recipes, including my cheesecake. There was about one fourth of it left before it got taken back into the kitchen.

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