I think my favourite flavour combination of all time has to be chocolate hazelnut, so of course, why not put it into a cheesecake?!?!?!?! I was actually inspired to make cheesecake because The Cheesecake Factory just opened up here in Toronto, and the line ups are huge and crazy (or that’s what I’ve heard at least), so I decided to just make my own cheesecake. The thing that I love about homemade baked goods is that you always know what ingredients go into what you’re eating, and then your products are always guaranteed to be made with loOOooOooOOoooove~~~
I added hazelnuts into the crust itself to add that toasty, nutty taste. I ground my hazelnuts in a food processor, but if you are unable to ground hazelnuts, get hazelnuts, or simply don’t like hazelnuts in general, why are you reading this blog post? Joking — but a great alternative would be almond flour.
I decorated my cheesecake by piping chantilly crème (heavy cream, whipped with a little bit of sugar and vanilla bean paste) using an Ateco 806 plain tip, but any large plain tip will do. I tempered some chocolate to create chocolate triangle decorations, and I also made hazelnut dragées for a textural component. In case you are unfamiliar with a dragée (drah-zay), they are small confectionary, usually a nut or a piece of candy that has a hard coating of chocolate and/or sugar. The hazelnut dragées that I made consisted of caramelized blanched hazelnuts, coated in tempered chocolate of your choice, and dusted with cocoa powder. Let me know if you would like the full recipe!
IMPORTANT TIPS TO REMEMBER WHEN MAKING CHEESECAKE
- Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature, otherwise you will not get a smooth batter/smooth cheesecake.
- Incorporate your eggs one at a time, and scrape down your bowl often. Once again, you’re aiming for the smoothest batter possible.
- Bake your cheesecake in a springform pan, or cake pan with a removable bottom, and in a water bath. The water bath ensures even heating/gentle cooking.
- Start at 180C/350F for 15 min, and then 121C/250F for 60 min. The slow bake will ensure the cheesecake gets baked evenly outside/in, and prevent cracking.
- When baking — cover the cheesecake with a layer of tin foil after the 15 min mark, to prevent browning.
- When cooling (gradually), cool in the oven first after turning it off for 1 hour with the door slightly ajar, 1 hour on the countertop at room temperature, and then 10-12 hours in the fridge for the gradual heat decrease.
- IT IS CRUCIAL to chill in the fridge for 10-12 hours/overnight. One time I tried to rush a cheesecake and transport it to a birthday party, and that cheesecake pretended everything was good. A few minutes before I got to the party it collapsed on itself. Lesson learned — let the cheesecake do it’s thing. In the fridge. For 12 hours.
If making mini cheesecakes, bake only for 15 min at 180C/350F. If you are using a silicone mould, be sure to thoroughly chill, and then fully freeze your cheesecakes first before popping them out. Alternatively, you can just use a cupcake liner and muffin tin.
Hopefully those tips help you out, and you never face a cracked or collapsed cheesecake ever again if you ever have before. Feel free to watch my video tutorial below to see how I made this cheesecake. Of course, at the end of the day, this cheesecake is delicious on its own, and you can decorate it in any way you like, and you could even smear the whole top with Nutella® and call it a day. Either way, I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family and I did.
Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake
Note: This makes one 8″ springform pan cheesecake
65g (1/2 cup) finely ground toasted hazelnuts
65g (3/4 cup) graham cracker crumbs
40g (1/4 cup) melted butter
550g (2-1/2 cup) cream cheese, at room temperature
100g (1/3 cup) Nutella®, or any chocolate hazelnut spread
100g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
15g (3 tsp) flour
3 eggs, at room temperature
90mL (3/8 cup) heavy cream + more for whipping and topping, if using for decoration
5mL (1 tsp) vanilla extract
0.6g (1/8 tsp) salt
- Line your springform pan with parchment paper, and wrap the outside of the pan with tin foil to protect the cheesecake from the water in the water bath.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
- Combine the hazelnuts and the graham cracker crumbs with melted butter, firmly press into the bottom of your springform pan.
- In your stand mixer with a paddle attachment on medium speed, cream your cheese until smooth and lump-free.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together your flour, sugar, and salt, and add to your cheese. Cream until just combined.
- Add in the Nutella®, and cream until fully incorporated.
- Add in your eggs on low-speed, one at a time, scraping the bowl between each addition, and only adding another egg when the last one is fully combined.
- Once everything else is combined, you can add in your heavy cream on low-speed until combined.
- Pour batter into the pan, and place that pan in a larger deep baking dish to fill with hot water halfway up the outer side of the springform pan.
- Bake at 180C/350F for 15 min, and then lower the oven temperature to 121C/250F and bake for 60-75 min or until the top is set and the middle jiggles very slightly. If making mini cheesecakes, feel free to take it out of the oven after the 15 min mark.
- Cool for an hour in the oven after it’s turned off with the door slightly ajar. Place onto the countertop to chill for another hour at room temperature, and then place in the fridge for 10-12 hours/overnight.
- When removing from pan, take a sharp knife or palette knife, heat in a cup of hot water, wipe dry, and run it around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen from the pan. Remove the side and slide the cheesecake off the bottom of the pan.
- Decorate any way you like or eat it as is. Enjoy!!!