From Chef Oonagh Williams of Royal Temptations Catering
1. Preheat oven to 350*
2. Mix together crushed cookies and melted butter. Press into bottom of 9-10” greased spring form pan. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, remove from oven and let cool. This makes a firmer crust, but you can also just leave cookie crumbs and butter to firm up uncooked or leave in the freezer while you make the cheesecake.
3. Leave gelatin and water to sit for 2 minutes. Heat for about 12 seconds (start with less time so liquid doesn’t boil over) in the microwave until you can see the gelatin dissolve and form a pale yellow liquid with no grains visible. It is important to totally dissolve the gelatin, otherwise it will set into little chewy lumps.
4. Heat ½ cup of cream in a 2 cup microwave safe container for about 44 seconds in microwave. Add chocolate chips and instant coffee and let stand for about 2 minutes. Stir to help chocolate melt. If needed, microwave gently for 20 seconds at a time, until the mix is totally smooth with no chocolate or coffee lumps.
5. In a separate 6-8 cup bowl, beat together cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and Kahlua (or brandy or rum) and beat until smooth.
6. Slowly beat chocolate mix and dissolved gelatin into cream cheese mix.
7. Pour remaining 1 cup of cream into bowl that was used to melt chocolate and beat cream until stiff.
8. Gently beat cream into cream cheese mix. Pour mix into cooled crust and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm.
9. Once chilled, run a thin plastic spatula or knife around edge between the cheesecake and pan, the release the springform and remove. Gently run a knife between cookie base and bottom of pan and slide cheesecake onto serving plate.
10. For a fancy finish, pipe whipped cream rosettes around top edge of cheesecake, and top with chocolate curls.
Tips & Alternatives:
If you prefer a lighter coffee flavor, reduce instant coffee to 1 teaspoon. For a thinner base, reduce the amount of cookie crumbs and butter.
Put the base of the springform pan into the pan so it is held in a ‘table’ position, not a bowl position. Otherwise, the cheesecake will not slide off the base.
Straight from the fridge, the cheesecake is quite firm, but after 30 minutes it has a very mousse-like consistency but is still firm enough to slice. The gelatin stops cheesecake from melting in the heat.
A chocolate cookie base is far crisper and harder than a graham crust but softens after one day. It is like a chewy cookie.
For a special topping, whip 1 cup of whipping cream with 1 tablespoon Kahlua and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar and spread or pipe around edges. Finish with chocolate curls.