I moved into my summer apartment yesterday, and it's pretty awesome. I'm sharing it with two other girls, one of whom I haven't met before and the other who is one of my best friends! (We picked out the apartment together.) The kitchen is nice, my room is spacious, and I even have a walk-in closet! Sweet.
Naturally, the first thing my friends and I did after I finished unpacking is...go swimming! In the outdoor pool on the 6th floor of the apartment! Who cares if it's 60 degrees outside and the low-hanging fog cloaks us all and I have two summer classes that begin in two days and I have to study hardcore for the MCAT like there's no tomorrow...
It's summer! (At least for today. I can't guarantee anything for tomorrow.)
Speaking of which...I did some careful thinking over this one week's break since the end of the school year and start of summer school, and I came to the realization that unfortunately I may not be able to blog as often as I'd like over the summer...Blogging is a real time commitment (and you may be well aware of this if you're a blogger yourself), and each post takes great time and consideration to prepare for and compose (case in point, this post). As Pass the Cocoa has moved along, I've taken so much joy in baking and sharing the recipes with all of you (who tolerate my ramblings and unhealthy obsession with desserts). Caroline and I are so happy to provide quality posts with recipes we have tried and love. But considering the 300+ hours of MCAT studying and two important science courses and shadowing and volunteering that I have ahead of me in this short span of two months, I'm not sure that I'll have much time for doing my regular posts. Which breaks me to pieces, I tell ya.
Good news is, I'll be back and baking in August hopefully. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this recipe and at least one more I have planned for July. And of course, look forward to some awesome recipes Caroline has lined up for you guys (: I'm drooling.
Okay, time to talk cheesecake.
These Kit Kat Cheesecake Bars are a lovely and -- get this --simple
dessert. Graham cracker crust, layered with whole Kit Kat bars and luxurious dark chocolate cheesecake, and topped with silky smooth chocolate ganache with elegant white pin stripes. It's drop-dead gorgeous (Is that an appropriate descriptive? Well, now it is.), and tastes freaking de-li-cious after an overnight refrigeration. So. Good. I really must make these again because they disappeared way too quickly.
The chocolate ganache infuses with the dark chocolate cheesecake, and makes for a rich chocolate experience. You definitely want a glass of milk with this slice of cake. The best part, I think, is the caramelization that occurs between the Kit Kat layer and graham cracker base. That subtle caramel flavor, paired with the chocolate cheesecake, is simply sublime.
I had a lot of fun making this with Katie during our brief time together. We make it a goal to bake at least one. breathtaking. dessert. each time we see each other during the year, since we are separated by states in colleges using different semester or quarter systems.
Caroline and I try so hard to do the same in the rare occasion that we are both in town at the same time (plus the fact that we also attend different colleges using different semester/quarter systems), but it's kind of hard when one of us is interning in D.C. and the other is taking classes in Chicago -- at least for this summer. Perhaps find a date to reunite and bake together in August before school starts (for Caroline, not me). Because...how could you not love the things we make together? Like this and this and this??
Let's see how this cake is made!
First is the graham cracker layer, which is simple enough. Graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter.
Next, layer on the Kit Kat bars on top of the pre-baked graham cracker crust.
Make the chocolate cheesecake batter. We decided to add a couple more tablespoons of sugar to the batter to make it more palatable (and sweeter), but honestly I recommend that you taste the batter to make sure that you have the right amount of sweetness that you prefer. Remember that the cheesecake will be topped with a pretty sweet chocolate and white chocolate ganache layer, so don't go overboard with the sugar (no more than 3 - 4 tablespoons, I'm estimating).
Layer it on top of the Kit Kats. The batter was surprisingly thick, so creative liberties had to be taken...aka using hands to smooth it out.
Next is the chocolate ganache.
The trick to getting the ganache perfectly smooth is to lightly tap it against the counter. Melt the white chocolate, snip a small hole on the corner of a zip lock bag and fill it with the melted chocolate. Pipe across the chocolate ganache like so.
Hold up there.
Stop right there. Look at that gif. Don't you love it? I love it.
Honestly, this cake is the stuff that makes dreams come true (maybe). Kind of like fairy dust. Except not really. Sorry, bad metaphor.
Being the impatient fool that I am, I couldn't wait more than 30 minutes before slicing into this cake, and it was of course delicious. But if you can control yourself, I really highly recommend waiting for at least 4 or 5 hours to let it set in the fridge. You will thank yourself later.
Also, no one ever told us it how hard it is to cut through the entire cake in one clean slice. It's the Kit Kat layer that's being so difficult :P
Easy Kit Kat Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Bakers Royale | Yield: 8 servings
For the Crust
:1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
For the Chocolate Cheesecake Layer
12 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 Kit Kat packages
For the Chocolate Ganache Layer
10 ounces chocolate
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
For the White Chocolate Striping
4 ounces white chocolate
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line pan with a "sling" foil (see photos).
For the Crust
Combine graham cracker crumbs, granulated sugar, and melted butter in a bowl. Press mixture onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 7 - 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool while making cheesecake portion.
For the Chocolate Cheesecake
Place all ingredients in a bowl and beat until fully combined and smooth; set aside. Place Kit Kat bars on top of crust. Pour cheesecake mixture over Kit Kat bars and bake for 30 - 35 minutes at 350 degrees F. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Preferably place in refrigerator when cool enough to touch.
For the Chocolate Ganache and White Chocolate Striping
Melt chocolate and butter together and combine until smooth. Pour chocolate over baked cheesecake.
Melt the white chocolate, snip a small hole on the corner of a zip lock bag and fill it with the melted chocolate.
Pipe across the chocolate ganache in horizontal rows from top to bottom. Use a toothpick and drag vertically through the lines of white chocolate (see photos). Refrigerate for at least 4 or 5 hours, but preferably overnight for best results (:
Serve & enjoy! For nice clean edges while cutting, run hot water over the knife’s blade and wipe away the moisture before cutting. Along with that, wipe the blade down between cuts.
Storage Note: This can be prepared 3 days in advance and stored tightly covered in the refrigerator.