Dark Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

Dark Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

An easy, decadent dessert for any occasion

I don’t know many people who don’t like dessert…that sweet, luscious ‘last bite’ to a great, savory meal, a special companion to a hearty cup of coffee, or just because life is short so we should enjoy the little things, right? My favorite treat (today anyway, it changes) is cake, particularly a high quality, rich cake that is very satisfying after just a few bites, leaving me with a delicious memory long after the plate has been cleared.

Both chocolate and cheese cake fit that bill, making the following recipe a hit every time.It’s easy, quick and impressive, you can change the jam or chocolate chip flavors to make any palate happy and it’s a simple enough for even the littlest kitchen helpers.I like to use the remaining half-and-half and whip up a homemade whipped cream, sometimes infusing it with the herbs.Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

* 1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs

* 3 T white sugar

* ¼ cup melted butter

* 1 cup of good quality orange marmalade

* 2 cups dark chocolate chips (not Hershy, use Ghiradelli or better)

* ½ cup half-and-half

* 3 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened

* ½ cup white sugar

* 3 eggs

* 1 t vanilla

For garnishes

* Candied orange peel

* Chopped thyme or basil leaves

* Dark chocolate sauce

* Chopped hazelnuts

In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of your sping form pan(s).

Microwave or heat in a pan the marmalade until bubbly, set aside

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Heat dark chocolate and half-and-half in microwave for 30 second intervals until smooth and creamy, set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted dark chocolate. Pour half of batter over crust. Spoon 3 tablespoons of melted marmalade over batter. Pour remaining cheesecake batter into pan, and again spoon 3 tablespoons marmalade over the top. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours or up to two days before removing from pan.

Serve remaining marmalade sauce and other garnishes in separate bowls if you like to allow everyone to personalize their own dessert!