What’s for Dinner: Cheesecake with Chocolate Center

Today, I made cheesecake with a warm chocolate center [homemade from scratch] as an early dessert for my parents [29th] wedding anniversary tomorrow! It was absolutely melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

Cheesecakes always seem daunting to me, but it really was straightforward, even with my chocolate center filling twist added. It made it look that much more sweet and the flavor combination was great. Did I mention I used pistachios in the crust?

What I used:
  • 1 stick of [unsalted] butter, softened
  • 1 and 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 4 bars (8 ounce each) of cream cheese, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 a bag (of a 12 ounce package) of semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  • whipped cream, optional
  • Chocolate bar for shavings, optional
To put it together:
Let’s start with the crust:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Roughly chop your pistachios, and set aside.
  3. Cream together your stick of butter and 1/4 cup of sugar.
  4. Add flour in small batches until it is just combined, with your mixer on the low speed [to avoid getting flour all over you].
  5. Mix in your chopped pistachios and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  6. Press the crust, gently, into the bottom and along the sides somewhat [I’d say about 1/4 of the way up] of a greased/non-stick springform pan.
  7. Bake in your preheated oven, for 13-15 minutes until the crust turns barely golden brown. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, let’s start on the cheesecake filling:
  1. In a bowl, beat your cream cheese until it is light, fluffy, and of a creamy texture.
  2. Add your remaining 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar and beat the mixture well, making sure it is incorporated nicely.
  3. Next, add in 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and all four of the eggs and mix just until the yellow from the egg yolks disappears.
  4. Pour half of the batter on top of the crust you just baked.
  5. Sprinkle about half of a bag of mini chocolate chips, leaving a margin of about an inch around the sides, on top of the cheesecake batter.
  6. Finally, carefully and gently, pour the remaining batter over the chocolate chips. With a spatula, even out the top.
  7. Bake on a baking sheet, as an extra precaution, for approximately an hour at 350 degrees, or until the cheesecake is set [took an additional 2-3 minutes for me].
  8. When it is out of the oven, let it cool/set for a little while. Then, run a knife around the edges of the cheesecake before unlatching the springform pan.

We all know I didn’t do the whole waiting part too well, so the first piece I cut wasn’t totally set. Oh well, I’ll live. It tasted great… and the rest of the pieces were a lot easier to cut [because it had set]. My excuse? The first piece always is a mess.

Serve your cheesecake, warm, with…. whipped cream and chocolate shavings on top [or sprinkle mini chocolate chip morsels!] if you want to go the extra mile.

By the way: before I put the pan in the oven, it looked so skimpy — I thought it wouldn’t turn out right. By it rises [a good amount], and then goes down somewhat as it cools/settles… but in the end it turns out just as you would expect a cheesecake to look like, size wise: neither too flat, nor too thick.

The plan is to make an Afghani meal for dinner tomorrow that Ami [mom] loves [and requested!]: Kabuli rice with chicken kebabs. Let’s see how that goes.

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P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes.

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