A few months ago, I came across an intriguing recipe. I'm drawn to these, and it's not hard these days to get drawn as much as you wish.

I was in the market for chocolate anyway. My wife's birthday was coming up. My wife doesn't think much of personal holidays, her own or, to be honest, those of anyone else, although she's polite about it. She takes time with her mom on Mother's Day, sending the right card, etc. She'll always remember my birthday, but she isn't inspired to do much about it (and I take care of that anyway; I consider my birthday to be a global holiday). It's a quirk that I sort of admire. Her feelings won't be hurt if I don't buy her a birthday present or make a big deal, not at all. I just need to note the occasion and move on. It's an easy gig.

But I love birthdays, I say. So I take the unnecessary and make it a priority for a few hours, with mixed results. Cheesecake is along those lines, as it turns out.

It's not her favorite, or that's what I think. I don't recall her ever going crazy for cheesecake. She might really dislike it, in fact. I'll ask her when she wakes up (Saturday, sleeping in).

But I know she's not crazy about cake. Her go-to sweet stuff is usually dark chocolate or a bit of ice cream after dinner. At restaurants I've seen her ooh and aah about tortes and other such, but I don't know much about that. It still seems like cake. It might just be the restaurant.

So I saw this recipe for a dark-chocolate, no-bake cheesecake and I jumped at it. She appreciated the effort, but I got a new thing as a bonus. I can make this really good cheesecake. If you like cheesecake, of course.


Now my baking has a buyer (a consortium at church, only identifying themselves as The Dessert Syndicate, placed the winning bid a week ago, getting a year of monthly baked goods). I have a feeling this will mostly be cookies, but I thought I needed to perfect my game a little.

So I bought a springform pan, my first one, to get that nice, perfect cheesecake shape. I couldn't wait, either, so I dug in the other day and made one. I actually forgot a couple of things (mostly to put parchment paper on the bottom, and butter the sides), although there was no sticking. It was so much easier to slice, too.

I had trouble with the crust, though. This calls for ground chocolate wafers, with some melted butter, a pretty typical cheesecake crust, but the pan is kind of dark and it's hard to get the edges right. I also think I needed more butter.

It was ugly, at any rate. The recipe called for an 8-inch pan but it seemed that there was too much filling; would have been better moving up a size, I think. None of this really matters.



I've noted before that I don't have the artistic..whatever to be a pastry chef or anything close to a real baker. I can't imagine decorating a cake (I can imagine it, I guess). My pie crusts are very good but I don't spend a lot of time crimping the edges, etc. I figure taste is the thing. Right? I'm right.

And I'll get that cookie crust eventually. I think I'll just make my own wafers, since I ordered some gourmet cocoa powder from Amazon at the same time as the pan (regular cocoa tends to have a butter content of 10%, which is the minimum required by regulation; this has 40%, and cost me about a buck more) and I'm all geared up for a chocolate extravaganza. More butter, etc. It'll come together.

I'll bring it to church on Sunday, leave out slices and know they'll get eaten. No one here will eat much, although I had a slice for breakfast.

And I estimated the calorie count, as sometimes I try to do. Just in case someone asks.

So that slice up there? About 600 calories, I figure. That's a whole meal. That's a Big Mac. That's a dessert, meant for a special occasion, skip snacking today. Maybe skip dinner. It's really good.

Chuck SigarsComment