Cranberry Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust

This delicious and festive cheesecake is a marriage of two different recipes and my own changes as well. I can’t get enough cranberries during the holiday season! I especially like this recipe; there is just a hint of orange in the cheesecake and the topping as well- it’s a match made in heaven.

9 oz. box chocolate wafer cookies
5 T unsalted butter, melted
2 T sugar

4- 8oz. packages cream cheese, softened
4 eggs, room temp.
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 T flour
1 t vanilla extract
1 t orange extract
2 t grated orange zest

12 oz. cranberries
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2-4 T Cointreau (depending upon how much you want to taste it)
1 t cornstarch

For the crust:
In a food processor, chop the cookies along with the sugar until they are a fine powder. Add the butter and pulse until mixed. Pat into a 9″ springform and bake at 350ยบ for about 5 or 6 minutes.

For the filling:
Using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and the sugar until smooth, 2 or 3 minutes; add the flour and then the eggs one at a time, scraping after each egg. Don’t overbeat. Add the sour cream, zest and extracts. Pour into prepared crust and bake for about 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes (I did 1 hr. 15 minutes as per the recipe but thought it was a little overdone- I think I would go 65 minutes next time– I never believe them when they claim the jiggly middle will set but it always does). Refrigerate overnight.

For the topping:
In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar, honey, cornstarch and cranberries to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and cook until it turns a deep magenta and then stir in the Cointreau. This can be made the night before as well. Top the cooled cheesecake with the cranberries.

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