I don’t like chocolate, and I am meh about my feelings for mint, so it’s just as odd to me as it probably is to you that I LOVEEEEEE peppermint bark. The second that beautiful morsel comes out at Williams-Sonoma and Trader Joe’s, I am like a crack fiend waiting in line to keep my supply up. It’s the perfect amount of not so chocolatey and not so pepperminty, but both at the same time. I think it’s the white chocolate that keeps it all in balance for me. Also have you tried the Peppermint Paws that Williams-Sonoma sells? They have little crispies in the them like a Crunch bar. Heaven. On. Earth.
I was particularly inspired by my secret stash when thinking about desserts for Christmas. I had seen the Peppermint Bark Cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory and knew I had to make a lighter version. Still indulgent, just not quite SO decadent that I need to feel bad about eating it for 3 days after. One piece of that Cheesecake Factory cheesecake can have over 1,000 calories in it. The crazy flavors such as aforementioned Peppermint Bark top out at 1,600 calories per slice. That just isn’t going to cut it when you’re trying to watch your waistline during a long holiday season. The good news is, this cheesecake is a great substitute.
Chocolate wafer crust. White chocolate and peppermint cheesecake. A layer of white chocolate mousse to top that. And more peppermint bark shavings, because why not. Perfect, perfect, perfect. If this recipe doesn’t have enough dark chocolate in it for you, feel free to melt some dark chocolate chips in the microwave and drizzle over the chilled cheesecake before adding the peppermint shavings. Go crazy! Life your peppermint bark fantasy life!
Peppermint Bark Cheesecake
Makes: 8-12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 3 hours Chill Time: 2 hours Total Time: 6 hours
1- 9 oz package of chocolate wafers
2 tbs melted butter
1 tbs hot water
2- 8 oz packages red.-fat cream cheese
1- 8 oz package reg. cream cheese
1 cup sugar
4 oz white chocolate, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1½ tbsp flour
1½ tbsp heavy cream
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp peppermint extract
1½ cups white chocolate bark
FOR WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE:
4oz reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
2 oz white chocolate, melted
¼ cup heavy cream
1½ tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the springform pan with foil to prevent any water from seeping in. Spray pan.
2. Grind the chocolate wafer in a food processor. Mix with the melted butter and hot water. Pour the chocolate crumbs into the springform pan and create an even crust. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
3. Make the cheesecake filling by whipping 3 packages of cream cheese and the sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in white chocolate, then the next five ingredients and one egg. Mix well. Add the additional eggs one at a time, mixing between each. Mix in the chocolate bark and gently mix.
4. Pour the batter into the springform pan and smooth into an even layer. Put the springform pan into a roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with hot water halfway up the cheesecake. Carefully place the pans in the oven and bake for 1 hour.
5. After 1 hour, turn off the oven but DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR! Set another timer for 45 minutes, and leave the cheesecake in the oven. After 45 minutes, remove the cheesecake from the oven and its water bath, and let it cool for another hour. Then refrigerate.
6. To make the mousse, whip the cream cheese, sugar, and heavy cream together with a mixer. Add the white chocolate and vanilla and mix until well blended. Add the mousse to the cheesecake in an even layer with an icing spatula. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
7. Remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator and gently remove the springform pan. Garnish with the peppermint bark shavings, serve, and enjoy!