Oh man, this cheesecake is sooo good. If you like s’mores, you need to make this ASAP. Scratch that. If you like yourself, you need to make this ASAP.
It’s not too over-the-top (surprising since it’s coming from me, I know) but it’s definitely evocative of a gooey, chocolate-y s’mores. But it’s even better because you don’t have to go through the trouble of building a campfire and there are no mosquitoes eating you alive.
This is a classic vanilla bean cheesecake with a thick, buttery graham cracker crust, a sweet milk chocolate Hershey bar ganache (because is it really a s’more if you don’t use a good ole Hershey bar?), and a marshmallow-y Swiss meringue topping that’s been lightly toasted.
I first made this recipe back in December for one of my friend’s birthdays and it was a big hit, so I made it again a couple of weeks ago and brought it into work. And it was gone by 10 am. The people I work with usually polish off whatever food I bring in but this was a new record. As an aside, I’m sure there are a lot of people who find it crazy that there’s an entire department of people who are regularly eating cheesecake and other desserts for breakfast…it’s definitely my fault…but I’m not even sorry.
I had fun piping the meringue on top with a couple of different piping tips (I used an open star and a round tip) and then toasting it with my kitchen torch. Toasting the meringue not only adds to the toasted marshmallow flavor but also adds more definition to the meringue. However, if you don’t want to break out the piping bags, just pile the meringue on top and create swirls with a spatula. It’ll still toast up nicely and taste just as delicious.
- 1 1/2 sleeves of graham crackers, crushed
- 6 Tbsp of melted butter
Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
- 4 packages of cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 4.4 oz Hershey bar (one XL bar)
- 2 oz heavy cream
- 3 egg whites
- 3/4 cup sugar
Make the crust. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Mix the crushed graham crackers and the melted butter and press into the bottom of a 9 or 10-inch round springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
While the crust cools, make the cheesecake. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together in a stand mixer until smooth. Add the eggs one at a team, beating after each until fully incorporated. Pour on top of the cooled crust and bake for 55 minutes or until just set (the center should still jiggle slightly). Let cool completely before topping.
Make the ganache. Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a saucepan until just simmering. Pour on top of the chocolate. Let sit for a minute before stirring until smooth. Pour on top of the cheesecake. The cheesecake should have slightly dipped in the center while it cooled, created the perfect area for the chocolate to pool, but you could drip it over the sides if you prefer. Let set up in the fridge while you make the meringue.
Make the meringue. Mix the egg whites and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place on top of a saucepan with simmering water; make sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Whisk constantly for about 10 minutes and then transfer to the stand mixer. Whisk on high speed until stiff and glossy.
Pipe or use a spatula to spread the meringue on top of the chocolate ganache. If you have a kitchen torch, toast the meringue lightly with the torch; if you don’t have one, you can place the cheesecake under the broiler for a minute or two, just keep an eye on it. Enjoy!