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Spirited Cooking

Spirited Cooking: Orangecello Chocolate Cheesecake Squares

Spirited Cooking: Orangecello Chocolate Cheesecake Squares

[Photo: Caroline Ford]

If you were so lucky this past holiday season, someone gave you a lovely glass bottle with a charming bow tied around its neck, filled with the vibrant hue of homemade orangecello, or Arancello, as the Italians would say. Or perhaps you were that crafty, DIY gift-giver, winning the adoration of your friends and family for doling out homemade booze. Either way, you likely made a cocktail or two with the sweet liqueur and are now pondering other destinations for that bottle in your fridge. I have a solution. Actually, if you are not one of the lucky people with orangecello already at your fingertips, I suggest scurrying down to the liquor store just so you can bake this treat.

These Orangecello Chocolate Cheesecake Squares are a decadent incarnation of those shiny, foil-wrapped chocolate orange balls. The liqueur offers just enough punch of orange to keep your taste buds on alert, without overwhelming the tangy cream cheese.

This isn't a dense cheesecake bomb; whole-milk ricotta keeps this dessert light and fluffy. Two layers of chocolate serve as bookends to the creamy filling: there's a glaze of rich, melt-in-your-mouth orange-infused dark chocolate to start and crumbly chocolate crust to finish.

About the Author: Caroline Ford is a food stylist, food writer, and recipe developer in Portland, Oregon. In this column she'll be sharing recipes that feature a wide variety of spirits and liquors (plus beer and wine.)

Spirited Cooking: Orangecello Chocolate Cheesecake Squares

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About This Recipe

Yield:12 to 16
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:12 hours (chilling)
Special equipment:8" x 8" baking dish

Ingredients

  • For the crust:
  • 1 1/3 cup crushed chocolate graham crackers or wafer cookies
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  •  
  • For the filling:
  • 12 ounces whole-milk ricotta cheese, room temperature
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup orangecello
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 4 large eggs, at room tempereature
  •  
  • For the glaze:
  • 4 1/2 ounces good quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon orangecello

Procedures

  1. 1

    Heat oven to 350°. Line 8”x8” pan with foil and coat with cooking spray or butter. Combine chocolate crumbs, orange zest, and butter in a small bowl until mixture comes together easily when pressed in your palm. Press into the bottom of prepared pan. Bake crust for 15 minutes. Let cool.

  2. 2

    Beat ricotta in electric mixer until smooth. Add cream cheese and sugar; beat until fluffy. Add orangecello and zest; add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Scrape down bowl as needed. Pour filling into crust and place pan in larger dish or roasting pan for a water bath. Pour hot water in the larger pan halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. Bake for 1 hour or until cheesecake jiggles only slightly when shaken.

  3. 3

    Cool on wire cooling rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate until cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours or overnight.

  4. 4

    Heat all glaze ingredients in double boiler over gently simmering water. Stir until melted and combined. Pour over chilled cheesecake, tilting pan to coat. Refrigerate uncovered for 30 minutes. Cut cheesecake into squares, cleaning knife between each slice for neat edges.

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