I went back to Milwaukee last weekend for Irish Fest. My ultimate happy place. The best four days out of each year.
I think I’ve gone every single year of my existence (the 6 hour drive from Iowa is worth it) and it would take something prettyyyyyy big for me to miss it. In fact, I think the only way I would ever willingly miss it is if I LIVED in Ireland.
Even then, I might still make my family Skype me in. They never miss it either. No, MKE Irish Fest isn’t sponsoring this post – I wish.
The best part of Irish Fest is undoubtedly the music – musicians come from Ireland/Scotland/Canada + all over to play in Milwaukee!
Buttt, if I had to pick a second favorite part it would be the food. Shamrock cookies. Jameson Whiskey Custard. Soda Bread. Corned Beef. Guinness Cheesecake.
When I got home from Irish Fest, I wasn’t ready to get out of Irish mode, so I made this Baileys chocolate cheesecake. I was inspired by the Guinness cheesecake my brother + I devoured over the weekend.
This is a serious dessert. Rich. Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate.
There is a LOT of chocolate in this baby.
Chocolate graham crust. Chocolate cheesecake base. Cadbury milk chocolate + Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate make the most creamy-dreamy + richly-smooth chocolate ganache to top off this chocolate masterpiece.
Oh, and I threw on some chocolate chips to ensure our inevitable death by chocolate.
Honestly, the Baileys + the Cadbury are kind of the stars of this recipe.
(It’s ok if you don’t have Cadbury – any good quality chocolate will do.)
I’ll let ya in on a secret – the ganache takes only FIVE MIN to make and is SO GOOD and will impress everyone you share this with.
Which may end up being no one because it’s just that good.
Better make two.
Speaking of impressive – graham cracker crust is ridiculously easy to make. I mean, it took me about 3 minutes to put it together. So good + so worth it.
You’ll probably have ganache left over which is great because I like to mix it in with plain greek yogurt for breakfast.
Is that the healthiest? Debatable. Is it good? Yes yes yes.
- 2 cups crushed chocolate graham crackers
- 1 stick melted butter
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 14 oz cream cheese, room temp
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
- 1/3 cup cocoa
- 2 ounces melted chocolate (I used Cadbury)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup Baileys Irish Cream
- 6 oz chocolate chips (I used a mix of Ghirardelli semi-sweet + Cadbury milk)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put graham crackers in a zip lock bag and use rolling pin to crush. Mix crust ingredients together, then press into the bottom of an ungreased springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Take out of oven + set aside.
Turn oven temp down to 350 degrees. Beat cream cheese in a mixing bowl with electric mixer until smooth. (Pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds if you took it directly out of the fridge.) Add sugar and mix. Add eggs and vanilla and mix. Add cocoa + melted chocolate and mix. Add whipping cream and mix. Add the Baileys and mix.
Pour into pan with the crust. Bake 35-40 minutes.
Don’t test with a knife to see if its done. If it’s done the center will jiggle slightly when you move the pan. Let it cool to room temperature BEFORE you put it in the fridge to chill. If you put it immediately into the fridge it can ruin the cheesecake. While it’s cooling at room temp, the cheesecake will deflate some and the center will set. After an hour or two, cover and chill several hours or overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
Make the chocolate ganache close to when you are going to serve/eat the cheesecake. Have chocolate ready in a mixing bowl. Bring the cup of half & half just barely to boiling in a pot on the stove. Pour over the chocolate chips and whisk together until smooth. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
While the ganache is cooling, release the cheesecake from the springform pan. To get the cheesecake off the bottom round piece, hold it (with oven mits) over warm stove burner. The cheesecake should easily slide off onto a plate after 1-2 min over the burner.
Pour the liquid ganache in the center of the cheesecake to fill the top. Pop the remaining ganache in the fridge until it’s thick enough to hold a shape, but thin enough that it’s still pour-able. Drizzle over the top of the cheesecake for decoration + texture. Throw some extra chocolate chips on top, if you’re into that kinda thing. Serve with a cup of Irish coffee.
*Cover leftovers and refrigerate
*If you don’t have a springform pan, you can bake this in a pie pan. You just won’t be able to get it out of the pan to serve it like you can with a springform.
Serves about 8.