It seems that certain nuts are getting all the attention these days:  walnuts and almonds, I’m lookin’ at you.  Even pistachios have their own commercials with famous people and cartoon characters!  Don’t get me wrong, I love all nuts.  There are great walnut, almond and pistachio growers in my county and I buy local nuts frequently.  However, we did not grow up with such fancy nuts; peanuts and pecans are more familiar.   Mr. Dessert For Two grew up in Georgia—let’s all pause to acknowledge how cute it is that two Southerners met each other in California.  Now, moving on, peanuts are an important crop in Georgia, Texas and Alabama, and I’m asking you to help bring them back in style by eating them covered in chocolate.  Deal?  If you haven’t heard before, ‘tin roof’ refers to the combination of chocolate and peanuts.  It’s a match made in heaven.  This chocolate cheesecake has a chocolate wafer and ground peanut crust and is topped with an artful display of chocolate covered peanuts.  Feel free to use store-bought chocolate covered peanuts, but I also gave a quick recipe for homemade.

Tin Roof Cheesecake

Tin Roof Cheesecake
Makes 1 small 5" cheesecake.

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1 3/4 oz. chocolate wafers (~7 cookies)
  • 2 tablespoons halved roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:

  • 5 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

For the chocolate covered peanuts:

  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or corn syrup)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup halved roasted unsalted peanuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and grease a small 5” spring form pan.
  2. In a food processor, make the crust by grinding together the chocolate wafers, peanuts, sugar, salt and melted butter. Pour the mixture into the spring form pan, and pack it down and up the sides of the pan. Pack very well using a shot glass or small glass.
  3. Bake the crust on a baking sheet for 8 or 9 minutes. When done, remove from oven and turn the oven down to 300°.
  4. Meanwhile, beat together all cheesecake ingredients. Beat until very well combined, but don’t over do it—you’ll put too much air in the batter and cause cracks in your final product.
  5. Pour the mixture into the crust and bake for 36-38 minutes, until the center is slightly jiggly but not wet when you touch it.
  6. Leave the cheesecake in the oven, but turn the oven off and prop the door open with a wooden spoon. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  7. After 30 minutes, move the cheesecake to a wire rack to cool another 30 minutes.
  8. Finally, run a knife around the edge of the pan, and then cover with plastic wrap before moving it to the refrigerator. All of these steps ensure that your cheesecake will not crack or deflate.
  9. Let the cheesecake chill for a minimum of 4 hours.
  10. Meanwhile, make the chocolate covered peanuts: have ready a sheet pan lined with wax paper or a silicone mat.
  11. Combine all ingredients except peanuts in a double boiler and melt over low heat (you can also use your microwave on 20-second pulses). Once chocolate is melted and shiny, stir in the peanuts. Immediately pour this mixture onto the awaiting sheet pan and let cool until set in the fridge (~10 minutes).
  12. When ready to serve the cheesecake, unmold it carefully from the spring form pan, move it to a plate and decorate with large chunks of the chocolate covered peanuts.