A highlight of the St. Patrick's Day party in Mary Berger's family is her aunt's special dessert. "Every year, she serves this elegant cheesecake all of us look forward to," Mary relates from Bernville, Pennsylvania. "I was delighted when she passed along the recipe to me. The combination of chocolate and peppermint quickly becomes a favorite of everyone who tries it."
- 20 Oreo cookies, crushed
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 6 drops green food coloring
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup miniature chocolate chips, divided
- Combine cookie crumbs and butter; press onto the bottom of a greased 9-in. springform pan. In a bowl, beat cream cheese, milk, extract and food coloring until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
- Pour onto crust. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 300° for 1 hour or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes; run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
- Trace a small shamrock pattern onto a piece of paper; cut out and set aside. In a microwave, melt remaining chocolate chips. Fill plastic bag with melted chocolate; cut a small hole in a corner of the bag. Place shamrock pattern on a baking sheet; place a large piece of waxed paper over pattern. Pipe a chocolate shamrock onto waxed paper, following the pattern. Move waxed paper and repeat to make several more shamrocks.
- Place in the freezer until hardened, about 4 minutes. Carefully remove shamrocks and arrange on cheesecake. Yield: 8-10 servings.
Originally published as Luck o' the Irish Cheesecake in Country Woman March/April 1999, p20
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