I like algebra, and, in fact, it was one of my favorite subjects in school. How about you? Do you like algebra? Do you like solving equations? How about solving this simple algebraic equation for me? Don’t worry, it’s petty easy!
Solve for X in the following equation:
A = peanut butter
B = banana
C = chocolate
If the following equations are true:
A + B = delicious
B + C = divine
A + C = spectacular
and A+B+C = X
What is X?
Answer: X = delicious, divine, and spectacular
That’s right. The combination of peanut butter, banana, and chocolate in these individual cheesecakes is indeed delicious, divine and spectacular! See, how easy that was. Algebra is fun!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecakes with Caramelized Bananas
Yields approximately 18 individual-sized cheesecakes
For the crust
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 tablespoons sugar
a healthy pinch of salt
For the filling
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons flour
For the ganache
8 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
For the topping
2 ripe bananas
2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a two 12-count muffin tins with cupcake liners.
Prepare crust by mixing together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl until well combined. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of the crust mixture into the bottom of each cup. Use the rounded back of the spoon to press crust down into cup and slightly up the sides. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar together until smooth, scraping sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Add vanilla and peanut butter. Beat again until smooth. With the mixer running, sprinkle in the flour, and then add the eggs, one at a time, until creamy and fully incorporated.
Scoop the peanut butter mixture into a piping bag and squeeze the mixture into the cups, using a circular motion until almost full. Bake until centers are set, about 18 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.
To make the ganache, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a saucepan, simmer the heavy cream over medium-high heat. Pour the warm cream over the chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes. Whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache is smooth and glossy. Add butter and whisk until incorporated.
To prepare the caramelized banana topping, cut the bananas in half lengthwise. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly on the cut sides of each banana. Place bananas under the broiler and cook until the sugar is hot and bubbly, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and cut into 1-inch slices. Set aside.
To assemble the cheesecakes, spread ganache on top of each cheesecake using an offset spatula. Place a slice of caramelized banana on top of each cheesecake.
Serve at room temperature.
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