Who knew that cheesecake could be made in a loaf pan? I never even realized that was an option.
That is, until I read the narrative baking book Saved by Cake by Marian Keyes. If you’re not familiar with her work, she’s an Irish chick lit author. Her books are funny, honest, and have some fantastically complex characters. I’ve been a huge fan for quite a while.
So when she wrote a baking book a few years back, I couldn’t wait to buy it. This cheesecake loaf is an adaptation of one of the recipes in her book. I’ve changed it, but it’s the same idea. Sorry, Marian. I reserve the right to tinker. That’s what baking is all about!
In her book, Keyes shares the perception that anything with Snickers is inherently more “blokey,” or in American, man food. That’s fascinating, because I have never really thought of Snickers as being masculine. I mean, it’s chocolate. Don’t we girls have the monopoly on that? Or does the darker packaging and no-nonsense design scream “male?” It’s a thinker.
Whenever I think of food, I kind of gender assign it. Maybe that’s a bad idea, but the whole stereotype of women liking chocolate and men guzzling beer has held up with a lot of people I know. Which, of course, begs the question: if we hadn’t been raised to like certain foods over others based on our gender, would our tastes be different? If I hadn’t been indoctrinated into chocolate early on, would I be more inclined to skip dessert and just eat a hunk of red meat the size of my head?
Last week, I read three blog posts in a row that involved steak. Suddenly, I couldn’t take it anymore. I stopped at the grocery store on the way home (a much-hated errand after a long day at work) and picked up a steak. Just for me. Everyone else got hamburgers. And eating that steak was so satisfying that I had to wonder: would I miss the brownies if I just ate like a man?
It’s a complex question, and one that I wonder about a lot. Because it’s not like men don’t like their brownies. And I think that after about three days of steak, I’d go running back to the Reese’s with nary a second glance behind me. Sugar addiction might be a serious problem, but I’m not willing to detox yet. Especially if I’ll go running straight from sugar to cholesterol.
Besides, if you can’t eat like a man, work out like one. I’ve been a strength training convert for two years now, and I’ve never looked back. It’s the answer to so many questions about fitness and health. And Snickers is not.
But hey, that shouldn’t stop any of us (male or female) from indulging. And since Snickers have all those peanuts, it’s protein for after a strength training workout. If Snickers really are candy bars for men, maybe that’s why some of them are so buff!
This recipe threw me a little, because the original calls for a combo of ricotta and mascarpone cheeses. On the day I went shopping, there wasn’t any mascarpone at the grocery store, so I bought cream cheese instead. The ricotta is grainier in texture, so I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the final result. But really, it came out nice and creamy, even though the texture is not what a traditional American cheesecake calls for.
The other question mark for me in this recipe was the baking time. The recipe wants the cheesecake to bake for an hour and half at 325, something that I didn’t have time for. Apparently, baking it at a lower temp will make the top caramelize more. Since I wasn’t able to try that, you’ll see that the recipe below has a higher cooking temp with less cooking time. It’s all about tinkering!
Once you cover this cheesecake with caramel sauce, it’s a sticky delight. I can’t believe this is my first cheesecake loaf, but it won’t be my last. And I plan to taste-test it among men and women alike to see how “blokey” it really is. Thanks for the inspiration, Marian Keyes!
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
8 oz. block cream cheese (I used reduced-fat)
8 oz. ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
1 package Snickers bites
salted caramel sauce (in ice cream aisle)
1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts
- Preheat the oven to 350; Line a loaf pan with aluminum foil, leaving enough to hang over the sides of the pan. Coat with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter and chocolate chips for one minute. Stir until smooth. If needed, heat an additional 20 seconds before stirring again.
- Add the brown sugar and graham cracker crumbs to the melted butter and chocolate mixture. Stir until the crumbs are moistened.
- Pack the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
- While the crust is baking, make the filling. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cheeses and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs, one at at time, stirring after each addition. Add the sour cream and mix until smooth.
- Chop the Snickers bites in half. Fold them into the cheesecake batter. Pour the batter into the loaf pan.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes until the top is set. Turn off the oven and open the door. Allow the cheesecake to cool slowly.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool completely. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill overnight.
- When ready to serve, use the overhanging foil to remove the cheesecake from the pan and place on a platter. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the cheesecake. Sprinkle the peanuts over the caramel.
- Cut into slices and serve. Store chilled.