chocolate-covered cherry cheesecake… a beautiful and easy Valentine’s dessert!

Valentine’s Day is almost here!  Can you believe how fast this year is going already?  January is almost over…  and I still can’t seem to even remember that it’s not 2011 anymore!

But, February is soon here and if you’re cooking at home, it’s soon time to start planning your Valentine’s Day celebration!

If you’ve got kids, like us, or maybe you don’t have a special someone this year (in which case you should absolutely make this to spoil your beautiful self!) and want to enjoy a quiet evening at home…

Make this gorgeous, easy, delicious cheesecake!

If cheesecake seems like a lot of work, I promise that it’s not!

Mostly it’s just chilling time, which also translates to…  you can make this ahead of time and have it waiting in the fridge for you!

Perfection!

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cheesecake Recipe
adapted from Betty Crocker
makes 8-12 servings

Ingredients:

for the crust:
25 regular Oreo cookies, finely crushed
4 tablespoons melted butter
for the filling:
4 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (almond extract is great here too!)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 (21oz) can Lucky Leaf cherry pie filling
for the glaze & design:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cup chocolate chips, divided (1 cup + 1/4 cup)
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325ºF.    In a medium bowl, stir together the crushed Oreos and the butter until well combined.  Press this mixture evenly into the bottom, and an inch or so up the sides of an un-greased 10″ round springform pan.
In your large mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well blended.
Beat in the sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Beat in the heavy cream until smooth again.
Pour about 3 1/2 cups of the cream cheese mixture onto the crust.  Carefully spoon about 2 cups of the cherry pie filling evenly over the cream cheese mixture.  Then carefully spoon the rest of the cream cheese mixture over the top of the cherries.
Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until the cheesecake is just set.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 1 hour.
In a small microwaveable bowl, heat the cream on HIGH until simmering… about 1 minute or so.  Stir in the 1 cup chocolate chips until melted and smooth.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment.  Carefully remove the sides of the pan (running a knife around the inside edge first) and place the cheesecake on the lined baking sheet.
Smooth the glaze evenly over the top of the cheesecake, letting it run down the sides a bit.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
Once the chocolate is set (after at least an hour in the fridge or the next day) you can do a design, as fancy or simple as you’d like…  Place the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips in a small ziploc bag.  Melt them in the microwave in 15 second intervals, squishing around each time until smooth.
Cut off a tiny corner of the bag and draw your design (practice first… you can’t erase and start over!).  Place the cheesecake back in the fridge to chill and set until you are ready to serve!
Serve with more cherry pie filling and freshly whipped cream, if you’d like!

*This post was sponsored by Lucky Leaf premium pie fillings.  I love their products and the fact that they don’t use high fructose corn syrup!  I was given the pie filling to review, but as usual…  my opinions are my own!

Go check out their website or their Facebook to see some other fun recipes like slow cooker apple pork roast and cherry chocolate parfaits!

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