Guinness Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust

Oh, and pretzel brittle and Guinness ganache.  Beer and pretzels and chocolate.  That sounds about right.  Not to mention, this cheesecake is a great addition to your St. Patrick's Day feast.

Sidenote: If you follow Cookie Crazed Mama on Facebook, then you may have noticed a side project that I'm doing which includes bringing baked goods to a local coffee shop.  It's a great opportunity to do what I enjoy, and become a part of this "new" town my family moved to recently.  However, I understand that if you are not a local, you probably don't care about what I'm bringing in to a coffee shop on a given day.  If you're still with me while being irrelevant to your interests, then you're the BEST!  Here's some cheesecake...Forgive me?

Now, I can't promise that I'll start blogging very regularly, but I will make an effort to bring you dessert recipes that I think you'll enjoy.  And this one is a great one for game day and celebrations.  It's also perfect if you need an excuse to drink while you bake and use booze in your treats.  Hello!

If you are a true beer drinker, then feel free to replace the Guinness with a stout of your choosing.  A chocolate stout?  Hmmm.  I'm not a beer expert, at all, so if you are, and you make this cheesecake, let me know what you think!  I thought that the cheesecake alone was not very sweet.  I did think that all the components together-pretzel crust, filling, ganache, pretzel brittle-were a winning combination.  Creamy, slightly sweet, crunchy, salty, malty (is that a word?) but definitely not your average cheesecake!

Guinness Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust
adapted from Closet Cooking

Pretzel Crust:
-1 1/2 c. ground pretzels
-1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
-1/4 c. light brown sugar, packed
-1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, stir together dry ingredients.  Add melted butter.  Stir until mixture is moist and resembles wet sand.

In a 9-inch springform cheesecake pan, press the crumbs evenly along the bottom and about an inch up the sides.  Set aside.

Cheesecake Filling:
-12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips, such as Ghiradelli
-4 Tbsp. heavy cream
-3, 8 oz. packages regular cream cheese, room temp
-1 c. granulated sugar
-1/2 c. sour cream
-3 eggs
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-3/4 c. Guinness Extra Stout, room temp.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the cream cheese on medium speed for several minutes-meanwhile, start melting chocolate...

In a glass bowl over simmering water (or double broiler), melt chocolate with heavy cream.  Stir all the while, removing from heat once chocolate is mostly melted.  Keep stirring until no hard chocolate pieces remain.  The chocolate will be thick.

Add chocolate to cream cheese and mix until combined.  On low speed, add remaining ingredients: sugar, sour cream, eggs, vanilla, and Guinness.  Increase speed to medium, and beat for couple minutes.  Filling should be smooth and fluffy.

Pour filling into prepared crust.  Bake for 55-60 minutes.  Center may still appear slightly jiggly.  It will firm as it cools.

Do not remove from oven, instead, after baking time is completed, turn the oven off, leave door ajar and keep it in the cooling oven for another 60 minutes.

Remove and cool cheesecake completely.

Guinness Ganache
-4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
-1/2 c. heavy cream
-2 Tbsp. Guinness Extra Stout, room temp

In a saucepan, heat cream until bubbly.  In a medium size bowl, pour hot cream over chocolate.  Let stand for a couple minutes and then whisk until smooth and shiny.  Continue whisking and add Guinness.

Pour and spread ganache over cooled cheesecake.  Place cheesecake in fridge for a couple house, until ganache is set.

At this point you may use a large warm knife (warm knife by running over hot water, then drying) to cut the cheesecake.  This will make serving easier once you add the pretzel brittle.

Seriously, make this stuff just to eat by itself.  Sweet and salty perfection.

Pretzel Brittle
adapted from Milk Bar by Christina Tossi

-2 c. mini pretels, about 1/4 of 16 oz. bag-broken up
-1/4 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
-2 T. granulated sugar
-1/4. powdered milk
-1 T. malted powder (often found next to Ovaltine/Nesquik in stores)
-7 T. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment.

In medium bowl, add dry ingredients to crushed pretzels.  Stir around to combine.  Add melted butter, stirring to bind the dry ingredients.

Spread onto parchment and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Let cool on wire rack.  Break up pieces once cool.

Add as much or as little as you like to the top of your cheesecake.

Now, enjoy that boozy cheesecake!  You earned it after all that effort!

P.S.  If I were going to make this again.  I'd bake the crust for 15 minutes first, before adding the filling.  Then I'd do a water bath to prevent the top from cracking.  If you want to take a little extra time, I recommend this.  If you need tips on how to do a water bath, then feel free to message me at