18.4 ounces brownie mix
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup water
1 egg lightly beaten
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup peanut butter chips
24 ounces cream cheese softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup heavy cream
14 miniature peanut butter cups quartered
Chocolate Ganache and Peanut Butter Cup Topping
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 8 ounces
½ cup heavy cream
34 miniature peanut butter cups quartered
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Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper cut into a circle to fit the inside bottom of the pan. Lightly spray the pan with non-stick spray and set it aside.
Using a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together the boxed brownie mix, vegetable oil, water, and beaten egg just until ingredients are combined.
Pour batter into prepared springform pan. Bake for 35 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate and peanut butter chips onto the top of the hot brownie, in an even layer. Allow the brownie crust to cool on the counter while preparing the cheesecake filling.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
Using a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl with a handheld mixer on medium speed, cream together the cream cheese until smooth.
Add the sugar and vanilla extract and continue to mix on medium-high speed for another 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl when needed, until the mixture is smooth.
Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Do not overmix.
Keep the mixer speed low, add the creamy peanut butter and the heavy cream. Continue mixing until everything is completely incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the quartered mini Reese’s chocolate cups.
Wrap the springform pan in a double layer of aluminum foil. Spoon the cheesecake batter on top of the brownie layer. Place the springform pan into a large roasting pan. Carefully pour hot water in the roasting pan, being very careful not to get any water in the cheesecake filling, about 1 inch up the side of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour.
Once the cheesecake has cooked for the hour, turn off the oven and crack the oven door open about an inch and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 30 minutes.
Pro Tip: For baking the cheesecake, it is extremely important that your oven temperature is accurate. Since some ovens cook at higher or lower temperatures than others, it is best not to just go by cooking time but also go by if the cheesecake is cooked through.
Pro Tip: To check for doneness, when your cooking time is up, your cheesecake center should just slightly jiggle or wobble. If it is really jiggly still, you need to bake a bit longer.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven then remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan. Allow the cheesecake to cool on the counter for another 1 hour or until cool enough to place into your refrigerator to continue to cool for another 3 hours.
Pro Tip: Make sure you are chilling the cheesecake in the fridge and not the freezer. Putting a hot cheesecake in the freezer will cause steam which will create ice crystals/freezer burn. It may also affect the way the cheesecake sets. If you want to avoid an overnight chill, you can put it into the freezer AFTER it has cooled to room temperature. Wrap well in plastic wrap first.
After the cheesecake has chilled for 3 hours, gently run a knife along the sides of the cheesecake and gently release the sides of the springform pan and remove it from the cheesecake.
Using a medium-sized heat-safe bowl, combine the heavy cream and semi-sweet chocolate chips Heat in the microwave for 45-second intervals (or if your microwave has a melt setting), stirring after each interval until the chocolate is smooth.
Pour the ganache slowly onto the top of the cheesecake and gently smooth it on top.
Evenly sprinkle the top of the ganache-covered cheesecake with the quartered Reese’s chocolate candies.
Adapted from spaceshipsandlaserbeams.com