This week I attended my son’s last band concert in his current school. Next year he’s off to high school and there will be a whole new bunch of band concerts to attend, but this one was a little bittersweet for him because it’s been the same school and the same group of friends for the past 8 years.
If I tried to calculate how many concerts, band or Christmas or spring or whatever the flavor of the month was, that I’ve attended over the years so far, it would look something like this.
3 children with 29 combined years of school to date, and an average of 4 concerts per year = 116 concerts
I think I’m going to faint.
With each concert being an average of 1.5 hours, that would mean that I have spent 174 hours in uncomfortable folding chairs, in an overheated gymnasium, watching approximately 170 combined hours of other people’s children and approximately 4 hours of my own.
That’s a lot of cute kindergarten kids, shy grade 5 singers, and screeching clarinets. That’s a lot of parking lot craziness and arm flapping Grandmother’s (You can read more about a previous Christmas concert experience here.).
Since it was his last concert, I suggested to him that because his band group is the last to perform, that he should wait until the concert is over, and the clapping has begun, then he should grab his drum sticks and play those skins like he’s never played before. Go out with a big bang! Rock the house down! He wouldn’t do it.
For a slightly taller cheesecake, use an 8" spring form pan instead of a 9" spring form pan.
For The Graham Crumb Base:
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
For The Cheesecake Batter:
3 8oz packages of cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup peanut butter, melted
2 tablespoons whipping (heavy) cream
3 tablespoons corn starch
2 cups chocolate chips
For The Chocolate Ganache And Peanut Butter Drizzle:
1/4 cup whipping (heavy) cream
1 cup (about 5 oz) finely chopped dark chocolate (at least 65% cacao)
1/4 cup peanut butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine graham wafer crumbs, melted butter, and sugar. Stir until well combined. Press the graham crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9″ spring form pan. Set aside.
Using the paddle attachment of your mixer, cream together the cream cheese and sugar until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
In a small microwave safe dish, melt the peanut butter for 20 - 30 seconds until it turns liquid and then stir until smooth. With the mixer running on low speed, add the melted peanut butter to the cheesecake batter, then add the whipping cream.
Turn the mixer to medium speed and beat the mixture for several minutes (3 to 4) to incorporate some air into the batter. Add the cornstarch and beat for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour the cheesecake filling over the graham crumb base, smoothing the top with an offset spatula or knife.
In a shallow baking dish, (I used a 9"x12" glass dish) add about 1" of water. Place the water filled dish on the bottom rack of the oven. Place the cheesecake on the middle rack of the oven and bake it for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes (depending on your oven) or until center of the cheesecake is very slightly jiggly, or almost completely set. The cheesecake will continue to bake slightly once removed from the oven, but make sure you don't remove the cheesecake too soon. Cool the cheesecake on a wire rack.
Once cooled to room temperature, refrigerate the cheesecake for several hours or overnight to set it completely. When ready to decorate the cheesecake, remove it from the spring form pan and set it aside.
To make the chocolate ganache, finely chop the dark chocolate so all the pieces are relatively small and uniform in size then transfer them to a small bowl. Heat the whipping cream in a small microwave safe dish for 25 - 30 seconds, or until just before boiling. Pour the hot whipping cream over the chocolate and stir until smooth and shiny. Pour the chocolate ganache over the cheesecake and use an offset spatula or a knife to spread the chocolate over the surface of the cheesecake. Leave the ganache to set before adding the peanut butter drizzle.
In a small microwave safe bowl, melt 1/4 cup of peanut butter and drizzle it over the cooled ganache layer.
The cheesecake can also be frozen by tightly wrapping with plastic wrap.