On May 5th I celebrated Cinco de Mayo at Grace-Marie’s Kitchen, the Cooking School at Bristol Farms. Grace-Marie was preparing a wonderful Mexican flavored luncheon and I wouldn’t miss that for anything. On the menu was Fiesta Fruit and Avocado Salad, Gringo Picadillo Stuffed Peppers and Ibarra Mexican Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake. Each dish that Grace-Marie prepared was spiced with the flavor notes from south of the border: lime juice, jalapeno pepper, cumin, papayas, avocado, cilantro, Mexican crema, queso fresco cheese and Ibarra Mexican Chocolate. Each of these dishes was beautiful and delicious. And not only did I get to photograph and eat, but this time I got to help serve!
So what is Ibarra Mexican Chocolate, anyway? Ibarra is a brand of Mexican Chocolate that is made in Guadalajara, Mexico. The circular tablets, which are about ½” thick and 3 ¼” in diameter, are made from sugar, cacao nibs, lecithin and cinnamon flavoring. They are packaged in this distinctive red-and-yellow hexagon-shaped box.
Ibarra Mexican Chocolate is not meant to be eaten like a chocolate bar, because it has a rough, gritty texture from the undissolved granulated sugar. Ibarra is used primarily to make hot cocoa in traditional Mexican style by mixing the chocolate tablets with near boiling milk or water until completely dissolved. In Mexico, in the traditional Aztec and Mayan style, Cayenne pepper is added to make it a spicy chocolate drink.
Grace-Marie’s Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake begins with the crust of finely ground Chocolate Cookies and ground Almonds mixed with melted butter, the mixture pressed into a spring form pan and baked for 10 minutes,
Meanwhile the Ibarrra Chocolate is chopped and melted with cream. The cream cheese, sugar, eggs, sour cream and flavorings are processed together, and one cup of the mixture is transferred to a bowl and mixed with the chocolate.
Half of the cream cheese mixture is poured into the cooled crust and the Chocolate mixture is drizzled over.
Then the remaining cream cheese mixture is poured over the chocolate swirls.
After it comes out of the oven it is cooled to room temperature and then refrigerated until chilled completely.
Lucky for us, Grace-Marie had made two cheesecakes in the morning and they were chilled and ready to be served. We happily ate them with a drizzle of chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Oh man, this cheesecake was really good!! The perfect ending to our Cinco de Mayo fiesta.
Ibarra Mexican Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake
1 cup graham crackers, oatmeal or chocolate cookies – finely ground
1 cup ground almonds
4 tablespoon unsalted butter – meltedPreheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the crumbs, almonds and butter with a fork. Press the mixture into a buttered 9” spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then cool.
6 ounces Mexican Ibarra Chocolate (2 tablets) – chopped
1 cup heavy cream
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese – room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extractOver a double boiler, melt the chocolate and cream over a low heat. Stir to blend well. Remove from the heat.
Combine the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, sour cream, vanilla and almond extracts in the work bowl of a food processor. Process until well blended. Transfer 1 cup of the mixture to a bowl and stir in cooled melted chocolate.
Pour half of the remaining cream cheese mixture into the cooled crust. Drizzle the chocolate mixture over the top, then pour over the remaining cream cheese mixture.
Bake until the cheesecake is set but still moves slightly in the center (45 minutes). Run a knife around inner edge of the pan, then cool to room temperature. Cover and chill completely.
2 cups heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate – coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter – softened
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional: chopped walnuts or pecans to taste
Bring the cream to a simmer in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Once melted, whisk until completely smooth, while adding the butter, honey, vanilla and nuts if using.
Cut into wedges, plate and drizzle the sauce over the top. Whipped cream is a delicious option.Print Recipe