You may know them from Delta flights or espresso bars: the crisp, spice cookies with their embossed surface. Biscoff cookies walk a fine line between sweet and savory. They have a subtle, satisfying sweetness of ginger and cinnamon flavors and a buttery crunch. The delicate balance of flavors and their availability in cookie-form or as a creamy, buttery spread (kind of like peanut butter) make them one of the few sweets that pastry chef Shannon Lee still loves.
After years spent working as the pastry chef at Kiawah Resort and now as the owner of Baking Shananigans in Charleston, Lee no longer finds much novelty in desserts and sweets. (After all, endless taste testing and research and development must have some occupational hazards.) “But,” she says, “Biscoff is the thing that I will always eat.” In all its forms—from cookies to cookie butter to inside baked goods—Biscoff lends a silky, creamy texture. (Lee will even use the cookie butter in sandwiches.) Her Biscoff swirl cheesecake reimagines typical New York-style cheesecake into a marbled and fabulously spiced version of the dessert.
This cheesecake recipe doubles down on the Biscoff, using crushed cookies in the crust and garnish and swirling cookie butter throughout the batter. Lee divides the cheesecake batter, leaving one as a base and adding cookie butter into the other. From there, she “builds” the cheesecake in a springform pan, using a cookie scoop to alternately layer the batters over the crust. Finally, she taps the pan gently against the counter to let the different colored layers ripple out from the center.
The cake will bake until it’s puffed up in the center and jiggles to the touch, almost like a soufflé. It has to cook completely before it’s ready to serve. But it’s well worth the wait.
1 9-inch cheesecake
2 cups Biscoff cookies
¼ cup sugar
¾ cup butter, melted
32 ounces (4 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ cup Biscoff Cookie Butter
1½ cups heavy cream
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons Biscoff cookie crumbs
Make the Biscoff Cookie crust
- Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Use a food processor to grind cookies into a coarse meal. Alternatively, add cookies to a zip top bag and use a rolling pin to crush into small crumbs.
- In a mixing bowl, combine cookie crumbs with sugar. Pour in melted butter and use a spatula to stir until the mixture resembles wet sand. Press mixture evenly onto the bottom of a springform pan and set aside.
Make the cheesecake batter
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Add cream cheese to bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until light and soft. Stop mixing to scrape down the sides of bowl; add sugar. Resume mixing until combined.
- Reduce speed to low and add eggs one by one, pausing to scrape down sides of bowl, and mixing completely after each addition. Transfer half of the cream cheese mixture to another bowl and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine cornstarch, milk, vanilla, and Biscoff Cookie Butter. Stir well. (Note that the smoother you can get the cookie butter, the smoother the cheesecake will be.) Add cookie butter mixture to remaining cheesecake batter in mixing bowl and mix on medium speed until smooth.
- Using a cookie or ice cream scoop, alternate layering portions of plain and cookie butter batter over crust, placing scoops on top of scoops to create a rippled effect. Once all batter is added, tap pan gently against the counter top to move batter to the edges.
- Use aluminum foil to wrap outside of pan and place in a baking dish. Transfer to preheated oven. Create a water bath by pouring water into baking dish, filling ¼ of the way up the sides of the springform pan.
- Bake until cheesecake puffs up and the center is set, or interior registers 160 to 165 degrees on a thermometer, about 45 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Release cheesecake from springform pan once completely chilled.
Make the topping
- In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip heavy cream with sugar on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Transfer cream to a piping bag with a star tip and pipe around edges of cooled cheesecake. Garnish with cookie crumbs.
Recipe ByShannon Lee, pastry chef and owner of Baking Shananigans in Charleston