“Brown Velvet” Cheesecake

When life gives you really crappy chocolate cookies, make really fantastic chocolate cheesecake. Well, at least that’s my motto of the week.

Now to begin with, you may wonder, is there really such a thing as a crappy chocolate cookie? Sadly, yes there is, and they were lurking at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market in the guise of great-looking cookies. My husband and I bought a stack of them and brought them home with the rest of our treasures, looking forward to breaking them out after dinner. And when we did … they were tough, excessively crumbly, and strangely lacking chocolatey goodness. Boo! We barely made it through one, but never a family to throw out food, we simply closed up the bag and tucked the rest of the large, homemade hockey pucks into the pantry.

Then one night as I tried to rest my weary mind, I was hit with inspiration! Of course, those mediocre cookies would make a exceptional crust. And an exceptional crust deserves an outstanding topper; cheesecake would fit the bill nicely. This time, I decided to expand my cheesecake repertoire with a Red Velvet Cheesecake recipe.

However, upon reading up on Red Velvet recipes, I was floored by instructions calling for 2 ounces of red food coloring. Um, I don’t think so, I’ll live with a not-red, Brown Velvet Cheesecake!


  • 2 cups finely ground cookie crumbs of your choice (chocolate graham cracker would work well)
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1/4 C butter, melted


  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten slightly
  • 1/4 C unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 C sour cream
  • 1/2 C milk + 1/2 T vinegar OR 1/2 C buttermilk
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1 t white vinegar


  1. Mix together cookie crumbs and brown sugar. Add melted butter and mix well.
  2. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes; cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar.
  4. Add beaten eggs, about 1/4 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Add cocoa, sour cream, milk + vinegar or buttermilk, vanilla and vinegar; mix well.
  6. Pour batter into prepared crust and bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cheesecake looks almost set. After cheesecake is cool, cover and chill in the pan, in the refrigerator overnight.

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