Creamy and absolutely luscious, this chocolate hazelnut cheesecake will become a new favorite! With a chocolate cookie crust, a Nutella cheesecake filling, Nutella ganache drizzle, and hazelnut whipped cream, this is one decadent cheesecake recipe!
The Godfather said, “I think something with chocolate and hazelnut sounds great for my birthday.” In recent years we’ve had tiramisu, but since that was on the menu for New Year’s Eve, it was too soon for another. It was not, on the other hand, too soon for another cheesecake.
So armed with a box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates and warehouse-size jars of Nutella, this baker got to work!
This cheesecake recipe came along in pieces. Testing an idea here, adjusting a bit there, and then it all sort of fell together. It’s fun when things work that way!
Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake Layers
The base of this cheesecake is the same as my peppermint cookie cheesecake. Well, almost. I don’t recommend mint-flavored sandwich cookies here! Classic chocolate sandwich cookies make a perfect cheesecake base.
The filling is a Nutella cheesecake filling! You can use your favorite brand of chocolate hazelnut spread, of course. We buy Nutella in Costco-jars though, as we are definite fans!
The Nutella is mixed baked right into the cheesecake batter for a luscious and super creamy cheesecake!
To top the cheesecake, I added a pretty drizzle of Nutella ganache. Any chocolate-hazelnut spread will be too thick to easily drizzle or spread over cheesecake – even after chilling. So we use a little heavy cream to thin it and make a ganache.
Finally, I added a finishing touch with a hazelnut-flavored homemade whipped cream and chopped toasted hazelnuts.
Oh, and of course the cheesecake needed some Ferrero Rocher chocolates for garnish. To get the candies to sit nicely, I cut each in half. The whole candies sat up to high from the cake and looked a little out of proportion to me.
A few recipe notes…
Let’s chat a little about the sweetness level of the cheesecake. If you’ve made any of my other cheesecake recipes, you’ll notice this one has significantly less added sugar. That’s on purpose.
Nutella is very sweet on its own. Over time, I learned to cut way back on the added sugar in recipes when I use the spread. This cheesecake is no different.
The reason for cutting back on the sugar is so you can actually enjoy a slice. Personally, I find that if desserts are too sweet, they can get cloying after a few bites. With the recipe as written, the cheesecake isn’t super sweet. It’s sweet, but not overly so.
My family really liked it (kids too), as did a few people I shared it with. BUT, if you prefer your desserts to be on the fairly sweet side, you may feel free to add a few extra tablespoons of sugar to the filling.
If you’re looking for a Nutella cheesecake recipe that isn’t too sweet though, I think you’ll love it as written!
You also have the option to use the Nutella ganache as a full glaze. You don’t have to drizzle it on as I did, just spread a very thin layer over the top of the cheesecake.
Finally, I use a hazelnut liquor to flavor the whipped cream. You need very little to add flavor, so if it’s not something you already have on hand, skip it. Vanilla extract or almond extract will work just as well.
To stabilize the whipped cream so you can decorate the cheesecake before serving, you have two options. You may add a bit of mascarpone as I do in this recipe. Or, you can use agar-agar.
This is a plant-based gelatin substitute easily ordered online or found in health food stores. Add 1/4 teaspoon just as the whipped cream starts to thicken and it will stabilize your whipped cream for up to 2 days! I haven’t kept it longer than that to test.
The finishing touches like the toasted hazelnuts and Ferrero Rocher truffles are nice, but also optional.
Hazelnuts aren’t usually sold toasted, but you can learn how to toast hazelnuts here. Extra toasted hazelnuts are absolutely delicious over granola or yogurt!
I hope you love this creamy chocolate cheesecake recipe, darlings! Happy baking!
Oreo Cookie Crust:
- 25 Oreo cookies, crushed very fine (see notes)
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
Nutella Cheesecake Layer:
- 32 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups Nutella spread (or other chocolate hazelnut spread)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Hazelnut Whipped Cream:
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons Frangelico
Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache (see notes)
- 2 tablespoons Nutella
- 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
- Optional: Toasted chopped hazelnuts for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Wrap a 9-inch springform cheesecake pan in aluminum foil to prevent leaks and set aside. Place about an inch of water in a 10 or 12-inch cake pan to create a water bath.
- Combine your crushed chocolate cookies and butter to form your crust. Press evenly across the bottom of the cheesecake pan up the sides. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 375 F.
- Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. If you don't have a stand mixer, you can also use a large mixing bowl and hand mixer. Stir on low until combined and smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Add the eggs, one at a time. Stir after each addition and scrape the bowl.
- Add the chocolate hazelnut spread, heavy cream, and salt. Beat the mixture on low speed until it's well mixed and smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Pour the cheesecake filling into the prepared cookie crust and place the cheesecake in your water bath. Put the cheesecake and water bath in the center rack of the oven.
- Bake at 375 for 15 minutes and then, without opening the oven door, lower the temperature to 325 F and bake an additional 50-60 minutes until the cheesecake center is set but still jiggles slightly. (see notes)
- Once the cheesecake is ready, crack open the oven door. Turn off the oven, but leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door cracked open for 20 minutes. This lets the cheesecake cool gradually, preventing cracks.
- After 20 minutes, remove the cheesecake from the oven, then remove it from the water bath. Set the springform pan to cool on a rack for 30-60 minutes before loosely covering the cheesecake with plastic wrap and placing it in the refrigerator to cool completely. If your cheesecake is still warm, place a paper towel on top of the cheesecake but under the plastic wrap. It will catch any condensation.
- Refrigerate the cheesecake in the pan for at least 4 hours, at least overnight is best. Cheesecake can be made a day in advance.
- Once your cheesecake has completely chilled, make the optional toppings.
- To make the Nutella ganache (see notes): Combine the chocolate hazelnut spread and heavy cream in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave f0r 30 seconds at 50% power. Stir. Repeat as needed until smooth and a little runny. Let it rest for a few minutes until it's not hot, then drizzle over the chilled cheesecake.
- To make the Frangelico whipped cream: Place the heavy cream in a chilled mixing bowl. If you are using a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment. Whip the heavy cream at low speed until bubbles start to form. Add the powdered sugar. Whip at medium speed until it just starts to thicken, but no distinct peaks form. Add the hazelnut liquor. Increase the speed to high and whip until medium-to-firm peaks form. Pipe the whipped cream around the edge of the cheesecake, serve any extra on the side, if desired.
- To add the finishing touches, decorate your cheesecake with Ferrero Rocher truffles and chopped toasted hazelnuts. Enjoy!
- Extra cheesecake can be stored in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for 3 days.
- A food processor works really well for crushing the cookies! If you don't have one, place the cookies in a freezer weight bag and press out the air. Use a rolling pin to crush the cookies, rotating the bag as needed.
- You want to turn off the oven when the cheesecake still jiggles slightly because it will continue to set during the cooling time. If you wait until the center is completely set during baking, your cheesecake will not have as creamy a texture because it will be over-baked.
- This will make enough Nutella ganache for the drizzle as pictured. If you'd like to completely coat the cheesecake in a layer of ganache, double the recipe, then pour over the chilled cheesecake, spreading a little as needed for even distribution.
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