Classic Cheesecake

cheesecake

It is National Dessert Day! I hope you are celebrating with some amazing dessert!

I thought I would celebrate with a blog post on a timeless recipe, Cheesecake. Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts and I have been making variations of this recipe since I was in high school, however this is the first time I went with the classic base. I will say I have no regrets about that decision what-so-ever.

Classic Cheesecake

3 cups graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons butter, melted

3 (8oz) packages of cream cheese, softened.

2 eggs lightly beaten

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1-2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 F. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a small bowl. Press into a springform pan and set aside. Beat cream cheese on medium speed until whipped, slowly stir in sweetened condensed milk, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Pour over prepared crust. Cover pan with foil and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 30 minutes until set. Cool at room temperature then refrigerate overnight.

A few tips: You can choose to leave the foil step out, but it helps the cheesecake from getting too brown.

I prefer to cool my cheesecake in the oven for a bit with the door open, this allows the cheesecake to come up to room temperature and helps prevents cracking.

I also think cheesecake is best the second day, after the flavors have had time to sit and chill…but let’s be honest, I’ll be happy to eat it any time.

Enjoy!

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Mint Cheesecake Squares

 

mintcheesecakebars

Let’s be honest, St. Patrick’s day is a perfect reason to make anything with mint. (It is also a really good reason to eat lots and lots of Lucky Charms.) If you are someone who does not like the mint chocolate  flavor combination (I know you either love it or hate it), I sincerely hope that you will learn to appreciate the delightful flavor.  Mmmm. Chocolate Mint.

Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Squares

Original recipe makes 24 servings Change Serving

1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate fudge cake mix

1 cup butter, softened

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

3 eggs

6 drops green food coloring, or as needed

3 drops creme de menthe candy flavoring (such as Wilton®), or as needed

1 (10 ounce) package dark chocolate and mint chips (such as Nestle® Toll House® Dark Chocolate and Mint Morsels)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Beat cake mix and butter with an electric mixer on low speed in a bowl until crumbly, 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside 1 cup for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture into bottom of an ungreased 9×13 inch pan. Place in preheated oven and bake until edges begin to crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Beat cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk with an electric mixer on medium speed in a bowl until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Drop eggs one at a time into the cream cheese mixture and beat until blended, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in 6 drops green food coloring, or more for a darker color; beat until color is blended, about 2 minutes. Beat in creme de menthe candy flavoring until thoroughly blended, about 2 minutes. Taste and add more flavoring if needed. Pour batter over the chocolate crust in the 9×13 pan. Sprinkle 1 cup reserved crumb mixture over cheesecake batter. Top with 1 cup chocolate and mint morsels; reserve remaining morsels for finishing touches. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake until set, 42 to 45 minutes. Remove pan from oven and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. Pour reserved chocolate and mint morsels into a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave morsels in 45 second intervals; stir until completely melted and smooth. Pour melted chocolate into a resealable plastic bag. Clip a small bottom corner of the bag. Gently squeezing the bag, drizzle melted chocolate over the cooled cake through the clipped corner. Cut cake into bars to serve.

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com.

Key Lime Cheesecake

One of my favorite summer flavors is lime. It is so crisp, cool and refreshing. It kind of makes you think for just a minute that it isn’t 100 degrees outside…Ok, maybe not.

I feel like you should know that this has been tested by two Key Lime Pie Lovers (my dad and my brother in law, Bryan) and they approve.

Key Lime Cheesecake

1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 1/2  cups crushed graham crackers

1 cup flaked coconut

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

3/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 6 limes)

3 large eggs

Whipped Cream, toasted coconut and limes for garnishing

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Combine butter, graham crackers and coconut; press on bottom of 9-inch springform pan. You might want to put a little cookie sheet in your oven to help catch any drips…even the best springform pans have their mishaps.

In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy, add sugar. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Add remaining lime juice and eggs; mix well. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour or until cake center is set.  Cool to room temperature. Chill thoroughly. Garnish as desired. I used real whipped cream, toasted coconut and limes. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

Turtle Cheesecake

Cheesecake is one of my favorite things to make, but I hadn’t made one in quite a while. This weekend I put a new twist on my basic cheesecake recipe…and it seems as though the group of people who were my taste testers REALLY enjoyed it. Cheesecake isn’t a bad way to start the week, have a great Monday friends!

Turtle Cheesecake

1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

2 cups crushed chocolate sandwich cookies, finely chopped

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 (14 ounce) package caramels, unwrapped (yea that plastic wouldn’t taste too good)

1/2 cup milk

2 squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans

Remaining caramel from cheesecake

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Combine butter, and cookies; press on bottom of 9-inch springform pan. You might want to put a little cookie sheet in your oven to help catch any drips…even the best springform pans have their mishaps.

In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Add eggs one at a time; mix well. Mix in vanilla. Over low heat or in the microwave melt caramel and milk.  This will give you about 2 1/2 cups of caramel. Pour 1 1/2 cups caramel into cheesecake batter, mixing until completely combined.  You can keep the additional 1 cup of caramel in the refrigerator for the topping. Pour into prepared pan. Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes uncover, bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until cake center is set. (This keeps the cheesecake from getting too brown on top…not as important with chocolate cheesecake but still a great little tip). Cool completely.

Once cheese cake has cooled completely, top with melted chocolate, pecans, caramel and mini chocolate chips. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

I can’t think of anything much better than apple crisp and cheesecake paired together for fall. The taste is delightful! Hope you have a great Friday!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping

Recipe Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Base:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

Cream Cheese Layer:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (The original recipe calls for 2 but it needed more of the cheesecake layer)
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Apples:
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Streusel Topping:
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1 cup caramel sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, two tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine all the streusel topping ingredients and mix until crumbly. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two forks until mixture is crumbly but combined. Press evenly into a 9X13-inch baking pan lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

While the crust is baking, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 3/4 cup sugar until smooth. Then add eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. Mix well. Pour over the warm crust. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven.

Spoon the apple mixture evenly over the cheesecake layer. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apples. Bake for 30 minutes until the filling is set.

Cool the bars to room temperature. Drizzle with the caramel topping (or plate individual slices and drizzle with topping one by one).


Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Bites

These bites are little bites of cheesecake goodness. I love them because when it is so hot outside, they are nice and cool. Hope you enjoy your holiday weekend!

Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Bites

1 1/2 cups oreo cookie crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

24 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons shortening

White chocolate for drizzling

Preheat oven to 325°. Line a 9-in. square baking pan with foil and grease the foil. In a small bowl, combine the cookie crumbs and butter. Press into prepared pan; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and sour cream until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in vanilla. Pour over crust. Bake at 325° for 40-45 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate until chilled. Freeze for four to five hours or overnight. Melt chocolate and shortening in a double boiler; stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Using foil, lift cheesecake out of pan.

Gently peel off foil; cut into 48 squares. Remove a few pieces at a time for dipping; keep remaining squares refrigerated until ready to dip. Completely dip squares, one at a time, in melted chocolate; allow excess to drip off. I like to use a plastic fork with the middle prongs broken off for dipping. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Let stand for 20 minutes or until set. Drizzle with melted white chocolate. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Yield: 49 squares.

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Happy Cinco De Mayo! My top pick for dessert this 5th of May is Sopapilla Cheesecake. It is actually good any time of year and it beats the heck out of flan (sorry if you enjoy flan). I have made this recipe quite a few times, however, I didn’t get to make this recipe this week because my oven was preoccupied with cupcakes, so this image is a borrowed one from flickr.

Sopapilla Cheesecake 

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 (8 ounce) cans crescent roll dough

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup sliced almonds

 Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.
Beat the cream cheese with 1 1/2 cups of sugar, and the vanilla extract in a bowl until smooth. Unroll the cans of crescent roll dough, and use a rolling pin to shape the each piece into 9×13 inch rectangles. Press one piece into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Evenly spread the cream cheese mixture into the baking dish, then cover with the remaining piece of crescent dough.
Drizzle the melted butter evenly over the top of the cheesecake. Stir the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar together with the cinnamon in a small bowl, and sprinkle over the cheesecake along with the almonds.
Bake in the preheated oven until the crescent dough has puffed and turned golden brown, about 45 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into 12 squares.