Cheesecake is by far my favorite food on the planet. It holds a special place in my heart not only because it's hella tasty, but also because I cut my culinary teeth on perfecting cheesecake. It's the first thing I learned to do really well. And this, my friends, is the king of all cheesecakes. It's taken me a few years of experimentation (and lots of tasty Canyon models) to get it right, and here I am sharing it with a bunch of strangers.
Well anyway I made some Cheesecake and thought I'd take some pictures for you guys!
For starters, here's the ingredient list:
1 1/4 boxes of Famous Amos Cookies
2 stick of butter
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
12 squares baker's white chocolate (2 packages)
Caramel Sauce (you'll see what I'm talking about later)
1/4 cup chopped pecans and a few drizzles of chocolate sauce
Mmmm, hmmm.. Hello, heart health
Now, I'm actually making 2 small cheesecakes. Both pans are 9" and I'm only filling them a little more than halfway. With a slightly larger pan, you can make this into one big hunk of heaven. I personally prefer it smaller, though, because this recipe is so rich.
First up is the crust. Dump a box of the cookies into a freezer bag and squeeze out all the air. Crush with a rolling pin (or wine bottle). Try to get it as fine as possible, but you'll probably have to get your hands in there to finish the job.
Melt 1 1/2 sticks of butter in the microwave. Mix with the crumbs and press into the bottom of the spring form pans. You'll probably have to add some cookies from a second box to cover well. In this case, it took 1 box + 2 of my wife's handfuls.
Now, I know that's a whole lot of butter, but about 1/2 a stick will cook out (and drip into the cookie sheet you're going to put under these pans). It'll be an AWESOME tasting crust, and it won't stick to the pan. Use the other 1/2 stick of butter to well lube up the sides of the springform pans. Put the crusts into the fridge to firm up.
Drop all the cream cheese - all 5 packages - into a stand mixer. Now, don't attempt this with a hand mixer. You'll burn it up. Trust me, I've gone through several. On a stand mixer, using a whisk attachment, whip the cream cheese. Scrape the edges and bottom. Whip it. Whip it good. Repeat until it's really well whipped. Then mix in the sugar.
Mix in the flour & salt. Scrape and whip.
Turn the mixer on a lower setting and start add the eggs slowly, about 1 yolk at a time, scraping in between. Then add the vanilla.
Add in the sour cream. Mix. Then add the white chocolate, melted accord to package directions and slightly cooled. Mix yet again. Pour into the springform pans. Use leftover Famous Amos cookies to clean out the bowl.
Bake in a 200 F oven for about 3 hours. As I mentioned earlier, put a cookie sheet (or make a catcher out of foil) on the rack below to catch dripping butter.
Now, you'll notice that one of the cakes looks a bit different. That was some experimentation. I marbled in some caramel. It was good, but it changed the consistancy a bit, so ignore that addition. You also might notice that my oven is filthy. I assure you, it's sanitary. Besides, those are battle scars. Scars to remind us of how far we've come. How much we've learned. How drunk we were that night we made lasagna...
I digress. After the cheesecake bakes 3 hours, it should feel slightly firm to the palm of your hand, although it will still jiggle if you tap the pan. The whole thing should jiggle as a whole. If so, it's done. Trust me. Kill the heat and leave the door closed. Let it cool in the oven for an hour. This keeps it from cracking.
Pull it out, let it cool on the counter a bit longer, until it can be handled with bare hands. Shake it from side to side a few times and then put it into the fridge overnight.
The next day, top it. I'm using this awesome Caramel sauce I picked up at World Market, along with come pecans and a little chocolate sauce just to make it pretty.
Pardon the foil backdrop. I was transporting it to mom's house.
Give this recipe a try. It's not too hard, just a bit time consuming. It's hella tasty with all sorts of toppings. I'm also known to use a white-chocolate orange sauce from Stonewall Kitchen. Sometime I make a raspberry topping. I'll warn you, though: this might ruin cheesecake for you. The next time you order cheesecake at a restaurant, it's likely to pale in comparison to the cheesecake nirvana you achieved with this recipe. It really is that good.