Friday, December 14, 2007

Best Cheesecake Recipe

Well, at least to me it is. I have been making this recipe for over a decade and have had many people ask for the recipe. I've made the tradition size in a springform pan and I've made cupcakes and mini cupcakes size, too. I first thought of the cupcake size back in 1993 in hopes to find an easy way to serve it as a snack. It worked, very well as a matter of fact.

This year, I had several people ask me about the recipe. The origin of the recipe is from a book I got long, long time ago, compliments from West Coast Federal Savings and Loans. I looked up the ISBN number since the book doesn't have a published date. Google gave the following: Publisher is Nitty Gritty Productions, 1978, "A 2-in-1 Cookbook" (with pies on one side and cakes on the other). The only things I've made out of this cookbook are the cheesecake and apple pie recipes. Both are delicious. So here it is with some modifications from me, "Liz's Cheese Cake" (on the cake side of the book, of course). Note, the recipe calls for a sour cream top but we don't like it that way and have always left it off.

1/4 lb (9 double) graham crackers (I use graham cracker crumbs from a box)
2 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 Tbs melted butter
3 pkgs (8 oz ea.) cream cheese
1 C sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (use a very good one)

Preheat oven at 375 degrees F.

Roll graham crackers into fine crumbs. [If you're using crumbs from a box, prepare that according to the instructions on the box.] Press onto bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. Set aside.

Beat cheese until creamy. Add sugar gradually and beat well. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. I always scrape the bowl after each egg to ensure that there's no lumps of cheese stuck to the side of the bowl. This will prevent cheese lumps. Add vanilla. Pour on top of unbaked crust. (See note below about using a water bath at this point.) Bake at 375 degrees 20-25 minutes or until slightly brown around the edges. I like the cake to have a slight jiggle and it will firm up once chilled. Cool at room temperature on a rack (helps prevent the crumb crust from getting soggy). Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving. You can add your favorite topping prior to putting it in the fridge to chill.

The baking method above may produce cracks in the top of the cheesecake but doesn't affect the taste at all. If you want a perfect presentation, then I recommend using the water bath method (I typically do this, even with the mini ones).

Water Bath:
Set the form pan on a large piece of aluminum foil and fold up the sides. This will prevent water from seeping into the seams of the springform pan. Carefully set the pan in a larger roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake as instructed.

Hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

Have a wonderful Aloha Friday and weekend. Stay warm and eat well.

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