Save Me a Bite
That's exactly what my husband did when I gave him a piece of cheesecake -- he left me this lonely little bite. I was alright with that because I had eaten cheesecake for breakfast that morning. :) Any guesses at this week's topic?
"What?! What about my hips?! What about my New Year's Resolution?!" you cry out.
Ladies, I'm convinced that the January blues have a direct correlation with newly-made resolutions of depriving ourselves of foods we love. I believe in moderation in all things, which is why I never make such resolutions. Instead I set simple (and often broken) rules involving cheesecake and other decadent desserts which should never be completely consumed by one person in one sitting.
1. Never eat cheesecake unattended.
2. Invite at least 10 people to your house when you cut it.
3. If you happen to have leftovers, give some to the neighbors.
That being said, I would like to share some tips on making a perfect cheesecake. A REAL cheesecake. I'm not talking about the no-bake stuff you pull out of the box. It's time to step up! Yes, this takes a little extra planning, but it's well worth it.
The two biggest problems I've run into with making cheesecake are lumps in the batter and cracks on the top.
Remove the Lumps!
1. Place a pan of water in the oven on the rack below your cheesecake. I use a round cake pan, but you can use anything that's oven safe and will hold 1-2 inches of water.
2. Cool slowly! When your cheesecake is finished, don't rip it out of its toasty-warm 325° incubator and leave it on the 72° countertop in your kitchen. Such a drastic temperature change would make me crack, too. Instead, turn your oven off, and leave the door open. Let the cheesecake cool inside until you can take it out without oven mitts. Then leave it on the countertop until room temperature before placing it in the fridge.
OK, are you ready? Here's one of my favorite cheesecakes, which is also pictured above (sorta).
Brownie-Bottom Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce
Adapted from the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cookbook
1 10-20 oz. package brownie mix, any kind
3 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
¾ c sugar
2 tsp vanilla
½ c sour cream
1 recipe Strawberry Sauce (below)
Prepare brownies as directed on package and bake in a well-greased 8 or 9 inch springform pan. Mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with mixer until smooth (watch out for lumps!!). Blend in sour cream. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed until blended. Pour over brownie crust. Bake at 325° for 1 hour. Check for doneness by nudging the pan with an oven mitt. If the center wiggles slightly, but the sides don't, then it's done. (Bake at 300° for around the same length of time if using a dark nonstick springform pan.) Turn oven off and allow to cool in oven. (See directions above!) Refrigerate for at least 6 hours for best results.
Remove sides of springform pan and serve with Strawberry Sauce.
1 1/2 c fresh or frozen strawberries
2 T sugar
Blend strawberries and sugar in blender or food processor until smooth. Add more sugar if you want it sweeter.
1. You may be tempted to underbake the brownie crust for fear of burning it when you bake it again with the cheesecake, but don't. It won't burn, I promise!
2. Brownie crust does not have to be cooled before you pour the cheesecake filling on top.
3. Feel free to use light cream cheese and sour cream. I've tried both and they work great.
Good luck ladies! Let me know how it turns out!
Natalie of Ear Candy
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