Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Perfect Cheesecake

This weekend was so much fun for me!  The pink house was full once again with lots of visitors and one of those lucky visitors was my third-in-line sister, Ashton!  I was so excited she got to come stay the weekend in Auburn  :)  We did lots of fun things like:  walked around the ecology preserve here in AU, geocached with friends, sampled lots of yummy freebies at the new Publix, discovered chocolate graham crackers (which we proceeded to fill with peanut butter-of course!), watched the Harry Potter marathon on Sat afternoon (since it was monsooning),  baked a cheesecake, watched the Auburn men's basketball team dominate Miss. State, and we even had time to walk around the lovely Auburn campus just before she had to head home for cheer practice.  What a great weekend!  Too bad she had to leave because that meant it was study time for me.

Wait, did I mention we baked a cheesecake?  

I think I did.

Shame on you if you didn't expect me to elaborate on that one. 

And shame on me for making you read this far to see it.

Like I mentioned earlier, it rained allllllllllll day Saturday.  And we went to Publix.  And Ashton's favorite food is cheesecake.  And her birthday is next week.  Lucky her, I happen to be a super sweet sis  ;)  So, we baked a cheesecake....or possibly 2.

I have made quite a few cheesecakes for her in the past.  But never saved the recipe.  Oops.  Luckily, we found this recipe that looked decent--I mean it is from Philadelphia--the creators of cream cheese, right?  So I would hope it would be trustworthy.  Anyways, it was definitely successful.  DEFINITELY!!

It wasn't too involved and didn't call for really strange ingredients.  

you will simply need:

cups HONEY MAID Graham Cracker Crumbs

Tbsp. sugar

cup butter or margarine, melted

pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened

cup sugar

tsp. vanilla


Like I said we went to Publix.  They had graham crackers on the BOGO sale.  Hints one box of chocolate graham crackers and one box of regular-no need to buy graham cracker crumbs when I can crush these cracker sheets myself AND get a box for free!  duh.  

Well, I put Ashton on the task of crushing the graham crackers.  She did it the hard way.  After she had crushed about half of the crackers we needed, I showed her how it was done.  

Example 1:  What not to do:  crush with fingers.  

Example 2:  The way we experienced people do it:  Ziploc.


While Ashton slaved away over the crumbs, I was busy doing some mixing.  I mixed the cream cheese (yes, all 4 blocks of it) with the cup of sugar and cap full of vanilla.  

Next, add some eggs.  1 at a time til you've added all 4.  I obviously followed directions based on the photo below.......

This is when I showed my impressive knowledge of Ziploc and Ashton melted the butter for the crust.

Once this was all melted, we combined it with the crumbs and 3 T sugar.  

About this time I thought of a problem.  I don't have a spring form pan.  I felt dumb.  How can you bake a cheesecake without a spring form pan?  Well, I asked my roommate, and fellow baker, Allison for advice and she showed me these things.  I'm not sure what you call them, but they were great!    That little piece of metal spins all the way around the pan and made "dumping" the cheesecakes out a flawless process!  I just sprayed them with Pam and then "swooshed" the spinny thing and they were perfect!  

Since they were small pans we were able to make 2 cheesecakes--one for us to eat together  :)  and one for Ashton to take home and share with the fam!  

I was really worried the cheesecakes would rise and spill over since the pans were so full.  But they didn't.  Whew!

Doin' a little cleanin' up.........

 We baked the cheesecakes for about 45 minutes at 325 F until they were just barely jiggly on the inside and looked perfectly golden around the edges.

We let them cool for about 20 minutes and then I spun the cool spinny thing and bam.....there sat the perfect cheesecake.

Refrigerate this sucker for about 4 hours--or immediately put in the freezer for more immediate enjoyment--and you are all set!

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