Living an ART filled life...“Creativity is a God-given ability to take something ordinary and make it into something special. It is an openness to doing old things new ways…The creative spirit is part of our heritage as children of the One who created all things. And nurturing our creativity is part of our responsibility as stewards of God’s good gifts.” - Emilie Barnes, The Spirit of Loveline

Mom’s Famous Cheesecake

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In my humble opinion, this Cheesecake cannot be beat. My Mom’s been making this for years and I have carried on her tradition.  My Big Brother has too:)  If I ever order Cheesecake out, (which I rarely ever do anymore) I am always disappointed.  I think  what I like best about this recipe is the topping.  The layer of sweetened vanilla sour cream.  I guess I also like the creamy texture.  It’s not dry like a “New York” style cake.  It melts in your mouth.   You just have to try it!

You start with these…

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*Note that I have Costco vanilla…it’s because this month, I couldn’t afford the good stuff that I’d rather use:(

Preheat oven @300

CRUST
3/4 Pkg. of Chocolate Cookies (Oreos or Gluten Free alternative)
OR- 16 Graham Crackers, crushed
4 Tbs. Melted Butter
3 Tbs. sugar (if using Graham Crackers)

FILLING
3- 8oz. Pkg. Cream Cheese (room temp)
5 Large eggs
1 C sugar
1 Tsp. Vanilla
2 Tsp. Lemon juice
pinch of salt

TOPPING
16 oz. Sour Cream
1/2 C Sugar
1 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla
pinch of salt

Well, actually you start with these… (notice these are CINNAMON.  If I have them, I’ll use them. If I don’t, I won’t.  They  do add a little extra something something to the crust.)

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That’s me grabbing them with kitchen tongs…too short.

You start by making the crust.  Whatever means you have to crush the graham crackers.

(food processor, rolling pin and plastic bag…mallet, wine bottle)

Then you pour them into your Springform pan, add the sugar & drizzle the melted butter on top and incorporate the cracker crumbs and butter until they are all “coated.”  ( I do it right in the springform pan…I just don’t want to clean another bowl)

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Then press them down slightly with your hand, pushing some up the side a bit.                        (over the seam of the pan)

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My boys like me to make the crust with Oreos.  I use the double stuff…cause it has double the stuff:)  I use the same amount of melted butter & NO extra sugar. I don’t use the whole bag, I save about a stack of 10 to eat:)

Place Softened Cream Cheese

(make sure your Cream Cheese sits out long enough to really be soft, if it’s not, it will make the batter lumpy)

in mixing bowl & beat until smooth and combined.

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Add sugar and blend until combined.  Gradually add eggs, one at a time.

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Add lemon and vanilla, stir until combined. Pour into Springform Pan.

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Ps. See the hinge on the pan?  I had a terrible, no good very bad day when I attempted to put cheesecake in the oven to bake and it WASN’T quite “locked”….my husband found me on my knees crying, with cheesecake dripping down the counter, all over and IN the cabinets and puddled on the floor.  PLEASE check the hinge before “lift off!”

Bake @ 300 degrees for 1 hour.

(While it’s baking, mix topping ingredients and place in fridge until ready to use)

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Pull the cheesecake out after an hour and gently pour (spoon) sour cream mixture on top.

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Bake for another 10-15 min to set topping.

Gently cool. Quick extreme temperature changes can cause cheesecake to crack, so don’t be in a hurry to get it in the fridge.  Try to let it cool to room temp. before refrigerating.

After about 10-15 min, I run a knife that’s been held under hot running water, around the edge.  This also helps prevent cracks because as the cheesecake cools it will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

(The great thing about topping the Cheesecake with shaved chocolate is that it hides a pesky crack if you get one.) *Heath bar’s bits work well too!

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Wrap tightly with foil and place in fridge at least 6 hours. (overnight is best)
Shave Semisweet Chocolate over the top along with a chocolate crust or serve with fruit sauce/glaze + fresh fruit.

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