Saturday, December 24, 2011

Egg Nog Cheesecake

I'm going to a Christmas party tomorrow and was at a loss as to what to bring.  I did the pie thing at Thanksgiving. There are wheat allergies, so gingerbread is out, and I'm tired of the same old chocolatey mousse stuff I bring every year. Sorry, I can't skip the wheat completely for this occasion, but I'll cut it down with a little cheesecake.

In the spring, I made the most delicious cheesecake, from one of the most delicious recipes here. This is my take, with an egg nog twist.  Keep in mind, the secret to great cheesecake is for all the ingredients to be the same temp, so make sure the cream cheese and eggs have the chill taken off before you start.

You need:
- half a stick of butter
- 1 package of Trader Joe's eggnog cookies
- 24 oz. cream cheese (3 packages)
- 4 eggs
- 2 T flour
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. egg nog
- 1 t vanilla extract
- pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Make crust. I used egg nog cookies instead of graham crackers. Combine entire package with 1/4 c. melted butter (1/2 stick). No need to add any sugar, the cookies are sweet enough.

If you don't have a food processor, a blender works well. (Needs to be quite powerful for cream cheese mixture.)

3. Pack crumb mixture into the bottom of a greased springform pan, pulling the edges up the sides. Chill while you mix the filling.

 4. Mix cream cheese, sugar and flour in a food processor. (I keep my sugar in a jar with dried vanilla pods for more flavor and a heavenly scent.)
 5. Add eggs, egg nog, vanilla and salt. Mix until combined.

6. Pour into prepared crust.  Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until center jiggles when the pan is wiggled.

Another great piece of advice from the joy of baking- slice around the edge of the pan as soon as you take it out of the oven. It prevents the surface from cracking as it cools. I forgot to do this and my cheesecake has a huge crack in it; too big for me to photograph the final! Luckily, an ugly duckling cheesecake still tastes delicious.

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