22 December 2012

We know, we know. It's the 22nd of December and you've probably spent the past month doing the same thing we've been doing - stuffing your face with yuletide sweets. In addition to our own stock of desserts and cookies, our thoughtful guests often bring us some of their own Christmas traditions. The server station in the kitchen looks like a buffet, with bags and boxes of homemade sugar cookies and bourbon balls and nut rolls. And we just keep eating. Six o'clock in the morning, even before the coffee is even done brewing, we are still eating. If we see another cake, cookie, or pie, we'll probably all burst.

That said - look at this cheesecake!

This was on the dessert menu last weekend, and it got some pretty rave reviews. But don't worry - it's not for you. We're actually offering up this recipe as a great 'too-busy-to-cook' covered dish. If you have any last minute parties to attend and don't want to show up empty handed, this little guy is perfect. Easy to prepare, only a handful of dishes to clean up, and it's a classic crowd-pleaser.

Chocolate Cheesecake

7 T melted butter
2 cups crushed chocolate cookies, wafers or chocolate puff cereal (a mixture works well too!)
1/4 cup sugar
2 t unsweetened cocoa
1/4 t cinnamon

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 T unsweetened cocoa
1 t vanilla
2, 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened and cut into cubes
4 cups sour cream

Preheat oven to 325.

To prepare the crust, crumble the cookies in a food processor or sealed sandwich bag. Combine with all other ingredients and mix until it resembles wet sand. Pour into the bottom of a 9" springform pan and use the bottom of a drinking glass to press down and up the sides of the pan.

For the filling, combine all ingredients in a blender and blend. Cheesecake purists will insist you have to beat the cream cheese, add eggs one a time, yadda yadda yadda - but to be honest, with this recipe, I've never noticed a difference in taste or texture, it's literally done in under a minute, and the only thing you have to clean up afterward is the blender. Pour the filling into the springform pan, and tap on the counter a few times to bring any air bubbles to the surface.

Wrap the outside of the pan with aluminum foil and place it in the center of a roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with hot water, until the water level is about halfway up the cheesecake. Bake for an hour and a half, rotating the pan front to back about halfway through. When it's done, the edges should be puffy and set and the middle will have a slight wobble to it. Cool for a least 4 hours in the fridge before serving, so you can make this the morning of or even the day before a party.

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