Ok, so at the last minute I was asked to do a cheesecake for the cake raffle at my daughter’s school for their annual Halloween event. I just finished and texted family of course and my sister in law loved it and wanted me to post it here. I am telling you this because you have my apologies in advance. You see I didn’t take step by steps but I think I can piece it together for you . To say the least I was very flattered when she asked as she is very talented herself so how could I say no? So here we go!
You will need all of the ingredients below and a 9 inch spring form pan:
- 4 bars of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (I think it’s the best)
- 16oz container of sour cream ( I like Breakstones and the new Kraft Simply Sour Cream)
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 bag of chocolate chips (choose between milk or dark) (Melted last)
- 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs ( I am using the chocolate graham crackers)
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 2 Tbs of sugar * only if you are using plain graham crumbs. No need to add if using the chocolate grahams.
- 1 1/2 cups of Sour Cream
- Tsp of pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
I used 5 soft baked chocolate sugar cookies. You can also use the same chocolate cookie crumbs but I think the cookies work better. You can find these at any grocery store they are usually the cheap ones in a package of 8 or 10. Those work the best. 1/4 stick of butter melted and combine together to make a crumbly mixture and set aside. (we will melt the chocolate chips at the end)
Note: You will want to set out the cold ingredients at least an hour before you get started. I leave out the cream cheese, sour cream and butter and eggs.
We will start with mixing the crust. We first need to crush the graham crackers. By the way, plain works just as well for this. Place the butter in a small bowl and microwave on low until melted and set aside. Combine 9 whole crackers ( it is one wrapped package out of the box) in a food processor with the sugar and blend. If you don’t have a food processor, you can put them in a plastic freezer bag and start pounding! When pulverized, pour into a bowl and add the melted butter. Once mixed, pour this right into the spring form pan and press into the edges of the pan, forming a nice crust on the bottom. Set aside and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In your KitchenAid or a large bowl ( this is where my mother and I differ. She mixes everything by hand with that wooden spoon of hers, but I bought my KitchenAid to do the work for me). Add the softened cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract. Beat on low then switch to medium until blended, scraping the sides if needed. You want it to be nice and smooth.
Then add each egg one by one or two by two until it is blended well. When all ingredients are blended, stop the mixer and add the sour cream. Return mixer to low to fold in the sour cream and you’re done! Do not over mix.
Pour this right into prepared cheesecake pan. I did place a pan of water in the oven for this on the bottom shelf and then slide the cheesecake right in the middle. It will go in the oven for approx. 1.5 hour it may be a little less depending on your oven temp. When it’s done, look for it to be not too firm but definitely not too jiggly. I can give you temperatures:(The ideal temperature for a cheesecake is around 160 to 165 degrees) but to tell you the truth I have never used that. The truth is that it is trial and error and each will be different until you find your favorite texture. But the 1hour 1/2 mark will ensure it’s done and I used this yesterday and it was perfect! When finished pull out of the oven and allow to sit for about 20min to cool down. Slide her right into the fridge and let it set overnight. NO LESS is advised. Trust me on this … if you listen to nothing else I have said, listen to this: let it set OVERNIGHT.
Ok so here is where the pictures get spotty I’m sorry but I was in such a hurry to get this done …you can tell this came out perfect if I do say so myself not a crack in the top and a beautiful color!! I was very happy. So let me explain what I did. I used waxed paper and lined my plate with a little circle so I would not stick. Take a knife and loosen the crust a little from the pan, don’t dig it in just loosen. Then I took another piece and a placed it on the top and flipped it into my hand then into to the plate. Yup I did, I always do just trust yourself lol. ***By the way if you have any high spots you need to get rid of before you start the sides just slice them off and smoother over with a knife ran under hot water. This will make every pretty again. You can see where I did this a bit on mine, don’t worry you will never notice it.
SO this where we melt that chocolate and use the crumbled cookies. Pour 1/2 the chocolate chips into a glass bowl and microwave for 30 second intervals stirring between each until nicely melted. I used a pastry brush and brushed the sides of the cheesecake a little at a time and then pressed the cookie crumbles against it. The chocolate will harden and it will gold nicely. Do this all around the cake until done.
Now for the top: Take the sour cream, powdered sugar and vanilla mix in a small bowl. Spoon onto top and spread out like you would icing but its thinner so it will go further. Careful not to go over your edge. Once the topping is there we are ready to do our web. You can do this two different ways. I melted the chocolate some more and used a Wilson’s piping bag OR you can just by the chocolate icing in the decorator tube and pipe it that way. I bought a large tube of what was supposed to be chocolate and I did not like it so it will promptly go in the trash.
Trust me on this melt the chocolate put it in a strong baggie, snip the tip small and pipe it that way you will be happier and so will the people eating it. First the center lines the thick spider web and you can do thin here as well totally up to you.
Then in a circle do each of your webs. I made mine a little squiggly. Add a nasty spider as my daughter says and you are done! Put in the fridge until ready to serve. In my case until it’s ready to be auctioned! The pressure!!!