Make a cheesecake and put a smile on family and friends

There are a few basic tips on how to make a cheesecake that are universal no matter what variation of the dessert you are making.

The base components are a crust of cracker or cookie crumbs and a cream-cheese based filling.

Toppings are common, such as the fruit found on the New York Style variety. A wide variety of toppings and stir-ins can be utilized to turn a basic cheesecake recipe into something spectacular.

A spring form pan is the only special baking item you will need. The sides of this pan detach and lift away from the cooling cheesecake which is easier than trying to pry it out. A spring form is how to make a cheesecake‘s surface stay smooth instead of cracking.

How to make a cheesecake’s basic filling:

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 3 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp almond extract

  • 3 eggs

Directions: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer set on medium speed to beat the cream cheese until it is smooth. Keep beating as you slowly pour in the sugar, vanilla and the eggs (add the eggs one at a time). Once it is well beaten and smooth, pour this mixture over your crust and bake.

Bake time: 50 to 65 minutes, oven times vary so check for doneness. The center should jiggle slightly when it is finished cooking. Do not test it with a knife or toothpick. That will cause the surface to crack.

Crust Options:

The traditional cheesecake crust is made out of graham cracker crumbs. Other options include vanilla wafers, shortbread cookies or chocolate wafers. The recipe for whatever ingredient you choose to use is the same.

  • 1 ½ c crushed crackers or cookies

  • ½ stick unsalted butter, melted

Slowly stir the butter into the crumbs with a fork. You want to make a crumbly mixture that you can then press into the bottom of a spring form pan. Once the crust is firmly in the pan, you can add the filling and bake.

To save some time, buy a pre-made crust. Graham cracker, chocolate wafer and several other varieties are available in the grocery store for a low price.

How to make a cheesecake more impressive

The basic cheesecake recipe tastes good but sometimes you want great. Stirring ingredients in with the cream cheese mixture before it is poured onto the crust can create numerous flavor concoctions that will have your taste buds begging for more.

Cook fruit in sugar for a few minutes to make a sweet stir in or topping. Or just use a jelly or preserve. Warmed honey, maple syrup or dessert sauces are excellent to spoon over slices just before they are served. Stir in crushed cookies or candy bars to satisfy any sweet tooth.

For the holidays, use canned pumpkin in the filling and top with nuts. You could also drizzle each slice of traditional cheesecake with cranberry sauce. Khalua, dark rum and other liquors can be added to the filling for a little kick.

Only use one or two tablespoons so that the filling doesn’t become too runny. How to make a cheesecake can only be limited to your imagination.

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