What a beautiful day! Christmas may be over, but that beautiful afterglow of the holiday excitement and fun still fills my home. Inside the Christmas decorations provide so much color and my Christmas tree joyfully sparkles with colored lights, forty years of ornament collecting and lots, and lots of tinsel.
Outside, Minnesota does not disappoint either. The diamond sprinkled virgin snow’s brightness blinds as the tree’s blue-violet shadows race east trying to outrun a darkness that creeps closer and closer as a weak distant sun, held hostage by small ice crystal rainbows, emits pastel light, but no warmth.
In quiet solitude and peace I reflect on the moment and take stock of my blessings. Then, I noticed that my patio door is completely frozen shut in the sub-zero temperatures. I cannot budge it. My husband will have to get it open when he gets home from work. Here’s to hoping my dog’s have big bladders!
Over the past several months I have made all of these cheesecakes as a part of my, “Dessert of the Week” campaign for my next-door neighbor of over 30 years, who is my age and fighting a cancerous brain tumor. He likes his sweets. Other neighbors have stepped up to take one for the team by also consuming these desserts and therefore helping to reduce weight gain risk for the cook.
My neighbor’s gave these desserts two thumbs up.
These cheesecakes would be great to serve anytime an occasion calls for a special dessert and especially at a New Year’s party.
This recipe is a bit lighter that cheesecake, but just as tasty!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2 cups vanilla wafers, crushed
1/2 cup of butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of powdered sugar
16-ounces of Cool Whip, divided
2 small boxes of instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup of sour cream
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
3 cups of milk
1 can of cherry pie filling
remaining Cool Whip
Make the crust in a medium-sized mixing bowl by combining the crushed vanilla wafers and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch cake pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine cream cheese and powdered sugar. When completely combined, gently fold in about 1-1/2 cups of Cool Whip. Spread over cooled crust.
In a large mixing bowl combine pudding mix and milk. Let set. Stir in sour cream and lemon juice. Fold in the remaining 1-1/2 cups of Cool Whip. Spread over the cream cheese mixture.
Top with remaining Cool Whip and cherries. May garnish with chopped pecans.
Chill for several hours before serving.
Blogger’s note: I am not a big fan of using Cool Whip, so I have substituted equal amounts of real sweetened whip cream in some recipes.
Original Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake from “My Recipes”
Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch spring from pan with parchment paper. Position oven rank in middle of the oven. Put a large pan in the oven filled with 1/2 inch of water. The pan has to be big enough to hold the 9-inch spring form pan. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup melted margarine
4 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese
1-1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons sugar
In a small mixing bowl mix together crust ingredients of graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon and 1/3 cup melted butter. Press the crust firmly onto the bottom and about two-thirds of the way up the sides of a 9-inch spring form pan. Wrap a large piece of aluminum foil around the bottom of the pan and put into a freezer until filling is prepared.
In a small mixing bowl whisk the eggs together until frothy.
In a large mixing bowl use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of mixing bowl. Add eggs and mix until the eggs are just incorporated.
Remove crust from freezer and pour in filling. Carefully place cheesecake into the pan with the water. This is called a water bath. Bake for 12 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake until the cheesecake turns golden on top. About 50 to 60 minutes.
Remove cake, place on wire rack and cool.
Make topping in a small bowl by mixing together the sour cream and sugar. Spread evenly over the cake.
Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours. Remove from pan and serve.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch spring form pan with parchment paper.
1-1/2 cups of Oreo cookies crumbs
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese,
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
15 Oreos cookies, crushed in to medium-sized pieces
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
In a small bowl mix together Oreo crumbs and melted butter. Press firmly onto the bottom and about two-thirds up the sides. Chill crust in freeze until filling is made.
In a large-sized mixing bowl with an electric mixture combine the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, and salt and beat until combined. Fold in crushed Oreos until the cookie chunks are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
Pour cheesecake mixture over crust and bake until edges are set and center of cheesecake mixture is only slightly jiggly, 50 to 60 minutes.
Let cheesecake cool completely in pan. Drizzle with the melted chocolate.
Cool for at least 3 hours, remove from pan and serve.
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Streusel Crumb Topping
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 8-inch spring form pan with parchment paper.
1-1/2 cups of crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup of butter, melted
2 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
1 can (15-ounce) pumpkin pie filling
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup of chopped pecans (optional)
In a small mixing bowl combine butter and graham cracker crumbs. When the crumbs are coated with the butter, press into the bottom and two-third’s up the side of prepared pan. Put into the freezer to chill until filling is prepared.
In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer combine cream cheese, eggs, vanilla and sugar. Beat until mixture is smooth.
Pour 1/2 of the filling into pan. Evenly spread. And freeze for an hour.
To the remaining 1/2 of the filling add the can of pumpkin pie filling, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Stir until completely combined. Evenly spread the pumpkin filling over the cooled filling that is already in the pan.
Put in oven and bake for 35 minutes.
While the cheesecake is baking in a small bowl make crumb topping by mixing butter, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon together until combined. Top the cheesecake with crumb topping and return to the oven for another 25 minutes.
Remove cheesecake from oven while the top is still slightly jiggly.
Cool to room temperature. Chill in refrigerator for at least four hours or overnight.
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