Well, sort of – as Budget Earth’s editor and IT support, what I occasionally do write isn’t usually visible. I can’t compete with Susan for unusual, fancy, or really unique recipes, most of the time, but I do have one thing that no one else makes in our family, or at my parents’ house – cheesecake! I’ve been making and toying with this recipe for the better part of 15 years, and it has been a hit with pretty much everyone who tries it.
It is a simple base, but it lends itself spectacularly to a multitude of flavors: Amaretto is a perennial family favorite for us, by itself or with chocolate, coconut, or other liquers; straight Kahlua or other ‘coffee’ liquers add a flavor that goes naturally with the smooth, creamy base; and fruit-based liquers or liquors perform wonderfully as well I’ve used Grand Marnier, coconut rum, and a few others. If the recipe seems too easy, for added flair and flavor you can mix the filling as below, then divide it in half, mix a half-cup of melted chocolate chips into one side, and finally pour them together and get a chocolate swirl recipe to die for!
- 1 stick (4 oz.) butter
- ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
- 2 pounds cream cheese, allow to warm to room temp.
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tbsp vanilla
- 1-2 oz Amaretto
- 2-3 oz. Kahlua OR other flavored alcohol(s), as desired
- Springform or pie pan (make sure it's large and deep, this cheesecake will fill two ordinary 8" or 9" by ¾"-1" pie plates!)
- Cookie sheet with raised edges - optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Melt the butter.
- In your pie plates or springform pan, mix the butter and graham cracker crumbs, then press down to form the crust.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then pull out and set aside. While this bakes, start the filling.
- Mix cream cheese, eggs, sugar, and flour.
- Add flavoring (vanilla and amaretto, or other liquors/liquers)
- Blend until almost smooth, but no longer than 6 minutes.
- Pour into the pie plate(s)/springform pan.
- For a perfect look at the end, fill a cookie sheet/baking tray with water, and put it on the rack below the pan(s). Without this, the surface of the cheesecake will crack and cool unevenly - same great taste and texture inside, but it won't be picture-perfect.
- Place the cheesecake pan(s) in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. It will likely not look 'done' in the center, but that's just fine.
- After baking finishes, allow to cool outside of the refrigerator for ~1 hour. (Grab a book and a metal spoon, with the scent of this you may need to deter prowling children, siblings or parents during this time!)
- Chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight if possible.
- Enjoy with a good coffee!