I love cheesecake. The creamy texture...the silky taste...cheesecake is probably the most DECADENT desert there is. It's also very versatile, since simple alterations can drastically change the flavor. All in all, it's a wonderful ending for pretty much any meal I can think of.
For all that, I've never quite had the nerve to actually MAKE one at home. Oh sure...I've done that "no-bake" box kind...BLEH. But an old fashioned, baked cheesecake? Nope. I'll admit it...it actually scared me. Cheesecake just seems like such an intimidating, time consuming process. Well, folks...not anymore.
I finally found a cheesecake recipe that tastes like the real deal AND is fairly easy to make!! Scary thought, eh? So, if you've ever wanted to give it a try, then today is your day!! Cheesecake...here we come!!
For this recipe, you WILL need a springform pan. These are specialty pans made so that the side actually is removable, which will leave the cake sitting on the flat bottom piece when done. Never fear though...I got your back!! You can find a 3 pack (10", 9", and 8") of springform pans (Mainstays brand) at Walmart for less than $10!! Normally, I wouldn't suggest using a cheaper brand of cookware, but since these won't be used very often, as long as you care for them, they should last you quite a while. For this particular recipe, we'll be using the 8" size. Ready to bake?
For the crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (I'm partial to the cinnamon grahams)
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
For the filling:
16 ounces (2 packages) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place about 8-10 whole graham crackers in a zippy bag, and crush thoroughly with a rolling pin.
In a medium bowl, combine the graham crumbs with the sugar and butter, mixing well until all are moistened. Pour into your 8" springform pan; using a flat bottomed glass, press the mixture evenly all the way around the bottom of the pan. Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes, or until it starts to brown. Remove; set aside to cool.
Prepare the filling by beating the cream cheese in a large bowl using a stand mixer or hand mixer. Mix in the sugar and vanilla while beating until well blended. Add in eggs, and mix thoroughly, making sure you scrape the sides to blend it all. Pour the mixture into your prepared crust. Lift the pan about 1" off the counter, then drop...do this several times, to make sure air bubbles are brought to the surface (prevents cracking). Place the filled pan on a cookie sheet, and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until lightly browned on top (start checking it during the last 5 minutes...you don't want it too brown, and ovens vary). Remove; allow to cool to room temp. Refridgerate overnight to fully develop the flavor.
That's it folks...no real muss, certainly no fuss...a simple yet delicious cheesecake!! Hope you like it as much as we do! ENJOY!!