Who hasn’t had a hankering for cheesecake?  Oh boy, I can’t remember the last time I made one.  We were having company over for dinner this past weekend and thought – let’s break out with the springform.  It’s my first attempt with this oven.  We had our home remodeled three years ago and had to get new appliances – I fell in love with this oven’s porcelain blue interior.  It makes me smile every time I open the oven door.

I have to admit, I haven’t experimented much with the convection setting for baking.  I’ve read mixed reviews about convect vs. non – if anyone has any recommendations or suggestions, please kindly enlighten me!

This simply has to be the easiest cheesecake recipe ever!  You just need a few BASIC ingredients.

*Note: Originally the cheesecake was topped with the caramel – however the hardness of the brittle made the cheesecake difficult to cut and serve (watch those pearlies).  So, I have since altered the recipe slightly from the photo above.  Rather than pouring the caramel on top, breaking the brittle it into small bite-sized pieces, and then topping makes for better eating.

Cheesecake Ingredients:
8 oz pkg regular cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Crust Ingredients:
1 cup chocolate wafer, cookie crumbs
2 tbs unsalted butter, melted
1 tbs granulated sugar

Caramel Brittle Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ tbs unsalted butter

Equipment:
7 inch springform pan
2 cookie sheets

Instructions:
Preheat oven 325ºF.

Crust:
In a food processor, pulverize cookies until crumb consistency is reached.  In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Mix well until ingredients are evenly incorporated.

Spoon crust mixture into the springform pan; firmly press onto the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan.

Cheesecake:

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and eggs.  Beat ingredients until light and fluffy.

Now gently pour and evenly spread out the cheesecake mixture into the pan. It’s that easy!

Set on a cookie sheet, bake 35 minutes or until done.

Check for doneness.  I usually shake the pan gently, if it trembles ever so slightly in the middle, it is done.  You can also stick a toothpick in the center, if it comes out clean, you are good.

Let cool and refrigerate thoroughly, or overnight.

Caramel Brittle:

Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

Heat a heavy-bottomed sauce pan on medium-low heat, add sugar.  As the sugar begins to dissolve, slowly stir with a wooden spoon – USE caution, sugar gets very hot and can cause severe burns.

Sugar will liquefy and begin to brown.  Do not leave unattended.  Sugar can darken very quickly.  I usually just eye the color of the caramel to determine if done – medium brown is what I look for.  If the caramel is cooking too quickly, turn heat to low. 

Once desired color is reached, remove sauce pan from heat, then carefully add the pat of butter and stir well.

Immediately pour caramel onto parchment lined cookie sheet.  Work quickly, evenly spread caramel with wooden spoon and let cool.  Once cooled, break the caramel into tiny bite-sized pieces.

Top cheesecake with brittle and serve.

The topping options are endless.  You can use fresh berries and fruits, fruit fillings (blueberry or cherry), and shaved ribbons of chocolate just to name a few.

Hope you enjoy it!

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