February… A month has now passed since the New Year’s Resolution craze. The once- packed gym with those resolutioners sweating it out on the treadmill, stair climber, and elliptical machines is now thinning out. Come March, I’m pretty sure I can go to the gym after work and there will be plenty of machines that I can use. In fact, I can reclaim that treadmill that’s located in front of the flat screen tv. As for me, I did not bother making new year’s resolutions this year. It’s bound to be broken anyway… Oh wait, I forgot that I did! and my resolution was this: to try to be better physically, emotionally and spiritually every day. So I try to go to church every Sunday, I try to have a positive outlook everyday, I still keep up with my kickboxing and zumba classes, and I try to run two to three times a week. However, the past few weeks are undeniably so stressful for me so in the process of juggling different responsibilities, I let the half marathon training slip away. Third week into my supposed-to-be training schedule, I finally half-heartedly admitted to myself that there’s a very high possibility that I won’t be able to do the half-marathon in April. That’s a real bummer, and that made me so mad at myself for “failing” to stick to my training schedule. In a way, I felt so disappointed at myself. I failed my expectation. If only I was disciplined enough to stick to the plan… So, to make me feel better [remember, my new year’s resolution is to be better physically, EMOTIONALLY, and spiritually?], I made something that no doubt would put a smile on my face — cheesecake. But this time, I made a mouth-watering, deeply satisfying Oreo cheesecake bars! This yummy goodness is a very nice treat on a gloomy day.
Ahhh… chocolate and cheesecake make everything better. 🙂
Oreo Cheesecake Bars
adapted from Thedelishdishblog
For the crust:
- 23 Oreo cookies
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake:
- 12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 6 tbsp sugar
- 6 tbsp sour cream, at room temperature
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 12 Oreo cookies, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 325˚F and line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with foil.
- For the crust, process Oreos in a food processor until finely ground. Add in the melted butter and pulse until the mixture is moistened. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan and press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes and set aside.
- For the filling, beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Mix in the sugar until well combined. Blend in the sour cream, vanilla and salt. Beat in the egg and egg yolk on medium-high speed until incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Stir in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula.
- Pour the cheesecake batter over the prepared crust, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the cheesecake is set around the edges but slightly wobbly in the center.
- Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool about 1 hour to room temperature. Cover the pan and refrigerate until well chilled, about 3 hours. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
My mother-in-law recently hosted her grade school reunion party and she asked if I can prepare a dessert for the event. She said there would be at least 30 guests who will attend. So I immediately thought of making cheesecake because it’s easy, does not need a lot of preparation, and it always satisfies the palate. And who doesn’t want cheesecake for dessert?? So I was excited to do it! I settled on New York Style Cheesecake because it is not too sweet, and it is, for me, still the best cheesecake variety. What’s even more fun with the New York Style Cheesecake is, for the minimalist, you can eat it just the way it is. Or you can put fresh fruits for garnish, or add a little bit of chocolate or berry sauce (just like what I did). Mmmm… yummy!!!
New York Style Cheesecake
adapted from Good Housekeeping
Graham Cracker-Crumb Crust
- 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (either from 11 rectangular graham crackers, or you can buy a box of cracker crumbs)
- 4 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/4 cup milk
- Fresh berries, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare Crumb Crust: In 8 1/2- to 9-inch springform pan, with fork, mix crumbs, melted butter, and sugar until crumbs are evenly moistened. With hand, press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom and up side of pan. Bake 10 minutes; cool crust in pan on wire rack. Turn oven control to 300 degrees F.
- Prepare Cheesecake: In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Beat in flour and vanilla until well combined. Reduce speed to low and beat in eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in milk just until blended.
- Pour batter into prepared crust. Bake 55 to 60 minutes, until set but still slightly jiggly and moist in center, and pale gold near edge.
- Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to overnight before serving. To serve, remove side of pan. Place cake on plate; garnish with fresh fruits.
To make triple berry sauce:
- 3 cups frozen berries
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cup frozen or fresh berries
- Place 3 cups of berries and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the frozen berries are soft and sugar is melted (you don’t need to add water).
- Puree berry mixture with a blender; replace in saucepan.
- Mix together water and cornstarch and stir into berry mixture.
- Add 1/2 cup frozen or fresh berries and boil over medium heat until thick. Chill to serve
Ahhh cheesecake… This is my most favorite dessert. And among all the cheesecake flavors, Key Lime is my choice. So when I decided to try baking, it was no shock that I tried to make Key Lime Cheesecake first. Suffice to say, this is a very special challenge for me. After all, this is my first real baking experience. I am not a baker so I was quite unsure and skeptical on how this would turn out. My friend told me that I should just follow the exact measurement and it will turn out good. The downside of this recipe is, you have to chill the cheesecake for at least 24h to 2 days to make the filling really firm. So imagine how tormenting it was to open my fridge and see the cheesecake staring at me as if to say “ha! you can’t take a bite yet!” Well, that day arrived, and my five taste testers really liked it. The tartness of the key lime brought the refreshing flavor combined with the creamy filling. This is one perfect dessert to make for summer. One advice, warm the knife first (I dipped mine in warm water) before using it to cut the cheesecake.
I must say I enjoyed my first baking experience. And because of this, I have baking recipes lined up already that I wanted to try. I just hope my tasters won’t get tired trying out new stuff that comes out of my kitchen.
Key Lime Cheesecake
adapted from allrecipes.com
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 6 tbsp butter, melted
- 24 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp grated lime zest
- 2/3 cup key lime juice
- Combine cookie or graham cracker crumbs with butter or margarine. Press into bottom and partially up sides of 9 inch springform pan. Refrigerate.
- In a large bowl, beat with an electric mixer the cream cheese, sugar, lime peel, and cornstarch until smooth and fluffy. [One way to soften the cream cheese is to leave it at room temperature overnight] Beat in eggs one at a time, blending just until smooth. Add key lime juice with mixer on low. Finish mixing by hand. Do not overbeat, or cake will crack during baking. Pour batter into prepared crust.
- Bake at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 55 to 65 minutes, or until set. To minimize cracking, place a shallow pan half full of hot water on lower rack during baking.
- Turn oven off, and let cheesecake stand in oven 30 minutes with the door open at least 4 inches. Remove from oven. Refrigerate cake overnight, and up to three days.