Make a Cheesecake. This sounded like a good plan for a Saturday afternoon, especially when it meant I could bring dessert to a family dinner!
I started with America's Test Kitchen's recipe for New York Cheesecake. We have been having great luck with the Test Kitchen recipes so I figured I wouldn't mess with a good thing.
The daunting task of buying 2 1/2 pounds of cream cheese stood before me. Within one block of my house I have three little markets and a Walgreens that was built just in this last year. I doubted in my head that Walgreens would carry all of the ingredients I needed, including 5 blocks of cream cheese, so I went to the local grocery that we typically frequent. At $2.99, five blocks of cream cheese can add up. Later that day I ended up having to go to Walgreens anyway and glutton for punishment that I am I glanced through the dairy display to find that I not only could have found all the cream cheese I needed, but that I would have saved $6 because of a sale.
In retrospect, this story was not interesting enough to warrant this many lines of the post. Onward.
I started by using a food processor to crumble 8 graham crackers for the crust. Mix in a little melted butter and form agains the springform pan. I baked this for about 10 minutes and the kitchen started to smell wonderful! While that cooled, I got to work with the electric hand mixer.
5 blocks of softened cream cheese combined with the eggs, sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice, etc into a nice creamy batter.
After pouring into the pan, I tackled the chocolate mixture that would make this a marble cheesecake. This was as simple as melting 5 oz of semisweet chocolate chips with 1/4 cup heavy cream. America's Test Kitchen instructs to dollop the chocolate into the cake and then use a knife or spatula to mix it in.
With an oven set to 500 degrees it was definitely getting Hot in Herre. After 10 minutes in the oven at this heat, you knock it down to 200 for the next hour and a half or so. Our oven runs hot so I shortened this by about 20 minutes. The recipe states that this extreme hot to start helps give the cheesecake the carmalized looking brown top.
When I pulled it out I had a minor freak out. Why does it look like the cake has a top hat on??? The recipe does not warn for that.
After a minute or two the cake calmed itself down and eventually evened out. Whew!
The trick was to let it cool for more than a couple hours and run the knife around the edge to make sure it doesn't stick. A couple more hours in the fridge and then a half hour on the counter before serving. The springform pan came off quite easily on its own, and we cut into it with a dessert knife.
Amazing! I expected it to be rather dense, but it was so light and creamy. I did notice a lot of my chocolate settled at the bottom so I may want to check my methods when it comes to marbling!
Have to say this cheesecake deal was a lot easier than I thought it would be - I really only dirtied a couple bowls! It was more a game of cooling time than anything else! Goal accomplished!