And why dive back in with something foolproof or quick? No, no – bring on the hour-long cooking times and temperamental ingredients. I’m back in business, baby.
I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about this cheesecake though: it’s not tough to pull together. It’s just that, well, all cheesecakes need to bake this long. That’s why some genius somewhere invented no-bake cheesecake…because it takes for-effing-ever to cook. But as we’ve discussed once or twice, I’m not only stubborn as shit, I’m also a really big snob, and I pretty much can’t stand no-bake cheesecake. It always tastes cheap to me. And it’s one of those things that people take a bite of and say “oh, that tastes pretty good for no-bake cheesecake.” Um, no sir. I don’t want it to taste pretty good for being a cop out. I’m not interested in wasting calories on a dessert that’s pretty good for being mediocre. No, no. If I’m going to eat a cheesecake, much less go to the effort of making the darn thing, then we’re going all out here. You know what they say: go big or go home.
Not that I went big persay. At the end of the day, this is a really basic cheesecake. It’s moist and creamy and decadent as hell, but it’s not even in the same neighborhood as this gem. I don’t even think my cheesecake lives in the same state as that cheesecake. Maybe not even the same country. But I wanted a basic, no frills cheesecake. And this cheesecake came with sparkling recommendations from 2,816 (yes, you read that right – I said two thousand sixteen) reviewers on allrecipes.com. I’m sorry – what the crap!? And the irony is that you know that there are people that have made the thing and were just too lazy to write a review (why yes, I am looking in the mirror – funny you should mention it…). With that many testers singing it’s 4-and-a-half-star praises, not even the seven and a half hour prep time scared me. Ok. I’m lying. It scared the pants off of me, but, like I said, I’m stubborn, so I decided to devote my day on Sunday to cheesecake-baking.
Only, on Saturday night, the birthday party I was “just swinging by for an hour” turned out to be so entertaining that I stayed till 3am and slept till 11:30 the next morning to compensate. And guess what? I was still tired. Laziness prevailed, and it was 7:30 at night when I elected to begin the process. Go ahead. Do the math. What’s seven and a half hours from 7:30pm? Too damn late for me to be awake on a school night, that’s what. So, despite all of those reviews that demanded I use a water bath and let it cool sloooooooowly in the oven for five to six hours, it was freaking 9:30 by the time I pulled it out of the oven. Yes, I pulled it out, because I love you cheesecake, but momma’s gotta get some sleep tonight. And did it crack like the Grand Canyon not 20 minutes later, like everyone wrote in that it would? You betcha. Am I considering making some chocolate ganache to dump on top of that bad boy before I bring it into work to share on Wednesday? Hell yes.
Lesson learned? I think so.
Adapted from All Recipes
Because I lack the ability to create desserts without chocolate in them, I used chocolate graham crackers. I was completely planning to nearly double the crust, but when I got to 18 graham crackers (the original was 15), it just felt like a lot. So I stopped. I feel like it worked for me, and my cheesecake came up pretty high on the sides of my springform pan, so I was retroactively glad I stopped at that point. Obviously, you could keep going if that’s what floats your boat.
18 (chocolate) graham crackers, crushed into crumbs
4 tbsp melted butter
4 (8-ounce) packages of (ROOM TEMPERATURE) cream cheese
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. In a large bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan.
Cream together cheese and sugar until smooth. Blend in milk and eggs, mixing to incorporate (try to avoid overbeating here). Add sour cream and mix until evenly distributed and smooth. Add vanilla and flour, mix to combine. Pour mixture into the prepared pan on top of the crust.
Bake (with a water bath if you’re more intelligent than me) for one hour (mine took nearly an extra half hour). Turn the oven off, crack the door slightly ajar, and allow the cake to cool slowly for several hours. If you pull it out into the world quickly, it will crack. I promise.
After cake is cooled, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.