Today my oldest son turns 21. I’m still in denial about this. I’m sure he should still be 2 or 3.
His absolute favorite dessert is cheesecake. I actually go to the German bakery and buy him a whole cheesecake every year at Christmas. occasionally I have a piece or two, but otherwise he eats the whole thing himself. So, for his birthday cheesecake is what he gets.
When he was little I would bake him a chocolate cake and try my best to make it look like a hockey rink. It was okay, nothing amazing. But as he got older it was more about what he loves and not about the cake. So now it’s just cheesecake.
As soon as Thanksgiving rolls around, Egg Nog is in the stores and I swear he lives on the stuff for about 2 months. So I just substitute the heavy cream in the cheesecake recipe for egg nog.
I actually made 2 cheesecakes (they are both 7″, so not overly large, but if you have a 10″ springform pan, this recipe will fill that), because if I’m going to do this, why not go all out. That I know my dad will be over to pick one up.
Preheat oven to 350F. To start off, grind up 300 grams ginger snap cookies with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup melted butter. Press into the prepared (parchment lined) pans. Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
In the stand mixer cream together the cream cheese (softened) with 1 cup of sugar for 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl several times, to make sure there are no lumps. Add in 1 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg. Slowly add in the eggs (3), one at a time, making sure they are completely incorporated before adding in the next egg. Scrape down the bowl. Then add in the egg nog slowly and mix for another 2 to 3 minutes, on medium low speed (3 to 4 on a Kitchenaid).
Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. (I do not use a water bath for these cheesecakes, but if this is something that you prefer to you, by all means go ahead. I just don’t have any aluminium foil large enough to be able to do this in the house, otherwise I would have.) Place in the oven and bake for approx. 1 hour, up to 1 hour 25 minutes. Just keep checking to make sure it just slightly jiggles in the centre.
Allow to cool on the counter. Run an off set spatula around the edges and then place in the fridge overnight to completely set up.
Remove from the springform pan and enjoy.
**If you don’t like the ginger snap crust you can use graham crackers or even chocolate wafer cookies.
**If you do not use egg nog, you can use heavy cream as well, and omit adding the nutmeg.
Egg Nog Cheesecake
(makes 2 – 7″ cheesecakes)
300 grams Ginger Snap cookies
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 butter (melted)
4 packages cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla (extract or paste)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 cups egg nog
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare springform pans (parchment on the bottom and greased)
In food processor, process ginger snap cookies and sugar. Slowly drizzle in melted butter.
Divide cookie crumbs between the two springform pans and press down. Place in oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
In stand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and sugar for 5 minutes on speed 6 (Kitchenaid). Scrape down the bowl 2 to 3 times to make sure there are no lumps.
Add in vanilla and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing after each one to make sure it is completely combined. Scrape down the bowl.
Slowly add in the egg nog and mix on medium low speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
Divide the batter between the two springform pans. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 25 minutes (depending on your oven and altitude).
Cool completely on the counter. Run an off set spatula around the edge of the cake and then place in the fridge over night to completely set up.