Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way… I’m kidding, kind of. I love the Taste of Home cookbooks. I love the magazines, too, but there is something special to me about holding a cookbook in your hands and flipping through the pages. But without fail, the Taste of Home cookbooks are always jam packed with recipes that I want to try. So when I saw the new Taste of Home Christmas cookbook, I knew it had to join my collection.
I’m always on the lookout for the newest, best cheesecake recipe, so the cover of this cookbook was intriguing to me to start off with. But when I read the ingredients and instructions for this Festive New York-Style Cheesecake, I was even more excited to try it. This cheesecake has what you’d expect with a cookie crust and a cheesecake layer, but then it is followed by a sour cream layer. I made a cheesecake years ago that had a sour cream layer, and I had been wanting to try it again, so it’s like this cheesecake was meant to be. Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.
Festive New York-Style Cheesecake
Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 45 min
Total Time: 2 hour 5 min
1 1/4 cups crushed chocolate wafers
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups sour cream
5 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, walnuts and sugar. Stir in the melted butter. Pat onto the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Freeze for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, 3 tablespoons of sour cream and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, then add in the evaporated milk and the lemon juice. Beat just until combined. Pour the mixture into the frozen crust and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the center of the cheesecake is almost set.
Combine the sour cream, sugar and vanilla and pour gently over the top of the cheesecake. Bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes, then take a knife and run it around the sides of the cheesecake. Cool for 1 hour, then refrigerate until it is completely chilled.
Serve the cheesecake topped with chocolate syrup, fruit, or any other desired toppings.
*If you can't find the thin, crispy wafer cookies, use chocolate graham cracker crumbs, or Oreos would work well, too.
Source: Taste of Home Christmas
This was a surprisingly easy cheesecake to make. I did question a few things on the recipe, though. First, it called for chocolate wafers for the crust. I wasn’t exactly sure what they were looking for. There are the thin, crispy cookies that are often used to make icebox cakes, or there are the lighter chocolate sugar wafer cookies. I’m guessing the recipe wanted the first cookies, but I usually find that those are very hard to find. I almost just went with Oreos, but in the last minute, I decided to throw all caution to the wind and try the sugar wafers. And although the crust did work and it did stick together, I wouldn’t use them again. The chocolate flavor wasn’t as pronounced, and the crust was a little bit more soggy than I expected. The other problem I ran into was that the recipe called for 2 cups of sour cream for the topping, but in parenthesis, it says 16 ounces each. Well, 1 cup of sour cream is not 16 ounces. I stuck with the 2 cups measure, ignoring the 16 ounces each, because I knew that 4 cups of sour cream would be way too much!
Despite the questions in the recipe itself, I thought this cheesecake came together very easily and quickly. I usually think that cheesecake is more involved, but that wasn’t the case with this cheesecake at all!
The candy that this cheesecake is pictured with is totally a throw away. Not only does the candy make the cheesecake hard to eat, but they don’t really go well together, and you don’t taste the cheesecake if you are having to chew up hard Christmas candy. I’m guessing the candy was for photographing purposes only, which really is kind of silly.
This cheesecake was a good, solid cheesecake. It’s more on the tangy side, so I think you’d definitely want the chocolate sauce or some fruit to sweeten it up a bit. I really liked the addition of the nuts in the crust, and the sour cream layer makes this cheesecake super creamy and tangy and everything a cheesecake should be.
Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?
Maybe. It is a good recipe, but I’m not sure if it’s so good that I will still be thinking about it for weeks, and that’s the kind of recipe I think belongs on a cover. It does look very festive, but like I said, the candy part that is festive doesn’t go well on the cheesecake. If you took that away, it wouldn’t look quite so festive anymore. I would totally use this cheesecake recipe again, though, if I needed a basic cheesecake for anything.