Welcome once again to Cranberry Week! I had a lot of fun coming up with a cranberry recipe for this week's challenge.
Cranberries are absolutely delicious and so good for you. That's why I enjoy having a Cosmo when I'm celebrating. A martini that's good for you! How perfect is that? I almost shared a Cosmo recipe here, but really -- you can find them all over the Internet. I wanted to come up with something special.
I started hunting down cranberry recipes when we here on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen first learned the secret ingredient. Nothing caught my fancy, but as I was searching (and talking aloud), my daughter overheard me. "How about a cranberry cheesecake?"
Well, how about it?
With my mom's trusty (and easy), guaranteed-to-get-raves cheesecake recipe in hand I set out to cranberry it up. And I think I succeeded. Next time (and there *will* be a next time because we really enjoyed this, despite the "oops" moments I'll share below), I'll go a little heavier on the cranberries, and add them first, before pouring the cream cheese mixture into the graham cracker crust.
First, The Crust:
15 graham cracker sheets crushed into crumbs (or buy the crumbs already smashed)
(you know how there are 4 perforated crackers per sheet? Fifteen of those sheets) My mom always used cinnamon grahams but I thought for the cranberry version, I'd go plain. This was a good choice
1 cup of melted butter
2 T sugar
Mix all ingredients in a Ziploc bag until the crumbs are fully moistened and the mixture sticks together. Press mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 9 x 13 pan.
The Main Cheesecake
2 - 8oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 t vanilla
Pour into graham cracker crust in 9 x 13 pan. Now, you may have noted (observantly) that the photo here is *not* of a 9 x 13 pan. This is a small springform pan. This is my first "oops" but it was done on purpose. Because I was afraid the cranberry version might not turn out, I used only half of it here. I used the other half for another experiment ... grin....
1/2 cup of fresh (cooked) cranberries or 1/2 can of whole cranberry sauce, dropping by spoonfuls. When you've added it all, take a knife and twist through the sauce around so it makes a swirl effect.
Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes or until center is baked.
Second oops.... This round pan required a longer baking time. I think I added about another 10 minutes.
But we're still doing okay...
1 pt sour cream
2 T sugar
1/2 t vanilla
Mix well by hand.
When the cheesecake is done baking, let it cool for about 10 - 15 minutes on your stovetop. At this point, add the topping, and return the cheesecake to the 375 degree oven for about 5 - 7 minutes, until the edges of the topping start to bubble.
My next oops... I didn't spread the topping to the edge, but again, this was on purpose. I was afraid that it wouldn't pull away properly from the springform pan. If you do this the right way (with a 9 x 13) go all the way to the edges with the topping.
My final oops was to cut myself a slice before the cake had completely cooled. Notice how it's just a little bit soft...
Oh well, too bad! I couldn't wait.
This is a pretty excellent recipe if I do say so myself. "Oops" and all!
I'm having a blast with these "secret ingredient" weeks. I hope you are, too!
The third White House Chef Mystery, Eggsecutive Orders is coming January 5th! Please visit my website or personal blog: Julie Hyzy's Blog to learn more about it!