• Cheesecake:
  • 4 8-ounce bricks of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter,softened
  • 1 3/4 cups of granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups of sour cream
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 2 ounces of Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 2 tablespoons of good vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • Crust:
  • 1 8.8 ounce package of Biscoff cookies, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
  • Caramel Sauce:
  • 1 bag of Caramel Candy
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk
  • White Chocolate Sauce:
  • 8 ounces of White chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons of shortening

There is so much that I want to say about this recipe.  It is pretty and delicious and fairly simple to make once you get the hang of it.  The cheesecake itself is reminiscent of ice cream in flavor and is deep and rich.  The caramel and vanilla on top add an extra bit of sweetness while the cookie crust lends just the right amount of crunch.  This is one of those desserts that deeply satisfies.

So a few useful tips that I have picked up on baking cheesecakes.  First you MUST use a water bath, also known as a bain marie.  A water bath insulates the environment around your cheesecake helping to maintain moisture, support even baking and reduce cracks.  I have found that preheating the water for the water bath gives me the ideal environment.  Next, unlike cakes made with flour, cheesecake is a cooked custard that does not like to have air whipped into the batter.  With that, it is extremely important that you minimally mix your cheesecake batter.  The only way to fully incorporate all ingredients without over mixing is to bring everything to room temperature.  Cold ingredients will clump together and cause all sorts of trouble for your final product.  This recipe adds corn starch which most cheesecake purists will object to.  The addition of the corn starch helps to add structure to this cake and buys you a little insurance against cracking in the end.  You may find it curious that there is no salt added to the recipe.  This is a tough one, as I add salt to almost all baking recipes.  I just didn’t find that this recipe needed salt, but if you like feel free to add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

To bake the cake, I place the foil covered springform pan with crust into a larger pan.  I fill the pan leaving about a 1/3 to 1/2 inch of space at the top. I then place the cake in the oven and pour the water into the larger pan in the oven.  It is a bit safer and I don’t have to worry about splashing or dropping the cake.  I bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees and lower the oven temp to 325 for the next hour or so.  Determining doneness with cheesecake is tricky.  The most common way is to move the pan and if the top moves as one sheet then the cake is done.  Since cheesecake is a custard, you will not be able to use a skewer in the center to determine if it is done.  You may also use a thermometer.  Cheesecake should reach 150-160 degrees.  Cheesecake will crack at any internal temperature above 160 degrees so be careful not to over bake.

Cheesecake is very sensitive to temperature changes.  It is important to keep the temperature constant.  Try not to open your oven unless you absolutely have to do so.  I would recommend keeping it closed for the first 45 minutes of baking.  This way you will likely avoid cracks.  When the cake is done, turn off the oven and allow to cool in the oven for one hour.  I have had a lot of success with this method.  I have also heard that you can remove the cake from the water bath to prevent further baking.  This is useful information in case you think your cheesecake is over or slightly under baked.

BiscoffAfter the cake comes out of the oven run you knife around the edge to reduce the chances of the sides sticking to the pan.  As the cake cools, it will begin to contract.  If the sides don’t give, the cheesecake will tear away causing cracks.  Allow the cake to cool completely.  This will take a couple of hours.  If you rush to put the cake in the refrigerator, you will have weeping- trapped condensation leading to soggy cake :(. Once cool, drizzle with caramel and white chocolate sauces.    Refrigerate your cheesecake for at least 12 hours ( I know, it will be tough) before cutting, but cooling in the refrigerator is so important because it is the final step to ensure that your cheesecake properly sets up.  You want to avoid a runny mess.

This is a great basic recipe.  You can modify the recipe by changing the liqueur used. Perhaps considering Countreau, Kahlua, Amaretto, or brandy.  Another option would be to eliminate the alcohol and increase the vanilla or other extract.  The same goes for the crust used.  Consider traditional graham cracker crust, oreo crust, or even a Girl Scout cookie crust (YUM!).

Tips: I find that there are two ways to successfully crush cookies for crust. 1. Food processor or 2. Ziploc bag and rolling pin.  The best way might depend on how much stress and aggression you need to work out!

Use food safe gloves when pressing crust into pan. Your hands will not stick to the crust.
Here’s the recipe.  I hope you InJoy. Happy Baking!!!

1. Bring all items to room temperature. (Very important!)
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3. Prepare springform pan by wrapping the pan in foil to prevent leaks.
4. Bring 2 cups of water to a simmer.
5. In a bowl combine biscoff crumbs, cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Whisk together.
6. Add butter and continue to whisk until mixture looks like wet sand.
7. Press crust in the bottom and up the sides of springform pan. (You can use parchment on the bottom of the pan if you are planning on serving the cake on a different dish.)
8. Add butter to mixer fitted with paddle attachment and mix until smooth.
9. Add cream cheese, one brick at a time.
10. Mix sugar with cornstarch and pour into batter.
11. Add sour cream to batter and mix until incorporated.
12. Mix heavy cream with Bailey’s and vanilla extract. Pour into batter. Mix until incorporated.
13. Taste. (Make adjustments as needed)
14. Add eggs one at a time mixing until just incorporated.
15. Pour batter into pan leaving 1/3 to 1/2 inch room at the top.
16. Add water bath.
17. Set timer for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake for one hour.
18. When done, turn off oven and let cool in oven for one hour. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.
19. Prepare caramel sauce by heating cream or milk on medium heat until warm and slowly stirring in caramel candy until they melt. When done remove from heat and pour using a kitchen funnel into a plastic squeeze bottle.
20. Prepare white chocolate sauce by heating white chocolate in microwave at 30 second intervals at half power until melted or over a double boiler.  Add shortening after chocolate is nearly melted.   When done remove from heat and pour using a kitchen funnel into a plastic squeeze bottle.
21. Drizzle both sauces over the cake.
22. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
23. InJoy!!!