Monday, July 25, 2011
From Jen: Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts and this recipe is one of my favorite cheesecakes to make. It's versatile, super good, and easy and I always get great compliments when I make this. How can you go wrong with brownies and cheesecake combined into one dessert? I first found this recipe in a Philadelphia Cream Cheese Collection cookbook. Although I am one to stray from a recipe, I haven't changed much at all with this one because it's perfect just the way it is. Here's the original recipe from the Kraft website. But I always change what I put on the top or mix into the cream cheese. My favorite is simply cheesecake with canned cherry pie filling.
Posted by Jen
1 package brownie mix (plus all the ingredients required on the box)
3 packages (8-ounces each) cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp corn starch
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 c whipping cream* (or whole milk in this case because I didn't have any cream)
*the Kraft and Philadelphia recipes call for 1/2 c sour cream instead of liquid cream. This works great as well, I just didn't have any on hand
Grease a 9 inch springform pan. (or today I actually used a 9x13 pan). Line bottom of springform pan with parchment paper or line 9x13 pan with parchment paper hanging over the edge so you can remove them easily.
Prepare brownie mix as directed on box. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake according to directions on brownie box for 9 in square pan (if using a springform) or 9x13 pan. When it comes out of the oven, prick it all over so as to create texture for the cream cheese layer to stick better.
While the brownies are cooking, prepare the cream cheese batter. Beat the softened cream cheese with the corn starch and sugar until smooth. Lumps can help contribute to cracks in the end, so make sure it is smooth. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Beat in cream (or sour cream) just until it's all mixed in.
Pour batter over brownie crust and smooth it out.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 55 minutes to 1 hour. (but start peaking at it at about 45 minutes). You know it's done when most of it is set but the center is still slightly wiggly. Cracks and brown spots will mean you over cooked it a little, but that will not affect the taste in the slightest. In fact, if you put chocolate or fruit on top, no one will know except you! (See, I have a few little brown spots in this picture, but it was still great!)
Run a knife or spatula around the edges to loosen the cake. Let cool all the way on a cooling rack and then refrigerate at least 4 hours. You can also put this in the freezer for later but just wrap it up well when cooled. When ready to serve loosen the sides of the springform pan and if you want to move it to a platter for presentation, then carefully remove the bottom parchment paper. If you have used a 9x13 pan then, when you are ready to serve, you can lift it out of the pan and cut into nice squares. Use a pizza cutter. It makes nice clean lines.I have made this cheesecake so many times. Here is the same cake cooked in a springform pan covered with chocolate ganache. Then I topped it with cherry pie filling and piped whipped cream around the edges.
Here is another where I piped the chocolate across the top and placed maraschino cherries around the edges. I actually won a contest at my husband's work with this one!