Thankful. And a recipe.

I'm going to be spending time with family for the long weekend so you won't see me here sharing any Black Friday sales or holiday shopping lists. But I did want to stop in today to tell you all how unbelievably thankful I am to have each and every one of you. Thank you for stopping by and reading, commenting, and sharing your own stories with me. I'm so lucky to have this creative outlet and community. I'm truly thankful for each and every one of you. As a teeny tiny thank you I've shared my favorite Thanksgiving dessert recipe below. It requires about 15 minutes of prep work, and hour of baking, and some patience in cooling, but is an amazing staple of mine during the holidays. Give it a try and let me know what you think. And have a truly wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

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When I learned to make cheesecake a few years ago, this is the recipe that I first used. I have it memorized now and can play around a ton with flavors to get exactly what I'm looking for. (My all-time favorite was a pear cheesecake with a nilla wafer crust and caramel sauce!) Two things I do differently from this recipe? I always add 1/4c of sour cream, and I always bake in a water bath. I snapped a few pictures while whipping up a pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving and thought I'd share my recipe & process!

Ingredients for Crust: 
ginger snaps (about 20-25 cookies)
butter (one stick, melted)

Ingredients for Filling: 
cream cheese (3 8-ounce boxes)
 pureed pumpkin (1 can)
eggs (3 whole)
sour cream (1/4c)
white sugar (1.5c)
pumpkin pie spice (~1Tbsp)
vanilla (1tsp)
flour (2Tbsp)

Now for the (super simple) process. First, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place cookies in large zip lock and pound/roll/crush with rolling pin until coarsely chopped. Melt butter in microwave. 

Mix butter and cookie crumbs together and flatten in bottom of 9" springform pan. Set aside.


In bowl of mixer, start beating cream cheese until smooth. Add in pumpkin puree and eggs. Continue to beat.  


Add sour cream and flour. Note: I add flour when making pumpkin cheesecake only because the pumpkin puree is a bit runny sometimes. If your puree is thicker, no need to add flour. Continue to beat.


Add sugar and vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. And yep, you guessed it: keep beating. 


Once all ingredients are completely mixed (scrape the sides of the bowl a few times with a spatula to ensure you don't have any cream cheese left behind), pour onto crust in 9" springform pan. 


Now here's the key: get your waterbath ready. I take two pieces of foil, fold them over in the middle to ensure they are well-connected, wrap that around my cheesecake, and place the whole thing on a rimmed cookie sheet. Once it is in the oven, I pour in as much water as I can without overflowing. This is key to keeping the cheesecake consistency and to avoiding cracks!


Bake for one hour. Remove and set on counter for no more than 15 minutes. At that time, remove the foil, take a knife and run it inside springform pan to ensure sides of cheesecake are not stuck to the sides of the pan. (This will also help with cracks!) Cover with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate overnight (or at least 5 hours if you're in a hurry).

To serve, remove sides of springform pan and cut away. I like to serve my pumpkin cheesecake with some bourbon whipped cream (whip 1c heavy whipping cream, 2Tbsp bourbon, 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp vanilla until ridges form). 

Posted on November 26, 2014 .