I am not entirely sure how it could possibly be February already, but the sudden pinkification of everything in stores and on Pinterest means it must be true. Between work, training, and M finally returning home, January flew by at a rather alarming rate. Nonetheless, 2014 has started off pretty well so far and now that I’ve finally established my goals for the year I am pretty excited to start on them. I’m looking forward to a year of new recipes and new experiences.
One of my biggest goals for the year is to run six half marathons; the first is on my birthday, March 15. The main goal of this first race was to keep me running all winter (so far a success) and give me a head start with training. Since I’m hoping for a sub-2:10 in September, I knew there was no way I’d get there if I started in June (as is my habit.) So far so good, but we’ll see where the year takes us.
On the flip side, I’m still baking up loads of sugary delight because that’s clearly going to help me get there. Ha. But be that as it may, this is the month of pink and red heart-shaped boxes of mostly terrible chocolates. Or in layman’s terms, Valentine’s Day. I’ve never been particularly fond of this holiday (shouldn’t you appreciate each other all the time?) but it happens to be the same day as my anniversary with M. (He is quick to point out this was coincidence and there is no “sappy love story” behind it. Silly kid.) This has drastically improved the “holiday” in my eyes, and each year I bake a cake to celebrate. Look for that post in a couple of weeks.
In the mean time, here’s a fabulous recipe which would be delightful for any special occasion. Chocolate cookie crust, white chocolate, and a raspberry swirl come together in an amazing and smooth cheesecake sure to impress. Drizzle with chocolate sauce for extra presentation points. It is very rich so just a small piece will do, but it keeps very well in the freezer if you don’t have eleven best friends to invite over.
Fair warning, I’ve never managed to make this cheesecake without it cracking along the swirls, but it is beautiful and delicious just the same. If you’re looking to step it up a notch this year, and you have a spring-form pan1, this cheesecake is a fabulous option. Although a bit time-consuming, none of the steps are difficult as long as you pay attention. Bonus: it’s at least as delicious as it is pretty.
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
Adapted from CindyAnn
Makes 1 cheesecake
1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (about 20 Oreos2)
1/4 cup butter, melted
10 oz frozen raspberries
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2 cups white chocolate chips3
1/2 cup half and half
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a small bowl, mix together cookie crumbs and melted butter until completely combined.
- Pour mixture into the bottom of a 9″ or 10″ spring-form pan, pressing down evenly and thoroughly to form the crust. No need to press it up the sides.
- In a small saucepan, combine raspberries, sugar, cornstarch and water, and heat over medium-high until boiling. Continue boiling until sauce has thickened, about five minutes. Strain sauce to remove seeds.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Using a double boiler (or a metal bowl over simmering water), melt chocolate and half and half, stirring until smooth. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about three minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating on medium until combined.
- Stir in vanilla and white chocolate mixture until mixture is very smooth. It will be somewhat runny.
- Carefully pour batter over the crust.
- Slowly pour raspberry sauce into batter in a spiral shape. Drag a knife or a toothpick through the mixture to create swirls.
- Bake 55-60 minutes for a 9″ pan, or 45-50 minutes for a 10″ pan. Filling should be set but still a little jiggly4.
- Turn off the oven and crack the door, leaving the cheesecake to cool in the oven for at least 30 minutes. Remove to counter to cool an additional 30 minutes.
- Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
- Carefully remove from pan, slice in 12 pieces, and serve to adoring guests5.
- If you have leftovers, they keep beautifully in the freezer6.
1 I love my glass-bottom, handled version M got me.
2 Store-brand chocolate sandwich cookies work just fine for cheesecake crusts. I like to pulse the crumbs in a blender a few times to get them extra fine.
3 I like to use Ghirardelli white chocolate chips for this recipe.
4 Cheesecakes are very easy to overbake. Check it at 5 minutes before the lower end of the range: if it still looks kind of like pudding, keep baking. It should look firm but jiggle as one when you tap the side of the pan with a wooden spoon.
5 To get clean slices, wipe off the knife between each slice with a hot, damp cloth. It is a giant pain but worth the effort.
6 If you decide to freeze it (which I highly recommend!), cut strips of parchment paper and gently press on both sides of each slice. Place the slices in a freezer safe container, cover the top with plastic wrap, and make sure the lid is tightly sealed. Defrost in the fridge if you have time, or in the microwave if you’re impatient like me. =)