Guests — whether family members, friends or co-workers — will be wowed by a meal that is finished with triple caramel cheesecake.
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Guests — whether family members, friends or co-workers — will be wowed by a meal that is finished with triple caramel cheesecake.

Cheesecake spreads the Christmas spirit

Family Features

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There’s nothing more satisfying than baking sweet treats for friends and family during the holidays. This year, spread cheer with cheesecake – it’s a great way to showcase your personal dessert style.

Whether you prefer using a traditional springform pan, sheet cake pan or muffin tin, making cheesecake at home isn’t difficult. Take a traditional recipe, apply a few simple tricks and techniques and you’ll be on your way to confection perfection.

Try one of these baking styles this holiday season to impress your guests:

  • Top it with decadence – Top your cheesecake with a drizzle of chocolate, a sprinkling of powdered sugar or even a tablespoon of chopped nuts. These beautiful decorations will make your cheesecake feel extra special for the holidays.
  • Keep it fresh – Balance the velvety nature of the cream cheese with fresh fruits and vibrant flavors, such as sliced strawberries or the holiday classic cranberry with an orange zest twist.
  • Tried and true classics – Give a long-held family dessert recipe a bit of a modern spin by using a gingerbread or sugar cookie crust instead of the traditional graham cracker for a sweet surprise.

Also for the season, Philadelphia Cream Cheese has collected dessert recipes from top chefs across the country to benefit the No Kid Hungry campaign, a national drive to end childhood hunger in America. Download the free cookbook on cheesecakecheer.com for recipes from renowned TV chefs such as Sandra Lee.

For more baking tips and recipes, go to creamcheese.com or facebook.com/lovemyphilly.

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DESSERT

Classic Black Tie Cheesecake

18 chocolate sandwich cookies, finely crushed (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 tablespoons butter, melted

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1 3/4 cups sugar, divided

3/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon vanilla

4 eggs

4 cups raspberries, divided

1/4 cup raspberry jam

3 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix cookie crumbs and butter until blended; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake 12 minutes.

Beat cream cheese and 1 cup sugar in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each just until blended. Pour over crust.

Bake 1 hour or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours. Meanwhile, bring 1 cup raspberries, remaining sugar, jam and water to boil in saucepan; simmer on medium-low heat 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly. Pour into blender. Add lemon juice; blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use. (For best results, refrigerate cheesecake overnight before serving.)

Pour topping over cheesecake just before serving; top with remaining raspberries.

Yields 16 servings.

Recipe courtesy Alice Currah.

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DESSERT

Triple Caramel Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

3 tablespoons butter, melted

3 (1.4 ounces each) chocolate-covered toffee bars, chopped into small pieces

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided

13.4-ounce can Mexican caramel spread (dulce de leche)

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 eggs

3/4 cup Kraft Caramel Bits

1/4 cup whipping cream

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix graham crumbs, 2 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup toffee pieces; press onto bottom of 13-by-9-inch baking pan.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, dulce de leche and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Gently pour over crust.

Bake 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen sides. Allow to cool, the refrigerate for 4 hours.

Heat caramel and cream in microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth.

Cool 5 minutes; pour over cheesecake. Sprinkle with remaining toffee pieces.

Yields 16 servings.

Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee.

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DESSERT

Cranberry-Orange Miniature Cheesecakes

For the cranberry puree

1 3/4 cup (6 ounces) fresh cranberries

1 cup sugar, divided

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon juice from one orange, divided

1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla, divided

3/4 cup ground nutmeg

1/4 cup ground cinnamon

For the miniature cheesecakes

1 1/2 cups (about 32) gingersnap cookies, crushed

3 tablespoons butter, melted

3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon orange zest

3 eggs

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

To make the cranberry puree, cook the cranberries, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup orange juice and spices in a saucepan on medium heat until cranberries pop and sauce is thickened. Cool slightly.

Spoon cranberry mixture into food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to bowl and stir in 1 tablespoons vanilla; refrigerate until ready to use. (See cook’s note.)

Mix gingersnap crumbs and butter until blended; press 1 tablespoon on the bottom of each 24 muffin pan cups lined with paper.

Beat cream cheese and remaining sugar in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add sour cream, orange zest and remaining orange juice and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition just until blended. Add 2/3 cup of the cranberry puree; swirl gently with a spoon. Spoon 1/3 cup into each muffin cup over crusts.

Bake 25 minutes or until centers are almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 2 hours.

Drizzle with remaining cranberry puree just before serving.

Serving suggestion: Garnish each cheesecake with small dollop of thawed whipped topping before serving.

Cook’s note: When refrigerating the cranberry puree, cover the partially cooled puree with plastic wrap, with wrap pressed onto surface of puree, to prevent skin from forming on top.

Yields 24 servings.

Recipe courtesy Bri Emery.