Hello, dear readers of Cooking Whims!
“Where have you been???” you all ask. “And whyyyyyyyy?”
Well, to simply put it, things have changed for me.
First of all, I’m busy. I’m doing Megan Kellett Photography on the side. So during the day I have my day job, and on the weekends and at night, I’m spending a lot of my time taking pictures, editing them, and promoting myself. Photography has always been a big passion of mine. Creating this blog inspired me to buy a DSLR and experiment with it, then I got a portrait lens, then my friends started asking me to take their engagement pictures, then I took pictures of a wedding, then I created a website, and then I started getting actual clients. It’s really exciting and amazing. But it is hard. And now that it is more than a hobby, it takes up most of my free time. So aka — time usually spent on photos of food is now spent on photos of people.
Second, there was that thyroid thing I was writing all about a few months ago. What’s the status, you’re wondering??? I’m back to normal. Yes, it was a really long and difficult struggle. Not being in control of my emotions or my weight was really, really, really discouraging and confusing. I hated the way I processed my thoughts. I hated socializing with people. I hated how I looked. I hated almost everything. And getting better was an incredibly gradual and frustrating process that took a lot of trial and error, and a lot of crying, but I’m finally feeling like my old self again. I enjoy these nice Spring days instead of longing to enjoy them. I enjoy cooking again. I have the energy to go out on the weekends and socialize with the people who missed me during my absence. And I’m grateful they all welcome me back to this beautiful world with open arms. (And I’m also eternally grateful to my husband, who was the most patient during this process.)
So where does that leave Cooking Whims? Well, I still cook and I still snap photos of my food here and there, but I don’t have the time to post as frequently as before. But I will when I can :) So check back once in a while to see what I have cooking in my little corner of the world!
In the meantime, here is a really fabulous cheesecake recipe. The only cheesecake recipe I ever followed was the one on the Philadelphia Cream Cheese package. And although that’s OK, I was in for a surprise when Kathy Can Cook suggested I make the Dorie Greenspan cheesecake recipe for her birthday bash. She assured me it was the best and only cheesecake recipe I would ever need for the rest of my life. And I trust Kathy with all my heart in the kitchen. So I obediently made the cheesecake…and was floored (like, delicious cheese lead in my belly kind of floored) when I ate it a few hours later.
She could not have been more right.
I loved it so much that I made it again for Easter (using reduced fat cream cheese, which is a sin in Kathy’s book, but totally OK with my health-conscious family!!) And everyone loved it. There was not a crumb of the cheesecake left after dinner. Not. A. Crumb.
So now I will introduce you to the best cheesecake recipe in the world. The only one you’ll ever need.
The Best Cheesecake
For the crust:
- 1 3/4 cups chocolate chip cookies, crushed — I used Chips Ahoy (or graham crackers, whichever you prefer)
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
- pinch of salt
For the cheesecake:
- 2 pounds (four 8 ounce boxes) of cream cheese at room temperature (you can use 1/3 fat cream cheese)
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups sour cream
- OPTIONAL (for half chocolate, half white cheesecake): 7 oz (7 squares) unsweetened or dark chocolate
- To make the crust: Liberally grease a 9 inch springform pan with butter or cooking spray. Line a baking sheet with foil and place pan on foil lined sheet. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. Turn the ingredients into the greased springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. (Depending on how big your sides are, the crumbs may or may not go up the sides halfway. Don’t worry about that — just make sure it evenly lines the bottom.)
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Then set aside to cool while you prepare the filling.
- To make the cheesecake: Working in a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft and lives up to the creamy part of its name, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition—you want a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream.
- If you are making this half chocolate, melt the chocolate squares in the microwave or over a double boiler until smooth. Take 1/2 of the cream cheese mixture and put it in a separate bowl. Stir in the melted chocolate.
- Take the white filling and put it over the pre-baked crust in the springform pan. Then take the chocolate batter and smooth it evenly over the top.
- Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 15 mins – 1 hour and 30 mins or until the top has cracked slightly.
- Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate overnight — or a few days until ready to eat. Drizzle with chocolate sauce, top with fruit, or enjoy plain. (It can also be wrapped tightly and frozen for up to a month.)
My Two Cents
What are you waiting for? Go make this!!!