Month: July 2016

Divine Cheesecake


Handwritten Cheesecake Recipe
The world’s food occupies two major categories. 99% is what we eat every day. It’s (hopefully) both somewhat tasty and nutritious. Then there’s the other 1% that we dream about–the higher plane of food that demands you stop what you’re doing, close your eyes, and fully savor everything about the moment encapsulating that bite.

That’s this cheesecake. This is easily the perfect cheesecake recipe, straight from one of my Grandma ‘Cille’s 60-year-old cookbooks. It takes time to prepare, but it results in a spectacularly creamy, not too dense but not too fluffy New York style confection that hits the higher food plane every time.

This cake has been a birthday cake many times because even when I was a child, I understood that cheesecake is far superior to more traditional options. It’s my go-to when I want a dessert that makes people think I’m a better cook than I am. And it’s the natural choice when I’m walking through Costco, see a gorgeous cheesecake in the bakery, and think, “homemade would taste 10x better.” A former college roommate is visiting this week, and we both had that thought when we made the mistake of walking through Costco while hungry the other day.

So this cheesecake was made, with no occasion for it other than the fact that sometimes you just need some of that 1% food.

When my friend asked for the recipe, it occurred to me that the only copy I know how to find is the handwritten one in my cupboard. So if, heaven forbid, my house burns down, the zombie apocalypse happens, or someone breaks in and robs me of my cookbook collection, that tragedy would be compounded by the loss of this cheesecake. I can’t deal with that, so I’m immortalizing it here for future post-catastrophe use. IMG_6878

This is the 10pm, kids-are-in-bed-and-I-can’t-wait-to-have-a-slice pic, which is real life but doesn’t quite capture this cheesecake’s true glory.

Divine Cheesecake

Graham Cracker Crust

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

3 T. sugar

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

3 T. butter

  1. In a small bowel, mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon.
  2. Melt butter and add to the crumb mixture.
  3. Mix butter in thoroughly with fingertips.
  4. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9″ springform pan.
  5. Put crumb mixture in pan and, with hands, press some of the mixture evenly about 2″ up sides of pan to form a thin crust. Press the remaining mixture onto the bottom of the pan.
  6. Run finger around inside edge of pan to even off the top edge of the crust.
  7. Set crust aside while preparing the filling.

Cheesecake Filling

1 large lemon

24 oz. cream cheese

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

5 large eggs (NOT medium or extra large)

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Zest the yellow part only of lemon rind and measure 2 tsp.
  3. Put the grated rind in a bowl with cream cheese and beat at medium speed until creamy.
  4. Add the sugar, salt, and eggs to the cream cheese mixture and beat at medium speed to blend ingredients, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula several times.
  5. Beat at medium speed for 10 minutes or until mixture is completely smooth and lemon-colored.
  6. Pour filling into the crust-lined pan.
  7. Make sure your oven rack is centered in your oven and bake 45 minutes or until cake is set (this almost always takes me closer to 1 hr. 15)
  8. Remove cake from the oven and let cool 20 minutes before moving on to the sour cream layer.

Sour Cream Topping Layer

1 1/2 cups dairy sour cream

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 T. sugar

  1. Beat all ingredients for 1 minute or until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Pour over cake and carefully smooth with a spatula. Put back in oven and bake 10 more minutes.
  3. Remove cheesecake from oven and let stand in pan on cake rack until cool, then chill in refrigerator at least 2-3 hours before removing the outer ring of the springform pan and serving.
  4. To remove from pan, first run a knife around the top of the cake, then unfasten the clamp of the springform pan.
  5. If desired, top with strawberry or cherry sauce, curls of chocolate, or toasted almonds.

 

Twin Summertime

The first time Davey tore a piece of paper in half, I was enthralled. My tiny human being who weighed 4 pounds yesterday managed to impact his environment enough to actually destroy something. The feat seemed magical at the time.

Today I have one baby crawling, one baby just a hair shy of crawling, and two babies capable of wreaking a great amount of havoc. I’m convinced that if I left them alone long enough, I’d come back to find an entire room reduced to dust.

Sometimes life seriously feels like just putting out fires. Feed one baby, feed second baby, change diaper 1, change diaper 2, comfort Davey because he faceplanted (again), comfort Micah because Davey touched him.

Today, the babies woke us up at 3am, 5am, and, ultimately, 7am. Because I’ve decided that my Life Plan involves torturing myself on the premise that it’s good for me in the long term, I went on a run. Then I came home, packed my backpack, and headed to Starbucks to finish a couple of marketing articles with approaching deadlines.

Hitting my deadlines means leaving babies with Manny a few times a week so I can head to the coffee shop. If coffee shops disappear tomorrow, so will my copywriting career. They’re that essential.

Manny took both babies to a squadron picnic, and I picked them up from base a couple of hours later. While I was putting in my coffee shop hours, we also heard that Manny made tech sergeant this year–despite twins and all that they entail. That’s a feat, folks.

I came home and scrubbed the upstairs bathroom to celebrate.

At the end of the day we put the tiny humans to bed. I scramble to make the living room floor look less like it was bombed by Toys ‘R Us. I wash the dishes if I’m motivated, pawn them off on Manny if I’m not, drink a cup of tea if I have the energy to boil water, and pass out around 11 or 12.

We work adventures in somehow. Like excursions to Old Sturbridge Village, or a drive to New Haven experience the wonders of Ikea that I’ve heard so much about.

When a living history exhibit and an oversized department store are the most exciting things you do in a two-month span, there’s something wrong. Thankfully, the rest of the summer is looking up.

This weekend, we’re dog-sitting two of our friends’ dogs and one of my roommates from college is bringing her one-year-old to visit for a few days. We’ll see how much the crazy escalates when you add another tiny human and two more pups to the mix.

The weekend after that, another college friend and her husband are coming to stay for a few days (this must be the month for mini-reunions!).

The weekend after that, we’re heading down to PA for a get-together with an amazing group of twin mom Facebook friends I’ve never met (more on that later).

Sometime in September, a Costa Rica (or Colombia, or possibly Ecuador) trip is in the works for myself, my mom, and one baby who gets to go on his first ever international expedition, while his brother enjoys a staycation with his dad.

Things are happening! I’m going to need a lot of coffee to make it through the next several weeks, particularly if Micah keeps trying to climb everything in sight. But things are happening. I’ll take it.