Hope you all had a wonderful New Year's Eve. Whether you welcomed the year with friends, family, or with some tipsy strangers-- I hope your 2014 proves to be the best yet! By that I mean, I hope this year is full of inspiration and innovation. Trust yourself to take that adventure, push your boundaries, love the person you've grown into. Much better than starting that no-carb diet, right?
Throw out your ridiculous resolutions. It'll be ok, I promise. This first post of the year is dedicated to the most iconic New Year's Eve city... New York, NEW YORK. I wanted to showcase this magical time of year as well as pair that with a dessert that I feel best represents N.Y.C.! I'm so incredibly grateful for all of you and for the constant challenge and growth this blog continues brings to me. Cheers to 2014 and here's to another year!
If you haven't seen the documentary Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's, check it out immediately on Netflix! This year's theme was a dedication to all holidays-- each window was a separate day such as Fourth of July, Arbor Day, Valentine's Day, etc. Always a creative surprise from Bergdorf's and never a shortage of spectacular!
And now onto the dessert! This cheesecake is simplicity at its best. I don't add any caramel sauce or fruit, not a single strawberry or cherry! It would be delicious with those additions of course, but I just like it as is. I do add a hint of lemon zest to the cheesecake batter as well as a sour cream topping. Sounds more complicated than it really is. In all honesty, this recipe is so straightforward-- everyone will be so impressed with your new year baking feats. Make it for that cheesecake lover in your life which in my case, is myself.
If you're like me, the most tedious part will be the graham cracker crust. Not because of the ingredients, but because it takes forever to make the edges perfectly level!
I think this took me a solid 15 minutes. But so worth it! The rest of the cheesecake is very easy. Even the lemon zest/juice is optional but I think it adds a hint of brightness to this rich dessert.
New York cheesecake makes about 10-12 servings
- 1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs (about 9 whole crackers)
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 (8 ounce blocks) cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 pint (2 cups) sour cream
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon salt
(1) Preheat oven to 350°F. (2) In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 3 tablespoons of sugar together until well combined. (3) Press into a 9″ spring form pan, pressing crumbs into bottom of pan. (4) In a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the 1 cup sugar and softened cream cheese; beat together until smooth about 3-4 minutes. (5) Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition. (6) Add the vanilla, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt and beat just until smooth and creamy. You don’t want to whip too much air into it (this causes cracks on the top, but you shouldn’t have lumps of cream cheese). Pour into crust. (7) Bake for 35-45 minutes. (8) While cheesecake is baking, make the topping by mixing together the sour cream, ½ cup sugar, vanilla, and salt. (9) After baking, remove cheesecake from oven and turn oven temperature down to 325°F degrees. Pour sour cream topping over hot cheesecake, gently spreading to edges. (10) Return cheesecake to oven and bake for an additional 12-15 minutes. (11) Remove cheesecake from oven and leave sides on pan while allowing cheesecake to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate several hours (or overnight) (12) Remove edges of spring form pan before serving. A knife dipped in hot water makes for easier slicing.