Introducing you to my next installment of my obsession with Biscoff Cookie Butter- a cookie butter layered cheesecake. Please note that as much as I cook and bake, I am still thoroughly intimidated by cheesecakes. I have a not-entirely-irrational fear of all that can, and usually will, go wrong. Soggy crusts, sunken middles, cracks, dry and tasteless cheesecakes. But, as my husband will tell you, I am extremely stubborn in the face of a challenge and will keep trying until I get it right. So I proudly present to you my latest recipe:
Seriously, isn't it beautiful? No sunken middles, no cracks, just a sweet, creamy confection of perfection. So how did I accomplish this feat? Lots of trial and error so that you, my readers, could learn from my mistakes.
Cheesecakes, unlike cookies, are a bit more of an exact science. You must start with all of your ingredients at room temperature, which means a fair bit of planning ahead. If your cream cheese isn't at room temperature you will never get that smooth and creamy texture you're after. And, unfortunately, "cheating" to bring it to temperature faster just doesn't yield the same results. So clear some room on your counter for your cream cheese, eggs, sour cream, cookie butter, etc. I recommend leaving everything out for at least 30-45 minutes before starting the process.
In the meanwhile, you can get started on your graham cracker crust. Preheat your oven to 350*F. Line the bottom of a 9 inch Springform pan with a circle of parchment paper or lightly grease the bottom and sides. You can buy Graham Cracker Crumbs or make your own by throwing Graham Crackers in your food processor. Just make sure that they are finely and evenly ground. Combine your crumbs, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix in melted butter just until combined. Then press into the bottom of your pan and halfway up the sides. Using the bottom of a small glass helps insure the crust is evenly spread across the pan and helps create a nice smooth finish. Then bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Now that your cream cheese is room temperature and softened, beat together the cream cheese and sugar with your hand mixer on medium speed until fluffy. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Add in eggs and vanilla, beating on low just until combined. Then add in your room temperature sour cream and beat on low until smooth.
Now is the pivotal moment to talk about those dreaded surface cracks and sunken middles. Cheesecakes do not handle quick and drastic temperature changes well. They are essentially an egg custard, and must be treated delicately. A water bath is a must, but in the past I've had issues with the water seeping in through the removable bottom of my springform pans, leading to a soggy crust. Enter the genius of LIFE, LOVE, and SUGAR, who recommended using a slow cooker liner around the pan to stop the water bath leaking. (Click the button below to see her link.) Where has this tip been all my life?!! Slow Cooker Liners are made to stand up to high heat and liquids, which makes them a perfect solution.
So once you've tied the liner around your pan, wrap a layer of foil around the pan for a double layer of protection. Then go ahead and pour half of your cheesecake batter into the springform pan, reserving the other half for the cookie butter layer. Place the entire pan into a baking dish large enough to hold it that also allows you to add enough water so that it comes halfway up the sides of the pan. I find that my 12 inch round Wilton Cake Pan is the perfect size. Carefully pour warm water into the outer pan and place in the oven. Set your timer for about 10-15 minutes.
While the first layer is starting to set, add the cookie butter to the remaining cheesecake batter and beat on low until combined. The smooth consistency of the cookie butter blends perfectly into the cheesecake. When the timer goes off, carefully slide the oven rack out and spoon the remaining batter on top of the cheesecake, smoothing out with the back of the spoon. Allowing the first layer to bake a bit first helps it set just enough so that the layers don't blend together. Bake in the oven for another 35 to 45 minutes. Your cheesecake is done when the outside layer appears set but jiggles ever so slightly when moved. At this point, DO NOT REMOVE the cheesecake from the oven. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door ajar to start the cooling process.. Allow it about 15 to 20 minutes to rest in the oven before taking it out. Remove from the water bath, run a knife around the edge, and allow to cool completely on wire rack before refrigerating. I do not remove the outer ring of the springform pan until the cheesecake has fully chilled. Refrigerate at least 12 hours before serving. Garnish or decorate as desired.
I was so proud of my cheesecake I dressed it up further with some stabilized whipped cream and Biscoff cookies. This cheesecake was everything a cheesecake should be- rich, smooth, creamy, and gone in just a couple of days! I hope these tips help you overcome your own Cheesecake Intimidation. Now I just need to overcome my Cookie Butter Obsession!