This week for Sunday Company Dinner it was lasagna night. I whipped up a standard lasagna, planned for a salad and garlic bread, but needed a dessert. What could be better with Italian flavored fare than cheesecake? It's been a very long while since I made a cheesecake, and I was reminded over the last two days that I should think about making it more often. It's really easy to put together.
This particular cheesecake is a recipe my mom shared with me- and I think she found it in Woman's Day magazine. The original called for fat-free cream cheese and was essentially a low fat cheesecake. As fat free cream cheese tends to taste pretty awful to me, I opt to use the less fat cream cheese, also known as Neufchatel cheese. I think the choice of cream cheese is purely personal preference. I happen to prefer Neufchatel because I like that it whips up nicely straight out of the fridge- no warming to room temperature required if you're time crunched. As an added bonus, it's less fat, so I don't have to feel so bad about eating that slice of cheesecake.
In addition to changing up the cheese, I also decided to add Oreo's. I wanted something a little fun and a little different, and Oreo's just sounded like the perfect addition. It worked very well. I changed the graham cracker crust to a chocolate graham crust, folded Oreo's into the batter, and then gave the cheesecake a decadent topping after it chilled. Topping cheesecake is a no-brainer, as it eliminates the need to worry about cracks in the cheesecake. Just give it a topping, and no one needs to know.
One last note about this cheesecake. It really needs to chill overnight in order to achieve maximum set. I chilled it and then topped it a few hours before serving. It really was very good, and I think everyone enjoyed it. It's slightly lighter in texture than what I normally think of when I think cheesecake, so if you're looking for a dense and rich cheesecake, this isn't the one for you. Still. Cheesecake, crushed Oreo's, fudgy topping, how could you go wrong? Oreo Cheesecake is a great thing!Oreo Cheesecake
1 package chocolate graham crackers, crushed
2/3 cup margarine, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
3 packages (8 ozs) Neufchatel cheese
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 cups crushed Oreos (about 1/2 a package)
Hot fudge sauce
1 cup crushed Oreos
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff stirred with 2 tablespoons milk to drizzling consistency
Preheat oven to 325ºF.
In a small bowl, combine crust ingredients. Press into the bottom of a springform pan. (I used a 10-inch springform pan.) Set aside.
Using a hand mixer, beat together Neufchatel cheese and sugar until well combined and creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in sour cream and vanilla. Gently fold in the Oreo crumbs and pour the cheese mixture onto the crust. Smooth the top evenly.
Bake in a 325ºF oven for 45 minutes, or until the edges of the cheesecake puff slightly and the center still jiggles slightly when shaken. Turn the oven off, and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another 30 minutes. Remove from the oven to cool completely.
Once cool, cover with foil and place in the refrigerator overnight- this is important, don't skip the overnight refrigeration.
A few hours before serving, run a sharp knife around the edges to release the cheesecake from the pan. Top the cheesecake with the hot fudge sauce, followed by the remaining Oreo cookie crumbs, followed by the marshmallow drizzle. The topping is all optional, but really makes for a stunning presentation.
Makes about 16 servings when made in a 10 inch pan.