Ok! So over the holiday season my sister and I went on a cheesecake-making frenzy. We made one for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas. My favorite of the two was definitely the Gingerbread Cheesecake :) It was actually taken from a Martha Stewart (*shrug*) recipe I'd discovered one day while trying to find some recipes befitting the season.
Gingerbread Cheesecake Recipe:
All-purpose flour, for dusting
2 cups Ginger-Snap cookie crumbs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
6 gingerbread men (see above)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap exterior of a 9-inch springform pan in 2 layers of foil.
2. In a blender, grind up enough ginger snap cookies to make 2 cups of crumbs.
3. Combine butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 cups cookie crumbs in a bowl. Press mixture firmly and evenly into bottom and one-third of the way up sides of prepared pan.
4. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Let cool on rack.
5. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
6. Beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and the vanilla, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
7. Reduce speed to low. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping sides of bowl as needed.
8. Beat in molasses, salt, spices, and lemon zest. Pour filling into cooled crust.
9. Place cheesecake in a large, shallow roasting pan. Transfer to oven, and carefully add enough hot water to roasting pan to come about halfway up sides of springform pan. (This keeps the cake from cracking when it bakes.)
10. Bake until cheesecake is set but still slightly wobbly in center, 60 to 80 minutes.
11. Carefully remove springform pan from roasting pan, and let cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 8 hours (preferably overnight).
12. Before serving, run a hot knife around edges of cheesecake to loosen, and remove sides of pan. Arrange gingerbread cookies in center of cake in a circle (with heads facing inward and arms touching, alternating light and dark).
Now for my own (and my sisters) personal touch to the cheesecake we made a Dark Chocolate Ganache to top it off. The ganache cooled hardened and I want to find a way to make it not do that... but it turned out fantastic anyway! We didn't take precise measurements either while making this cause we were just making it up by the seat of our pants. But these are the ingredients.
Dark Chocolate Chips
Hazelnut Creamer (in place of whipping cream)
small amounts of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Cloves.
In a double broiler (or just fill up a tall-sided skillet with hot water and a smaller sauce pan with the chocolate chips) allow the chocolate chips to melt do not let the top pan to just rest in the bottom pan or the chocolate could burn. As the chocolate is melting, add your creamer (or whipping cream), spices, and molasses. Mix well until smooth and then add to the top of the completed (and cooled) cheesecake.
We also took some extra ginger snap crumbs and sifted them onto the top of the ganache.
Additional notes from my sister, Stacy:
This cheesecake was a very different texture than any other cheesecake I’ve ever eaten. It was more of a mouse consistency than dense cheesecake. A friend of mine mentioned that this could have been because the recipe did not call for any thickening agents such as flour or corn starch. If I were to make this recipe again, I would try adding a couple tablespoons of corn starch to the filling. Additionally, the original recipe required making gingerbread cookies from scratch, baking them, and crushing them for the crust. Instead, we put store-bought ginger cookies into a food processor for time and ease.