Friday, November 8, 2013

Twix Cheesecake

As hard as this is for me to believe, I've reached my 100th blog post!  That means I have to share something truly special, something I know will get you rave reviews should you decide to take it to an upcoming holiday gathering, something I believe will become a recurring presence in your dreams.  Deep breath... This is the world's best cheesecake.

In order for me to repeat a recipe with what I consider a pricey ingredient list and several hours baking/cooling/refrigerating, I ask myself this question: "Would I pay for this at a restaurant?  Would I order one slice for between six and ten dollars?"  If the answer is yes, I keep it.  This, my friends, is a clear and resounding yes.  Welcome to the best cheesecake I've ever eaten in my life.  Happy 100th blog post.

Twix Cheesecake

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick butter, melted
3 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

4 8-oz. blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract

10 miniature Twix bars
Caramel syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together the crust ingredients and press in Springform Pan.  Bake 7 minutes, and cool.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with your paddle attachment, combine the sugar and cream cheese; cream until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream and vanilla and, mix until smooth.
Pour batter into prepared crust.
Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until edges are set, and center has a slight jiggle. Turn the oven off, and crack the door.  Leave the cheesecake in there for 1 hour.
Cool cheesecake completely, and refrigerate at least five hours.
Top with Twix bars and caramel.

I got the base recipe for this cheesecake at My Baking Addiction.

Let's get started on the crust.  I used a saucepan from the Executive Cookware Collection for my butter, and the great thing is that I could stick it right in the oven while it preheated.  The Quikut Paring Knife is so simple, but it's the one I always reach for when I'm cutting up butter.  By slicing it, it softens pretty quickly for cakes and cookies, and it definitely melts more quickly in a case like this.  Of course I'm using my favorite Large Cutting Board, too.

The Manual Food Processor is great for making quick work of the graham cracker crumbs, but here's a tip: When you put the crackers in, go ahead and break them up a little bit.  I'm placing them in the Small Batter Bowl where I'll use my Mini Mix 'n Scraper to stir the crust ingredients.

This is the Springform Pan, and it's incredible.  A lot of cheesecake recipes will explain water baths and all these extra steps you need to keep your cheesecake from cracking.  Let me just tell you that with this pan, I've never had cracks.  The handles are great for getting the pan in or out of the oven, and the glass plate at the bottom makes a beautiful presentation when you serve the finished product.

I used the Measuring Cup Set for sugar measurements, and of course I leveled them off using the tool that comes with the cups.  So handy!  My Mix 'n Scraper is in the bowl with the cream cheese, and it's just what I need for scraping the sides during mixing.

This picture makes me feel all warm and fuzzy because it's me using my new stand mixer!  Someone I love a lot a lot a lot gave this to Soo-Young and me for our wedding, and all I can say is that making cheesecake is much easier than it once was.  Moving on - the egg is in a 3-Cup Prep Bowl, which I chose because I could grip it easily.  Crack eggs one at a time for any recipe to make sure they're still good, there's no blood, and shell isn't making its way into your batter.  Let me be honest: Cracking a bad egg directly into eight dollars worth of cream cheese that I softened for hours would make me cry.  Don't shortcut.

Cream is in an Easy Read Measuring Cup, and vanilla is in a spoon from the Measuring Spoon Set.  Things are about to taste delicious!

Once the cheesecake has baked and rested in the cooling oven, remove it to cooling rack to cool completely before refrigerating.  I have three of the Stackable Cooling Racks in my kitchen, and it's pretty common for me to use them all at the same time.  Notice what I'm doing here.  The Springform Pan comes with a little tool that you run along the edges of your cheesecake to make sure it comes out nice and clean.  How cool is that?

Time for the candy!  I cut the Twix bars into fourths using my 3 1/2-inch Paring Knife from the Forged Cutlery Collection, and I did the job on a Bar Board, which is just a little brother to the Large Cutting Board.  Finished pieces go in a 2-Cup Prep Bowl, and then...

Snap the collar off the cheesecake, and enjoy the beautifully golden crust.

Put a layer of warm caramel directly on the cheesecake, add the candy, and drizzle with a bit more caramel.  Then slice and enjoy!  Oh, my - so beautiful!

I can't emphasize enough how delicious this cheesecake is.  It's rich and creamy, but it doesn't punch you in the face.  Take it to your next gathering, and enjoy it when the buzz becomes, "Who made the cheesecake?"

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