How much is a homemade cheesecake worth to you?
Try one early-morning dog walk, and a very happy husband.
Allow me to back-track for a moment: We have a regular dog-walking schedule at our house--one of us walks the precious pooch in the morning, the other in the afternoon, and our scheduled days and times are fairly consistent.
Although Wednesday morning is one of my scheduled Dora-Days, I already had a craving on Tuesday night for an early-morning workout.
What a conundrum I've found myself in. Could I convince Adam to relinquish his extra 30 minutes of sleep?
I asked the man, point-blank, if I could engage in a little bartering with him. What could I give to get my early morning work-out? (Enter Dora, providing puppy-dog eyes and a sweet demeanor to strengthen my case)
As if he'd been waiting all year for me to ask, he answered without hesitation: Homemade Cheesecake.
Done. I couldn't believe it was that easy. (And looking back, I'm reflecting on the irony of baking a cheesecake so I can get in my work-out. Awesome.).
But I digress. Let's turn our attention back to what really matters: the cheesecake itself. I discovered a stellar "light" cheesecake recipe from Cooking Light, which would fool even the cheesiest cheesecake connoisseur into thinking it's the real deal. In fact, I believe so strongly in the wow-factor of this cheesecake, I'd enter her in a competition with Paula Deen's best not-so-light recipe. Seriously.
Because this recipe is plain and simple (no frills attached), you can dress her up with your favorite flavor-rich embellishments. Mine? A drizzle of raspberry jam or fresh strawberry sauce. Adam's? Nutella spread all over the top. Such a man-thing, isn't it? (full disclosure: I tried his Nutella-doused slice, and I cannot lie: it was very good.).
In addition to our individual toppings, I should note that I further fattened up this "light" recipe by sprinkling some white chocolate chips on top of the cheesecake when I removed it from the oven. Come on--if I'm going to bake a cheesecake, I might as well go all out!
I've rambled enough for today. This cheesecake will rock your socks right off.
How much is a cheesecake worth to you? :)
New York Cheesecake--A Light Version
(recipe from Cooking Light magazine, September 2010; the crust recipe is adapted from Taste of Home magazine)
Regular cheesecake doesn't hold a candle to this baby--I promise you you'll never know the difference. Be creative with your toppings...whatever floats your boat is worth trying :)
- 1 - 1/4 cups crushed reduced fat vanilla wafers
- 2 TBSP butter, melted
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup 1% low-fat cottage cheese
- 3 (8 oz. each) blocks fat-free cream cheese, softened
- 2 (8 oz. each) blocks 1/3-less fat cream cheese, softened
- 1 - 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 -1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
- 2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg whites
- Optional: White chocolate chips for sprinkling on top, or melting and drizzling :)
- Optional: Fresh strawberries, raspberry jam, or other toppings of your crazy choosing
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Prepare crust: Combine vanilla wafer crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press onto the bottom, and slightly up the side, of a 9" springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
3) Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
4) To prepare filling: Place flour, cottage cheese, and one block of fat-free cream cheese in a large mixing bowl (or food processor). Beat very well, until smooth. Add remaining blocks of fat-free cream cheese, all of the 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese, the sugar, lemon rind, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat (or process) until smooth. Add the eggs and egg whites and beat until blended.
5) Pour filling into crust and bake at 325 degrees for 65 minutes, until almost set (center will not be firm, but it will set as it chills). Cool on a wire rack and refrigerate overnight.