The New Year is just days away and I bet many of you are still in Christmas-recovery mode. I know I ate a TON over the holiday, and that will likely not change until after New Year’s Eve when I intend to eat at least twice my body weight.
I did have time on Christmas to make a Gingerbread Cheesecake for a family dinner. The recipe is fairly standard (as far as cheesecake recipes go) and nothing was at all difficult or unexpected. I found this to be a great winter flavor and our guests all seemed to agree.
I used Sweetzel Spiced Wafers for my crust (and decorative topping). As I understand it, these may only be available regionally. If you cannot find them, gingersnaps would be a good substitution.
I do not use a “water bath” for cheesecake (a common technique to try to reduce cracks in the top of the cheesecake). I trust that it’ll turn out OK, and if it doesn’t I either find a way to cover cracks (with a topping) or I accept that the flavor will outshine the aesthetics. Small cracks do not bother me.
adapted from: Martha Stewart
½ c Sweetzel Spiced Wafers (or gingersnap) cookie crumbs
4 T unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 c granulated sugar, divided
2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
5 t cornstarch
1 t vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
¼ c molasses
¼ t salt
1 ½ t ground ginger
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
¼ t ground cloves
½ t grated lemon zest
Extra Sweetzels (or gingerbread cookies) and whipped cream for decoration (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together 2 cups ground Sweetzels (or gingersnaps), melted butter, and ¼ cup sugar in a bowl until evenly combined and moist. Press into the bottom of a springform pan and about one-third of the way up sides of prepared pan. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Let cool on rack.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in cornstarch, the remaining 1 ½ cups sugar, and the vanilla, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
- Reduce speed to low. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping sides of bowl as needed. Beat in molasses, salt, spices, and lemon zest. Pour filling into cooled crust.
- Transfer to oven, and bake until cheesecake is set but still slightly wobbly in center, 60 to 65 minutes. Carefully remove springform pan from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
- After about 30 minutes, run a knife around the edges of the cheesecake and loosen springform ring. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 8 hours (preferably overnight).
- Optionally, arrange gingerbread cookies around the cake, using whipped cream* to attach.
*Whipped Cream Topping (optional): using a whisk attachment, combine 1 c heavy whipping cream with 1 T sugar until it becomes whipped cream.