Intro: Cherry Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
This is my first instructable so please bear with me. Cheesecake is always a crowd pleaser and it's really a lot easier than a lot of folks might think. The first thing you'll need is your ingredients so they are:
1 16 oz package of Oreo (or store brand) cookies
1 stick of butter (1/2 C., 4 oz)
4 8 oz packages of cream cheese
1 C. sugar
1 15 oz can of dark sweet cherries
1/2 C. chocolate chips
1 T. vanilla
The first thing to do preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. I sometimes like to use the water bath cooking method generally but I don't have any large sheets of foil to seal the pan so we're going to modify things a bit. By cooking in a water bath you help the cake to cook more evenly so it doesn't get too done on the outside and stay raw in the middle. It also keeps the cake from cracking. However, this really isn't an issue unless you are making a really thick cake. What I do is place a large pan of water in the oven from the get go to make a nice hot and moist cooking environment.
Ok, lets get the crust started. First open up your stick of butter and grease the inside of your springform pan. I'm using a 9" pan for this cake. Once it is nice and buttered, take the remaining butter and put it in a bowl and stick it in the microwave for 1 minute. Now open up your bag of Oreo's and smash them up really good. Once you have a bowl of Oreo mush, add the melted butter from the microwave and mix together well. DO NOT eat this as it is or you won't have any crust for your cheesecake! Now you can dump this buttery Oreo goodness into your pan and press down evenly to make a delicious crust.
Now it's time to make the filling. Open up your 4 packages of cream cheese and put them in a large mixing bowl. If they aren't already room temperature, let them sit until they are. They'll blend much easier that way. Add your sugar and vanilla and blend until nice and smooth. Dip a finger in and see if the filling is sweet enough for you. If not, add sugar no more than 1/4 C. at a time until to your liking. Now it's time to add the goodies. Drain your cherries into a cup or bowl or something. You're going to want the juice. Now add the cherries and chocolate chips and blend some more until you get a nice even dispersion. Now for the cherry juice. Add about half of it to your mix and blend until the color is even. Want it more red? You got it! Add the rest! Now all that's left is the eggs. This part is important so pay attention folks. Add your eggs 1 AT A TIME and beat on LOW speed only long enough for them to mix into the filling evenly. If you over beat them you will turn your cheesecake into a souflee and it will blow up like a balloon!
Ok, we're almost there! Take your filling and dump it into your pan that already has your delicious crust. Smooth it out with a rubber scraper and slide that sucker in the oven for 45 minutes. Here's where it gets to be more of an art than a science. You want to take it out of the oven when the middle is still just a little jiggly. If it all sloshes around, give it another 10 minutes. Again, it's can be hard to tell when it is "exactly" right, but just don't cook it until the whole thing is solid. It would probably still taste okay but wouldn't have that nice creaminess you want. Once it is done cooking, DO NOT open up the springform pan. Run a sharp knife gently around the inside edge of the pan. Now let it cool on the counter for an hour or so until the pan is cool enough to touch bare handed. At this point you can add any sort of toppings you like. I went with a spiral of chocolate syrup. Now stick it in the fridge for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. When it is nice and cool and firm you can remove the springform pan, slice, and impress everybody with your beautiful cheesecake!