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Ovation: National Cheesecake Day.

07/30/2014

National Cheesecake DayI blame my sweet tooth on my grandmothers.  When I was a kid, every meal ended with a dessert.  To this day, it’s as if I can’t stop eating until I finish with something sweet.  Both of my grandmothers made delicious desserts that I remember quite vividly.

One was famous for her Pistachio Bundt Cake with a simple powdered sugar “drizzle”.  If I remember correctly, her recipe included a pistachio-flavored pudding mix that was difficult to find so she would always stock up when she came across it in a grocery store.

My other grandmother was equally famous for her chocolate brownies (frosted or, when she was in a hurry, dusted with confectioners’ sugar) and her Angel Food Cake.  When she baked an Angel Food Cake, I remember it being a day-long process that required her to balance the baked cake, in its special two-piece baking pan, atop a soda bottle to cool.

All of the desserts that they baked were delicious and I always felt like they had made them just for me … which made them all the better.

Still, my all-time favorite dessert is cheesecake and today, July 30th, is National Cheesecake Day in the United States!  While no creator or origin of the celebration is know, it remains an “unofficial” national holiday nonetheless.  And I’m fine with that!

The smooth, sweet creamy filling of a cheesecake is a treat that I enjoy at every opportunity and remain determined to learn how to bake for myself.  I’ve got all the required equipment, including spring-form pans of varying sizes, and many unique recipes in my kitchen my favorite being Junior Mint Cheesecake.

JUNIOR MINT CHEESECAKE

Ingredients:

  • Crust:
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs or chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • Filling:
  • 6 ounces Junior Mints candies, frozen
  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation:

Prepare crust. Combine crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

With electric hand-held mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; stir in vanilla. Pour cheesecake batter into prepared crust. Chop frozen Junior Mints and sprinkle onto the cheesecake batter. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in a 350° oven or until just set. Cool on wire rack, then chill several hours or overnight. Makes about 8 servings.

Why not celebrate today with a slice of your favorite cheesecake?  There are many varieties to choose from … New York-style, Pennsylvania Dutch-style, Philadelphia-style, record-breaking and Chicago Style to name just a few.  And today is the day that many of them are on sale!

What’s YOUR favorite cheesecake or other childhood dessert?  Can you blame a sweet tooth on YOUR grandmother?

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