Making a really good ( and easy Graham Cracker Crust)
There are recipe authors that advocate baking the crust before you fill it. It doesn’t need to be if you are making a dessert, such as a cheesecake, that is going to be baked. The crust will bake along with the dessert. If you are making a refrigerator dessert or a freezer dessert that is not baked, prebake the crust so that the sugar melts.
By the way, buy graham cracker crumbs. Don’t invest valuable kitchen time crushing or grinding graham crackers.
The following recipe for a graham cracker crumb crust represents a nice balance of sugar, butter, and crumbs and is the right size for a nine-inch springform pan.
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (you may also use crush chocolate cookies or gingersnaps)
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
Melt the butter in the microwave. Stir the crumbs and sugar together in the pan. Stir in the butter. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and up the sides. If you have trouble getting the crumbs to hold together, you can add more melted butter.
Chocolate Ribbon Cheesecake Recipe
A chocolate cheesecake is an impressive alternative to a vanilla cheesecake. This recipe calls for a walnut and graham cracker crust but you could use chocolate cookies if you prefer and leave out the nuts. Fresh berries are delightful with chocolate cheesecake but we chose to drizzle this cheesecake with chocolate syrup as we did with our Turtle Cheesecake.
For the crust
2 cups crushed graham crackers
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted
For the filling
3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup whipping cream
4 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
For the topping
Chocolate ice cream syrup
1. Make the crust: Crush the graham crackers ( or use ready crushed ones). Mix the crumbs and chopped walnuts with the sugar and melted butter in a nine or ten-inch springform pan. Press the mixture into a crust across the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Put the crust in the refrigerator to set up while you prepare the filling.
2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
3. Make the filling: Mix the cream cheese with the paddle attachment of your standtype mixer set at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about five minutes. Add the eggs, granulated sugar, flour, salt, vanilla, and whipping cream and gently cream together until smooth. Do not over beat. Too much air in the filling will cause the cake to sink and crack.
4. With your mixer on the low setting, drizzle in the melted chocolate and mix until combined. (If your filling is too cold, some of the chocolate may set up leaving chocolate flecks in the filling. That’s okay; the cheesecake will not be compromised and the flecks are actually quite attractive.)
5. Pour the cream cheese filling into the crust. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the top starts to turn golden and the center of the cake is just barely jiggly. Because it is not as thick, a ten-inch cheesecake will bake more quickly than a nine.
6. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for ten minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen. Remove the ring and let the cheesecake cool completely. Refrigerate for several hours.
7. Prior to serving, drizzle the cheesecake with chocolate syrup.