Twink's Treats: The Indulgent Comfort Food – Cheesecake!
It’s mid February – with typical mid-February weather (rain, snow, sleet, gray skies). but mid-February also brings Valentine’s Day. Hearts, roses, pink, red, chocolate - a great time for a Valentine’s Day gathering, and some years I’ve gone totally gourmet with the menu, some years with good, hearty comfort food to share with my family and friends.
Comfort food is defined as “food which provides a nostalgic or sentimental feeling to the consumer, and is often characterized by a high carbohydrate level and simple preparation”. This year, I went with comfort food, down to the dessert. One of my very favorite desserts is cheesecake. I love all types of cheesecake – and there’s something about the smooth, creamy, velvety texture of the dessert that totally brings me instant gratification, a sense of well-being and COMFORT!
Since I was in the Valentine’s mode last week, I made a Red Velvet Cheesecake for a dessert at my Valentine’s Day gathering. Southern to the core, there’s nothing I love more than a great red velvet cake or cupcake – but I won’t share that here, since my family sister Gail makes the very best! But I have experimented and (I think) perfected the other red velvet option, the Red Velvet Cheesecake. Here’s my version - see if you like it, too!
Twink’s Red Velvet Cheesecake
32 OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 2 1/2 cups) – (I used OREO Thins)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Nestle’s) (12 ounces)
3 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. red food coloring
3 Tablespoons half and half
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cookie crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of 9 inch springform pan. Melt 1 cup of the chocolate chips in microwave, stirring during the process until smooth; place in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs; beat just until blended. Remove 2 cups batter; mix with melted chocolate and food coloring. Carefully spread over crust; cover with remaining plain batter. Bake 30 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Combine remaining ½ cup chocolate chips and half and half in microwave, stirring during the process until smooth to make a chocolate ganache topping. Spoon over top of cheesecake. Refrigerate at least 4 to 6 hours or overnight, enjoy!
So – until next time, be kinder than necessary and leave a little sparkle wherever you go!