Cheesecake has always been a special dessert in my family because it is the ultimate rich and decadent dessert cake. Growing up, making cheesecake became popular - everyone was making it, and, subsequently cheesecake recipes passed through the family like a wildfire. There is the famous cheesecake my Aunt Julie made and then the excitement over my mother buying a spring form pan. I loved those little mini cheesecakes made with vanilla wafers and cheesecake filling in muffin wrappers that were present at every cousin's wedding and baby shower. I loved it when my mother made a number of cheesecakes that were delicious and not too sweet as my mother did not like things to be too sugary sweet, of which I take after her. There was always talk of the cost because of the number and amount of ingredients, and then there was the famous cheesecake that overflowed the pan and spilled into the bottom of the oven and filled the house with a burnt cheesecake smell. Despite my mom cleaning the oven many times, the smell of burnt cheesecake wafted out of the oven every time we used it for years.
I still love cheesecake and love to make it in the bar form so my kids can pack it in their school lunches, plus, I will admit, that I like to eat cheesecake out of hand like a cookie. This recipe was easy and delicious with a firm crust. I use Annie's brand bunny grahams for the crust.
preheat oven to 325F
1 1/2 cups to 1 3/4 cups or so of graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
dash of salt
Pulverize the graham crackers in a food processor and add the rest of the ingredients until ingredients are incorporated.
Press evenly into pan (I used a removable bottom rectangular tart pan or you can line a 8 or 9 inch square pan with overlapping foil or parchement for easy removal). Play with the size depending on your preference for a thin or thicker cheesecake layer.
Bake at 325F for 12 minutes until fragrant and beginning to brown.
2 8 ounce packages of softened cream cheese
2/3 cup of sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat cream cheese until smooth.
Gradually add sugar and beat until incorporated.
Beat in eggs one at a time until combined.
Mix in sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla until combined.
Pour filling over baked crust. Spread evenly.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until edges are set and center jiggles slightly. (adjust your baking times for your pan size).
Top with a chocolate ganache if desired.
Chill well. Cut into squares and serve.
Melt 1 cup of semisweet chocolate and about a 1/4 cup of heavy cream over a double boiler. Add more or less cream according to how thick or thin you would like the ganache.