I’m not really sure how it happened, but cheesecake has become a deep Christmas tradition in my house. I think it’s actually become my favorite Christmas tradition. Maybe not the cheesecake itself(although what’s not to love about cheesecake?), but the event the cheesecake is for. Christmas Eve, after the church service, which Sexy Husband produces and sings at, we come home for soup and cheesecake. Every year we invite our friends who don’t have family around to join us. Each year it’s a slightly different group of people, usually some old friends, usually some new friends. It’s always special, always wonderful. Soup is the perfect meal because I just make a giant giant pot. If it gets eaten great, if not, then we have it for the week. And cheesecake is great because a little goes a long way, serving lots of people. No work for anyone.
I have made a lot of cheesecake in my life and this recipe is SO versatile. The basic formula of 2 bricks of cream cheese + 1 cup of sugar + 3 eggs, works with almost any flavor. You can add cocoa or melted chocolate to make chocolate cheesecake, you can add a bit of egg nog and a pinch of nutmeg to make egg nog cheesecake. For this I decreased the sugar and added some melted white chocolate. Right now I’m baking cinnamon cheesecake, using brown sugar instead of white and adding a couple of tbs of cinnamon. Be creative!
White Chocolate Cranberry Cheesecake
Preheat oven to 350. In a food processor, process about 32 gingersnap cookies, with 1/4 cup melted butter. I used gingersnap for a festive taste but you can swap for chocolate cookie crumbs or graham crumbs. Press into the bottom of a spring form pan and bake for 10 minutes, until starting to turn golden. Remove from oven and decrease temperature to 325.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 2 bricks of cream cheese with about 1 cup of sugar until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Decrease the sugar if you are using sweet additions like melted chocolate or caramel. Add in 3 eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition and scraping down the bowl. In this recipe I added 1/2 bag of melted white chocolate chips. Pour into pan and bake for about 45 minutes until the top is set but still slightly wobbly. If you overcook it will crack a bit, which is not really that big of a deal because you’re going to top it.
In a small saucepan, heat 3 cups of cranberries with 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup water. Simmer until it is thickened and reduced and bubbly. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour on top of the cheesecake and serve! This is yummy with the cranberry sauce warm, or chilled.