As soon as fall begins, my baking kicks into high gear. I get excited thinking about holiday baking and not only look forward to making some classic recipes but also look forward to creating some new and exciting ones as well. I’m a dessert gal and always have been. I’d choose to baking over cooking any day. I’ve even been known to whip up a Creme Brulee at midnight. I know. I’m so spontaneous, right? Well, that was pre-kids, when I had the time and energy to be spontaneous. Nowadays, I still love to bake but my requirements for a dessert recipe have changed. Since my time is limited, I really appreciate recipes that can be made in advance, especially when it comes to the holidays.

 

One of my favorite fall/holiday desserts is pumpkin cheesecake. I’ve made it year after year to rave reviews and it’s my go-to dessert to bring to parties because it’s seasonal, decadent and fairly simple to make. Best of all, it can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator, covered until you are ready to serve. Making desserts in advance is key during the holidays when time is at a premium and you have a million other dishes occupying your oven.

Each year I change it up a bit by combining my tried and true recipe with a different topping or crust. I’ve done everything from a chocolate crust to a gingersnap crust and all were delicious. But this year, I have to say, I’ve outdone myself with a chocolate chip cookie crust. OMG, right?!?!? It’s super simple and can be made using homemade or your store bought refrigerated cookie dough. Once you’ve tried this, you may never go back to the old graham cracker crust again. I bet it will be gorgeous as the base of a vanilla or chocolate cheesecake too. The possibilities are endless!!

 

Simple Tips for Cheesecake Success:

  1. -Always use room temperature ingredients.
  2. -Do not over mix the batter.
  3. -Use a well greased spring-form pan.
  4. -To prevent cracks, wrap the bottom and sides of your spring-form pan in foil and bake cheesecake in a water bath (bain marie) to prevent cracks.
  5. -Avoid opening the oven door while the cheesecake is baking.
  6. -Allow the cheesecake to cool completely on a wire rack before refrigerating.
  7. -Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan to loosen cake before releasing the spring.
  8. -For the perfect slice, always wipe a sharp knife clean with a damp cloth in between each cut.
  9. -If all else fails and your cake still cracks, cover it up with fresh whipped cream or fresh berries.