This is a guest post written by the fabulous food blogger Melissa from Make It Yours With Melissa. Melissa is wonderful at giving clear direction in her recipes with tons of photos to help you see exactly what to do! Interested in guest posting? Head here.
Hey there! I’m Melissa and I blog over at a little spot called Make It Yours With Melissa. I’m a mother to 3, auntie to 2, and wife to 1 who (for some crazy reason) quit teaching kindergarten to be a stay at home mom. Because, well, I’m a little crazy. But, in the good way.
Learning to raise a family on one income has been a challenge. (What, you mean I still have to pay the full amount on my student loans every month? Bummer.) While transitioning to a one income household has not been easy, it afforded me the motivation and opportunity to learn a whole new set of skills I may never have challenged myself to dive into otherwise. Being able to afford to pay all of your bills every month is a real motivator.
These days I jump in and do or make about as much as I can, especially in the kitchen. And that comes with the added benefit of meals being generally more healthy, tasty, just the way I like them, and usually less expensive, too. An all around win.
So, I’ve got an awesome recipe to share with you that was born of my cheapness and love of amazing desserts. You are going to love this Oreo Cheesecake!
Ok, I have no actual research to back that up. But I have plenty of anecdotal evidence because I know a lotta people who bake from scratch. I live in Suburbia, after all.
Cheesecake is tricky for a couple of reasons. It’s a bit high maintenance because it’s more custard-y than cake-y and you have to pull it out of the pan in one piece. This means the right recipe and the cooking method are really important. And sadly, those things are just not shared as often as they should be. Until now!
Two of the most common struggles I’ve experienced with the homemade cheesecake are cracking and uneven texture (ie: too done on the outside, not done enough on the inside, that weird texture on the top….)
But this recipe and baking method? I’m really excited about them. Because they solve both of those problems! Plus a third…avoiding an overly cream cheese-y flavor.
I actually started my quest for the perfect cheesecake recipe about 7 years ago, at my husband’s request for a cheesecake to celebrate our anniversary. Since then I have baked somewhere around 20 cheesecakes (I’ve lost count) taking what worked and leaving what didn’t from about 3 or 4 different recipes and manipulating a couple of different baking methods. (By the way, I strongly caution you against any recipe that calls for baking a cheesecake directly inside the water bath. Just… trust me on this one.)
I have finally nailed down a recipe and cooking method I know I can count on. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. I like to feed people delicious food that they just can’t resist. (And be able to say, “Yep, I owned that. Next challenge, please.” )
I guess my husband’s co-workers are going to be pretty bummed when I stop sending in test cheesecakes. Once I totally ruined one and had to throw it away and they were pretty ticked off to hear that I didn’t send it in any way for them to scavenge. (You know you have a good thing going when people want to eat your fails.)
But all of those fails have led me to a cheesecake that is creamy without being too soft in the middle, easy to prepare (as far as cheesecakes go), and has such a great balance in the flavor between the sour cream and cream cheese. And all of the ingredients are readily available and pretty inexpensive. Especially if you shop with the ads or at big box membership stores.
Oh and while we’re talking about ingredients, I want to mention that I always use a substitute cookie for Oreos. I mention why here. But if you can’t find them in a store near you, or are just not interested in straying from “the real deal,” that’s no problem whatsoever. These can be made with any cream filled chocolate sandwich cookie that you love.
Alright, let’s get to the good stuff! I’ll start with a step by step set of directions and the best tips I have found, then I’ll follow up with a breakdown of the cost and end with a recipe card for quick and easy referenceStep by step directions to make the perfect Oreo cheesecake Click To Tweet
For the Cheesecake Filling:
(4) 8-oz packages cream cheese, room temp
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
¾ cup milk, room temp
4 eggs, room temp
1 cup sour cream, room temp
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup all purpose flour
For the Crust and topping:
(2) 12-14 oz packages of Oreos (or substitute cookie)
½ cup butter, melted
¼ of a 12-oz package Ghirardelli white (vanilla) melting wafers
Mixer (stand or hand will work)
10” Springform pan
Large baking dish (preferably at least as wide as the springform pan)
Gallon size plastic bag
Parchment paper (optional)
Aluminum foil (optional)
Measuring cups and spoons
A butter knife (optional)
Knife and cutting board
A piping bag with a twisty tie for the vanilla topping, or just a spoon will work, too
A serving tray (optional, but totally adds to the presentation)
1. Let all refrigerated ingredients come to room temp. This helps it bake more evenly and reduces the chance of cracking. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. Take one box of “Oreos” and empty into a large plastic bag. Crush ‘em up. You can use the bottom of a bowl, the flat side of a meat tenderizer, or even a rolling pin.
3. Add the melted butter to the bag, seal it, and mix it up.
4. Here comes the trickiest part of the entire recipe (don’t worry, it’s not that bad): Take a piece of parchment paper and place it in the bottom of the springform pan, as flat as you can. Secure the latch on the side of the springform pan. Push down gently on the bottom just to make sure it is actually down all the way. You don’t want to be pouring liquid batter in a not quite sealed pan. (Guess how I know? Yeah, it wasn’t pretty.)
*Here’s a quick video on spring form pans, if you’re not familiar with them. Something they mention in the video is that you can serve the cheesecake right on the bottom part of the pan. I don’t like to do that because I can’t stand the thought of my pan getting scratched up every time. Hence, the parchment paper. Plus it looks so much nicer on a serving tray. But this is your masterpiece, so it’s your choice to use the parchment paper or not.
5. Pour the crust mixture into the bottom of the lined pan and begin pressing it down until it’s even, or close to it, Some folks like to bring the crust up the sides. This is a personal choice every baker must make for themselves. I will say that if you are a perfectionist or a cheesecake newb, I strongly recommend against a side crust. It’s very hard to get an even crust up all the way around vertical sides of a pan. And then getting it out of the pan without breaking the side crust? Fugetaboutit. (Also, you will need extra cookies if you want enough to go up the sides.)
6. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350°. (When the crust is done, remove it from the oven and
up the temperature to 450°.)
7. Meanwhile start making the filling. Cream together the cream cheese and the sugar.
8. Add the milk and mix on low just until combined. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.
9. Add the eggs one at a time. Again, just until combined and on the lowest speed possible. We don’t want to overbeat these babies. It will do funny things to the cheesecake during baking. And could even make it crack later. Scrape down the sides and bottom after the last egg.
10. Mix in the vanilla and sour cream until just combined.
11. Last, add the flour. Again, just until smooth. If you look closely you may have a couple of tiny lumps- no big deal. We don’t want to overbeat. Make sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl one last time.
12. Pour over the Oreo crust.
13. You might want to give the pan a gentle shake to help smooth out the top. Because we are adding a topping, it’s not necessary, though. Pop it in the oven. Right over that pan filled with water, to be specific. Use your oven racks to get that water bath arranged as close to the bottom of the cheesecake pan as you can because you want that steam right up underneath the cheesecake for even baking.
14. Cook at 450° for about 5-7 minutes. Reduce heat to 250° and bake for about 95-105 minutes. Resist the urge to open the oven while it’s cooking because that lets moisture out and could (you guessed it!) cause cracking. Check to see if the cheesecake is done by gently shaking the pan on the oven rack. If the center jiggles a bit (not like Jello, just a little movement) then it’s done. If the edges or more than just the center third of the cheesecake jiggles, cook it a little longer. Say, in 10 minute increments until it’s done.
15. When it’s done turn off the oven, crack the oven door, and leave the cheesecake to cool slowly inside. This also helps prevent cracking. (But I’m sure you guessed that already). It also assists the cheesecake in setting up. Pull it out anytime after you don’t feel heat when you stand next to the oven. If time allows, let the cheesecake finish cooling on the counter until the sides are no longer warm to the touch. Cover it tightly (I prefer aluminum foil because it doesn’t sag and stick to the cheesecake) and place it in the fridge to set up for at least four hours, but preferably overnight.
*Okay. Let’s take a second and address the elephant in the room. After all of that talk about how to avoid cracking, there are two surface cracks in this cheesecake. Usually following all of these steps yields a crack-free cheesecake. But not this time. I believe it’s because I rushed it and it wasn’t totally cooled when I put it into the fridge. Don’t be like me…be patient. Other than being a bit of an embarrassment, it’s really no big deal because they are so small and so shallow they can be covered with the topping and won’t compromise the structure of the cheesecake.
16. Before removing the side of the springform pan I like to gently run a butter knife along the outside of the cheesecake.
17. For the topping, chop up about half a box of the cookies
18. I also like to cut 5 cookies in half and leave one whole…
19. For arranging on top. It adds a big “Ta-dah!” with very little effort.
20. Sprinkle the chopped pieces all around. Or, if you are like me, pile them on there until you can barely see the top of the cheesecake. Either way.
21. Put some of those melting wafers in a piping bag, seal it up with a twist tie, and put it a pot of warm water to melt them over low heat. I like to use a piping bag for the vanilla because then I have more control over where it goes and feel like I can make it look fancier. More professional. But if you don’t have any piping bags or have no desire to mess with them, no problem. Just put the melting wafers directly into a pot and heat them up.
22. When the wafers are fully melted, remove from water, dry with a kitchen rag, and cut the tip of the bag off.
23. For easy cleanup place paper towels underneath the cheesecake. Squeeze the bag to drizzle vanilla over the top of the cheesecake using a back and forth motion. (This scribble technique is pretty much the same whether it’s with the piping bag or a spoon.)
24. I then turn it sideways and go back and forth again. Finish up with some circular motions and random lines. (I like to make sure the sides have plenty of drizzle, too.)
25. If you lined the bottom of the springform pan, gently hold onto the edge of the parchment paper and slide the bottom of the pan out from under the cheesecake.
26. Transfer to a serving tray and enjoy.
Look at that!
Besides how impressive it looks and how many people it serves (which is 12-14, by the way), one of my favorite things about cheesecake is that is saves so well. In fact, the longer it sits in the fridge, the better it is. Which makes it a fabulous option for a party or holiday dessert. You can make it two or three days ahead of time and forget about it while you focus on making decorations or cleaning or preparing other food.
It can also be frozen and unfrozen without a hitch. A couple of suggestions if you do want to freeze it:
- The easiest way to wrap the cheesecake is to leave it in the springform pan, cover tightly with tin foil, and then seal it up in a pie container or cake holder.
- It’s best to freeze cheesecake without any topping and just prepare the topping on the day of serving. Fruit tends to soften and release juices as it thaws, which could affect the aesthetics of your cheesecake. Nut, cookie, and candy toppings do a little better being frozen on top but some can release some moisture that drips during thawing, too.
- Some moisture from the cheesecake will find its way to the surface as it thaws…it’s nothing to worry about. It looks like more than it is. You can blot it off with a paper towel or just leave it. Either way, you are going to be the only one who notices it.
So what can you expect to spend?
Here’s a breakdown of what I paid for the ingredients:
Cream Cheese: $6
Oreo Cookies: $5
Melting Wafers: $3.50
Sugar, Flour, Milk, & Vanilla: Approx $1
Grand Total= $18.75
Which is about what you would have to spend on two grocery store bakery cheesecakes to get the same amount as one of these homemade beauties. And they don’t taste anywhere near as good as this cheesecake. (Really, don’t waste your money.) Buying the same size cake from a bakery would probably run you about $30, and to buy from The Cheesecake Factory would be $55 or more!
And talk about impressing your friends and family. They’ll think you’re amazing if you serve this. And you totally are. So you totally should.
Here’s the recipe in an easy to reference format for ya:
- (4) 8-oz packages cream cheese, room temp
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup milk, room temp
- 4 eggs, room temp
- 1 cup sour cream, room temp
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- (2) 12-14 oz packages of Oreos (or substitute cookie)
- ½ cup butter, melted
- ¼ of a 12-oz package Ghirardelli white (vanilla) melting wafers
- Let all refrigerated ingredients come to room temp. Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Line bottom of the springform pan with parchment paper. Secure the latch on the side of the springform pan.
- Crush Oreos in a plastic bag, add the melted butter to the bag, and mix together. Pour the crust mixture into the bottom of the lined pan and begin pressing it down until it’s even.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes. When the crust is done, remove it from the oven and up the temperature to 450°.
- Meanwhile start making the filling. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after adding each ingredient.
- Cream together the cream cheese and the sugar. Add the milk and mix on low just until combined.
- Next, add the eggs one at a time, just until combined, and on the lowest speed possible. Mix in the vanilla and sour cream until just combined. Last, add the flour. Again, just until smooth.
- Pour the filling over the Oreo crust. Place in the oven, directly over a pan filled with water. Bake at 450° for about 5-7 minutes. Reduce heat to 250° and bake for about 95-105 minutes. Cheesecake is done when only the center jiggles a bit when gently shaking the pan. If the edges jiggle, cook in 10 minute increments until done.
- When it’s done turn off the oven, crack the oven door, and leave the cheesecake to cool slowly inside. Pull it out when mostly cooled and allow to finish cooling on the counter until the sides are no longer warm to the touch. Cover it tightly and place it in the fridge to set up for at least four hours, but preferably overnight.
- Before removing the side of the springform pan I like to gently run a butter knife along the outside of the cheesecake.
- For the topping, chop up about half a box of the cookies and sprinkle on top of the cheesecake.
- Heat up melting wafers and drizzle vanilla over the top of the cheesecake using a back and forth motion. (This scribble technique is the same whether it’s with the piping bag or a spoon.)
- Transfer to a serving tray and enjoy.
Well, I guess my work here is done. You now possess the knowledge required to bake a perfect cheesecake. I’d like to thank Jenn for inviting me here to share one of my favorite desserts with you all! I hope it makes you as happy as it makes my friends and family. If this recipe is right up your alley, I’d love for to head on over to my online home, Make It Yours With Melissa for more great recipes and craft projects that’ll help you stay on budget while livin’ it up. Take care everyone, and whatever you make, make it yours!