If You Give a Girl Eight Boxes of Cream Cheese…

…she’ll make two cheesecakes! I am not a fan of pumpkin pie, which I realize is odd because I love everything else pumpkin-flavored (I let out a shriek every year when the seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte is back on the menu at Biggby!), so T and I decided to bring an alternative dessert to Thanksgiving dinner. He wanted to make Pecan Pie Cheesecake, which still didn’t help me because I also do not like plain cheesecake. I figured while I’m making that cheesecake, I might as well whip up one I’d actually eat as well. So the night before Thanksgiving I set out to make my first cheesecakes ever!

I chose Chocolate Cheesecake and chose to make this one first since it seemed a little less labor-intensive than the Pecan Pie Cheesecake. Here are the ingredients:

My first method for crushing the vanilla wafers was pouring them in a brown lunch sack and crushing them, but as you might imagine, the bag burst and Maverick got a vanilla wafer sample! My second method was to put them in a big bowl and crush them with a potato masher, which worked okay…until T poured them in a Ziploc bag and took his aggression out on the bag with a meat tenderizer! In any event, after mixing the vanilla wafers, powdered sugar, cocoa, and butter together, here was my crust:

(In retrospect, the one change I would make to this recipe would be to use crushed Oreo cookies to make the crust…and not just because I’m embarrassed of how long it took me to grind those vanilla wafers to smithereens!)

After an hour in the oven, here is the finished product:

This tasted amazing! If I make this again, in addition to the Oreo crust, I’d put raspberry or strawberry sauce on top to break up the rich chocolate flavor.

One cheesecake down, one more to go! Here are the ingredients for the Pecan Pie Cheesecake:

The crust of this cheesecake was also made out of vanilla wafers (not by coincidence; when T sent me the link to this recipe I searched for a recipe for a chocolate cheesecake with a vanilla wafer crust so I would use up a whole box). This crust was similar to the other one (sans cocoa):

While this was baking, I was hard at work on the pecan pie portion:

This part is more tedious than anything as I stirred constantly for 8-10 minutes while this simmered. It seemed like a job you would give a kid just to get them out of your hair for 10 minutes…but in the spirit of not wanting to mess this up for my husband, I stirred my heart out.

I used light corn syrup instead of dark corn syrup…only because I was a fool and went to the grocery store the night before Thanksgiving and the dark corn syrup had SOLD OUT! I already had some light corn syrup at home and after some searching on the internet (while ducking in the baby department to get away from the mob of shoppers), I found out it was a comparable equivalent. Fun fact – I learned that corn syrup is used in place of sugar because it retains its smooth texture and resists crystallization.

After all my hard work, here is the pecan pie filling in the pie crust (the cheesecake layer was poured on top of this):

I learned a valuable lesson from the chocolate cheesecake – do not overfill the pan with cheesecake! We did not use all the cheesecake filling and the end result looked a little better because of it:

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I didn’t even sample this, but it must have been good because it was gone before I even had a chance to! Since there was a little extra cheesecake filling and a refrigerated pie crust (left over from making a quiche earlier in the week), I cut out circles of dough using an empty (washed) spaghetti jar:

These circles were used to line the cups of a mini cupcake pan. Half the cheesecake mixture was poured into these cups, then we added cocoa and sugar to the rest of the mixture and poured that into the remaining cups. As an added bonus, we got these cheesecake bites to snack on:

Even after all the amazing wedding gifts, we didn’t have the springform pan either recipe called for (I actually did not know what a springform pan was until I read these recipes) so we just used our cake pans. However, cleaning out a drawer the weekend after Thanksgiving, I found a gift card to Cooking.com and ordered myself this springform pan!

All in all, I’d say our inaugural cheesecake baking adventure was a huge success! Our family loved both cheesecakes so much we were asked to bring dessert to Christmas!

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