My boyfriend's dad makes this cheesecake every Christmas, so we decided to try it out a couple of weeks ago to get into the Christmas spirit. It is sooooo good - definitely a great Christmas tradition! The cheesecake is fantastically creamy and a little tart from the sour cream. The texture was perfect even though we had to jury-rig a water bath with a cast iron skillet that didn't quite fit the springform pan we had. The crushed candy (either candy canes or Starlight mints) totally melts into the cheesecake, adding just the right amount of peppermint flavor. I also like that this cheesecake isn't insanely thick...some cheesecakes are so rich and tall that they're almost hard to eat - I've seen some recipes with upwards of 2 pounds of cream cheese! This one is certainly rich - it's cheesecake, after all - but not so much that you can't easily put away a couple of slices.
Christmas Peppermint Candy Cheesecake (recipe from Tim's dad)
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/4 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 cups sour cream
1 T flour
2 tsp vanilla
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
2 T butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 cup coarsely crushed peppermint candies
Whipped cream, grated chocolate or chocolate curls, and chopped peppermint candy for garnish, optional
1. Place a large pan full of water onto the lowest shelf of the oven. Preheat to 325 degrees.
2. Blend together the graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and 1/4 cup melted butter. Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 8-inch round springform pan.
3. In a food processor, combine the sour cream, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, eggs, flour, and vanilla until smooth. Add the cream cheese and blend, being careful not to over-blend. Blend in the 2 T melted butter until smooth. Stir in the crushed candy by hand. Pour the mixture onto the crust.
4. Bake the cheesecake 45 minutes until set. Turn off the oven and open the oven door. Leave the cheesecake in the oven to cool, which will minimize cracks.
5. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and loosen the side of the pan. Retighten the pan, cool completely, and then chill at least 4 hours or overnight. Decorate with whipped cream, chocolate curls, and chopped candy canes.