Christmas Candy Cheesecake

This recipe is adapted from Taste of Home 100 Best Desserts. I've changed the graham cracker crust to a shortbread crust. If you prefer the former, you can substitute the 2 cups shortbread cookie crumbs for 2 cups graham cracker crumbs. I used Walker's brand shortbread cookies and a food processor to make my crumbs.

**This cheesecake should chill overnight, so plan ahead.


Crust:

2 cups shortbread cookie crumbs

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

6 tablespoons butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Securely wrap two squares of aluminum foil up and around the sides of a 9-inch spring-form pan.  The crust is very buttery and the aluminum foil will prevent butter from seeping out of the pan and onto your oven floor.  It will also be extra insurance against water seeping into the crust when it's baking in the water bath. 
  3. In a small bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, brown sugar and cinnamon; stir in butter. Press onto bottom and 1-1/2 in. up the sides of the spring-form pan. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack.  Let cool completely.

Cheesecake filling:

4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 eggs, lightly beaten

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Add beaten eggs and mix on medium-high speed until incorporated. Pour into the partially baked shortbread crust. 
  2. Place cheesecake pan in a larger baking pan and add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan. Note: I used the hot water that comes from my tap because it is very hot indeed.  This is a short-cut I use sometimes, but I usually put on a large pot of water to use for the hot water in the water bath.
  3. Reduce oven heat to 325° and bake for 1-1/2 hours or until center is just set. 

Sour cream topping:

2 cups (16 ounces) full fat sour cream

1/4 cup granulated sugar

A variety of Christmas candies

  1. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and sugar and stir until smooth. Spoon the mixture over the surface of the hot cheesecake and spread with the back of the spoon to cover.  Bake for 5-7minutes longer.
  2. Remove spring-form pan from water bath.  Allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Loosen cheesecake from the sides of the pan with a knife, but do not remove the collar. Refrigerate overnight. Open the collar of the spring-form pan and remove.  Garnish with your choice of Christmas candies.
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