If you read one book about what to eat, make it Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. It’s a breezy read—my copy is beautifully illustrated–that proclaims straightforward principles to help you eat real food and mostly plants. Rule #45 is “Eat All the Junk Food You Want as Long as You Cook It Yourself,” an idea that has stuck with me. The beautiful thing about making treats is that not only does it take more work—so you’ll eat it less—but it tastes better, fresher: a happier reason to make instead of buy. I’m all about moderation, instead of deprivation, especially when it comes to McGouran family classics like this Oreo Cheesecake.
First of all, I doubt Mom remembers when I first asked her to make this cheesecake for my birthday, but it’s all I remember wanting, come September. (And I’ve got the 7th birthday photo album to prove it!) In addition to requesting whatever dessert we wanted, my mom allowed us (myself and six other children) to plan the whole menu on our birthdays. (Yeah, Mom rocked at celebrating birthdays.)
Because Mom’s not around to make my birthday dessert for me, I try to make one for myself each year. And listen, guys, I am a cheesecake person—you know what I mean if you are one—but this cheesecake will ruin you for most others, especially those gross packaged ones.
Anyway, my friend Kayla texted a couple weeks after my birthday to see if I had a spring form pan, because she was making one and couldn’t find hers. This text prompted two shocking realizations:
- I didn’t own a spring form pan
- I didn’t make myself a birthday Oreo Cheesecake
The horror! I ran to the store, bought a spring form pan, and resolved to make one the same weekend. An excellent decision, because it was as good as my nostalgia remembered. And now, I am sharing the know-how with you as an act of public service.
Really, my mom should be writing this post since she’s made it a million times. However, I do have a couple tips:
- Most importantly, make sure you plan ahead—cheesecake is much better if it chills for 24 hours—make it the day before you want to eat it!
- If, God forbid, the middle falls a bit after baking, don’t stress! Just fill that crater in with chocolate ganache and pretend you hit the bull’s eye. (Chances are, no one will know the difference.)
- Lastly, make sure you allow the cream cheese to soften before you whip the filling. I didn’t last time and was like, “Oh, I’m sure those small clumps will melt as it bakes.” NO, Katie. No, they won’t.
You’re going to love this cheesecake, because it’s:
- Dreamy creamy
- Super fluffy (if you take tip #3 to heart, ugh)
- Insanely rich and satisfying
- Sweet and bitter (hello, dark chocolate ganache)
- plus a hint of cinnamon in the crust
- 3 cups crushed Oreo cookies (1/2 cup for the crust, 1½ cups for the filling)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 32 ounces cream cheese (softened!)
- 1¼ cups sugar
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 eggs
- TOP LAYER
- 16 ounces sour cream
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1¼ cups chocolate chips (you can use semi-sweet, but I prefer dark chocolate for a nice contrast with the sweet filling and cookies)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Dusting of cocoa powder
- Crush the cookies (you can use a food processor, or a heavy object and a plastic bag) and set aside 1½ cups for later.
- Combine ½ cup cookie crumbs (I pulverize the crumbs I use for the crust in my food processor), melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon to make the crust.
- Press the crust into your spring form pan (mine is 10 inches) and bake at 350 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes, then allow it to cool for a bit while you make the filling.
- Beat 1¼ cups sugar, ⅓ cup heavy cream, flour, 1 teaspoon vanilla and eggs until creamy and lump-free.
- Pour half the filling over the crust, sprinkle it with the remaining 1½ cups cookie crumbs, then pour in the rest of the filling, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
- Combine the sour cream, ¼ cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
- Spread the sour cream mixture over the baked cheesecake and bake for one additional minute, then turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside for 30 minutes to set.
- Chill or freeze the cooled cheesecake, preferably a full 24 hours, but at least 2-4 hours.
- Before serving, combine the 1¼ cups chocolate chips, 1 cup heavy cream, and remaining teaspoon of vanilla. Stir until the chocolate is melted and pour over the cheesecake. You can serve it immediately, but it's easier to serve if you chill it until the ganache solidifies.
- Top with a light dusting of cocoa powder, if you'd like.