Monday, August 12, 2013

Cheesecake in jars in a crock pot? Oh yeah!

I never intended for this blog to be about cooking. That's not who I am. I enjoy baking, but I'm not a good cook, and I had never made cheesecake before because it looked way too complicated. Water baths? Springform pans? Timing and testing? No thanks.

Then I saw a crock pot cheesecake recipe on Facebook, and it clicked: I can do this! I borrowed half-pint jars (only five would fit in my smallish crock pot), gathered the simple ingredients (I had most on hand), pulsed the crackers (I also pulsed some chocolate wafer cookies for an alternative to graham crust), and made... yummy cheesecakes! Yes, it works. It's delicious. I'll make it again.

Crock Pot Cheesecake in Jars

Crust (half recipe for 5-6 half-pint jars)
·         1 cup graham cracker crumbs (10-12 squares)
·         1 Tbs sugar
·         2 Tbs melted butter
·         1 pound (two packages) cream cheese at room temperature
·         1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar (in other words, half of 1 2/3 cups!)
·         1/8 cup (2 Tbs) cornstarch
·         1 tsp vanilla
·         1 large egg at room temperature
·         6 Tbs cream, half & half, or whole milk

1) To make the crust: Blend together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Place 3-4 tablespoons in the bottom of each of five-six 1/2-pint wide-mouth canning jars (you'll have some left over for topping if you wish). Press down firmly. Set the jars aside.
2) To make the batter: Place the softened cream cheese in the bowl of your mixer. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, to aerate and remove any lumps. Be sure to scrape the bowl at least twice.
3) Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, and add the sugar and cornstarch. Beat on medium speed for 2 more minutes. Stop again, scrape, and add the vanilla, eggs, and cream. Beat for 2 more minutes on low speed.
4) Place the crust-filled jars in your crock pot. Mine fit only five jars, although I had more cheesecake batter. Fill each jar 3/4 full of cheesecake batter, taking care not to drip any down the outsides of the jars. An ice cream scoop works well for filling. What to do if your crock pot only fits five jars and you have leftover batter? Live dangerously. Eat it raw. Yum.
5) Place the canning lid of each jar on lightly (I skipped this step and used a funnel to fill the crock pot). This is to prevent water from dripping into the cheesecake while you fill the crock pot. Carefully pour warm water into the crock pot around the jars. The water level should come 3/4 of the way up the sides of the jars. When you're done pouring, remove the jar lids and set aside for later.
6) Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 1 to 2 hours (1 hour wasn’t even close for five ½ pint jars - it took a full two hours). BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU LIFT THE LID THAT CONDENSATION DOESN'T DRIP INTO JARS! The cheesecakes are done when the centers are no longer jiggly or wobbly, and a knife inserted into the cake about 1/2" from the edge comes out clean.
7) Turn off the slow cooker (I also removed the lid - be careful so it doesn't drip!) and allow the cheesecakes to rest for about 20 minutes to cool slightly before handling. Remove the jars and place on the counter to cool for another hour before sealing and placing in the fridge to chill for several hours, or overnight. I didn't have lids, so I covered mine with plastic wrap.
9) To serve, simply open the jar, top with fresh berries, chocolate chips, hot fudge, or whipped cream, and dive in with a long-handled spoon. Any leftovers can be refrigerated for serving later and should keep for up to a week.
Yield: five-six 1/2-pint individual cheesecakes.

1 comment:

Deborah Vaughn said...

You've simply got to stop making it easy for me to indulge! This not only looks like fun but must taste great!