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Crafty Recipe - Chanukkah Cheese Cake
by Wen Zientek-Sico

Giving cheesecakes as gifts is a marvelous way to cement friendships, and this decadent creamy cheesecake topped with chocolate gelt is a sure way to make friendships that will last forever.

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Chanukkah Cheese Cake

Chanukkah Gelt CheesecakeCheesecake fans should rejoice! This is one of the best cheesecakes you will ever taste. Rich, creamy, and filled with luscious vanilla flavor, even people who have sworn they hated cheesecake love this version. We have topped it golden gelt which contrasts beautifully with the warm golden tones of the cake itself. This cake transports well and can be made ahead of time, making it the perfect gift. All cream cheeses do not have the same consistancy, so this is one of the rare occasions where I specify a brand because it is integral to the quality of the cake because generic brands very so much from area to area.

1 cup crushed graham crackers
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 8-ounce packages Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
20 pieces of chocolate gelt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heavily grease a nine-inch springform pan and find a lasagna or baking pan large enough for the springform pan to fit into. Tightly wrap the outside of the springform pan with two layers of aluminum foil. Mix the crushed graham crackers with the melted butter. Press into the bottom of the prepared spring form pan. Cream the sugar and cream cheese for 3 minutes or until very smooth. Beat in the egg and yolks one at a time until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl well and mix in the vanilla and salt until well mixed. Gently fold in the sour cream and heavy cream until just barely blended. Do not over beat. Fill the bottom of the lasagna pan with 1 inch of boiling water. Place the cake in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Do not open the oven door at any time during the baking. After 45 minutes, turn the oven off, but do not remove the cake from the oven. Make sure not to open the oven door at all. Keep the cake in the oven for a full hour after you turn it off. Remove it from the oven and let it cool on a rack for an hour or two. Cover and place it in a refrigerator and let it set, flavor, and cool for at least 18 hours. Before serving or boxing for gift giving, top with the chocolate gelt.

Makes 12 servings.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Cooling Time: 20 hours
Total Time: 22 hours, 5 minutes

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