Thursday, April 23, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: Junior's Cheesecake Cookbook

Picture the perfect dessert in your taste, creamy texture and oh so decadent. For us at The Daily Kool, nothing finishes a meal quite like a delicious slice of cheesecake. And nobody does cheesecake better than Junior's. Don't get us wrong...we like The Cheesecake Factory just as much as the next person. But if you've ever tasted a cheesecake from Junior's in Brooklyn, New York, you undoubtedly agree with us that there's just no comparison. Junior's Cheesecake is almost worth moving back to the city for, but alas New York is another time, another life for The Daily Kool family.

So what do we do when we need our Junior's cheesecake fix? Well, up until about a year ago, we merely settled for meritocracy at best. And although Junior's ships all over the U.S., the cost for delivery was just too extravagant, even for us cheesecake addicts. So, imagine our excitement when we came across this fabulous Junior's Cheesecake cookbook. It seemed like the perfect solution, especially since we love fooling around in the kitchen...wait, that didn't come out right, did it? Ahem...well, you know what we meant!

This Junior's Cheesecake cookbook lives up to it's name...50 to-die-for recipes for New York style cheesecake. These are no ordinary recipes, folks! Imagine tantalizing your tastebuds with enticing cheesecake flavors such as Heathbar, Black Forest, Banana Fudge and White Chocolate Cranberry, just to name a few. We love the old-fashioned red and white striped cover, glossy pages and quality photography. We know, we know...baking cheesecakes can be very intimidating, especially with their propensity for cracking. But, the Junior's Cheesecake cookbook is filled with sidebars of hints and suggestions to ensure perfectly smooth and incredibly delicious results.

While we appreciated the thorough instructions in the Junior's Cheesecake cookbook, we have to admit to being a bit overwhelmed with the detail at first. That said, their techniques for successful preparation, baking, cooling and cutting ensure top-notch results...albeit with a little practice and experimentation. However, any imperfections (mostly cosmetic) were anticipated by the Junior's team and addressed in the handy trouble-shooting section in the cookbook...and none of our issues affected the incredible taste of our creations. Mmmmm...scrumptious! We did make sure to thoroughly read through the entire book before attempting our first cheesecake, just to make sure we understood the basics. We also took all of Junior's pan and ingredient recommendations to heart...highest quality products yield the best results.

Our Junior's Cheesecake cookbook has become a staple in The Daily Kool household and is a great gift for anyone who likes baking, or just loves cheesecake. These are definitely time consuming recipes, but the results are oh so worth it! Good thing our closets are stocked with elastic waist-band pants, huh?

Here's the recipe from the book for original New York style cheesecake for your baking pleasure...enjoy!

  • 1 recipe crust of your choice*
  • four 8oz. packages full-fat (this is important) cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra-large eggs (this is important)
  • 3/4 cups heavy cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way up the sides. Make and/or bake your crust and leave it in the pan.
  2. Beat one package of cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar and the cornstarch together on low until creamy (about 3 minutes), scraping down the bowl several times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, continuing to scrape as needed.
  3. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 1/3 cups of sugar and vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Beat in the cream until just completely blended....DO NOT OVERMIX. Gently spoon batter over the crust.
  4. Place the cake in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan...this water bath will help prevent cracking and ensure a creamy texture.
  5. Bake until the slightly golden tan (about 1 1/4 hours). Remove the cheesecake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack and let cool for two hours.
  6. Leaving the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  7. Make sure to keep cake refrigerated until ready to serve and slice with a sharp straight-edge knife (not serrated).
*The Junior's Cheesecake cookbook includes a fabulous recipe for their sponge cake crust. In the meantime, feel free to make your own graham cracker or oreo crust.

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