The Great Cheesecake War of 2012

At 7:00 p.m. on Saturday night, I declared myself certifiably insane.  I went from being nervous about making meatballs one night to taking a stab at making a chocolate-vanilla swirl cheesecake the next.  Up until five minutes into the first step of the cheesecake recipe, I didn’t realize that this was comparable to not being able to run half a mile one day and trying to run a marathon the next.

The first step was to finely crush 20 Oreo cookies to lay down as the crust of the cheesecake.  I counted out 20 cookies, tossed them in a mixing bowl, and stared at them for a few minutes before asking my fiance, “How should I go about crushing up these Oreos?”  I opened up every drawer in the kitchen in an attempt to find something good and heavy before he suggested I use the blender.  Oh, duh.  The blender.

I don’t use my blender often and when I do, it’s usually to make sauces for pasta dishes.  Being the expert chef that I am (not), I tossed six or seven whole cookies into the blender and pushed the CHOP button.  The blades of the blender were spinning but the cookies weren’t being chopped, let alone moving at all.  I tried various buttons, which all failed at putting even a chip in one of the cookies, and in the end I dumped them back into the mixing bowl and got out a big, heavy spoon.  I lift weights; I have strong arms.  Screw the blender, I can do this on my own!  Ha.  Hahahahahahahaha.

For five minutes, I tried crushing 20 Oreo cookies with a spoon.  Had I continued down that path, I might have grown gray hair by the time they were crushed finely enough to make a crust.  It was by far the most disorganized way of doing things, but this is how I finally accomplished crust-worthy crushed Oreos:  First, I smashed them enough with the spoon that they were small enough to move around in the blender.  However, the crumbs would all pile up under the blades, so I had to stop every few seconds and shake the jar to get all the bigger chunks to gather by the blades.  I discovered my blender has a CRUMB button (I’ve had the thing for two years, never knew that), so after another five minutes of CRUMB, stop, shake, CRUMB, stop, shake, I had a jar of soon-to-be Oreo crust.

I do things the hard way.

The crust took roughly half an hour.  I was overwhelmed and flustered.  I studied my kitchen counter, cluttered with ingredients, bowls, pans, and cookware, and knew I’d bitten off more than I could chew.  But I had promised my mother I was bringing dessert for Easter dinner and I refuse to be the kind of girl who lies to her mom.  I took a deep breath and started the next step of the recipe.

Aside from the intense, throbbing pain I felt in my triceps from stirring 32 ounces of cream cheese using a hand mixer, the rest of the cheesecake-makin’ went rather smoothly.  I learned that waiting for baking chocolate to melt is like watching paint dry, but that licking cheesecake batter off the beaters is even better than cookie dough or brownie batter.  If the crust had failed and all I had was this big bowl of deliciousness, I still would have been a happy girl:

When the cheesecake came out of the oven, I was really nervous about its texture and whether or not it was truly done.  But when I poked it the following morning, it felt just like a cheesecake should and I knew then that I had miraculously pulled it off.  This was confirmed after Easter dinner when all eight of us had a piece and all agreed I had, indeed, baked a great cheesecake.



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