Streusel is my magic word.
If you've been a reader of this blog for long, you know that I was never the biggest fan of cheesecake. Somewhere along the line, things started to change, and now I'm excited to bring you the most impressive, most tasty, most complex cheesecake I've ever encountered.
Folks, we're talking layers involving oatmeal cookie streusel, creamy cheesecake, cinnamon chips, and caramel--it doesn't get much better than that. I can definitely appreciate so many flavors and textures going on in one bite. My only complaint would be that because of that crumble, the entire cake held together poorly, but let's be honest--it's all going to the same place anyway. Structure is the least of my concerns when streusel is involved.
Hocus pocus. Alakazam. Voila.
Cinnamon Streusel Cheesecake
(based on a recipe by Marcy Goldman)
1 1/2 cups finely ground cinnamon-raisin cookies
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream or whipping cream
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup finely ground cinnamon-raisin cookies
1/3 cup cinnamon chips, optional (but not really)
1/4 cup butterscotch or caramel sundae topping (or a sauce of your own making)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon mixed with 1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
To make the crust, toss cookie crumbs, butter, and brown sugar together in bottom of one 10-inch springform pan (or two 8-inchers). Press the crust into bottom of the pan(s) and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Wrap the pan(s) with three layers of foil to keep out the water from the water bath.
To make the filling, in a mixer bowl, blend the cream cheese, sugar, and sour cream until smooth, scraping bottom and sides of bowl to incorporate everything, about 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla and flour and blend well, 2 to 3 minutes.
Spoon one-third of the filling into the prepared pan and top with half each of the ground cookies and cinnamon chips. Drizzle on some butterscotch topping and dust on some cinnamon sugar. Cover with another third of the cream cheese filling and then dust on more cookies, more cinnamon chips, and more cinnamon sugar.
Add the last bit of filling and finish the top of the cake with cookie crumbs, cinnamon chips, and a nice dusting of cinnamon sugar. You want to end up with a streusel-ized topping.
Place the pan in a water bath such that the water comes about halfway up the sides of the pan(s) and bake 65 to 75 minutes (for a 10-inch pan; 55-65 minutes for 8-inchers). Turn off the oven and let the cake cool in the oven for 1 hour before removing to fridge. Chill cheesecake at least 6 hours or overnight before serving.