Thursday, November 22, 2012

Honey Whole Wheat Cheesecake

    As the years have passed health has outweighed taste ... but when we have a recipe as delicious as this cheese cake it is worth the years of tweaking it has taken to turn it into a healthy tasty holiday tradition.  Cheesecake is Dad's territory, it was his mom's original recipe and has now become his masterpiece. I paid close attention this year and learned a bunch of his tricks. 

   We have made our own whole wheat gram crackers before, but this year we were tired so we bought the organic whole wheat gram crackers from Kroger. Rolling them out is a favorite job that all the children love. We've found that putting the crackers in a plastic bag and usesing a rolling pin or the bottom of a cup works best. 

    Cracker crumbs ... take a nibble (I won't tell :)

     I love our masonry fireplace for softening butter. It softens it, but doesn't melt it .
     By the way, this is store bought butter. No Amish-made jersey butter today ... sorry.

    Honey is kind of hard to work with as a sweetener because it has a recognizable honey taste that is hard to mask. The secret: Baking Soda! The baking soda helps cut the honey's acidity down and thus the taste.    

     Spread the golden crust ... We like to make our cheesecake in a 9x11 baking dish, but we've done it in a circle cheesecake pan before. I don't know why we switched to a 9x11 baking dish.

    It's important to mix the dry ingredients separate from moist in order to avoid Baking Soda clumps.
    Really whip the moist ingredients, but once you add the dry ingredients you want to pour it over the crust as soon as it's mixed consistently because the soda and honey work together in a chemical reaction and you don't want that chemical reaction to quit before the cheese cakes hits the heat.
   You don't have to kill yourself over speed, but don't go and pick up a book at this point.

    See the bubbles? That's the chemical reaction. Sorry if I got your hopes up. No blue smoke or explosions today. I don't think Mom would have liked that in her kitchen anyway ...
    The baking soda and honey reaction also helps to make the cheese cake fluffier which offsets the whole wheat flour which usually makes things more dense.

   Baked to perfection (don't look at the bottom of the oven, those are not pieces of burned baked potatoe or cookie crumbs even though they may really look like it :) 
   Are we done yet??? Almost ... Don't give up!
   Now, as it chills in the fridge for thirty minutes, we make the sour cream layer (sorry, no photos of that in the mixer), layer it on the cheese cake after the thirty minutes are up and put it in the oven again. 

    Perfecto! It looks the best right out of the oven because it's so puffy and light looking, but it slowly falls with time. Maybe next year we'll cure the falling with another secret ingredient or chemical reaction :)

   Now it sits in the refrigerator over night. How are we going to find room with all the rest of the Thanksgiving stuff in there? Don't leave it uncovered it will absorb all the food smells in the refigerator and start to taste like that, whether it's onions, or chicken, or buttermilk ... we just spent forever masking the honey taste, let's not add a garlic taste.
   It's best to let it cool before putting plastic wrap over it though ... that's why the one on the photo isn't covered yet.

 Good morning! It's a new day. Thanksgiving Day! Happy Thanksgiving! Now we get to make the raspberry topping. We used to spoon the topping all over the cheese cake, but now that certain members of the family prefer plain cheese cake we let people spoon the topping over their own slices of cheese cake.

    And there you have it! You can now make my favorite dessert! Take a bite, chew it slowly, and make it a favorite of your own!  
     2 1/4 cups Gram Cracker crumbs
     2 TB Wh. Wheat Flour
     Dash of Baking Soda
     4 TB Honey
     4 TB Softened Butter
     4 PK. Cream Cheese
     4 Eggs
     1 Cup Honey
     1/2 Cup Wh. Wheat Flour
     1/2 tsp Baking Soda
     1 TB Vanilla
  Sour Cream Layer:
     3 Cups Sour Cream
     2 tsp Vanilla
     1/3 Cup Honey
     1/4 tsp Baking soda
     3 TB Wh. Wheat Flour
     10 oz. Frozen Raspberries
      Honey to taste
      Cornstarch if needed as thickener

     Crush the gram crackers until the preferred size is reached. Combine crumbs, flour, and baking soda completely before adding the honey and softened butter. Mix until consistent then spread evenly on the bottom of the preferred baking dish, whether 9x11, circle cheese cake pan, etc...     
     Blend cream cheese, eggs, honey, and vanilla until very smooth. In a separate bowl mix flour and baking soda. combine and mix. Pour over the cracker crust and get into oven quickly. Bake at 315 degrees for 45 minutes. remove from heat and place on hot pot holders of dish towel in the fridge. Let it chill for a half hour (thirty minutes).
  Sour Cream Layer:
     Mix sour cream, vanilla, and honey in a separate bowl than the Baking soda and flour. Combine mixtures once they are each completely mixed. Pour over the chilled filling layer and bake at low broil for 5 minutes. Once the timer rings tun off the oven but do not take the cheese cake out for twenty more minutes. Chill overnight in the refrigerator.   
     Thaw raspberries in a small saucepan on the stove. Once the berries are in liquid state add honey until reaching the desired sweetness. If the mixture is thinner than preferred, mix 1 TB of cornstarch to 2 TB water and dribble into the raspberries, stirring continuously, until the desired consistency is reached. If it's still not thick enough add more cornstarch and water. If it gets too thin add water. Let the topping cool, which will also thicken the mixture, before spooning over either the entire cheese cake or single slice.

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