Friday, February 4, 2011

Girl Scout Cookie Cheesecake

It's one of my favorite times of the year... Girl Scout Cookies are for sale!  Naturally, I bought a few boxes, but this year I wanted to try something different - this cheesecake!  I had this crazy idea to use Shout Outs (a caramel flavored cookie) for the crust, and pieces of Caramel deLites (also known as Samoas and my favorite GSC) inside the filling and on top.  I was kind of nervous about how it would turn out, but I got rave reviews!

You'll need:
1 box Shout Outs (about 2 cups when crushed)
1/4 cup sugar
1 stick regular (salted) butter, melted
3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
8 Caramel deLite cookies, broken into fourths
1 cup heavy cream
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 Caramel deLite cookies, broken into fourths

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Set all of the refrigerated ingredients for your filling on the counter - the cream cheese, eggs, and sour cream.  It's best that these ingredients are close to room temperature when you blend them.

Using a blender or food processor, crush the Shout Outs into crumbs.

Add the sugar and melted butter.

Fold together until the mixture is evenly coated with the butter, and pour into a lightly greased springform pan. (I forgot to grease my pan, and the crust was a little difficult to remove.)

Use your fingers to press the crust to the bottom of the pan, and form an even layer.

Pop the crust into the oven for about 8 minutes.  The smell is going to knock your socks off.

Meanwhile, blend the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. (If the cream cheese is still cold, soften it in a microwave dish in the microwave on low heat for 30-45 seconds.)

Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well in between each addition.

Add the sour cream, vanilla, lemon zest, and orange zest, and blend until just combined.

Break up the Caramel deLites, and scatter over the filling.

Use a spoon to gently push down the cookies into the filling.  Don't push them down all the way to the bottom - just until they're covered with the filling.

Bake for about 50 minutes on 350 degrees.

When I took the cheesecake out of the oven, the middle had sunk slightly lower than the edges, which left the perfect amount of space for the whipped cream topping.  But before making the topping, let the cake cool on the counter for about an hour and then refrigerate overnight or at least 3-4 hours.

In a medium-sized bowl, pour in the heavy cream, and add the powdered sugar.  Blend until soft peaks form.  Add the vanilla at the end, and blend until just combined. When I was a little kid, my mom would always let my brother and I sample the whipped cream before she spread it on the cake... of course it was always perfect, but regardless, I still feel like a whipped cream expert. :)

Spread the whipped cream topping over the chilled cheesecake.

Break up the remaining cookies, and scatter over the top.

I also drizzled on some caramel syrup but forgot to take a picture of that... but it looked amazing, trust me.  Hope you enjoy!

Sending you love (in a springform pan) from my kitchen.

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