So making a cheesecake from scratch has been an adventure I've been wanting to attempt for awhile now. It was a true adventure. I had a bajillion questions, so I turned to someone who makes cheesecakes all the time, my Mama. She makes the most delicious cheesecakes.
Some questions I had were "what temperature should the oven be at?" "Should I do the water bath method?" "If I do the water bath method can I put my metal pan in a glass baking dish?" "How the heck do I get a pan in my crockpot if I want to do a slow cooker cheesecake?" Any of the questions she couldn't answer, I googled. Boy, I heart Google.
I finally found out that you need a 7 inch springform to fit in your crockpot, which I didn't have. So I ended up going with the water bath method. Then my 11x15 glass baking dish wasn't big enough to fit my 8 inch springform pan. So I used one of my baking sheets that has a lip on it.(see the pictures) This also eliminated my concern about putting a metal pan in a glass dish. However, all my googling didn't bring me to believe that metal + glass= oven explosion.
Anyway, I was amazed at how easily I got a great texture on the cheesecake. The hardest part was allowing it time to cool in the refrigerator without eating it. I did get a few small cracks and blemishes. My 17 year old niece recommended a chocolate drizzle and some oreo garnishes to make it look perfect, which I have to say made it look super professional. Thank you Ava for that!
Also I read online you can check that your cheesecake is done by making sure the temp is at 160 degrees. However, the thermometer leaves an ugly little hole in it! Gross. Nothing an oreo couldn't cover though. :)
The cheesecake was delicious, the most important part in my opinion. Jon said it was better than Cheesecake Factory, but I pay him to say stuff like that, so you'll just have to make it yourself.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine crust ingredients. Press into greased springform pan. Set aside.
Boil about 2 cups of water in tea kettle.
Combine cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, vanilla extract, almond extract and salt with mixer until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Fold in crushed cookies with spatula. Pour over crust.
Cover the bottom of springform pan with aluminum foil to avoid water leaking into cheesecake. Place springform pan in baking dish. Pour boiled water around pan, until half way up the baking dish.*I did this once the cheesecake was in the oven to avoid me spilling boiling water as I carried it to the oven* Bake cheesecake for about an hour and 20 minutes. Center will still be a little gooey. Allow to set overnight in refrigerator. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and garnish with halved oreo cookies. Enjoy!