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I kicked off the holiday baking this year with this cranberry cheesecake. I also just bought my Christmas tree yesterday, so Christmas has officially arrived in my home. It was so refreshing to have the lovely scent of a fresh cut tree fill my home again.
Last year, I was in France and then the Sierras for the holidays, so I didn’t really decorate. This year, however, I have started all the holiday goodness by serving up this cheesecake and decorating my home with some finds from Big Lots.
I originally went to Big Lots just to purchase some baking ingredients to make this cranberry cheesecake, but I was easily distracted by all the beautiful Christmas decorations. Then, as I was going starry-eyed over a glitter reindeer, a sweet employee came over and asked me if I wanted to see more Christmas decorations in the seasonal section of the store.
How could I refuse? I practically live and breathe Christmas as soon as Thanksgiving draws to a close. To my pleasant surprise, I found quite a few gems in the store, and have already used them for my entertaining needs. You can shop some of the products I used in the image above.
I made this cranberry cheesecake using my go-to cheesecake recipe. The recipe can be adapted to include a variety of flavors and toppings, including crushed [easyazon_link keywords=”oreos” locale=”US” tag=”monpetitfour-20″]Oreos[/easyazon_link] in the batter or chocolate syrup poured over the top.
My cheesecake also tends to bake into a slightly concave shape near the top, which is perfect for toppings. You don’t have to worry about the cranberry sauce spilling over before you’ve cut into it.
The cheesecake batter is rich and creamy, and exactly what classic cheesecake was made to be. It also compliments the slightly tart compote on top, which is really just my favorite cranberry sauce recipe.
It all rests on a [easyazon_link identifier=”B00IO2HEDW” locale=”US” tag=”monpetitfour-20″]cinnamon graham cracker crust[/easyazon_link] that is both fragrant and tastes like a dose of Christmas. If you’re looking for a holiday dessert to celebrate with this season, look no further than this cranberry cheesecake.
Shop for this Recipe:
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For the graham cracker crust
- 1 1/2 cups crushed cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, plus some more softened butter for greasing the pan, melted
For the cheesecake filling
- 3 packages cream cheese, 8 oz. each, room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the cranberry topping
- 1/2 a (6 oz.) bag fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup cranberry juice, 4 oz.
- 1/2 cup maple syrup, 4 oz.
- zest of 1/2 a small orange
- juice of 1/2 a small orange
Begin by creating the graham cracker crust
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Stir the graham cracker crumbs with the brown sugar in a large bowl. Then stir in the melted butter and mix until all the crumbs are coated in the butter.
- Grease a 10-inch springform pan with softened butter. Optional: line the bottom of the pan with a sheet of parchment paper too. Pour the crumbs into the pan, then use the bottom of a flat cup or a rubber spatula to pack the crumbs down into one smooth layer.
- Bake the crust for 15 minutes, until golden. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and let the crust slightly cool on the counter.
Create the cheesecake batter
- Beat the cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add in the sugar and mix again to combine.
- Add the eggs in, one at a time, and mix just until each egg is incorporated. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract, then mix again just until everything is combined. Don't overly mix the batter (that's what causes cracks in a cheesecake!).
- Pour the batter into the prepared crust. Bake the cheesecake for about 1 hr to 1 hr 15 minutes, or until it's only slightly wobbly in the center.
- Run a sharp knife along the edge of the cake, then let the cake rest in the springform pan at room temperature for 2 hours. After 2 hours, remove the outside ring from the pan, and wrap the entire cake in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
To create the cranberry topping
- Add all of the topping ingredients into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Keep giving the mixture a stir every minute or so, and allow the mixture to come to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue to occasionally stir.
- Allow the cranberry sauce to continue cooking for 10-15 minutes, until the cranberries begin to burst and are softened. Turn off the heat and allow the sauce to slightly cool in the pot for another 20 minutes. Pour the mixture into a bowl/jar/storage container, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
- Simply scoop cranberry sauce over the top of the cake before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 12 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 465