Search This Blog

The Best New York Cheesecake

from Cook's Illustrated (March/April 2002 pg24)


Graham Cracker Crust:
1 cup (4 ounces) graham cracker crumbs (8 whole crackers, broken into rough pieces and processed in food processor until uniformly fine)
1 tablespoon sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus additional 1 tablespoon melted butter for greasing pan

Cheesecake Filling:
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, cut into rough 1-inch chunks and left to stand at room temperature for 30-45 minutes
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks plus 6 large whole eggs

You will also need:
Rimmed baking sheet (to catch spills/leakage during baking)
Springform pan (This one is Pampered Chef and I really like the glass bottom to it.)

A good large spatula or (my preference) spoonula. (Again, Pampered Chef makes this one.)

Pastry brush (for brushing butter in pan)
A good stand mixer (because that's a lot of cream cheese) with paddle attachment


For the crust: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees (F). Combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar in medium bowl; add 5 tablespoons melted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened. Brush bottom and sides of springform pan with most of remaining melted butter, making sure to leave enough to brush pan later. Empty crumbs into springform pan and press evenly into pan bottom using a small ramekin (pictured below). Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown around edges, about 13 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.

For the cheesecake filling: Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. In stand mixer, beat cream cheese at medium-low speed to break up and soften slightly, about 1 minute.

Scrape beater and bottom/sides of bowl well with spoonula; add salt and about half of sugar and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; beat in remaining sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla, and beat at low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add yolks and beat at medium-low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add whole eggs two at a time, beating until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute and scraping bowl between additions.

(In case you didn't notice, scraping the bowl is very important.)

Brush sides of springform pan with remaining melted butter. Set springform pan on rimmed baking sheet. Pour filling into cooled crust. It will be FULL.

Bake at 500 degrees for 10 minutes; without opening oven door, reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue to bake about 1 1/2 hours.

Yes, seriously... 500 degrees.

Transfer cake to wire rack and cool 5 minutes; run paring knife between cake and side of springform pan. cool until barely warm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours. (Cake can be refrigerated up to 4 days.)

Unmold cheesecake, move to other serving platter if desired, and slice while still cold. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to serving.

Chocolate Waffles

adapted from Alton Brown's recipe on


7 ounces (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 3/4 ounces (I use 4 tablespoons) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
16 ounces (2 cups) buttermilk
2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter
1 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) cocoa powder
3 whole eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces (3/4 cup) chocolate chips

You will also need:

Large batter bowl
Small batter bowl
Sauce pan
Rubber spatula
Waffle iron
Non-stick cooking spray (for waffle iron)


In large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In sauce pan, heat buttermilk, cocoa powder and butter over medium-low heat while whisking to combine until warm, butter is melted, and cocoa is well incorporated.

In small bowl, beat eggs and vanilla. Add chocolate mixture and beat to combine. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir in chocolate chips just until all ingredients are combined (do not over-stir). Let batter stand for 5 minutes.

Allow waffle iron to warm and ladle batter on as instructed for your waffle iron (mine takes around 1/3 cup to make a waffle). Take note that the chocolate chips will have started to melt just a bit with the heat from the buttermilk. You may need to scrape them off onto the waffle iron.

Garnish with powdered sugar, fruit, and whipped cream. (Make it cherry pie filling and whipped cream for "Black Forest Waffles")


from Cook's Illustrated (March/April 2004, p.24-25)

These brownies almost melt in your mouth, they are so soft. I dare say, chocolate at it's best.


1 cup (4 ounces) pecans or walnuts, chopped medium (optional)
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine.
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into six 1-inch pieces
2 1/4 cups (15 3/4 ounces) sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

You will also need:

13x9-inch baking dish
Aluminum foil
Nonstick cooking spray
A double boiler set-up of some kind: A large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of almost-simmering water (I use a Pampered Chef batter bowl over a small sauce pan with about 1/2 inch of water in it)
A heatproof (silicone) spatula
A good whisk

Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees.

Line the baking dish with foil. Cut 14-inch length of foil and fit into width of baking dish, pushing it into the corners and up the sides of the pan; allow excess to overhand the pan edges. Cut 18-inch length and fit into length of pan in the same manner, perpendicular to the first sheet. Spray foil-lined pan with non-stick cooking spray.

If using nuts, spread nuts evenly on rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

(But let's get real here... why would you EVER want to mess up a good brownie with nuts?)

Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.

Melt chocolate and butter in your double-boiler set up, stirring occasionally (with your heatproof spatula), until smooth.

(Alternatively, in microwave, heat butter and chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl on high for 45 seconds, then stir and heat for 30 seconds more. Stir again, and, if necessary, repeat in 15-second increments; do not let chocolate burn.)

When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions, folding with spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.

Transfer batter to prepared pan; using spatula, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface. Sprinkle toasted nuts (if using) evenly over batter and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 30-35 minutes (my oven takes about 40 minutes).

Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours (Who can wait that long? Not me.), then remove brownies from pan by lifting foil overhang. Cut brownies into 2-inch squares and serve.

Store leftovers (Yeah, right!) in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

Just look at that texture. With that crunch top. It almost doesn't get any more perfect.