Thanksgiving has come and gone, and Christmas is right around the corner! For thanksgiving this year, my husband and I hosted for the first time which I was so excited about. We had lovely company over… we had fun, wonderful conversation and shared so much gratitude together. I was so impressed, and a little surprised with the menu my husband and I put together, and how fantastic it all turned out!! It was such a rewarding experience to cook nourishing and yummy foods for people I love on such a special day where we give thanks.
My table was set with my parents wedding china, new serve-ware from our wedding, my own wheel-thrown vases and fall decor.
We started our meal with butternut squash soup. Our turkey was brined with warm spices and baked with a rub of fresh herbs. For sides, we served a simple Croatian-style coleslaw salad, buttery yukon-gold mashed potatoes, homemade cornbread stuffing that my best friend brought over, and these super yummy homemade dill-garlic rolls with a honey-butter spread. Our family friends brought their favorite cranberry sauce over, and we had a delicious gravy made from our turkey drippings.
For dessert, a classic pumpkin pie was requested that I adorned with fall leaf-shaped pie crust. I also served my mom’s New York style cheesecake with a warm holiday twist. We sipped coffee and indulged in our desserts post dinner. This holiday cheesecake is such a decadent, warm and comforting dessert to add to your holiday party menus!
- 10 honey graham crackers, broken into smaller pieces
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup pure cane sugar
- 6 tbs melted unsalted butter
- 5, 8oz packages of cream cheese
- 1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature (4 oz)
- 8oz of sour cream at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cup pure cane sugar
- 5 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
- Zest of 1 small lemon
- Juice from 1 small lemon
- 1 tsp of vanilla paste or extract
- 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp all spice
- Preheat your oven to 375F.
- Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 by 13inch springform pan. Cut 2 long pieces of parchment paper and place them in your springform pan in the shape of a + sign (this helps to easily remove it from your pan later).
- Pulse graham crackers with salt and sugar to small crumbs within a food processor. Add the butter until fully incorporated. Pour mixture into springform pan and evenly press the mixture until it’s firm (I use the bottom of my measuring cups to help create a firm bottom). Bake for 15 minutes, crust should be golden brown. Then remove and set aside on a wire rack to cool while you mix the filling.
- Using a stand mixer, with a paddle attachment, beat your cream cheese. After a few minutes, add your butter, sour cream and sugar until it’s smooth and light. I put my mixer on low-medium and let it go for 5 minutes or so to achieve this texture. Then add your eggs, 1 at a time. Once fully incorporated, add your lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla paste. Lastly, add in your spices and mix together. Give the batter a taste and add more spice to taste if you’d like.
- Create a water bath by making another + sign with foil, then place your springform pan with the cooled crust on top of the foil in the middle. Then wrap the foil around the pan tightly. Pour your filling into the pan, then place the springform pan onto a roasting pan. Place the roasting pan containing the springform pan into the oven, then add your water. Pour the water into the roasting pan until it comes nearly half way up the springform pan.
- Bake for 1 hour – 1 hour and 15 minutes until the sides are stable and firm and there is a slight jiggle in the center. Lift the cheesecake right out of the roasting pan and set onto a wire rack. After 15 minutes, remove the foil and place the cheesecake back on the wire rack to finish cooling for 1 hour. Then cover & place in the refrigerator to cool.
- Before serving, release the springform pan and remove the parchment paper and place the cheesecake on your favorite serving dish.
Enjoy this perfect holiday treat! I hope you had a lovely thanksgiving and that your expressions of gratitude and thanks have carried on. ❤
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