about bliss

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

twd: low and lush chocolate cheesecake

my first food photo on my new apilco zen plate. thanks to my brother for the awesome gift!

'Tis a cliche to discuss holiday craziness, hecticness, busyness.

I remember the joy of multiple family holiday events as a kid, riding the energy—of surprises, gifts, cookies—from Christmas Eve morning to late Christmas night.

This energy lasted through my college and early graduate school years before transforming to a certain more anxious kind of energy...

Add in a 900 mile plane ride from one home to another, and suddenly the constant forward motion was both exhausting and multiplied by an urgency to fit in as many visits as possible in the few days I was in Michigan.

The day before my trip, the actual travel days, and the day after my trip became affectionately known as "transition days." Days filled with tears, angstiness, longing, and a feeling of being torn between two places.

Though I no longer live 900 miles away, I do face a 300 mile drive now, which actually takes longer than the aforementioned flights, and in some ways makes the distance more palpable.

(I should explain that today is the travel day at the end of my holiday sojourn, hence the long preamble before the cheesecake tales).

Since I left my Dorie book at my parents' at Thanksgiving, I was ready to bake this week's recipe after the holiday gatherings had subsided. I glanced at the recipe and smiled—my family and friends would love this recipe, and I would love baking it because it was easy, which I sorely needed mid-trip.

And so, on Boxing Day, we decided to make a special meal for my immediate family, and I volunteered to make the cheesecake...

...which took up precious oven space and delayed our dinner. Sorry, everyone!

We ate the first slices of cheesecake just three hours after I prepared it, and the chocolate was muted in the slightly warm slices.

The next day, the chocolate was more pronounced. I'm glad I added a few handfuls of Ghiradelli chocolate chips to boost the richness. The texture was creamy and voluptuous, despite my substitution of 1/3 less fat cream cheese. Mom wasn't thrilled with the touch of cinnamon in the graham cracker crust, but I liked it.

I packed up a few slices as my offering for a BFF sleepover at S's new house, and the three of us enjoyed the chocolatey treat after many glasses of wine, laughter, and tears.

And, there's one more slice tucked into my refrigerator here at my home in Wisconsin, saved for one special guy who I've known for seven months today, and who makes coming home from home that much easier:)

If only these transitions were as easy as this cheesecake...sigh.

Thank you to the Tea Lady, aka Margaret, of Tea and Scones, one of my favorite bloggers and tweeps, for selecting this delicious and simple recipe for post-holiday baking.


  1. ...and if only my cheesecake were as easy as it was supposed to be! I'm not eager for life to emulate the disaster that befell my cake.

    I love reading your observations about home and travel. It's never easy, and I have to say that from the Mom end of things, the transitions are also disorienting and painful. For a brief few days we are back as a family - not the same, never the way it was - but still so very precious.

    I really debated the cinnamon, meager amount that it was, and don't think I'd use it again. Cinnamon + chocolate are not my favorite combination. Oh, and your brother did very well with the plate!

  2. I am glad you made this. I will def up the chocolate next time. And adding the chips - great idea.

    It does look just perfect.

    Thanks for baking with me this week.

    Also, from the Mom side, having your children for just a few days/hours makes you appreciate them even more.

  3. Awwww...happy 7 months together!! You sound happy! The cheesecake looks wonderful and I hope you had a truly wonderful holiday and very happy new year!