So you’ll recall that last year’s eggnog cheesecake wasn’t my best effort – it wasn’t particularly noggy and the presentation left much to be desired.
This year I found a (Martha!) recipe that actually included premade eggnog in it for stronger eggnog flavor, and I went with bars to avoid dealing with a springform pan. Tastewise, it earned raves at the little dinner we had with our friends, and presentation wise, could have been worse!
The recipe was from Martha Stewart – Elizabeth’s Eggnog Cheesecake Bars:
- Vegetable oil cooking spray, for pan
- 12 graham crackers, finely ground (1 1/2 cups) [incidentally, 1.5 cups was WAY more than 12 crackers. I didn’t count but I think it was at least 15.]
- 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3/4 cup eggnog
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon brandy [We went with Courvoisier – the hubs didn’t want the generic giant bottle at the grocery store and I thought it was funny to get a rap staple for my holiday baking.]
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for dusting
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch square [I didn’t have a 9 inch square so I used an 8 inch square and it didn’t seem to hurt things] baking pan with cooking spray. Stir together graham crackers, 3 tablespoons sugar, and the melted butter. Press into bottom of pan. Bake until crust is just brown around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool.
Incidentally, this step was WAY easier with a food processor this year. Look at those perfect crumbs!
Meanwhile, beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, the eggs, yolk, eggnog, flour, brandy, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt; beat until smooth. Pour filling over crust. Set pan in a roasting pan, and add enough hot water to come halfway up sides of baking pan. Bake until just set, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove baking pan from water bath, and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool slightly, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Luckily, I had a roasting pan for the ham we were making for dinner (I made the bars the night before) but I think something in the process may have punctured the pan because the next evening we had ham glaze dripping all over the oven and burning/smoking, then dripping all over the range when we took the ham out. Good times. (Sorry for the blurry picture, I forgot to photograph it before going in the oven so I snapped a quick one while it baked).
Cut into 1 1/2-by-3-inch bars. Lightly dust tops of bars with freshly grated [um, no – McCormick all the way] nutmeg just before serving.
Yeah, so the cutting instructions? Easier said than done. I kept having it crumble off the knife, separate from the crust, etc. Eventually I got all the pieces out after eating one that got really messed up which made room for me to slide them around a bit, and once out I cleaned them up by slicing off a bit from the edges of each that didn’t come out nicely.