I’ve gone and done it. I’ve really gone and done stuck my foot in it now, ya’ll. I have recently discovered that you can make cheesecake in the slow cooker.
Now my first instinct was, “How easy!!”
My mother’s first reaction was, “How’s that any better?”
Truth be told, it does take more time, but it is much lower maintenance. You see, normally when baking a cheesecake, most recipes call for a water bath. This means you first wrap the bottom of your springform pan in foil to prevent any leaks, then place your pan in a roasting dish filled with 2-3 inches hot water.
It can be very difficult transporting the pan, then watching for cracks in your cheesecake as it bakes, while simultaneously not letting too much heat out of your oven. Then, one must carefully take the hot pan out of the oven while trying not to spill boiling hot water on your feet, and wait patiently for the cheesecake to cool.
Sounds daunting? I don’t like this method for the simple fact that I have, in fact, burned my feet with that hot water, and the oven heats up the whole house. Baking cheesecake in the slow cooker has allowed me somewhat of a “fix it and forget it” method. It might just be dangerously easy. Lucky for me my crock pot is smaller, so I had to use a 7 inch cake pan, which makes a smaller cheesecake.
Smaller cheesecake equals less danger, which also equals less running to compensate.
You still whip up the cheesecake batter like normal, place it in a pan, and get ready to bake. You’ll places a few cups of water in the crock pot, slowly lower your pan into the crock pot, cover the lid, and don’t peek for the next 2-3 hours. This steam bath creates the silkiest, dreamiest cheesecake you’ve ever had, west of the Mississippi.
Let’s start with the crust. Grab 6 graham crackers, and start smashing.
I also had a handful of candied pecans leftover, so I chopped those up too.
I dumped my crushed crackers, nuts, and a 1/4 cup of melted butter into the pan. Stir it around a bit with your fingers, then press into the bottom of the pan.
If you’re using an *actual* springform pan, I would mix the mixture in a small bowl and then dump it into the pan to avoid any butter spillage.
I have springform pans, but not one small enough to fit in my slow cooker.
I also have a brand new slow cooker. It’s up in the garage, and it’s probably much bigger… but my kitchen is tiny, and I don’t think I have room in the cupboards…. and this is the slow cooker my grandma used. Probably bought it brand new in 1990. *charm*
Set the crust aside and begin on the filling. I set out two 8 oz bricks of cream cheese to come to room temperature.
Ideally, you’ll want to mix your cream cheese with your sugar first, but I was not thinking and threw in an egg.
Don’t be like me.
So, beat well after each addition, a total of 3 eggs.
Then get out your nifty, and a little pricey (but oh, so worth it), vanilla bean paste that was sent as a gift to you from one of your favorite bloggers, NanaBread. It’s the same as vanilla extract, it’s right next to it on the shelf, but it’s for when you really want that vanilla flavor to *SHINE,* and have little black specks in your food.
Oh. Just me?
And 3/4 cup of sugar. Add that too. Mix again.
Blend for 3-4 minutes. No lumps people, NO LUMPS!!!
Ok, there’s a small one.
Only a few lumps people, ONLY A FEW!
Then I decided….. wait! I need chocolate!! I’m going to melt up some chocolate chips and pour it in half the batter.
I’m already planning the possibilities… peanut butter, Nutella, pumpkin, cherry… Mounds bar!?
So, melt a good 3/4 cup of chocolate chips in the microwave. Use 30 second intervals or you’ll burn your chocolate. Take it out juuuuust before it’s all melted, stir, and let it sit and cool off a little.
If you were to pour that hot melted chocolate in here, it would probably curdle ya’lls eggs.
So, I poured about half the batter in the pan, and then poured the melted chocolate mixture into the remaining batter.
Then drop the chocolate batter by spoonfuls into the pan. Use a knife to gently drag the blobs together and create the *cutest* marbled pattern.
I was SURE mine was looking haggard, but it all baked out ok.
And tasted GREAT!
Don’t be so hard on yourselves, ya’ll!
Now the fun, and safe, part. Pour 3 cups of water into the crock pot, and slowly lower your pan in. You want enough water to last for 3 hours of steaming, but not so much that gets into your pan.
*I GOT WATER IN MY PAN!!!* Of course I would. Ugh. Just take a little paper towel and dab it off of there, nothin’ to get your panties in a bunch about. Not that I did that or anything. Nope. Not at all.
My pan was sorta floating on the water, but I was afraid to try it with any less. Some recipes also mentioned setting the pan on a trivet in the crock pot; mine worked just fine without.
That’s it!! Bake 2-3 hours on high, until a knife comes out almost clean.
Once the cheesecake has set, meaning a knife gently placed in the middle comes out fairly clean, with no liquidy batter, your cheesecake is done!
Turn off the slow cooker, and allow the cheesecake to cool awhile while still in the crock pot. Gently run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake, and even if a crack or two has formed, as it cools slowly, those cracks should heal themselves up!
After about an hour, using tongs and hot pads, transfer the cheesecake to the fridge to cool completely before serving.
I may or may not have been so excited at this slow cooker possibility that I may or may not have cut into the cheesecake while it was warm to try it.
I feel bad; I hope my brother doesn’t read this. I was just visiting him in California two weeks ago, and he had a birthday. Cheesecake is his favorite; if only I had discovered this then.
Don’t worry big brother, next time I’m there, I’ll make you three. One just for you. One just for me and your wife, and one for the freezer.
I hope ya’ll enjoy this method as much as I do, and experiment with the possibilities. Soon I’m going to attempt a Caramel Latte Cheesecake. It was my favorite flavor from The Cheesecake Factory, which has since been retired. A chocolate espresso cookie crust, vanilla cheesecake, with white chocolate chips, and a smooth caramel swirl. I’ll keep ya’ll posted.
~Peace, Love, and Crock Pots Ya’ll!
Crock Pot Cheesecake
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2-3 hours (high setting)
6 graham crackers, crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 8oz bricks of cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
3/4 chocolate chips, melted, and slightly cooled
Begin by making the crust. Crush six graham crackers, and mix with 1/4 cup melted butter in a small bowl. Mix with a fork until just combined, and press into a 7 inch springform pan, or something similar (I only had a 7 inch cake pan; whatever will fit in your crock pot). Next, blend two 8 oz bricks of cream cheese with 3/4 cup of granulated sugar with a hand mixer. Slowly add 3 eggs, one a time, then vanilla, mixing until thoroughly blended. Continue to beat for three more minutes, creating a smooth, almost lump free mixture. Pour half the mixture into your pan, leaving half in the bowl. Pour the chocolate mixture into the remaining batter. Be sure this mixture has cooled slightly to prevent from cooking the eggs in your batter. Drop the chocolate batter by the spoonful into the pan, and swirl with a knife to create a marbled look. Now pour 2-3 cups of water into your slow cooker. You want enough water to steam your cheesecake for a few hours and not run out, but not so much water that it gets into your pan (if this happens, try to absorb any water with a paper towel). Cook on high for 2-3 hours (mine took 3), until a knife inserted in the middle comes out fairly clean, and the cheesecake does not jiggle. Do not remove the lid during the cooking process, it needs all that heat! When finished, run a knife along the edge of the cheesecake, turn off the slow cooker, and allow it to cool for an hour in the crock pot, before transporting it to the fridge. When cooled completely, serve!