Strawberry White Chocolate Cheesecake – Happy Birthday to ME!

Yesterday was the Annual Birthday Party/Winery Trip. Every year we make 1 trip to a local winery. We spend about 2 hours there eating cheese, crackers, veggies and drinking lots of wine. My friends are not typical wine drinkers; they prefer beer. Um, what’s not to love about beer? I prefer beer over wine because it doesn’t make me feel like I’ve been run over, twice, by a beer truck. Wine = bad hangover! In the end, we only stayed a couple of hours and then had the party bus take us a local bar where we could get some beer and mixed drinks. It was the right place for us. Although, they really didn’t like it when I walked in with a beer in my hand. I think there’s a law against bringing your own beer into a bar. Oops! Oh well, it was my birthday.

On Thursday, I started planning my birthday cake. The hubby wasn’t real happy to hear that I was baking me own cake. He thought it was just “wrong” for me to make my own cake. I thought it was wrong to think that someone like me wouldn’t make my own cake. Sheesh… that’s like telling Albert Pujols that he can come to the game, but he can’t play. I wasn’t going to let that happen.

I love cheesecake. It’s my all-time, favorite dessert. I knew that I would make myself a cheesecake, but I didn’t anticipate using the recipe that I ended up with. I had planned to make a chocolate, layered cheesecake that would be 2 chocolate cake layers with a cheesecake layer in between. The outside would be covered in chocolate icing and then mini chocolate chips would be stuck to the outside. Well, that didn’t happen, but I decided to use a recipe that I had been eying for years. It was a white chocolate, raspberry cheesecake. I don’t prefer raspberries, so I decided to use strawberry instead. It turned out perfect. The cheesecake was delicious. I am so happy that I made it because it was everything that I wanted. All of my friends loved it. I’m just sad that I forgot to put it away last night, so I had to throw the last 2 pieces away. Booooo! I guess I’ll have to make another one.

Thanks to my awesome friends who made it out to my party yesterday. It was one of the best birthdays I have ever had. Let’s not wait until next year to have fun like that again. Although, I may need a full year to let my liver recover. Love you all!

White Chocolate Cheesecake
Recipe adapted from:

1 cup graham cracker crumbs crumbs
3 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 (10 ounce) package frozen strawberries (packed in sugar)
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups white chocolate chips
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place frozen strawberries over strainer and let thaw reserving all liquid.

In a medium bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Using your fingers, press mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.

In a saucepan, combine thawed strawberries, strawberry liquid, 2 tablespoons sugar, and cornstarch. Bring to boil, and continue boiling 5 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove any solids.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt white chocolate chips with half-and-half, stirring occasionally until smooth. This can also be done in the microwave.

In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate. Pour half of batter over crust. Spoon 3 tablespoons strawberry sauce over batter. Pour remaining cheesecake batter into pan, and again spoon 3 tablespoons strawberry sauce over the top. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect.

Wrap pan with foil and place on a baking sheet in the oven. Pour 1-2 cups of water in the baking sheet to create a “water bath.” Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Turn off the oven and let cool in the oven for up to 2 hours to prevent cracking. Remove and store in the refrigerator.


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