I was at work when I got a text message from my mom.
“Do you have a Hershey’s lookbook?”
Lookbook? Oh, cookbook. I texted her back no, then received another message informing me that she was looking at one in a bookstore right that moment and everything in it looked delicious and awesome and that she was going to get it for me. Hey, who am I to turn down a free recipe book?
And she was right. Oh god, was she ever right. I want to eat everything in this book, even the stuff I don’t think I would actually enjoy, like the black forest cake (or anything with cherries in it, really). If only there was a way to make stuff in books appear in the real world. I’d probably gain a hundred pounds.
But, such devices do not exist, and so I must make the baked goods myself. I decided on the Peanut Butter Fudge Cheesecake for a couple of reasons. 1) It looked amazingly tasty, 2) Because I’ve never made cheesecake before and it was about time I made one, and 3) Did I mention it looked really, really good?
The recipe wanted me to use vanilla wafers for the crust, but I eschewed that in favor of graham crackers because I don’t play by the rules, man. As I was crushing the graham crackers with my rolling pin (instead of a hammer), I grew more and more worried. Given my track record recently, it seemed inevitable that I fuck this up in one way or another. The cheesecake would probably crack. Oh God, it was definitely going to crack. It was going to look awful. What if it tasted awful, too? What if it was just a lumpy and disgusting mess and a waste of cream cheese? WHAT IF THE WORLD ENDED BECAUSE OF THIS CHEESECAKE???
While the crust was cooking I hurriedly researched on the internet about how to prevent cheesecakes from cracking and the best ways to bake them. I grew more and more freaked out as I looked at the long lists of instructions and warnings. Cheesecakes are temperamental little buggers, apparently! Just the slightest thing could make them fall apart entirely, according to the things I read. I started losing more and more confidence, but I had already started making it, so I couldn’t stop now.
And wouldn’t you know, one of the things I feared would happen came true — the cream cheese would not get soft and was still cold, therefore causing lumps in the batter. I actually started mixing it together a bit with my hands in an effort to warm the cold cream cheese and cause it to meld into the batter. It worked a little, but not really. Baking things in winter is impossible. Or maybe my microwave is doing it wrong.
Anyway, I kept going, melting the peanut butter chips and the chocolate.
In hindsight, I probably should’ve used more peanut butter. The taste of peanut butter wasn’t as strong as I would’ve liked. I seperated the batter, and poured the melted chocolate chips into one, peanut butter chips into the other. Chocolate layer first, peanut butter layer second. The batter was still lumpy and didn’t spread across the pan quite correctly. The videos all had silky smooth batter that didn’t require spreading with a spatula. But, oh well.
Using a few of the tips I’d gotten from the Intertubes, I wrapped my springform pan with foil, filled a baking pan with water, placed the springform pan into that (it’s called a water bath, for those of you not ~in the know~), and put it in the oven, crossing my fingers. Not literally, but metaphorically.
So sure was I that the top would be cracked once it was finished that, when I finally took it out of the oven some time later, I was astonished to find…
NO CRACKS. NONE. ZERO. I was amazed and proud and confused. I kept feeling like, because it didn’t crack, I did something wrong. But nope! It was delicious! Everyone loved it and sang my praises over it! Parades were held in my honor! I was given a large, expensive medal!
Though, as you can see, I…uh… forgot to spray the pan. Again. Because I’m an idiot. I really need to remember to do that.
In any case, I’m really pleased that my first attempt at cheesecake went so well. It didn’t go off without a hitch, but you know, that’s to be expected. I have to remember I can’t be perfect at everything. Or anything, really, because most people aren’t, no matter how much it appears that they are.
I’ll add the recipe here later, but I need to go to work soon.