There’s no shortcut to good cheesecake 

Published 12:05 am Sunday, November 6, 2016

The picture and title of this week’s recipe are what caught my eye. It was for “New York Cheesecake Cookies.” 

I do like cheesecake and thought these looked great. I found the recipe on Pinterest and when I clicked on it, I was taken to foodnetwork.com/recipes/sandra-lee. 

I’ve watched Sandra Lee a few times on TV and thought she had some good looking food, so this was sure to be a winner. I printed out the recipe and placed it in my folder of dessert recipes for the future.

One day I got a hankering for cheesecake but didn’t want to take the time to bake one, knowing I’d also need patience because it would need to cool in the refrigerator overnight before I could eat it. 

I remembered I had some type of cheesecake cookie recipe in my stash of recipes, so I pulled my dessert folder out of the cabinet and started sifting through it. 

I found this recipe not too far from the top of the stack. 

I read the recipe and decided it sounded like the answer to my cheesecake craving.

Here’s the recipe:

— 1 1/4 cups graham crackers, finely crushed (1 sleeve)

— 1 cup flour

— 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

— 1 stick unsalted butter, softened

— 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

— 1 egg, separated

— 3 oz. cream cheese, softened

— 1/4 cup granulated sugar

— 2 teaspoons lemon zest

— 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, flour and baking powder. In a medium bowl, beat together the butter with the brown sugar using an electric hand mixer. Add the egg white and beat until well combined.  Add to the graham cracker crumbs and blend until just combined.

In a separate medium bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese with the granulated sugar, egg yolk, lemon zest and vanilla until combined. Set aside.

Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop out the cookie dough and place on a nonstick or parchment lined baking sheet. If you don’t have an ice cream scoop, then measure out the dough into scoops of about  two tablespoons.

Flatten slightly, pressing your thumb in the center of the ball to create a small bowl shape. Repeat with the remaining dough. Spoon the cream cheese into the indents in the cookies.

Bake until the filling is barely set and the cookies are lightly golden — about 12 minutes. Allow to cool for five minutes on the baking sheets before removing them and cooling completely on a wire rack.

I cubed up the cream cheese so it would soften faster and began preparing the crust for the cookies. To properly combine the crust mixture, I had to use my hands to mix it because a spoon just wasn’t getting the job done. I then put all the cheesecake filling ingredients together. Looking at both mixtures, I knew this recipe wasn’t going to make very many cookies (it made 13).

When I got to the part of the recipe that says to use an ice cream scoop to measure out the crust, I was skeptical – thinking that was way too much. Instead, I used a measuring spoon to scoop out two tablespoons and then put it in the ice cream scoop to see if they were equal. I was very surprised that they were equal. 

So, I just scooped out the rest of the crust mixture with the ice cream scoop, rolled each portion into a ball and placed them on my parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.  Flattening each scoop of crust dough with my thumb didn’t go well, so I just formed each cookie crust into its own shell to hold the filling. I then spooned the filling evenly into each cookie crust and popped them into the ovens.

I baked these little gems for exactly 12 minutes. I took them out of the oven and let them cool on the cookie sheet for about five minutes then transferred them to a wire rack to finish cooling. 

Waiting for them to cool seemed like forever. When they were finally cool, I could hardly wait to eat one, even though they looked nothing like the picture that accompanied the recipe. 

I poured myself a small glass of milk and took a bite.  Then I took another bite. 

Nothing, nada — no taste. 

I asked Brad if he wanted to try them thinking something was wrong with my taste buds. 

But after one big bite he confirmed my fear — these cookies had no taste. I was so disappointed. I’d spent time, effort and ingredients making these and my cheesecake craving was not satisfied. 

I went back and re-read the recipe thinking I must have left something out or must have done something wrong, but no, I followed the directions to a T. 

The next day, I decided to give them one more try. I thought maybe they needed to sit for the flavor to come through. But they still had no taste.

So folks, I’m sorry say that this recipe is a big “failed it.” and the rest of the cookies, along with the recipe, landed in the garbage can. 

I should have known there is no short cut to really yummy cheesecake.