With Christmas now several weeks behind us, I still had a few lingering remnants left in my refrigerator so, at the advice of my mother-in-law, I decided to make the most of what I had - because really, throwing cookies away is a sad, sad affair.
Of all the cookies I made in preparation for the indulgence of Christmas, my gingerbread cookies took the most time and effort, so when I found myself left with an abundance of them well after the Holidays, I did not have the heart to trash them. It was the first time I had ever tried making home made gingerbread cookies and I used a recipe (you can find the link here) that guaranteed them to be “super soft” which left me with a very sticky dough. However, once I got a handle on how to roll the dough and cut the cookies without it sticking to EVERYTHING (hint: I used a crapload of flower) it went smoothly, but it did take me a minute. When they were finished and taste-tested, I found them well worth all the work and mess because they were delicious.
Delicious and well received. Everyone seemed to really enjoy them, so it was a good thing that the recipe yielded a great deal of them, so much so that halfway through January I still had a Ziploc bag full of them. Noticing this, my mother-in-law casually mentioned that I try and make a pie-crust out of them. As she said this, my brain immediately started going over different ideas of what I could do with these little gingerbread men and I quickly settled on something simple: cheesecake.
So I looked up your standard cheesecake recipe (found here) and changed out the graham cracker crust for my gingerbread cookie instead.
Starting off with a different crust base, I quickly realized that following the graham cracker recipe didn’t quite correlate with what I had. Since I had a 10” pan instead of the 9” that the recipe calls for, I added more crushed gingerbread cookies, sugar and used an entire stick of butter instead of the 1/3 cup the recipe mentions. With those little tweaks, my mixture took shape into the consistency I was looking for. After that, I followed the cheesecake portion of the recipe as listed and crossed my fingers for a tasty result.
When it was done baking, I sprinkled on some leftover cookie crumbles I had and then drizzled caramel sauce over on top of it.
As per instructions, I let it chill in the refrigerator for a little over 5 hours. I waited until after dinner and had my husband be the first to taste it. This was my first ever attempt at making a cheesecake, so I wasn’t super confident in trying a different kind of crust straight off the bat. Luckily, gingerbread men actually do make good pie-crusts. It was fantastic, a perfect blend of flavors!
So I had successfully made the most of what I had and recycled a little bit of the Holidays into the New Year. A win for the day! I will relish this tiny tasty victory, as I’m sure there will be baking fails in 2015. After all, the year is still young.
Although the recipe for the gingerbread crust is almost identical to your standard graham cracker one, I have it listed below for reference. What cookies do you think you can transform into something new? Be creative and let me know, success or fail!
Gingerbread Cookie Crust:
2 cups crushed gingerbread cookies
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
4 tbsp. sugar
Set aside 1/4 cup of the crushed gingerbread cookies for later. Mix all remaining ingredients together until texture is such that you can successfully (without it falling completely apart) press together onto bottom of your 9" or 10” spring form pan.
Follow instructions for the actual cheesecake portion and then bake at 325 degrees for 55 minutes to an hour.
Once removed from the oven, sprinkle the left over ¼ cup of crushed gingerbread cookies on top of the cake. Drizzle caramel sauce (use your preference for how much) on top of the cookie crumbles and then cover the cake with tinfoil. Let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours before serving. If you want to be fancy, because sometimes that’s fun, drizzle a little more caramel sauce onto individual slices and take a picture for Instagram, you know you want to.
After that enjoy and revel in your culinary skills!