Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Luck o' the Irish

From kindergarten to eighth grade, I attended a parochial school called St. Patrick's School. One of the absolute best days of the year was St. Patrick's Day. Why? Because we always got school off!

We'd be off school while all the public schools around still were in session. I felt so cool! And the city closest to us always had a huuuuuge St. Patrick's Day parade, and I'd get to walk/march in it one way or another, usually for band. One year I was a cheerleader, and we got to lead the parade! It was so awesome. (For a 13-year-old, leading a parade was such an excitement. Now? Not so much... everyone staring at me? While trying to carry a banner and keep it straight? No thank you.)

Anyways, when I first got into baking, I was on a big cheesecake kick. I probably made a different type of cheesecake every two or three weeks for a year. I even donated "A Cheesecake Each Month for a Year" to a silent auction to benefit a local charity. I would call the couple who won it each month and ask them what type of cheesecake they wanted. Pretty sweet deal for them, although they did pay for it.

One of the cheesecakes in my rotation was this Irish Creme Cheesecake. Of course, at the age of sixteen, I had to have someone buy the liquor for me... (thanks Mom!) Now, I can at least buy it myself. But not without being carded. And I can't buy it at the grocery store that won't take my out-of-state checks. Apparently they don't take out-of-state ID's either. Not that I still only have my Illinois driver's license. No, not that at all.

This cheesecake is light and fluffy, flavored with Bailey's Irish Creme liquor. Scattered with mini-chocolate chips and lined with an Oreo cookie crust, it's the perfect combination of creamy with a hint of chocolate. The Irish Creme isn't too overpowering, but it's enough to just give it some flavor. It'd go perfect with a cup of coffee. Perhaps with a little creme in it as well. ;-) Not that anyone would ever do that.

To make the crust, you need to crush some Oreos. Now, you can be all fancy and use a food processor, or use my method: the ziploc bag. Put the cookies in and then take out your frustrations of the day and/or week.

It's cookie time!

You then combine this with a bit of butter, spread it into a pan and bake it.

While the crust is baking, you mix up the batter, starting with cream cheese and sugar.

Then the eggs, one at a time. You don't want to beat too much here, because if you beat it too much, you get too much air in the batter and that's how you get cheesecakes with cracks. And when you have cheesecakes with cracks, you have to do crazy things, like make chocolate ganache to hide it. Not that that's always a bad thing.

Next comes the secret ingredient: Bailey's... 

Before you add the chocolate chips, you toss them with a bit of flour so they don't all sink to the bottom of the cheesecake. Because chocolate chips need to be evenly dispersed, of course.

Don't sink, little mini-chocolate chips!

Then you pour the batter into the crust and bake it for 40-50 minutes. After setting up overnight, it's ready for devouring! 

I'm not gonna lie, as I was plating this to take pictures before dinner, my Business Man and I inhaled quite a bit before our nice and healthy stir fry. Woops! Life's short, eat dessert first.

Now, what to do with all the leftover Irish creme? I'm leaning toward some sort of brownie... 

In running news, I'm attempting my first 20-miler tomorrow! It's supposed to be 65*F and sunny, so I'm super-excited! Perhaps I should bring some cheesecake as my mid-run fuel instead of Clif shot blocks?

Irish Creme Cheesecake

  •  cups Oreo cookie crumbs, (2 rows worth of cookies)
  • 6 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ⅓-½ cup Irish creme liquor
  • ¾ cup mini chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 tsp. flour


Preheat oven to 375*F. Combine butter and Oreo cookie crumbs. Press into bottom and slightly up the side of a 9-inch greased spring form pan. Bake in preheated oven 12-14 minutes until slightly set.

Meanwhile, beat together cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined. Stir in liquor. Combine 1/2 cup chocolate chips with flour; fold into batter.

Pour batter into baked crust. Top with remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips. Bake in preheated oven 40-50 until mostly set. Center will jiggle a little still.

Let cool 10 minutes; run knife around edge of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight before serving. Store in refrigerator.


Wes said...

leftover Irish creme? Brownies arn't a bad idea, but Baileys is always good straight on the rocks!

Jamie said...

Oh my goodness. How have I never made this?!? Looks amazing!

Blane181 said...

Mmmm, yum!

First - I found you on SR. I love your blog! Your Pi post made me giddy as do your baking deliciousness.

Can't wait to read more!

Sara said...

Thanks guys!! :-)

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