I had a lot of ideas about what January should look like in 2017. I thought about sharing my favorite green smoothie, an earthy lentil salad, and a detox soup. Then I realized what I really want in the new year is be happy. I want to stop over thinking so much and follow my heart. With that in mind, my heart doesn’t say green smoothie today. My heart says cheesecake. Like, crazy good cheesecake that makes everyone happy.
I”m not big on “shoulds” in life but I’m going to give you a should here. Everyone should have a few desserts in their arsenal that they consider a sure thing. This recipe for Cheesecake in Mason Jars is my sure thing. The cheesecake is creamy and light and the crust tastes like a buttery graham cracker cookie. The ratio of cheesecake to crust is pretty much perfection: not too much cheesecake before you get rewarded with that oh so good graham cracker crust.
These cheesecakes have made appearances at Teacher Appreciation Lunches, potlucks, classroom parties, and headlined dessert tables all over town. Without fail, I get phone calls and emails asking for the recipe. There are a lot of reasons to love this dessert. The mason jars are ridiculously cute, the simple, straight forward flavor of the cheesecake is fantastic, and it’s so easy to make! It’s also fun to play around with the toppings. While the Oreo topping is always a crowd pleaser, I’ve experimented with things like fresh fruit and chocolate chips.
I don’t believe in serving a dessert unless it elicits a big reaction. I’m looking for fireworks type “ooohs” and “aaahs” or I retire the recipe. In short, my dessert philosophy is go big or go home. With that in mind, this recipe will be in my line up for a long time.
Find 4-ounce mason jars here.
- 16 whole graham crackers, ground
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 8 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 oreos, ground
- 22 mini oreos
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Spray each 4-ounce mason jar with non-stick cooking spray. Coat well to ensure crust doesn't stick.
- In a medium bowl, combine graham crackers, melted butter, and 2 Tablespoons sugar.
- Place heaping tablespoon of crumb mixture into each mason jar. Tamp down to make crust (I used the back of my whisk).
- In mixer, mix cream cheese and ¾ cup sugar until smooth.
- Add eggs, one at a time, until eggs are incorporated.
- Add sour cream and vanilla. Mix well.
- Spoon ⅓ cup filling into each jar.
- Place jars in large roasting pan. Fill pan with hot water halfway up the mason jars.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove jars with tongs and cool on wire rack.
- OPTIONAL TOPPING: once cool, sprinkle each cheesecake with ground oreos. Garnish with mini oreo.