Circus Animal Cracker Cheesecake

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Are there any food items that totally remind you of your childhood? It’s usually some treat that’s chock full of sugar, so, as a responsible adult, you rarely indulge in it anymore. For me, it’s those pink and white frosted circus animal cookies.

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I have not eaten those circus animal crackers in FOREVER, so when I saw a friend post a photo of a beautiful circus animal cracker cheesecake she was eating at a baby shower, I literally gasped out loud in excitement.

This fun cheesecake was obviously not my idea–shout out to whoever came up with it in the first place! But I am sharing my version of the recipe below. So channel your inner-child and try this baby out! I promise it’s worth it.

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Anyone else basically only use their food processor to crush up cookies for crusts or is it just me? ha

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Creamy, cheesecake goodness!

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I alternated pink and white cheesecake batter for a fun “zebra” effect.

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Disclaimer: I’m really too lazy to put my cheesecakes in a water bath, wrap them in wet rags or any of that other extra stuff. Honestly, I have yet to make a cheesecake that doesn’t have a nice big crack across the top once it’s all baked. I either just hide the crack with extra toppings or totally rock it. If you want a perfectly smooth cheesecake, here’s the first page of Google search “perfect cheesecake every time.

Circus Animal Cracker Cheescake

Crust
2 and 1/2 cups frosted circus animal cracker cookies, finely crushed (I used my food processor to crush them as small as possible)
3 Tbsp melted butter

Cheesecake filling
4 (8oz) blocks of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Red or pink gel food dye

Ganache
10 oz white chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Red or pink gel food dye
Sprinkles

Buttercream frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
1-2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a springform cheesecake pan with tin foil on the INSIDE. Use enough foil to cover the inside edges and wrap it just over and down the outside. Once that is done, grease the foil with spray or butter.

Crush your 2 and 1/2 cups of cookies finely in a food processor and stir in the melted butter. Press the mixture evenly into your springform pan–I usually use a flat bottom glass to do this. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then set aside.

Reduce your oven to 310 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together your cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Split the mixture in half and dye one half with red or pink dye until reaches a light pink. Use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to alternately scoop the mixtures onto your crust in your springform pan until all the cheesecake batter is used up. Bake for about 1.5 hours, until center is just set and no longer looks shiny. Turn the oven heat off with the door slightly cracked and let your cheesecake remain sitting in the oven or another 30 minutes. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow to cool. Once cool, chill for 6 hours or overnight in the fridge.

Once chilled, remove your cheesecake from the springform pan and peel off the tin foil from the bottom of your crust before setting on a plate. Put your white chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. Put your heavy whipping in a microwave-safe bowl and heat until hot. Pour the cream over the white chocolate chips and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Whisk the chocolate, cream and a small amount of gel food dye to create a pink color. If the chocolate does not melt completely, microwave for 30 seconds at a time, whisking until smooth. Pour the ganache over your cheesecake and throw on your sprinkles. Place it back in the fridge to chill.

For frosting decoration, beat together 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 Tbsp whipping cream and 1 cup of powdered sugar. Slowly add in the additional cup of powdered sugar until the frosting reaches a thick consistency and forms peaks when beaters are lifted out. Pipe the frosting onto your cheesecake and top with additional animal crackers as desired!

 

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