Yes, it’s legitimate. Luxuriously legitimate, I might add. Cheesecake Day. And no, it’s not a holiday for mice! If you don’t believe me, just Google it. Growing up, cheesecake was only served at our house on very special or very formal occasions. Usually, cheesecake was the sparkling jewel in my mother’s culinary crown after she had served a stupendous lasagna dinner. And there was ever only one kind of cheesecake in the Ferraro house – Chocolate Chip Cheesecake. Random side note – if you work this wording into “The Game of Scattergories,” you should be rewarded with triple points for amazing alliteration!
With all due respect to the many other kinds of cheesecake in the world, we as a family believe that there’s just something superbly satisfying about sinking one’s teeth into creamy amazing-ness, and then being happily met with nuggets of chocolate. Gonna argue with that one? I didn’t think so.
So, in honor of Cheesecake Day coming up on July 30, here is my mom’s cheesecake recipe – published with her permission!
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake – from the kitchen of Beth Ferraro
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or almond extract (your preference)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (ideally, Ghirardelli chips)
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 300 F. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, butter and cocoa. Press onto bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch spring-form pan. Set crust aside. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually pour in sweetened condensed milk; beat well. Add vanilla, eggs and salt. Beat until smooth. Toss 1/3 of the miniature chocolate chips with the 1 teaspoon flour to coat (this keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the cake). Mix into cheese mixture. Pour into prepared crust. Sprinkle top with remaining chocolate chips. Bake at 300 F for 1 hour. Turn off oven (do not open oven door) and leave the cake in the oven to cool in the oven for another hour. Remove from oven and cool completely. Refrigerate before removing sides of pan. Keep cake refrigerated until it’s time to serve.