Budget Gourmet: Espresso Cheesecake

Now that the bar is over, I have some time to relax a little bit before looking for a job. Because money is really tight, this break won't last long. The financial crunch also means I can't spend much money during this "vacation." Not much of a problem--it just means I can't eat out much (which I don't do anyway) or shop for clothes. Other than I pair of white eyelet shorts I bought from Express to replace a pair of shorts that no longer fits, I don't need any more clothes. One big thing I have to cut back on is jewelry supplies, which is hard...I need more beads to have a variety, and sometimes money has to be spent to make more. I made my one last big purchase right before taking the bar, and now I'll just have to stick with what I have.

Just because I can't go out and eat doesn't mean I'll miss out on good food. I can certainly make my own! I'm not a big dessert person, but one of my favorite desserts is cheesecake. It also happens to be fairly easy to make. Here's my pictorial of the cheesecake making process. I tend not to measure, so you'll need to turn to an actual recipe if you have to measure.

Before you start, preheat the oven to 350F and leave the bricks of cream cheese out to soften. Usually 2 bricks are enough to make a small pan, but you'll need more if you want a bigger pan. I used 4.

Instead of wasting money buying a graham cracker crust, I made my own. It's very simple--just crumble some graham crackers by placing them into a Ziploc bag, squish the air out, seal, break them into smaller pieces, and roll over with a rolling pin. Make just enough crumbs to fill out the bottom of the pan, then melt a few tablespoons of butter. Pour that into the graham cracker mixture, mix, then spread out to cover the bottom of the pan.

In a large mixing bowl, throw in the softened cream cheese, add some sugar, and try to beat until it's soft. I don't have a mixer (yet), so I didn't get it nice and smooth...just good enough so that it's not too chunky. Then I added in a fresh shot of espresso. If you don't have an espresso machine, you can add coffee instead. Espresso and cream cheese smelled great!

Add in a couple eggs and beat it into the mixture. I also added in an 8-oz container of sour cream--not required, but I've seen it on some recipes. The mix I had was pretty thick, so I added in some milk to thin it out.

Pour it into the pan, bake for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how long it takes for the surface to brown, then take it out to cool. Easy, right?

You can add chocolate or caramel syrup, or you can skip it. Your choice.

I used a big pan, so I had quite a bit to share. One tupperware was kept for my household, one went to school to share with my fellow bar-crammers (there were 2 of us regulars), I ate one of them at school, then the other two went to friends. Not bad when I spent about $7; one slice costs at least $3 in many restaurants.


ThatBeeGirl said...

ohhhh, that looks so good! and easy to make!

alexgirl said...

dizzamn, that looks/sounds good. And so easy! I've never made a cheesecake, but knowing me, I'd probably make it gross by trying to make it healthier.