I love throwing and attending parties during the summer. I’m always ready for any chance to spend time with family and friends! Plus, backyard cookouts and summer potlucks are the perfect chance for me to show off my baking skills.
With June being the real start of summer, and National Dairy Month, it seems only fitting that I make my first fantastic baked good of the year something dairy-filled and delicious! So, I chose to make a crowd-favorite: cheesecake. Chilled, creamy, dessert perfection.
I was ready to knock it out of the park with my traditional cheesecake recipe. But, my friend Laura (my baking-rival on our potluck-circuit) came to me with a challenge that really made me step up my baking game. “We’ve all had your cheesecake,” she said with a smirk. “Why don’t you try something new?”
It was a challenge I was ready to accept, because I had a secret weapon. Well, if I’m being honest, my secret to success isn’t a very big secret; in fact, it’s kinda simple. Are you listening?
There’s more in the dairy aisle than just dairy!
That’s right. With the help of my local dairy aisle and Howard and Patty (my food-dilemma angels), I was able to use some creative new products to make this Orange Chocolate Cheesecake! It was the hit of the party, and I’m pretty sure it secured me the title of “Cheesecake Queen”. Let me show you how to make it.
Step One: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and coat a 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Easy. Then, use a food processor to pulse graham crackers into crumbs. I always keep an extra graham cracker nearby for nibbling! Then, in a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1/2 cup butter, and mix well. Press that mixture into bottom of springform pan with your fingers, and then set aside. Baking is always better when you get a little messy.
Step Two: Now we get to use those unique ingredients! In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and cottage cheese (Lactaid for those with sensitive tummies) until they’re well combined. Add your sour cream, yogurt, the 1-1/2 cups sugar, eggs, orange juice (yum), vanilla, flour, and the remaining 1/2 cup butter; beat until these ingredients are thoroughly combined. The yogurt provides a little lightness to this indulgent recipe, and the orange juice is what gives it that sweet hint of citrus. Pour your mixture into springform pan. The combination of all these ingredients may seem a little odd, but wow does it turn out great!
Step Three: Bake your cheesecake for 55 minutes and then turn off your oven. Seriously, turn it off. The center of your cheesecake will be slightly jiggly at this point so don’t freak out. We want to leave this cheesecake in the oven for another 60 minutes, so it can cool. Cooling your cheesecake at a slow rate will prevent the top from cracking. Once it’s done cooling in the oven, refrigerate it for 8 hours or overnight. Cheesecake only has one flaw: if you want it to be really good, it’s got to be made ahead of time! When you’re ready to serve, remove sides of springform pan and garnish with chocolate dipped orange wedges as seen below.
Mr.Food Test Kitchen Tip: Don’t worry, those chocolate orange slices look fancy, but they’re super simple. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips with 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil. Microwave for 45 seconds, stir and continue to microwave until chocolate is smooth. Dip orange section in chocolate halfway and place on a wax paper lined plate. Refrigerate until chocolate hardens, and then garnish your creamy cheesecake dessert. Thanks Howard!
That’s all there is to it! Thanks to all the amazing options in the dairy case and freezer aisle, this beautiful cheesecake was a hit at our party. Plus, Laura said it was one of the best desserts she’s ever had.
My favorite part of making this recipe is that it was one-stop shopping. After I grabbed my graham crackers, everything I needed was in the dairy aisle, including the orange juice! It just goes to show you, the dairy aisle, and National Dairy Month, has a little something for everyone. So, head over to your local dairy aisle now and take advantage of everything it has to offer, from cheese to cheesecake! Well, the ingredients for cheesecake, anyway, haha.
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This conversation is sponsored by National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association. The opinions and text are all my own.
What’s your favorite flavor of cheesecake?