| Cooks Compete |


Photography by Sina Mizrahi

It’s a staple on Shavuos, sure. But how do you know if the cheesecake you make is the best one? Well, we take the very difficult job of cheesecake tasting seriously around here, and boy have we found a winner!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake

Submitted by Ariella Cohen, Bala Cynwyd, PA

Every year I enjoy experimenting with a new cheesecake recipe, and this one was a unanimous favorite. It’s a bit of a patchkeh, but is worth the time and effort! Recipe from Melskitchencafe.com.

Cookie Dough
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water or milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 6 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2½ cups chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 4 8-oz (225-g) pkgs cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks
  • mini chocolate chips, for sprinkling

For the cookie dough: In a medium bowl, combine the butter and sugars. Add the water or milk and vanilla. Mix in the flour, salt, and chocolate chips. The dough will be fairly soft. Gently roll the dough into small balls and place them on a lined baking sheet. Place them in the freezer to harden.

Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).

For the base: Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 10-inch (26-cm) springform pan. In a medium bowl, combine the butter with the chocolate cookie crumbs. Press onto the bottom and halfway up the sides of the prepared pan.

For the filling: Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and flour until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and sour cream and mix just until blended. Be careful not to overmix.

Pour half the batter into the prepared crust. Gently stir the cookie dough balls and mini chocolate chips into the remaining batter. Pour into the pan, spreading it to the sides of the pan and evening it out across the top.

Bake the cheesecake for 60–70 minutes until the sides are set and the center is still a bit jiggly. Turn off the oven and prop the door open several inches. Let the cake sit in the oven for an additional 30 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate until chilled. Top with whipped cream and mini chocolate chips when ready to serve.

Best Light Cheesecake

Submitted by Tzipora Mirkin, Johannesburg, South Africa

I was craving cheesecake late one night, but I was out of cream. I used egg whites instead, and voila, the best, light cheesecake was born!

  • 1½ cups cookie crumbs
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 16 oz (450 g) softened cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

Combine ingredients for the base and pat into the bottom of an 8-inch (20-cm) springform pan.

Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Set aside.

Beat the yolks with the sugar and vanilla essence. Add in flour and cream cheese. Mix until smooth. Fold in the egg whites.

Pour cream cheese mixture onto base and bake for 45 minutes. Turn off oven and leave cake inside to cool.

Caramel Cheesecake

Submitted by Elana Dubovick, Chicago, IL

This delicious and signature cheesecake is a specialty at our family simchahs. The combination of caramel and chocolate makes it a real winner!

  • 1 sleeve graham crackers
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2½ 8-oz (225-g) containers whipped cream cheese, at room temperature
  • scant 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
Caramel Topping
  • 1 bar dairy white chocolate
  • 1 Tbsp light Karo syrup
  • 1 tsp coffee granules, dissolved in 1 Tbsp boiling water
  • 1 bar Rosemarie Harmony chocolate, for garnish

To make the base: Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

Place the graham crackers into a gallon-sized ziplock bag and seal. Crush with a rolling pin until you have fine crumbs. Pour the crumbs into a bowl and mix with the sugar and oil until well combined. If necessary, add a little more oil to hold the crumbs together. Pat the crumbs into a 9-inch (23-cm) round pan and bake for 6 minutes.

For the filling: Whisk the eggs and then add the cream cheese and sugars. Whisk until smooth. Pour over cooled crust. Bake for 45–50 minutes until golden.

For the topping: Melt white chocolate, Karo syrup, and dissolved coffee together in a pot until smooth. Pour on top of cooled cheesecake. Refrigerate until firm.

To garnish, use a peeler to peel a Rosemarie Harmony chocolate bar into curls and decorate the top of the cheesecake.

Freezes well.

Thanks to Chani Brown, Tamar Treisser, Tamar Stark, Jackie Zitin, Tonia Levison, Chava Weiman, Racheli Fried, Irene Kiaei, Esther Menucha Rosenstock, Jenna Abrams, and Devorah Cohen from St. Louis for putting aside their Pesach prep to make and taste these cheesecakes!


(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 841)

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