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25 May, 2016

Classic Philadelphia Cheesecake

Serves: 16

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup and 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
⅓ cup butter, melted
4 packages (8 ounces each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 each large eggs
Optional: your favorite topping – fruit pie filling, caramel sauce, melted chocolate, etc.

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 325°

Mix graham cracker crumbs with 3 Tablespoons of sugar and melted butter. Press onto the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.

Beat the cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar and vanilla with a hand mixer until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed. Pour mixture over crust.

Bake 55 minutes or until center is almost set. Loosen cake from rim of pan, but cool completely before removing the rim. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Cut into 16 slices and add your favorite topping just before serving.

Toppings can be anything you like, from canned cherry or blueberry pie filling to fresh sliced strawberries, or drizzled caramel sauce or melted chocolate. This photo shows a drizzle of caramel ice cream topping.

This recipe was adapted from a featured recipe on the Philadelphia Cream Cheese box.

Notes:
Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature or softened in the microwave before using. If using the microwave, unwrap the cream cheese completely and place on a saucer or shallow bowl. Microwave on high for 10 seconds. If softening more than one package at the same time, add an extra 15 seconds for each additional package.

When blending cream cheese, make sure the cream cheese and sugar are completed blended and smooth, free of lumps, before adding any other ingredients. If the cream cheese is too cold it will not blend easily.

A nice alternate to graham cracker crumbs is finely crushed vanilla wafers, or Oreo cookies with the filling scooped off. Just omit the 3 Tablespoons of sugar and reduce the butter to 3 Tablespoons.

⅓ cup of butter is equal to 5 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon.

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