I am a chocolate fiend. Most of the time, I can resist the temptation, but Easter and Christmas candy are more tempting than the rest. I bought some Christmas candy last week. Joe ate it all.
That was me choking on my lie.
I didn't feel all that guilty about buying the candy though, because I bought Hershey's kisses. Every Hershey's purchase contributes to the Milton Hershey School where I was a student teacher.
If you don't know about the Milton Hershey School, you should check out the Hershey Legacy website. The Milton Hershey School gives kids a chance to break the cycle of poverty by providing them with an excellent education. It is an amazing opportunity, and I loved the kids I worked with there.
I bought Hershey's kisses, so it was really more of a charitable contribution than a highly caloric indulgence for myself, right? Allow me to believe my rationalization, okay? Anyway, I got Candy Cane Kisses and Cherry Cordial Kisses, and both of them had amazing-looking cheesecake recipes on the back. Cheesecake is Joe's favorite, so I'm going to pick up another bag of Candy Cane kisses to make the Candy Cane Swirl Cheesecake for his birthday next week.
How to make Candy Cane Cheesecake
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Stir together cookie crumbs and sugar. Blend in melted butter.
- Press crust mixture into bottom and ½ inch up sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake 8 minutes; cool.
- It's important that you don't overbeat the cheesecake batter. If you do, it will raise too much in the oven and then become totally hideous when it falls. It will still taste good, certainly, but it will be much less impressive to serve.
- Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth.
- Add eggs, one at a time, completely incorporating each before adding another.
- Set aside ¼ cup batter; pour remaining batter into crust.
- Unwrap Kisses. Place 30 candies and milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 50% power for one minute, stir. If necessary, microwave in 15 second increments at 50% power until candies are melted and mixture is well blended when stirred.
- Gradually blend reserved cheesecake batter with melted candies.
- Drop mixture by tablespoonfuls on top of plain cheesecake batter in crust.
- Gently swirl with knife for a marbled effect.
- Bake 45 to 50 minutes until center is almost set. Remove from oven to wire rack. Separate pan from edges using a scraper or knife, but allow cheesecake to rest in pan until completely cool.
- When cheesecake is cool, remove sides of pan. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.
- Garnish with whipped cream and remaining Kisses.
- Refrigerate leftovers.
Do I need a springform pan for this cheesecake?
Yes, you need a springform pan if you're going to make a cheesecake. The sides of a springform pan expand and can be removed so that you can slide a slice of the cake out easily. I honestly don't know what you could use if you don't have a springform pan. If you don't use one, you're going to have a huge mess on your hands when you try to cut the cheesecake.
Is a water bath necessary for this cheesecake?
Some recipes will tell you that a water bath is essential for baking a cheesecake. They claim that a cheesecake baked without a water bath will be dry, overly dense, or cracked. I have not found this to be the case with any cheesecake I've ever baked.
I personally think that water baths are risky because, if you don't get the springform pan wrapped tightly enough, the water will leak in and ruin your crust. I had that happen several times in my early cheesecake baking days.
After giving up on the springform-pan-in-the-water water bath, I used to put a pan of water on the rack below the cheesecake, allowing the steam to fill the oven. However, one time I forgot to do it, and guess what! The cheesecake was awesome. So now, I never use one because I have found that it is just not necessary. Why do the extra work if you don't need to?
Why did my cheesecake crack?
The most common reason for a cracked cheesecake is over beating the filling, resulting in an excess air in the batter. Extra air is the enemy of a cheesecake because it makes the filling puff up in the oven, and then it cracks as it cools and sinks.
You should never use a whisk to mix cheesecake filling. Don't use the whisk attachment on your mixer, either. If you're using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment. If you're using a hand mixer, the beaters are good. And of course, if you're doing it by hand, go for a spatula instead of a whisk.
Even if you use a paddle attachment or the beaters, you could still add too much air if you beat and beat and beat the filling. So, never mix more than is absolutely necessary.
If you aren't sure if you've beaten it long enough, turn off the mixer and use a spatula to turn the filling over a few times and look for pockets of unmixed ingredients. If it's evenly mixed, don't beat any more.
One good thing about this cheesecake is that you're going to cover it with marshmallows, so even if it does crack, no one will know.
More tips for the best candy cane cheesecake
Use quality ingredients - Try to stick with the name brand ingredients, because the quality of your ingredients will make a huge difference in your finished cheesecake.
Keep the oven door closed - Don't peek at your cheesecake while it's baking. The cold air can shock the cheesecake and make it crack.
Likewise, when the cook time is done, and you've jiggled it to make sure the edges are set, put it back into the hot oven with the door cracked an inch or two, and let it cool in there for an hour. This also helps to prevent cracking.
Don't over bake - Don't over bake your cheesecake. Turn the heat off and crack the door open as soon as the outer edge is set. The center should be jiggly.
Try these other delicious cheesecake recipes while you're here:
- Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake
- Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake
- Chocolate Orange Cheesecake
- S'mores Cheesecake
- Pecan Crust Cheesecake (Naturally Gluten-Free)
- Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies
- No Churn Cheesecake Ice Cream