For Christmas Eve with my family, I made Peppermint Cheesecake. Partially because it's Christmas and partially because I've found cream cheese on such a good sale. They got to be my taste testers today and agreement was that the crust was slightly off (I adjusted the recipe, so it should come out just fine for you) but otherwise, this was delightful. The peppermint is not too strong but it does give it a definite flavor enhancement. It was very rich and I had trouble finishing piece number two simply because of how rich it was. Everyone else stuck with just one piece. Here's a picture of the finished product:
It's hard to see in the picture, but there are pink streaks throughout, thanks to the candy canes I added.
3 cups crushed Oreo cookies (for an alternative, you can add peppermint Oreos, sold at Christmastime only. I think it will only add a slight peppermint flavor to the crust, but it won't make that much of a difference)
1 cup melted butter
8 candy canes, crushed (aim for 3/4 cup. For me that was 8 candy canes, but you may have a different amount)
3 8oz boxes of cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/3 cup sour cream
To make the crust, crush the Oreo cookies (I found it took me an entire container of Oreo cookies to make enough for the crust). I crushed them using a bag and rolling pin, but if you want to do it another way, you can.
Once crushed, add them to a mixing bowl and combine with the melted butter. When I made the crust I only used 1/2 cup and found the crust not quite right, so add 1 cup. Press this along the bottom of your springform pan.
At this point (say it with me now) TURN THE OVEN ON! 375 degrees for this recipe.
Next is to make the actual cheesecake. You need softened cream cheese. If you forgot to take the cream cheese out of the fridge a few hours before (like I did when I made it), microwave it for 15 to 30 seconds. By the way, did I mention my new mixing bowls are microwave safe? My old ones were not (ask me how I know!) so this made my life a lot easier since I plopped the cream cheese into my large mixing bowl and put the whole thing in the microwave!
The other big thing you need to do before you can really make the cheesecake is to crush the candy canes. I tried a couple different methods, but the most effective thing I found was sticking them in a Ziploc bag and pounding on them with a hammer. It crushed them into lots of little pieces and the only trouble I had was Dave asking why I was using his hammer. Simply dump the pieces into a measuring cup, because you need 3/4 of a cup (or very close to it. Going either over or under slightly is fine).
Once you have softened cream cheese and crushed candy canes, you can make the cheesecake!
Mix the cream cheese with the sugar and flour using your mixer on a low speed. Once thoroughly combined, add the vanilla and peppermint extract and mix well again. Add the eggs, mixing after you add each one, followed by the sour cream. Once you've got the sour cream thoroughly mixed in (and your cheesecake batter looks a bit yellow from the egg yolks), add the crushed candy canes and mix for 30 seconds to a minute on a low speed, enough to mix them in.
Pour the cheesecake batter on top of the crust and bake the whole thing for 45 minutes. Around the 25 minute mark my house started smelling like cheesecake and when it came out at 45 minutes, it looked glorious. Allow the whole thing to cool before serving. If you want, you can chill it. I made mine the night before and allowed it to chill for nearly 24 hours, but that shouldn't be necessary. I would at least make it 6 to 8 hours before eating, though, with chilling time in between.
Like I stated before, my crust came out slightly funny, so watch for that. Otherwise it was rich cheesecake with a great peppermint flavor that didn't overwhelm you (like I worried it might). I also did not having candy cane chunks, even though some of my original pieces were about 1 to 2 inches long (something else I worried about). Instead, it melted and blended in, added pink tinges to the cheesecake.
Oh, and if you're looking for another good holiday cheesecake recipe, you can always try the Pumpkin Cheesecake I made for Thanksgiving. My grandmother was telling me today that her neighbor (who had a piece) is still raving about it a month later.