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Feb 2, 2008 02:12 AM

Best cheesecake cookbooks?

I like cheesecake, okay no I love it. Making it, eating it, looking at the pictures.

I have lots and lots of cookie, dessert, and baking cookbooks - but cheesecake cookbooks? Not so many.

Can the cheesecake aficionados share their fave cheesecake cookbooks? TIA!

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  1. Cheesecake success is more about understanding proper technique and a good base recipe rather then a devoted cookbook.

    I like Alton Browns recipe, and the show he devoted to the topic.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Kelli2006

      My husband brought home a cheesecake cookbook because it had a chocolate peanut butter cheesecake recipe in it. We've made many, many, many of the recipes with tremendous success. I've been asked by two restaurants to make cheesecake for them (politely declined as I'd rather bake for fun and not for a job!). I highly recommend Mary Crownover's Cheesecake Extraordinaire. No waterbaths; no complicated recipes.

      There are a couple things I'm not totally thrilled with so I make modifications to her recipes. Typically, I make it to the letter the first time and modify later. I usually omit any alcohol used since it really doesn't bake off. I always prebake my crusts for added texture and flavor while she recommends refrigeration for crisper crusts.

    2. If you're interested in cheesecake bars, I recommend getting a Baker's Edge pan, which really simplifies the process:

      Here's a recipe I adapted to work in the pan:
      Cherry or Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

      2/3 cup all purpose flour
      2/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
      1/3 cup sugar
      1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
      pinch salt

      Preheat oven to 350°F.

      Stir together flour, coconut, sugar and salt in medium bowl. Drizzle
      butter over and mix until crumbs stick together; press firmly onto
      bottom of pan.

      Bake crust until golden brown, 20- 25 minutes.

      16 ounces (2 sticks) cream cheese, softened
      2 large eggs at room temperature
      3/4 cup sugar
      1 teaspoon vanilla
      Zest of one lemon, minced fine
      Pinch nutmeg
      ¼ tsp salt
      1 to 1 ½ cups tart cherry, blueberry, or other fruit preserves

      In a large bowl, whisk cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs, sugar, salt,
      lemon and vanilla; whisk until smooth. Evenly spread preserves over
      baked crust (it's ok if crust is warm) and pour cream-cheese mixture over. Bake at 350°F in middle of oven until slightly puffed, 20-25 minutes. Cool completely
      in pan, then chill well and cut into bars. Bar cookies keep, covered and
      chilled, 3 days.

      1 Reply
      1. re: TerriL

        I've got this one in the oven right now and its smelling so good! Can't wait to try

      2. Find an old Maida Heatter cookbook. She has everything from the Craig Claiborne old standby ( which is my personal favorite) to multilayer extravaganzas..

        2 Replies
        1. re: carfreeinla

          Second the Madia Heatter. The claiborne cheesecake is the best ever, and besides that, that book is just so darn useful. However, it is not full of pictures, but the recipes and information are of such a high caliber it really doesn't matter.

          1. re: charlottecooks

            Thanks all. Since I have just about all the Maida Heatter books -- the drawings were done by her late daughter, and I always did like them -- I'll have to look for the Claiborne cheesecake. Any idea which book it is in?--got it, her book of Great Desserts.

            I love bars, TerriL, thanks. You're right, Kelli. I tend to overbake my cheesecakes, but they are usually a hit nonetheless.

            It's nice to know that there aren't a plethora of books out there that I've missed -- since I've just about run out space.

        2. Hi Dolores,

          I too LOVE cheesecake and make a lot of them (and a lot of varieties)! This is going to sound silly, but my favorite book is the Kraft Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese Cheesecake cookbook! Each recipe has the recipe on one page and a full color photo on the opposite page (I like pictures!). Most are baked, but it has some that are not baked (I personally, don't care for those). It has 45 varieties. My favorites out of it are German Chocolate Cheesecake, Brownie Cheesecake, and Caramel Apple Cheesecake. YUM!!

          According to the price sticker still on it, mine cost only $4.77 at Lechmere (which doesn't exist anymore), so you can tell how old it is!! :-) But it is still available and is listed on Amazon for about $22. Also, mine is spiral bound. Now (as listed on Amazon) it is hard cover. If you can find the spiral bound (perhaps used?), I think you'd like it better because you can keep it open easily, fold one side under, etc.

          I think the main trick to good cheesecake is to not over bake it (I prefer a creamy cheesecake). I never bother to use a water bath unless the recipe specifically calls for one (the recipes in this cookbook do not call for one) and they come out perfect and creamy every time. And a simple way to keep it from cracking is, again, don't over bake and to run a knife around the edge after it's cooled for a few minutes.

          Have fun!!!

          1. Bought "The Joy of Cheesecake" many years ago (when I was young and charming?). Haven't used it much because it spends much of its content talking about non-standard cakes whose ingredients just don't excite me.

            1 Reply
            1. re: DonShirer

              I know you asked for books but I like the Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake so much that I have to recommend it to another cheesecake lover. It is on the Epicurious site [] was originally published in 1990, reprinted again in 2003 and at one time, was their most requested recipe. For all I know maybe it still is.