Cheesecake is actually a pretty easy dessert to make. Don't laugh! I'll explain why in just a second. This cheesecake was inspired by the ever-popular dessert: S'mores. I don't know if it was invented by the Girl Scouts, but they were the first ones to print the recipe.
I have a lot of fun memories of sitting around a fire pit with my family, making S'mores and telling stories. It is amazing how long children - even the little ones - will sit still if there is a fire going. One summer we had a Fire Night every Monday night. Hubby and I used that time to share stories from our family history as well as some funny ones from when we were growing up. The kids soaked it up.
Why is cheesecake so easy?
1. Kids love to break things. If you hand them a zip-top bag full of grahm crackers and tell them to break them into little pieces they will be entertained for quite some time.
2. The batter for cheesecake is mixed in one bowl. One Bowl!!! Easy clean up.
3. There are very few ingredients - under eight for the basic cheesecake.
4. There are no real fancy skills required. All you have to be able to do is mix stuff together and kids can learn to do that on their first try.
Breaking Eggs with Kids
Since this recipe calls for four eggs, it's the perfect recipe to have your kids practice their egg-cracking skills. Even young kids (mine start as young as three) can break an egg into a bowl. When you are first teaching them how to crack an egg, use a mixing bowl instead of a small bowl. The larger their target, the easier it will be for them to hit it.
Have them crack the egg on a flat surface. The countertop works great. Tell them they only want to hit it hard enough to crack the egg not hard enough to destroy it. Most kids are nervous and will crack too softly the first couple of times.
Then, have them place their little thumbs over the crack and push in as they pull the egg apart. When the egg lands safely in the bowl do a little celebration dance. They did it! Check for shells before dumping the egg into your cheesecake batter and start again. There's no rush so let them take their time. Be sure to have them wash their hands when they are done.
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Spray a 10-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the crumbs, sugar and butter.
4. Sprinkle the crust mixture over the pan and use the bottom of a cup to gently press the crust down into the pan and make a flat surface.
5. Bake for 5 minutes.
6. Allow the crust to cool while you make the rest of the cake.
4 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup marshmallow fluff
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup hot fudge sauce
1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Don't skip this step. This is what makes your cheesecake smooth and not lumpy.
2. Add the sugar and beat well.
3. Add the eggs one at a time; beat in between additions.
4. Add the vanilla extract and marshmallow fluff.
5. Pour half the batter over the crust.
6. Drizzle the hot fudge sauce over the batter.
7. Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs over the hot fudge.
8. Pour the rest of the batter into the pan.
9. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
10. Remove the foil, reduce the heat to 350 and continue to bake for 50-65 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
11. Allow to cool on the counter for one hour. Cover and store the the fridge for 4-6 hours or overnight before serving.