First, you have to know that I vary my recipe depending on the type of cheesecake I feel like making.
*See variations notes below.
So, without further ado...
Basic Cheesecake Recipe:
2 8-oz cream cheese (full strength, low fat doesn't bake as well)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 16 oz. container sour cream
Create your crust. (1 pkg. graham crackers, crumbled, and about 1/2 c. butter makes a great, simple crust)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a glass bowl, warm the cream cheese in the microwave for 40 seconds.
With a hand mixer, whip the cream cheese for one minute - til smooth.
Add eggs - one at a time (yes, it does make a difference), mixing until smooth.
Add sugar. Mix for two minutes.
Add vanilla (*see variations notes) and sour cream. Blend until mixed - don't over mix at this point.
Pour your cheesecake batter onto prepared crust.
In a large roasting pan, crisscross two large pieces of foil. Place your springform pan on the foil, and 'nestle' it in the foil. Surround the springform pan with very hot water (about 1/2" deep).
Bake for 50-55 minutes.
Remove from oven, and from water bath. Place cheesecake in springform pan on stove to cool for 30 minutes.
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to set.
Eat it up!
I play with this recipe a lot. For instance, if I want a Triple Chocolate Cheesecake, I use a brownie mix and bake part of it as my crust. (You can swirl the remainder of the mix into the cheesecake batter, or make more brownies.) Melt baking chocolate and add it to the cheesecake batter in place of the vanilla, then toss in chocolate chips.
Or Oreos. Use your food processor to crumble 2/3 of a package of Oreo, mix with about 1/3 c. of melted butter for the crust. Chop the remaining Oreos and add them to the batter before you bake it.
Okay, I could go on for days about the variations - but I won't. I have to go to work today. ;)