The boy had a birthday at the end of May. After his birthday, we’re the same age for over 3 whole months. But come September, I go back to being a cougar and he goes back to being my boy toy.
Instead of gifts this year, we’re directing our resources toward a great adventure at the end of June to the Pacific Northwest(!!!!!!!!). Those exclamation points do not convey the total of my excitement.
This trip came about after a close friend of ours got a job in Anchorage, Alaska, moved far far far away, and fell in love with a beautiful local girl. Now, they’re getting married and we are going to the wedding! We couldn’t be more excited to see him, meet his sweet lady love, and experience Alaska, which has up until now seemed like a mythical place that I never imagined visiting.
Since we’re already heading that direction, we decided to make a first stop in Seattle, the site of our honeymoon, to commemorate three years of marriage. After we’ve had our fill of coffee and oysters, we’ll fly up to Anchorage and then drive through some forest to a tiny town where the wedding is taking place. After a few days there we’ll fly overnight (because the flight was suuuuper cheap and we are underestimating how grumpy I get without sleep) from Anchorage to San Francisco, where we’ll see one of our other best friends who lives in Palo Alto.
What a whirlwind… Just a whirl of wind. Our over-under on stress-induced arguments is 3, and I’m anticipating crying from tiredness at least twice. But we are pumped. We haven’t planned a vacation beyond our honeymoon, and we realized we have everything working in our favor to go a-travelin’: no kids, parents who will gladly keep our dogs, enough in the bank account to empty, and young enough joints to sleep on whatever surface we can bum off of our friends in the places we’re visiting.
The countdown has begun, so if you have any “must-see” suggestions for Seattle, Anchorage, or San Francisco, we’re all ears.
Said trip is the reason the boy received a cheesecake instead of some longer-lasting gift for his birthday. And by longer-lasting, yes, I do mean it was so delicious and decadent that the Hubert clan destroyed this thing in one rainy (read: torrential) Austin Memorial Day afternoon.
Cheesecake is far and away my favorite dessert. Although the process of making one is a wee bit tedious, the outcome has always tasted like fireworks set off in my mouth. At the first bakery I worked in, the owner was known for her cheesecakes. She made them for a local downtown restaurant, and they were the number one seller in her new bakery. They weren’t necessarily pretty and oftentimes came out with a range of little to gaping-sized cracks, but that’s why toppings exist: to cover our baking flaws and make what was already delicious even more decadent. Cheesecakes were the first real dessert I learned to make beyond a cookie, and they’re worth every hour of baking, resting, and cooling time.
This particular cheesecake is an uncomplicated brainchild of mine, brought on by the boy’s request for an Oreo cheesecake as his birthday gift. The crust is simply crushed Oreos (WITH the cream, because it seemed sinful to take it out) and melted butter, pressed into a springform pan. The custard is a simple, sweet cheesecake filling with an unhealthy amount of chopped Oreos folded in right before its jaunt in the oven. After it was fully baked and cooled, I topped it with fluffy, sweet, freshly whipped heavy cream and more cookies. I didn’t worry about baking it in a water bath or whispering sweet nothings to the cheesecake to prevent cracking since I chose to smother the top with fresh whipped cream and even more chopped Oreos, but you can of course adopt this route to get the perfectly-formed cake.
It’s sweet, creamy, and interspersed with the happy crunch of cookies. And it’s a cheaper, more love-filled gift than money can buy.
Cookies and Cream Cheesecake
For the Crust
- 24 whole Oreo cookies
- 3 tablespoons butter melted
For the Filling
- 4 8 oz packages cream cheese room temperature
- 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 eggs
- 7 Oreo cookies coarsely chopped
For the topping
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 7 coarsely chopped Oreo cookies
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the Oreo cookies (I kept the filling in) for the crust until finely ground. Combine with melted butter and pat into the bottom of a prepared 9" springform pan.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy on medium speed. With the mixer running, add the eggs one at a time, then sugar, vanilla, and sour cream. Mix until smooth (don't overbeat). Gently fold in the chopped Oreo cookies.
- Pour the batter into the springform pan with the crust on the bottom and bake at 350F for one hour. After the hour is up, make sure the custard is set but still slightly jiggly. Turn the oven off and prop open the oven door and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another hour to set. Let cool completely and refrigerate before serving.
- For the topping, in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the heavy whipping cream on high until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and whisk for another 10 seconds. Spread over the cooled cheesecake and sprinkle with Oreo cookie bits.