Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

Life is good, friends.

It's summer.  We can go to the beach or the pool.  We can listen to summer music.  We can watch bad TV (because, let's face it, there's nothing else on).  We can grill every night. We can spend time with family.  We can celebrate our country with sparklers (what's better than sparklers?).  We can read silly books. We can travel.  In my mind, there's not much better than summer vacation.

I mention all these fun summer things because today is AP score day, so for AP teachers, it's almost like a day at work.  We get to see our students' performance on the test they took in May-- and at this remove, the AP scores can start to feel like a celebration or an indictment of our teaching this year.  It can be hard to remember that these results are a measure of the students, and not a measure of our own success as teachers.  However, it can be much easier to say (or write) those words than it is to believe them.  No matter what what the student scores look like, wonderful or abysmal, we get a fresh new crop of kiddos next year who will all benefit from our expertise-- no matter what we think this year's scores say about us, we are all good teachers and we deserve a chance to relax and recuperate this summer.  So, go do something summer-y. Or make these cheesecakes.  They are an excellent way to celebrate the successful completion of another school year as well as the new year we will be starting in August.

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes
(From Handle the Heat)

One package Oreo cookies (approx 42), 30 left whole, remainder coarsely chopped
4 8-oz packages cream cheese, slightly softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used the clear)
4 large eggs, room temp and lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Line 30 muffin cups with paper liners, and place one whole Oreo cookie in the bottom of each liner.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth.  Gradually add sugar, scraping sides of bowl as necessary.  Beat in vanilla.

Slowly add beaten eggs a little at a time, beating until combined.  Scrape bowl as necessary during this process.  Beat in sour cream until incorporated.  Stir in the chopped Oreo by hand.

Divide batter evenly between the 30 liners, filling each almost to the top.  Bake the cheesecakes for 20-22 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time.  Cool the cheesecakes completely on wire racks, then chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

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