- 1 package graham crackers
- 9 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
- 3 pkg. (8 oz each) Cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 3 eggs
- 1 jar seedless strawberry jam (or other filling)
- 2 packages Cool Whip, OR 1 container heavy cream
- 2 bars semi-sweet chocolate squares (8 oz. of chocolate)
- 1 bag of mini-marshmallows
- 2lb bag of powdered sugar
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 9 x 13 baking pan
- Aluminum foil
- 1 large wire rack
- 1 large cookie sheet
- Parchment or wax paper
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- Red, green and yellow food coloring
Line a baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving plenty of overhang so you can lift the cake from the pan later.
Combine melted butter and crushed graham crackers in a bowl for the crust.
Gently smush the crumb mixture into your cake pan, going up the edges about a half inch or so.
When mixing cheesecake batter, it's important to make sure the cream cheese is properly softened before mixing. Mix together the sugar, cream cheese and vanilla until blended, then crack in the eggs and blend it all together until smooth -- no lumps!
Pour half of the mix into your pan, smoothing it evenly over the crust.
If you'd like strawberry cheesecake, spread seedless strawberry jam over the mix.
Pour the other half on top, covering the filling. If you are skipping the filling, simply pour the whole bowl of batter into the pan, spreading evenly. Bake for one hour and five minutes at 325 degrees.
Your cheesecake is done when the top is a golden brown and it has set up in the pan. Set the cake on a wire rack to cool.
Fondant is incredibly easy to make. Get a bag of mini marshmallows, a bag of powdered sugar, and two tablespoons of water. Place four cups of mini marshmallows into a microwave safe bowl along with the water, and microwave for one minute.
Your marshmallows should look puffy when done, like in the photo above. Stir with a spatula until smooth.
Add four cups of powdered sugar, and continue stirring until you can't stir anymore. If you have lumps of powdered sugar still, don't worry -- you'll work it in when you knead the fondant.
This is what your stirred fondant will look like to start with. Make sure your surface has powdered sugar on it so the fondant doesn't stick -- and put some powdered sugar on your hands, too. You will get messy when you're kneading the fondant. If you get too much fondant sticking to your hands, wash them off, then go back to kneading.
A completed ball of fondant. Wrap it tightly in cling wrap -- you don't want any air to get to it, or it will dry out. Place it in the fridge, and place your cheesecake in the fridge for about 12 hours or so.
Take your cheesecake out of the fridge, it should be firm now. Lift it from the pan, using the foil as handles, and place it on a flat surface.
Carefully peel the aluminum foil from the cake, so you can trim it.
Cut off the edges so you have smooth edges to work with. Save the edges and feed them to whoever is begging you for cheesecake to sample. Or sample them yourself! Make sure to rinse your knife in between cuts so that you get a clean edge to your pieces.
Cut them into squares and put them on a wire rack on a cookie sheet. The sheet is to catch any ganache drips from the next step.
A little ladle like this one helps tremendously when pouring ganache. Start at the center of the cheesecake square, and circle around the sides.
Keep going until your entire sheet is covered, place it in the fridge to firm.
There are two ways to color fondant. If you are simply making one color of fondant, you can add the food coloring to the marshmallow mix, before you add the powdered sugar. If you're making several colors, you'll want to leave it white and do it this way. Make a flat circle out of your fondant, and put a little food coloring in the middle, then knead the fondant until the color is smooth. Wear gloves for this step if you don't want food coloring on your hands!
This is super important -- you need to wrap each color of fondant in plastic wrap when you are not using it. It will dry out very quickly if you leave it out and you aren't actively working with it.
Roll out your fondant -- keep it very, very thin. Make sure you flip your fondant as you roll, so that it doesn't stick to your flat surface. Keep flipping and rolling until you've got a good sized piece. Don't roll out the entire ball of fondant at once, just take enough to cover a piece of cheesecake or two at a time.
Place the fondant over your cheesecake, trim any excess edges. Leave yourself a little overhang for the next step.
Lift and smooth the fondant on the sides of the cake. Be gentle, you don't want to tear your fondant while you're doing this step.
Once it's covered, trim any leftover excess, and repeat the process until all your cakes are covered.
Roll out a long piece of fondant and cut it into ribbons. Brush the ribbons with a little water -- and I mean a tiny amount -- before placing them on the presents, just to make them stick.
Sculpt little bows and place them on the presents, mark folds with a toothpick. You can get really fancy here if you like! It's all a matter of how good you are at sculpting.
Your yellow fondant is for the quest indicators. People can eat these if they want to, marshmallow fondant is pretty tasty, but honestly they're mostly for decoration!
Carefully place the fondant on the toothpicks to make your exclamation points.
Stick them in the presents and you're done! This is a time-consuming dessert to make, but hey -- the holidays is always about going all out with the treats, isn't it? Have fun!