Red Velvet Cheesecake

My sister's 25th birthday was on Monday and I wanted to make a special treat for her. Rachel has been really busy lately because she is a full time student, works full time and is a single mom to a 4 1/2 year old little boy. I found her a lovely little necklace from Etsy, but I wanted to plan a nice dinner for our family. I made Hawaiian Chicken Sandwiches and Ron made potato salad.  We usually will make a dutch apple pie, but I wanted to try something new. I saw this recipe for Red Velvet Cheesecake on Cassie's blog Cassie Craves and knew it was prefect for the occasion. I made a change to the preparation of the crust and removed the buttermilk from the cheesecake, but other than that I stayed pretty close to the original recipe. My family and I loved the cheesecake! We especially loved the rich layer of cream cheese frosting on top. I cant' wait to try out this recipe again.... I was actually thinking it might be fun to try a green or blue velvet depending on the occasion!

For the crust:
18 Oreo cookies
2 Tbl butter, melted
For the filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
2 (1-ounce) bottles red food coloring

For the frosting:
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Garnish: chocolate chips

Position oven rack to middle of oven and preheat to 375 degrees.  

Place the Oreo cookies in a gallon-sized zip-top plastic bag, and crush finely with a rolling pin. Pour in melted butter, and mix until crumbs are coated. Press into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely.
 For the filling, beat 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese and 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar at medium-low speed with an electric mixer 1 minute. Add eggs and next 5 ingredients, mixing on low speed just until fully combined. Pour batter into prepared crust.

 Bake at 325° for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 300°, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until center is firm. Run knife along outer edge of cheesecake. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in oven 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven; cool in pan on a wire rack 30 minutes. Cover and chill 8 hours.
For the frosting, beat 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese and 1/4 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth; gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth. Spread evenly over top of cheesecake. Remove sides of  9-inch springform pan. Garnish, if desired.

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