Another rainy day...

Well, November is upon us full force. It's gloomy and wet. What a great reason to stay inside and bake! Here is the recipe I promised. The only condition is, if you and I are going to be at the same party, check with me before you bring this, cause it's my standby! :) I sent this to work with Mark two years ago for his departments Christmas Dessert Contest. It won first prize for most decadent dessert, and I won the cutest set of cookie cutters. Anyway, don't be afraid if you've never made a cheesecake before. This is the first one I've ever made. I'm pretty sure it's impossible to mess it up. Just make sure you make it when there will be people around to eat it, or you might end up eating the whole thing yourself...

Caramel Macchiato Cheesecake

18 Oreos (dont you hate it when recipies say "chocolate sandwich cookies?)
4 Tbsp stick butter, melted
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup instant coffee-I use instant espresso
1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp caramel ice cream topping
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 packet unflavored gelatin
3 bricks (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened- don't use the reduced fat kind-seriously, are we
having dessert here, or what?
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1. You have to have an 8" springform pan for this. Coat it with nonstick spray.

2. If you have a food processor, pulse the oreos until finely ground. If you don't, put them in a gallon size Ziploc bag and smash them with a rolling pin. Add butter and mix it all up. Press this mixture into the bottom of the springform pan to make a crust. Stick that whole deal in the freezer while you make the rest of the recipe.

3. Put the chocolate chips and the instant coffee (or espresso) in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup boiling water. Stir it in and let it stand 1 minute to melt the chocolate and dissolve the coffee. Resist the urge to just eat this with a spoon. Trust me, it's worth the wait. Add 1/2 cup caramel topping. Whisk and let cool for 10 minutes. No, you still may not eat it.

4. In the meantime, in order to distract yourself from the overwhelming urge to eat the chocolate-coffee-caramel goo, sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water in a small saucepan. Let stand 1 minute. You will not be tempted to eat this part. Stir over low heat 2-3 minutes or until the gelatin is completely dissolved and the liquid is clear. If you have managed not to eat the goo, add the gelatin water to it and whisk them together.

5. Grab a different bowl and beat the cream cheese and sugar in it, on high speed, until they're smooth. Slow the mixer down to low speed and add the coffee mixture till it's all blended. Pour all the yumminess into the crust and cover it up. (I'm pretty sure the reason you cover it is the whole "out of sight, out of mind" concept. Good luck with that. Stick it in the fridge for at least six hours. Keep repeating to yourself, "It'll be worth the weight-oops! I mean wait..."

6. Beat the cream and the 2 Tbsp. caramel in a small bowl until soft peaks form when you lift out the beaters. (This lifting-out-the-beaters step is an excellent opportunity to taste test, but remember, if you get too carried away you will have nothing left to put on top of your cheesecake, and you will have nobody but yourself to blame.) Remove the sides of the springform pan and place the cheesecake on a serving plate. Spoon the caramel cream on top and kind of swirl it around in a decorative way. If you have had more self control than any friend of mine should have, at this point you will have one tablespoon of caramel topping left. Drizzle it over the top of your masterpiece. Quickly serve to other people or you'll eat way, way too much of it at one sitting. Don't say I didn't warn you.