Melt-in-Your-Mouth Chocolate Cheesecake

I asked my daughter-in-law-to-be what she would like for dessert for her engagement party, and she responded, “Do you ever make chocolate cheesecake?” Actually, I never had! I usually make it with some type of fruit topping, but I decided to make up something in her honor. It was such a hit that she asked if I’d make more for the rehearsal dinner last night. My few photos are from preparing for the rehearsal dinner, so I actually made a triple batch, but I will write it up for just one batch:

Creamy Chocolate Cheesecake
(serves 15±)

Graham Cracker Crust:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Prepare the crust by adding together in a blender:
9 crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Blend until fine and blended, then pat into the bottom of a 13 X9″ baking pan.

Prepare New York-style cheesecake filling:
In a blender, combine:
24 oz. sour cream
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt

Blend until completely smooth, then pour on top of the graham cracker crust.

Bake in the oven at 350°F. for 30 minutes. It might still seem a bit jiggly in the middle. Allow it to cool on the counter while you prepare the ganache.

Prepare Chocolate Ganache:
In a saucepan, pour 1 cup heavy whipping cream and heat until it starts to bubble around the edges. ( Stir a few times to make sure it doesn’t brown on the bottom.)
Add 12 oz. dark chocolate chips. Turn off the heat and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache is perfectly blended.

Pour the ganache over the baked, cooled cheesecake. Once the ganache is also cooled, chill the chocolate cheesecake in the refrigerator at least 2 hours—or until you’re ready to serve it. It can be made the morning of your party, although the crust will get a bit soggy if it’s kept overnight in the refrigerator, so I don’t recommend making it the day before. Still, I’ve never had anyone complain on the second day if there are leftovers. Enjoy!

Creamy Chocolate Cheesecake

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
(Psalm 37:4)

“Walt, The Man Behind the Myth”

Family Vacation to Walt Disney’s “EPCOT.”

Trips camping down at Fort Wilderness in Disney World was the stuff of dreams for our kids growing up, so it was with great pleasure that Alan, Joel, and I were able to spend a week down there this spring with our son Jon’s young family, who’d never been there before.

Jon and Linda have three little girls, and everything was new, fun, and fascinating!

Jon is one of the most innovative people I know, and The Magic Kingdom has always been a source of inspiration to him because there’s such strong encouragement for people to pursue those sparks of imagination that come to each of us—if we’ll only stop to pay attention!

Epcot Center: Spring Garden Colors

Every park is creative, clean, and colorful.

Watching “Movies Under the Stars” at Fort Wilderness Campground

No matter where you look, there’s likely to be something delightful—and often surprising—right beside you!

Great White Heron perched on top of a table umbrella

If you’ve been to “the happiest place on earth,” you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Disney: The Man Behind the Myth

Although Jon is a theologian with a heart for spiritual life more than “fun,” there’s a lot to be learned from the life of Walt Disney.

He was without a doubt one of the world’s most influential innovators of the twentieth century.

If you’re ever looking for some insight into this legendary man, his daughter told Walt’s story in a warm and honoring biographical documentary back in 2001 (although we just watched it recently!).

Walt, the Man Behind the Myth is G-rated, family friendly, and well worth watching!

One of the most helpful things I’ve learned from Disney comes from his
“Five Lessons on staying motivated and bouncing back from failure:”

*Follow your heart
*Be grateful for failure and move forward
*Go all in
*Invest in knowledge
*Embrace self-delusion (because) delusion and extraordinary success go together

As a Christian, I might modify these a little, to say such things as “Follow the Holy Spirit’s leading” and “Embrace your calling,” but the ideas can all find roots in the Bible:

*Psalm 37:4, “Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” You have to know what’s in your heart, so don’t ignore it!

*Psalms 32, 51, and 138 (for instance), David praise God for his help to move forward in times of failure and need.

*Colossians 3:23, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” If that isn’t going “all in” I don’t know what is!

*Proverbs 18:15, “The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.” Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

*Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Are you inspired? I am! 🙂