Cheesecake used to mean graham cracker crust and cherry sludge—but over the years, it’s become a category of its own. The Cheesecake Factory menu is good evidence of this. Currently, there are over 30 flavors, from pineapple upside-down to ultimate red velvet. Most of which I would happily never eat. But! There is one contemporary flavor that has become a classic in its own right: Oreo.
Unlike most other cheesecake flavors, Oreos have a leg up because they can figure in the crust and the topping. Talk about bang for your buck. The chocolate wafers offer a similar crumb as do graham crackers, while the creamy filling brings sweetness. If you add crushed Oreos to the cheesecake from the start they’ll sink right to the bottom; so, we add them when the cheesecake is almost finished baking—this way, the topping stays crunchy.
This method relies on a food processor, one of our most loved appliances in the test kitchen. If you don’t have one, but do have a stand mixer, you can adapt to that instead with the whisk attachment. Just follow the same visual cues.
To amplify the recipe’s chocolatey vibes (because who doesn’t want that?), we swirled in a creamy chocolate ganache. Obviously, this looks cool. But it also tastes really good, almost like a black-and-white milkshake.
You’ll notice that we skip the usual water bath—and you’re welcome. Water baths are famous for yielding evenly baked, not-curdled cheesecakes. But they’re also famous for sloshing hot water all over your forearms and mid-bake dessert. I learned a better way from our not-recipe cheesecake guide: covering the pan with foil and using an ultra-low oven temperature. And, for extra insurance, stirring a little flour into the mixture stabilizes the custard, which helps avoid curdling and bumps up creaminess.
For many rounds of this cheesecake’s creation, our test kitchen used an 8-inch springform pan, which created a traditionally thick cheesecake. Then, one day, we used a 9-inch pan by accident and realized that we liked this thinner format way better (and it baked faster). A happy mistake, indeed. —Emma Laperruque