While I’m certain that this has been done before, I still had a great time making this and the result was awesome.

I got this idea when I had just finished preparing the gingerbread squares used for the gingerbread ice cream sandwiches at The Perfect Caper. Every time I prepped this item there was always a significant amount of waste that was either eaten by the staff or thrown away. Rather than waste the remains, I took them home and toasted them on a sheet tray to that they could be turned into dust.
Here’s what I did:

Makes 1 Cheesecake

Ingredients

2C Gingerbread trim (Reserve 1/2C of toasted trim) – If you make a gingerbread item and have either stale gingerbread or scraps left over you can use that as well
1/2C Melted Butter
8oz Cream Cheese
2 Eggs
1C sugar – If you want the taste of the cream cheese to be the main flavor reduce the sugar by 1/4C
1T Vanilla Extract
.5t Courvoisier Cognac (Optional) – Whiskey or rum work just as well

Hard Icing:
1 Stick Salted Butter
1.5C Confectioners Sugar
2.5T Courvoisier Cognac – Whiskey or rum work just as well

Method:

  1. Set oven to 325. Rough Chop gingerbread scraps and place them on a sheet tray with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Toast them in the oven until the edges begin to crumble, check in increments of 5 minutes. Once toasted place scraps in a food processor and process until a fine dust. Place in an airtight dry container until ready to use. Once dust is complete raise oven temperature to 350.
  2. While scraps are toasting make the cheesecake base. Combine eggs and cream cheese in a mixer and cream together until uniform in color. With the mixer on gradually add the sugar. Finish with the vanilla extract and, if used, liquor. Hold item in covered bowl in refrigerator.
  3. The hard sauce is simple but it can be done ahead or you can do it while the cheesecake is cooking. Make sure the butter is room temperature and soft. Cream sugar and butter together until peaks form. Place the sugar in first gently and place the butter on top. (This will help prevent a kick up of sugar when you first start mixing it. If you have plastic wrap and are using a standing mixer, wrap the cage to prevent sugar kick up.) Once peaks form add the liquor. Taste your hard sauce, if you feel you need more bite add more liquor, if you need to tone it down add more sugar. It will take some fooling around to get it to your desired taste. Once sauce is made, place in a corning-ware dish or ramekin in refrigerator and let set.
  4. Make sure oven has been returned to 350. Grease a pie plate with whole butter. The best way to do this is by taking a hard stick of butter and rubbing it over the entire surface of the pie dish.
  5. Create the crust for the cheesecake. The reason why this is not done ahead is to keep the dust crispy and free of clumps. Melt the butter and combine with the crumbs. Small bowls may begin to form, break them up with a whisk so that the final mixture looks somewhat malleable.
  6. Once dish has been greased, create a 1/4 inch layer of crust on the bottom of the pan. It is player preference but I like my crust to run up the sides of the pan. If it is a flat sided pan, like a spring form, you may have difficulty doing this. Toast crust in oven for about 2 minutes, you will begin to smell gingerbread.
  7. Once crust has been toasted, gently spoon in the cheesecake mixture. Be careful not to dump the mix in at once because it will make pockets in the crust. Wait until all the cheesecake mixture is in the pan before smoothing the top or you will mix the crust into the bottom of the cheesecake.
  8. The next part is entirely up to the chef. I prefer to place the reserved dust on top after the cheesecake is cooked so they don’t burn but you may put them on ahead of time as long as you watch it. Either dust or don’t, the cheesecake and then place in oven. If you dust the top before it is baked about 7-10 minutes into the cooking time cover the cake with foil so the top doesn’t burn. It should be firm when you take it out and wiggle it around, you can also test with a toothpick.
  9. Let cheesecakes cool for at least an hour and then place in the refrigerator. Before serving garnish each piece with a generous dollop of hard sauce

I hope that you can enjoy this recipe. Share your comments, recommendations and pictures below!

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