Home Cooking: Churro Cheesecake

I love to cook.

It’s not a secret, but not many people know that about me. Until three years ago, my sustenance relied on the cooking of others and take out . It was expensive, but it was easy, immediate, and it was all I was willing to know. So what changed?

Lin came home and uttered a simple phrase “I’m cooking the baby, you cook the food.” Prior to that moment, my list of culinary victories looked like this:

  • Hamburger
  • Sloppy Joe
  • Hot Dogs
  • Eggs
  • Pancakes
  • French Toast
  • Tacos

It was official, we were all going to die and it was going to be my fault. Irrational? Yes, but you have to understand that I had a grave fear of cooking because I didn’t know where to start. Now I was cooking for myself, my then soon to be wife, and the child that was “cooking” in her stomach. Next she gave me Pinterest, and then sent me on my way.

One of the things I learned by using Pinterest was that many of the recipes pinned were the creations of stay at home moms from Middle America. The problem? To lend credence to an old cliche: “they don’t season their food!” Following a recipe exactly resulted in flavorless chicken.

Over time, I learned to trust my hands as I experimented with different foods and began to learn which seasonings I liked (including an overwhelming reliance on lemon pepper). Three years in and I have, begrudgingly, earned the nickname “Chef Boyar-T” from Lin. While there is a pleasure in cooking to feed us, making something sweet is different. If cooking dinner is the 9 to 5 struggle making dessert is happy hour at the end of a hard week.

I’ve baked quite a few different things, but I always come back to the Churro Cheesecake. Why? It only has a few ingredients, the instructions are straight forward, and the taste. The taste isn’t quite something to die for but it is damned good. Due to the size of the dish used there will be a good amount of leftovers (as long as you don’t gorge yourself).

If you have sweet tooth, and a little bit of patience this is the perfect recipe. If you make it you might feel so confident that you’d bring it to a potluck as proof that you can slay a thing or two in the kitchen. But if you don’t have those aspirations make it for yourself. You will not regret it.

Ingredients

  • Two cans of Crescent Rolls (I prefer Pillsbury, but any kind can work)
  • Two 8 oz packages of Cream Cheese, softened.
  • One egg.
  • One cup sugar, divided.
  • Two tbsps ground cinnamon.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat together softened cream cheese, egg, and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. (If you have a hand mixer you might prefer to use that, but a spoon works just as well)
  3. Mix remaining sugar (1/2 cup) with cinnamon in a separate bowl.
  4. Grease 9 x 13 baking dish with either cooking spray, butter or whatever you have.
  5. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mix in the baking dish.
  6. Open one container of crescent rolls and lay the dough on top of cinnamon sugar in baking dish. Seal dough so that there are no creases.
  7. Spread cheesecake mixture evenly on top of dough.
  8. Unroll second container of crescent rolls and place on top of cheesecake mixture. Make sure that all seams are sealed so that there are no creases.
  9. Sprinkle rest of cinnamon sugar mix on top.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

Notes

  • Recipe adapted from the Recipe Critic
  • The original recipe included 1 tsp of vanilla, and it was included in step 2. I never had to use it and the recipe has come out fine every time.

Fearing Writing

I used to love  LOVE writing.

Every moment I was at home from sixth grade to my senior year of high school, I sat in front of my computer and wrote. It wasn’t an obligation, but it was an action just as necessary as breathing. Words flew from my fingertips that didn’t need inspiration just a crease to jump through. I wasn’t making masterpieces, yet I found excitement as I paused and stared at the screen in awe of the world or the moment that spilled onto the monitor. It was something beyond me, something that I hadn’t created, it was something that I tapped into and was delivering to the world.

I would write as if no one was watching and I would share unfinished and typo filled work with world. There were no worries about being good, but when people noticed the improvement I felt a pride. But that pride or external response didn’t drive me. It was that love, that search for the next story or the next detail that was just around the corner. I reached a point where I stopped and looked around at what I was creating and I spoke aloud that I wanted to be a writer, and just like that everything changed.

I don’t write as regularly as I used to. In fact, I often don’t write at all. There are ideas that bounce inside of my head but they are often checked by the fear that I am not good enough. That I can’t do these ideas justice, or the fear of the grueling feeling writing has taken over the years. I became more Sisyphus than Icarus, and the thought of pushing the boulder up the hill was so daunting that I stopped.

Writing was a love that became past tense. That locked my creativity in chains and because it no longer felt good, I ran away from it. I didn’t see myself as a writer, and while I flirted with other forms of creativity they often lost their luster as well.

I still don’t find inspiration in external sources. Even when a former professor told me I was a writer, I couldn’t muster the courage to push through. I found external comparisons enough to stop me, and they would allow me to look back and regret what I never did.

I have ideas that I came up with over a decade ago that still haven’t seen the light of day. Ideas that came to me fully formed. I want to love to write again, but I don’t know if I can. The same way we can no longer recapture the innocence of our convictions as children when you see the way the world works.

I don’t believe I am a great writer but do I really have to be? What if I only write for me? Where could that possibly lead? These are the questions I think of when this topic comes up. Truth is the only way to see is by actually writing.