No-bake cheesecake used to be my jam. Mix some cream cheese with some sticky sweetened condensed milk, pour that goodness over a graham cracker crust (store-bought. obviously.), and, if you’re feeling really fancy, add some strawberry sauce (you can buy that at the grocery store, too. It’s literally called “strawberry sauce,” and I have no idea what’s actually in it). Top that baby with a whole tub of Cool Whip. Done and done.
This is the stuff of my childhood.
If you had told my 12-year-old self that cheesecake was actually supposed to be baked, she would have laughed in your face.
Cheesecake doesn’t go in the oven, you fool.
Clearly, the joke’s on me, because a traditional cheesecake is, in fact, baked. And it’s 486757882601 times better than it’s no-bake counterpart. Truth.
Once I discovered real cheesecake, there was no going back. A good cheesecake has a delicate and creamy texture that the no-bake version lacks. It’s light and smooth and so much more complex.
So why do we avoid making cheesecakes?
Is it the springform pan? The hot water bath? The almost 2-hour bake time?
I get it. But here’s the thing: you can do it.
I used to be smart, I think. Back before these two tiny humans claimed my brain power and my intelligence. I graduated high school at the top of my class and was voted “most likely to succeed.” I have a college degree. I even managed to convince more than one person of my intelligence and aptitude post-college, thereby landing myself a job that actually paid above the minimum wage. With benefits.
I used to be able to complete tasks that required focus. I’m pretty sure I used to have an attention span that was longer than that of a fruit fly. And I vaguely remember having the ability to turn thoughts into coherent, well-informed sentences.
And then, children.
Two pregnancies and two children later, I’m noticeably dumber than I used to be.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the better portion of my day is spent communicating on a 2-year-old level, referring to myself in the third person, and singing Daniel Tiger jingles in an attempt to instill basic life lessons. “Mama said you have to try to pee in the potty before we can go to the park. Hands out of the potty. ‘Flush and wash and be on your way!'” “Please stop at the crosswalk. You have to hold mama’s hand to cross the street. ‘Stop! and listen to stay safe!'”
Maybe it’s true that “mom brain” is, in fact, a real thing. “Oh thanks, neighbor. I did, in fact, leave my keys hanging from the front door lock for the third time this week.”
Hey there, friend.
Do you know that I think about you a lot?
I think about what you might want to make for brunch on Sunday. I’m thinking something with blueberries and cinnamon. Scones, maybe?
I think about your daughter’s third birthday party and what flavor her Princess Cinderella cake should be.
I think about the two dozen cupcakes your son needs for his fourth grade class by tomorrow…and that you just found out about today.
I think about how sometimes you just don’t have the time to make an intricate dessert for your Saturday night dinner party because the 3-year-old has gymnastics on Thursday and the 5-year-old needs a costume for the school play and the baby hasn’t slept in what seems like months.
I think about the hours you spend perusing recipes on Pinterest to find that perfect chocolate souffle for your fifth anniversary dinner.
I think about how excited you were when I told you that you could make French macarons and then you did. And they were awesome.
I think about you because I know that you come here looking for delicious, beautiful desserts. For inspiration. Maybe even for a laugh or a little encouragement, depending on the day. And I love giving that to you.
I make pie. And then you make pie. It’s a beautiful thing.