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Cheddar & Beer Cheesecake

1 1/4 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs (about 20)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup unsalted butter or margarine, melted (1/2 stick)
24 oz cream cheese, at room temperature (3 packages)
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup beer
1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 300F. Lightly butter the bottom only of a 9-inch
spring form pan with removable side. In a medium-size bowl,
combine the cookie crumbs, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the ginger,
and butter. Press firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Chill while making the filling. In a large bowl with an electric
mixer at medium speed, beat both cheeses just until smooth.
Gradually add the remaining 1 cup of sugar, beating just until
light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until
each is combined. At low speed, beat in the beer and heavy cream.
Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until the
center is set and the top is lightly golden, but do not brown. Turn
off the oven and place a wooden spoon in the door to hold it slightly
ajar; let the cake sit in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the cake
to a wire rack and cool completely. Chill for several hours or
overnight. Makes 16 servings.


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