Creamy Coconut Cheesecake

{happy pi day!}
I'm so proud of myself for remembering that today was Pi Day before it arrived. This year I was able to make something in celebration of this great day. I know cheesecake isn't really a pie, but it's in the pie shape, so I'm countin' it. Last week, I bought my first spring form pan and so I instantly started craving cheesecake. I searched all week for that perfect cheesecake recipe that would both satisfy my craving, but also be something simple and plain enough that my husband would help eat it, too. I found a Coconut Lime Cheesecake recipe from Our Best Bites and I fell in love with it. Although, husband wasn't so keen on the lime part, so I omitted that and altered it just a bit. It was amazing! Husby told me that it was better than the Cheesecake Factory and was the best cheesecake he'd ever had! Ah, well at least I've got that going for me! :) If you aren't a lover of the coconut you can omit the coconuty parts and just have an amazing plain cheesecake.
for the crust:

2 cups crushed Graham Crackers
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

for the filling:
3 packages light cream cheese (8 oz each), softened. (you can use full fat cream cheese, too) 
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract

Preheat oven to 350F and spray spring form pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl mix together Graham Cracker crumbs, sugar, butter, and coconut until crumbly and moistened. Lightly press crumbs to bottom of spring form pan (if you press too hard, the crust wont cut properly). Bake for 5 minutes. Set aside.

In another large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla and coconut extract and mix until combined. Pour over crust.
You are going to want to do a water bath. Don't get overwhelmed it wasn't that hard! Wrap the spring form pan in a couple layers of foil (not over the top, just the pan part. This is help keep water creeping in through the cracks of the pan). Place cheesecake pan in a larger pan, such as a roasting pan. Place both in the oven, and pour water in the roasting pan, until the water reaches half way up the spring form pan. Bake for 65-75 minutes, or until barely browned and the center is a tiny bit jiggly.

Once the cheesecake is done, to prevent the top from cracking, just turn off the oven and crack your oven door. Come back in 30 minutes. Pull the cheesecake out and let it sit until it's completely cooled... then chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

The purpose of the water bath is to help cook the cheesecake evenly, to keep the texture creamy, and to prevent the top from cracking. If you don't have a roasting pan or just really don't want to do to a water bath, you don't have to. It wont affect the taste and it will still be amazing! You need a lot of patience with cheesecakes... but they are sooo worth it.
Dig in!

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