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Boy, what a week! End-of-year dinners, graduations, and hangouts have been happening non-stop since last Monday, though it hardly feels like six years have flown by since I first stepped foot into grad school. (More about that in next week’s post!) I also made the journey down to Anaheim to cover some live events at VidCon–and finally made my 90s kid self’s dreams come true by getting slimed at the Nickelodeon booth! In the midst of all the hubbub, though, I’m happy to report that my family has found the time to visit and soak up some real SoCal sunshine with me. You can tell that summer is in full swing here: we can barely stand outside for five minutes without finding ourselves completely drenched in sweat!
From the beach pier where we walked last week, we could smell the aroma of freshly fried foods wafting across the boardwalk, and I was momentarily transported back to our family’s summer travel days. County fairs have always held a special place in my heart–every time we visited a new state on some road trip or another, we would visit the local fairs and try out all of the unique fried foods tantalizing us at each booth. Any fellow funnel cake fans out there? 😉
In the spirit of summer, this week I decided to try my hand at deep-frying something right from the comfort of our own kitchen. Of course, deep-frying can make even the most unpalatable foods taste amazing (have you TRIED deep-fried pickles?), but what happens when you make great life choices and deep-fry something as inherently delicious as cheesecake?
Pure bliss, folks. Utter and edible heavenly bliss!
These Deep-Fried Cheesecake Bites are, without exaggeration, possibly one of my favorite in-kitchen creations to date. Why? They’re perfectly fried and golden on the outside, but absolutely oozing with molten cheesecake goodness on the inside. Mama WG said that they reminded her of fried bananas–and while these morsels contain absolutely zero banana, who could possibly argue with Mom when she’s happily packing away two deep-fried cheesecake bites in a single sitting?
For this extra-special deep-frying occasion, I also decided to use some extra-special oil. In case you didn’t know, peanut oil has a particularly high smoke point, allowing moisture to be locked into any deep-fried foods and creating the perfect crunchy shell that all lovers of fried food crave. Since peanut oil can be hard to come by in some stores, I did some research and finally settled on LouAna Peanut Oil, which is made by a company that is 100% committed to quality family cooking. (Fun Fact: I learned that Lou Ana herself was born in 1820 in Opelousas, Lousiana, a place that’s filled with a history of food, family, and flavor!) You can find both LouAna Peanut Oil and LouAna’s full selection of oils at your local store–just be sure to bring this coupon with you for $2.50 off any LouAna Peanut Oil purchase.
My mom and I spent the rest of the afternoon reveling in these blissful bites and enjoying the warm breeze that keeps my apartment cool during these heated summer months. Starting this week, the pace of things will start picking up again and I plan to be busier than ever–but for now, sending tons of love (along with these deep-fried morsels) to you and your families!
For the cheesecake:
- 1 (8 oz.) block cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the batter:
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup milk (or soy milk)
For the cheesecake:
- In a medium bowl, cream together cream cheese and sugar until fluffy and smooth. Beat in yogurt, lemon juice, and vanilla extract until no lumps remain.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop out one ball of cheesecake mixture at a time and transfer to prepared sheet. Continue until you have about 7 to 8 one-inch cheesecake balls.
- Place cheesecake in freezer for at least 2-3 hours (or until firm) before proceeding to next steps.
For the batter:
- In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until no lumps remain.
- Heat 2 inches of peanut oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed pan or pot over medium heat, until the oil registers 350 degrees F on a thermometer. (If you're like me and don't own a thermometer, you can check for the oil's heat by adding a drop of batter to the oil--if the batter immediately starts to sizzle when it hits the oil, your pan is ready for frying!)
- Line a plate with paper towels and set aside.
- Using a fork, dip one frozen cheesecake ball at a time in the batter, allowing excess batter to drip off back into the bowl. Once your oil is ready, carefully slide one ball at a time into the heated oil. Fry for about 3 minutes on each side, or until outsides are golden brown. Remove from oil with slotted spoon and transfer to prepared plate. Allow oil to drain from each cheesecake bite before serving and enjoying!