Every year, for about 5 weeks, at the Highland Springs Ranch in Cherry Valley, California, one of the best smelling, and best tasting, festivals takes place on the largest organic lavender farm in Southern California.
During the Annual Lavender Celebration, guests can tour 20 acres of the grounds in hay filled, horse drawn wagons sipping on lavender lemonade or licking creamy lavender ice cream cones. There’s an organic marketplace to buy lavender infused honey, balsamic vinegar, essential oils, fresh lavender bouquets, plants and even lavender-stuffed toys. There’s an oil distilling demonstration and plenty of fun activities for the kids, but, more than anything, it’s the food people come to sample.
Although The Ranch Restaurant closed in 2018, my favorite festival treat is still their Lavender Cheesecake with a crust made from homemade graham crackers. It’s #ToDieFor but it takes some time to prepare (much of which is chilling time), so don’t plan to make this as a last minute treat. Thanks to Betsy Andrews at Eating Well Magazine, I can make this treat at home anytime I want to!
Highland Springs Ranch Lavender Cheesecake
- 6 TBLS Unsalted Butter, softened
- 2 TBLS Light Brown Sugar
- 2 TBLS Granulated Sugar
- 2 TBLS Honey
- 1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1+1/4 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1+1/2 TBLS Light Olive Oil or Canola Oil
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Combine butter, brown sugar and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat with the paddle attachment until smooth. Add honey and ¼ teaspoon vanilla; mix until combined. Add flour and ¼ teaspoon salt; mix until combined. Form the dough into quarter-size chunks, about ½-inch thick, on the prepared pan. Bake until golden brown and firm around the edges, about 20 minutes.
- Transfer the crust pieces on the parchment to a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes. Pulse in a food processor until finely ground
- Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Mix the crust crumbs with oil in a medium bowl; press into the bottom and about 1½ inches up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake until set, about 8 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
For the filling:
- 3 – 8 ounce packages reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 TBLS Ground Lavender
- 1/8 tsp Salt
- 4 Large Eggs, room temperature
- 1 TBLS Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- To prepare filling: Put a tea kettle of water on to boil for the water bath. Combine cream cheese, sugar, lavender and salt in the stand mixer bowl. Beat with the paddle attachment until smooth and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing and scraping the bowl after each addition. Add lemon juice and vanilla; mix until combined.
- Tightly wrap the outside of the pan, bottom and sides, with heavy-duty foil. Pour the filling into the crust. Place the springform pan in a roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come 1 inch up the side of the springform pan to create a hot water bath. Carefully transfer the roasting pan to the center of the oven. Bake until the cheesecake is set around the edges but the center still jiggles slightly, 1 to 1¼ hours.
- Let the cheesecake cool in the water bath on a wire rack until the water is room temperature, about 1 hour. Remove the pan from the water and remove the foil. Refrigerate, uncovered, until very cold, at least 4 hours.
This cheesecake can be made ahead and kept very cold for 3 days. #ThisGirlLovesToEat