JERRY CITY – Why yes, there is a way to make a gluten-free cheesecake.

The secret is using gluten-free flour and in this case, gluten-free Oreos. Say what? Oreos are available gluten free?

Yes they are, at Walmart, said Marci Stearns.

She used the gluten-free version to make her Oreo Cheesecake.

“It is very creamy with just enough of a hint of Oreo in it,” she said in describing the dessert. “(The Oreos are) not overpowering but you definitely know they’re in there.”

Gluten-free Oreos became available in January.

Stearns said she used to make the cheesecake with regular Oreos, but everything changed now that the gluten-free variety became available.

“Now I could eat it and not regret it,” she said. “I enjoy having them.”

Stearns said she made this dessert after finding different cheesecake recipes online and tweaking them.

She often tweaks recipes.

“Pretty much with everything,” Stearns said. “I’ve had some turn out not so good, but I don’t know if it was me or the actual recipe to begin with.”

She said with a lot of her cooking she no longer follows a recipe but said she has learned with her lasagna she has to follow one “if I want it to come out good.”

She said she learned to cook by trying recipes for herself and looking stuff up.

“I cooked a little when I was younger, but really just learning what we liked.”

She has been married to Aaron, who works at the Home Depot distribution center in Van Buren, for almost 19 years. They moved to Jerry City when he got the job with the company.

She said she does not miss California; they lived about 20 miles north of Los Angeles in the desert.

With Aaron being in the military, they’ve lived in Montana, Las Vegas and North Carolina. They’ve lived in Jerry City for almost four years.

She started as a sub at Elmwood Local Schools last year and this year was hired as a full-time kindergarten aide.

Mostly everything she now cooks is not what she grew up on, Stearns said. She explained she makes her lasagna and spaghetti as well as her tacos different from how they were made when she was growing up.

She enjoys both baking and cooking.

“I love both. I know some people are either or, but I love making dinner from scratch.”

She loves spicy food — both hot spicy and flavor spicy.

Mexican food is her self-described specialty.

“Anything we can put taco meat in: taco salads, tostados. We’ll fry corn tortillas … we never buy the preformed taco shells.”

Stearns makes her own taco seasonings and gravy, and hardly ever buys anything out of a packet.

She especially enjoys baking cookies and cakes.

“We make a lot of cookies over the holidays to give away to friends.:

But for Thanksgiving, Christmas and birthdays, Stearns makes cheesecakes.

Her cinnamon crumble cheesecake bars are a big hit as is her lemon cheesecake. She’ll also make homemade caramel sauce to pour on top of a cheesecake.

Stearns started cooking gluten free for herself within the last year, more as a choice than a medical requirement.

“It irritates me to eat it, but I don’t have celiacs (disease),” she said.

The family will eat a gluten-free meal if she makes it.

“They’ve learned it’s gluten-free noodles, it’s gluten-free lasagna noodles. I make a Mexican cauliflower rice that is really, really good.”

She adds chopped jalapeños, bacon and its grease, cheese and green onion.

They all eat everything she makes, “all but the youngest. She likes more bland food. She’d rather have things separate than combined.”

Brynley is 10 years old.

“We’ll remove a little bit for her then add spice for the rest of us,” Stearns said.

Jackson, who is 12, eats everything but potatoes, while 17-year-old Lily will eat anything and helps her mom cook.

“Everyone loves to help cook,” Stearns said. “We have always cooked together. … Everyone loves to help even if they don’t want to eat it.”

When she asked her family what she should make for this story, the response was a cheesecake.

Gluten-Free Oreo Cheesecake

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a springform pan and wrap the bottom half in foil.

For the crust:

24 gluten-free Oreos, crushed

6 tablespoons salted butter, melted

Mix well and press into pan. Chill while preparing the filling.

For the filling:

32 ounces room-temperature cream cheese

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whipping cream

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg yolk

12 gluten-free Oreos, chopped

Directions

Beat cream cheese, sugar and flour until creamy. Add whipping cream and vanilla. Beat until combined. Beat in the eggs and egg yolk one at a time. Use a wooden spatula to mix in the chopped Oreos.

Pour into springform pan and bake for 40 minutes. Turn off oven, crack the door and leave cheesecake in the oven for one hour.

Crumble four gluten-free Oreos, sprinkle on top of the cheesecake and chill in the pan in the refrigerator overnight.

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