No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cannoli Cheesecake

So, you want something sweet, but, you don’t feel like turning on your oven in the dead of summer to bake something. I hear ya’. On those hot days when I must bake or cook something I usually try to make a couple of things at once so that turning on my oven isn’t too futile. Every year I hope it’s the year I can get central air conditioning but, it hasn’t been yet. I finally did get an air conditioning unit to put in my living room window and that does help, but, on a recent day when the feel like temps were over 100 degrees and I waited until the early afternoon to turn it on it really didn’t do much in cooling down the house. My dog positioned himself perfectly on the floor though and enjoyed it. Maybe I should have curled up next to him. The solution to those sweet tooth cravings in the summer are no bake desserts. Now, I have made a few ice box cakes during the summer months to avoid the oven – S’mores, Mocha Chocolate & Chocolate Hazelnut – but, I have never made a no-bake cheesecake. Not really sure why. Maybe I had my doubts that it would be as good as a baked one or hold together as well. Well, I finally decided to try making one after coming across a recipe for a No-Bake Chocolate-Chip Cannoli Cheesecake. Cannoli are one of my favorite desserts so if I can have anything reminiscent of the filling I am trying it.

I made some tweaks to the original recipe I found. Instead of using a combination of crushed cannoli shells and graham cracker crumbs for the crust I decided to go an easier (and less driving around route) and use a store bought graham cracker crust. And since I didn’t have rum extract at home but did have rum, I opted to use the pure rum instead. I’ll admit the cheesecake did have more of an alcohol taste due to this, but, no one was complaining. It was delicious nonetheless and perfectly chilled for a refreshing dessert after hot summer day’s dinner.

 

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Ingredients:

1 9-inch graham cracker pie crust

2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon light rum*

1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips

Chopped pistachios for topping, optional

 

*The original recipe called for a 1/2 teaspoon rum extract

 

Directions:

Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, orange zest and cinnamon on medium speed until well combined. Add in the ricotta cheese, vanilla and rum and continue beating until incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips and then transfer the mixture to the graham cracker crust.

Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours until the filling is set. Top with chopped pistachios before serving.

Recipe modified from Taste of Home

Chocolate Cheesecake with a Mint Cookie Crust

I got the idea for this cheesecake after watching a So Yummy video post on Instagram. It had a layer of melted chocolate mint cookies serving as the crust to a chocolate cheesecake. After searching for their recipe I decided it might be a little too sweet for my taste – it involved 4 cans of sweetened condensed milk. Yikes! So, I decided to improvise a bit.

I began by processing about 25 thin mint cookies (I used Keebler’s Grasshopper Cookies) in my food processor into fine crumbs. I then added in 3 tablespoons of melted butter and pulsed the mixture until it was combined. Next, I pressed the crumbs into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

In a microwave safe bowl I combined a 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips with milk and microwaved it until the chocolate chips began melting. I heated the mixture two times at 40 seconds. I stirred the mixture until the chocolate chips had completed melted and the mixture was smooth.

Next I made the cream cheese mixture. In a large bowl I beat together cream cheese and sugar using a handheld mixer on low speed. Once the two ingredients were thoroughly combined I added in 4 large eggs, one at a time. Beating well after each addition. Finally, I stirred in vanilla extract and flour.

After combining the cooled chocolate and cream cheese mixture I then poured it into my prepared crust. I placed the pan on a baking sheet and then baked it in a 350 F preheated oven for about an hour. Once the cheesecake was done I turned off the oven and open the door a bit and let the cheesecake cool in the oven for an additional hour. After the hour, I removed the cheesecake from the oven and let it cool completely before covering it and placing it in the refrigerator overnight.

I topped it with a few mint leaves…

And then sliced myself a piece. The cheesecake was perfectly creamy and not overly sweet and the crust had the perfect hint of mint.

Chocolate Cheesecake with a Mint Chocolate Crust

Ingredients:

Crust:

25 chocolate mint cookies

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

 

Cheesecake:

1/2 cup milk*

1 12oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 8oz. packages of cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons flour

 

*I used whole milk, but, you could use 2% or skim

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Make the crust: Using a food processor process the cookies until they become fine crumbs. Add in the melted butter and continue mixing until the mixture is combined. Press the crumbs along the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.  Place the pan on a baking sheet and set aside.

In a microwave proof bowl combine the chocolate chips and the milk. Heat in the microwave in 30-second intervals. Stirring between each time. Once the chocolate chips have begun to melt continue to stir until the chocolate chips are completed melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl beat the cream cheese and sugar together using a handheld mixer on low speed until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to combine well after each addition. Add in the vanilla and flour.

Stir the melted chocolate into the cream cheese mixture. Stir the mixture well so that the two are well incorporated.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared pie crust and place in the oven on top of the baking sheet.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the cake 1-inch from the edge comes out clean. The center of the cheesecake may not look set, but that is okay.

Turn the oven off and open the door a few inches and leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour to cool. After the hour, transfer the cheesecake to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, cover the cheesecake and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

 

Margarita Cheesecake

Instead of drinking a margarita this past Sunday for Cinco de Mayo I opted to bake one instead in the form of a cheesecake. While this was a great dessert to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, the light lime flavor also makes it perfect for the upcoming warmer months of the summer.

I began by making the crust. I crushed Nilla Wafers into crumbs and then combined it with melted butter and then pressed it into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. I then placed it in the refrigerator until the cheesecake mixture was ready. While I used Nilla Wafers for my crust, you could opt to get the salty rim of a traditional margarita in the form of a crust made with crushed pretzels instead.

Using a hand mixer I bet three room temperature 8oz. blocks of cream cheese until it was light and fluffy. I then added in sour cream, sugar, Grand Marnier, tequila, freshly squeezed lime juice and lime zest. I continued beating everything on medium speed until it was well combined. I then added in four eggs one at a time. On the off chance you taste the filling and think that it’s too much alcohol don’t worry, the alcohol flavor will burn off while the cheesecake is baking. On the converse side, if you feel like it’s not enough now would be the time to add in more.

I poured the filling into the prepared pan and then placed it on a baking sheet and baked it in a 350 F preheated oven for about 50 minutes, or until the center was just set.

A few minutes before removing the cheesecake from the oven I combined sugar, lime juice and sour cream in a small bowl. After removing the cheesecake from the oven I spread this sour cream mixture over the cheesecake and then placed it back in the oven for an additional five minutes.  This gives the cheesecake a nice topping and one other thing I like about it, it hides any cracks.

I then placed the cheesecake on a wire rack to cool and then placed it in the refrigerator for a few hours for it to chill.

Before serving, I removed the ring from the pan and garnished the cheesecake with thin slices of lime.

Margarita Cheesecake

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups vanilla wafer cookie crumbs*

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

3 8oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

2 cups sour cream, divided

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 tablespoons Grand Marnier**

3 tablespoons gold tequila**

4 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed

2 teaspoons lime zest

4 large eggs

Thin lime slices, for garnish

 

*I used Nilla Wafers

**I used the 5cl/50ml sized bottles. Each had exactly 3 tablespoons. For the tequila, I used Jose Cuervo Gold.

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix the cookie crumbs and butter in a medium bowl until well blended. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and 1-inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan.  Refrigerate.

In a large bowl beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in 1 cup of sour cream, 1 cup of sugar, Grand Marnier, tequila, 3 tablespoons of the lime juice and the lime zest and beat until well combined. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating until just blended after each addition.

Remove the pan from the refrigerator and pour the filling into the crust. Place on a baking sheet and bake until the center is just set, about 50 minutes. In a small bowl combine the remaining sour cream, sugar and lime juice and stir well to combine. Pour this over of the cheesecake and smooth with an offset spatula. Return the cheesecake to oven for an additional 5 minutes.

Transfer the cheesecake to a wire rack to cool completely and then chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours prior to serving.

Before serving, remove the ring from the pan and garnish the cheesecake with the lime slices.

Recipe from Food Network

Slow Cooker Sunday: Pumpkin Cheesecake

I am sneaking in one more pumpkin recipe this season before the Holidays take over… A Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cheesecake. This is actually the third cheesecake I’ve made in my slow cooker. Earlier this year I shared with you a Chocolate Chip Cheesecake and a Sour Cream Cheesecake. Out of the three, this one is my favorite. What can I say… I am a fan of Pumpkin. I actually adapted this recipe for a slow cooker as the original one called for it to be made in a pressure cooker. While I do own one, only because it was my parents, I am a bit fearful of using it. I remember my mom always using it to make beans. She preferred using dry beans over can ones to make habichuelas guisada (stewed beans) so she would use the pressure cooker to soften them up before making them in the stew… YUM! Maybe one day I will work up the courage to using it, but, for now, it is perfectly situated on the back of a shelf in my cabinet.

I began by making the crust. In my food processor I pulsed graham crackers into crumbs. I transferred the crumbs to a medium bowl and added in melted butter, cinnamon and sugar and mixed it together until it was well combined. I then pressed the crumbs into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 6-inch springform pan that I sprayed with cooking spray.

Next, I made the filling. I beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth and then added in pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, flour, and whipping cream and continued beating until it was well blended. Finally, I added in the eggs and vanilla extract and beat it until just combined. I then poured this into the prepared crust.

I placed a rack in the insert of my slow cooker and then filled it with a 1/2-inch of water (about 2 cups for my 6qt. slow cooker) and then placed the pan on top of the rack. I covered it and cooked it on high for 2 hours. The center should still be a bit wobbly and the rest of the cheesecake set. You don’t want to overbake it. After the 2 hours, I turned off my slow cooker and left it covered so the cheesecake could cool. After the hour, I removed the pan and transferred it to a wire rack so it could cool completely.

After refrigerating it overnight, the following day I enjoyed a slice!

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Crust:

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from 7 graham crackers)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon sugar

Filling:

2 8oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Spray a 6-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Place a rack inside the insert of your slow cooker and fill with a 1/2 inch of water (about 2 cups for a 6qt. slow cooker).

In a medium bowl mix the graham crack crumbs, melted butter, cinnamon and sugar. Press the crumbs in the bottom and slightly up the sides of the springform pan.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, flour and whipping cream and continue beating until well blended. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined. Pour into the prepared crust.

Place the pan onto the rack inside of the slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Turn the slow cooker off and keeping the lid on, let the cheesecake cool in the slow cooker for an hour. After the hour, remove the cheesecake and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate for at least four before serving.

Recipe adapted from Dear Crissy

5-Layer Brownie Cookie Cheesecake

A couple of things you’re going to need to make this cake… Patience, patience and more patience. You bake a layer, then you refrigerate it, you bake another layer and then you freeze it and finally you bake the last layer and then you place it back in the refrigerator so it can chill before enjoying a slice. But don’t worry, the first bite is worth the time and patience!

To make things a little easy for myself I followed the directions and used store bought chocolate chip cookie dough and boxed brownie mix.

I began by lining a 10-inch springform pan with 2 pieces of plastic wrap long enough to hang over the sides. After bringing the chocolate chip cookie dough to room temperature I pressed it into an even layer on the bottom of the pan, folded the plastic wrap over it and then placed it in the freezer.

I prepared the brownie mix per the directions on the box and then poured it into the 10-inch springform pan that I sprayed with baking spray after removing the cookie dough. I then sprayed the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan and pressed it in the center of the brownie mix until the batter reached about halfway up the springform pan. I baked this for about 45 minutes. I removed it from the oven after 35 minutes, per the directions, but felt that the brownie was a little too underdone so I placed it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. While the middle was still a bit undercooked, the outside was cooked. I think that if I make this again I will either cook it for 40 minutes, or reduce the oven temperature to 325 F and bake it for 45 minutes. While the brownie was still warm, I rotated the 8-inch pan into the brownie while carefully pressing it down to push the brownie further up the sides of the springform pan. I then refrigerated it for 30 minutes. I left the 8-inch pan in the brownie while it was in the refrigerator.

While the brownie was cooling I made the cheesecake batter by mixing together 3 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese with sugar, vanilla extract and an egg until it was smooth and no lumps remained. I set this aside. Once the brownie had cooled I removed it from the refrigerator and lined the bottom with Oreos.

And then poured the cheesecake mixture over it and baked it in the oven for 40 minutes and then placed it in the freezer, yes, the freezer, for 30 minutes.

Next, I arranged another layer of Oreos over the cheesecake…

And finally topped the whole thing with the frozen disc of chocolate chip cookie dough and placed it back in the oven for 20 minutes.

After letting it cool for a few minutes I placed it back in the refrigerator so it could chill.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a pretty picture of what the layers looked like when it was sliced (I made this for a birthday dinner and really couldn’t stop to take the all-important blog picture once we started slicing it) but I can tell you that it did get RAVE reviews. You might be thinking it would be overly sweet with all of the different layers, but, it actually wasn’t. It was more decadent than anything else and something you don’t need a huge slice of. I won’t lie, I was apprehensive to slice it because I had no clue if all of the layers had cooked properly, especially that brownie layer that seemed undercooked in the beginning, but, I needn’t worry. It probably would have been better if I had left the brownie a bit more undercooked in the beginning. I knew that I didn’t want to overcook it since it was going back in the oven 2 more times, but, I was just worried about putting a half cooked brownie in the refrigerator. I never know what can and cannot grow dangerous bacteria.

5-Layer Cookie Brownie Cheesecake

Ingredients:

16-ounce tube of refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough, at room temperature

2 18-ounce boxed of brownie mix, prepared according to box directions

3 8-ounce cream cheese blocks, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 package of Oreos

Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Line a 10-inch springform pan with 2 pieces of plastic wrap long enough to hang over the sides. Place the chocolate chip cookie dough into the pan and press it evenly into the bottom of the pan. Wrap it with the plastic wrap and place it in the freezer.

Spray the 10-inch pan with baking spray and pour in the brownie batter. Spray the sides and bottom of a deep (at least 5-inches) 8-inch round cake pan with baking spray and then press it into the brownie batter until the batter reaches halfway up the sides of the 10-inch pan. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes and then let cool for 5 minutes. While rotating the 8-inch pan press it into the brownie so the brownie can come up higher on the sides of the 10-inch pan. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Reduce the oven to 300 F.

In a large bowl beat together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and the egg with a hand mixer on medium speed until it’s smooth. Set aside.

After the 30 minutes, remove the brownie from the refrigerator and line the bottom with a single-layer of Oreos. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the cookies and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until the cheesecake is set, but slightly jiggles in the center. Let cool for a few minutes and then place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

After these 30 minutes are up, place a single-layer of Oreos on top of the cheesecake layer and then place the frozen chocolate chip cookie dough disk on top. Tucking in any edges and bake for 20 minutes.

Let it cool for a few minutes and then refrigerate for 2-3 hours before removing the ring and slicing. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and an Oreo on top.

**A quick tip… Instead of placing the Oreos in a single-layer, crush them. It would definitely make slicing the cake easier and less likely to fall apart.

Recipe from Tasty

Slow Cooker Sunday: Sour Cream Cheesecake

So, last week I brought you a Chocolate Chip Cheesecake made in my slow cooker and this week I am bringing you a Sour Cream Cheesecake. The recipes are quite similar, but, I actually preferred this cheesecake a little more. As I mentioned last week, I wasn’t too keen on the chocolate chips in the cheesecake.

I began by making a graham cracker crust. I pressed the crumbs onto the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 6-inch springform pan. Next I made the filling by beating together the ingredients for the cheesecake. Quick not, the recipe called for almond extract, but, if you are not a fan of almond extract feel free to substitute vanilla extract in its place. After making the batter I poured it into my prepared pan and then placed the pan in my slow cooker on top of a rack and filled it with a 1/2 inch of water. After cooking it on high for 2 hours I turned my slow cooker off and let the cheesecake stay in the slow cooker covered for an hour.

Afterwards, I let the cheesecake cool completely on wire rack before placing in the refrigerator to chill before slicing and enjoying.

Slow Cooker Sour Cream Cheesecake

Ingredients:

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

Salt

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 tablespoon flour

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon almond extract*

1 cup sour cream

*Can substitute vanilla extract if you prefer

Directions:

In a medium bowl mix the graham cracker crumbs, the melted butter, cinnamon, a tablespoon of sugar and a pinch of salt. Press the crumbs over the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 6-inch springform pan.

Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer beat the cream cheese with the flour, remaining sugar, and a 1/4 teaspoon salt on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and almond extract and beat at medium speed until blended. Add the sour cream and beat until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan.

Place a rack inside the insert of your slow cooker and fill with a 1/2 inch of water. Place the pan on top of the rack and cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours. Turn the slow cooker off and keeping the lid on let the cheesecake cool inside of the slow cooker.

After an hour, remove the cheesecake and cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled refrigerate at least four hours before serving.

Recipe from Food & Wine

Slow Cooker Sunday: Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

I’ve tried baking in my slow cooker a few times and I’ve had a few fails that didn’t make it to my blog and there have been a few that did make it, but, I’ll admit weren’t all that perfect – the cakes were a bit unevenly cooked or they fell apart. But, baking a cheesecake in my slow cooker seems to be a winner – thanks to two items, a 6-inch springform pan and a mini rack to place the pan on in the insert of my slow cooker.

I began by making the graham cracker crust and pressing into the bottom and up the sides of my springform pan.

I placed the rack inside the insert of my slow cooker and filled it with a 1/2 inch of water. FYI…It’s an OXO Good Grips Silicone Rack. I found it at my local Sur La Table, but, it’s also available at Williams-Sonoma and Amazon.

After making the batter I poured it into the springform pan and placed the pan on top of the rack. I covered the slow cooker and cooked the cheesecake on high for 2 hours. After 2 hours I turned the slow cooker off and let the cheesecake sit inside for an additional hour without uncovering it. I then removed it, let it cool completely and refrigerated it for at least 4 hours before serving.

One thing I did like about making a cheesecake in the slow cooker… it didn’t crack. I have yet to make a cheesecake in the oven that didn’t crack. And while this cheesecake was good I learned something about myself, I love texture in most foods but cheesecake. I prefer my cheesecake to be smooth and not have any crunch to it

 

Slow Cooker Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Ingredients:

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (for 6-7 graham crackers)

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon flour

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Directions:

In a medium bowl whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, cocoa powder and half of the salt and then stir in the butter.

Press the crumbs in the bottom and about 1/2 inch up the sides of a 6-inch springform pan.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, flour and the remaining salt. Using a handheld mixer beat the mixture on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, then the vanilla and finally the sour cream. Make sure to beat the mixture well after each addition. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Place a rack in the insert of the slow cooker and fill with a 1/2-inch of water. Place the pan on the rack, cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Turn the slow cooker off and let stand, covered for an additional hour. Remove the cheesecake from the slow cooker and allow to cool completely and then refrigerate for at least four hours before serving.

Recipe from Slow Cooker Family Favorites