No-Bake Nutella Cheesecake with a Peanut Butter Cookie Crust

No-bake Nutella Cheesecake

Umm, guys, I can’t stop eating dreaming  wanting nutella. Well, nutella and peanut butter that is. I can’t have one without the other. I use to just eat spoonfuls of peanut butter, and be perfectly happy, but now my peanut-butter-smothered spoon demands to be dunked into nutella. I don’t know if you’ve ever dealt with peanut butter smothered spoons, but they can be quite persuasive when they want to be. Real sweet talkers. You just can’t say no to them.

It could also be that I don’t want to say no. Fine, I’ll admit it. I’m a peanutbutternutellaaholic.

And, as a pbnaholic, I accept a few things to be true. The first being that peanut butter and nutella are having their moment and I shouldn’t try to stop them. The second thing is that I accept that my spoon will now have to be dunked in both creamy substances before I can eat it. And, lastly, I accept the fact that both my jar of peanut butter and nutella are cross contaminated with each other. Surprise surprise, I can’t really find it in me to be bothered by this fact either. Really, it means less mixing for me, which means, more spoonfuls finding their way into my mouth.

Tell me how that sounds like a problem?

Exactly, my wonderful friends, it doesn’t.

No-bake Nutella Cheesecake

I know, I know, I’m fashionably late to the nutella party. My bad. I just wasn’t into it before. At all. I didn’t even want to try it. How ridiculous of me, right? But, then I finally bought a jar, had a tentative spoonful, decided it needed some peanut butter, and the rest is history. Well, maybe not, considering I can’t forget it.

Like I can’t forget these Peanut Butter & Nutella Pastry Puffs I made last week.

Like I won’t forget to buy a new nutella jar at target.

Like I’ll never forget about this cheesecake.

No-bake Nutella Cheesecake

This cheesecake. I. LITERALLY. CAN’T. EVEN.

Let me explain.

A homemade peanut butter cookie crust. I won’t even deny the fact that I made peanut butter cookies for the sole purpose of crumbling them up and using them as a crust. Or, that I made three different batches of varying sizes (large, small, and mini) just so that I would have the perfect sized peanut butter cookie as a topping for my cheesecake. What, you don’t think that’s normal? Awkward.

The peanut butter cookie crust is then topped with the most decadent and velvety no-bake nutella cheesecake in the world. Two words here people: rich and nutellaly—let’s pretend that’s a real word. Can I say one more word? Creamy. So, so, creamy. The ricotta cheese is to thank for that one. Yes, you heard right, ricotta cheese. Funny story, I had intended to add mascarpone cheese to this cheesecake, but accidentally grabbed ricotta instead. I got distracted by samples at Trader Joe’s. Can you blame me? It turned out to be a glorious mistake anyways. And, then of course, there’s whipped cream and the {perfect sized} mini peanut butter cookie on top.

No-bake Nutella Cheesecake

I repeat, I. CAN’T. EVEN.

No-bake Nutella Cheesecake with a Peanut Butter Cookie Crust
Yields: 4 large servings

Ingredients:
20 mini (or, about 9 larger) peanut butter cookie crumbs (I used this cookie recipe)
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 (8 oz.) blocks of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/2 cups Nutella
4 to 5 tablespoons ricotta cheese (depending on texture and taste use more or less)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1-2 tablespoons sugar
1/2-1 teaspoon vanilla
whipped cream & mini peanut butter cookies, for garnish

Directions:
Combine melted butter and cookie crumbs, until just combined. Divide the crumb mixture equally between serving glasses, lightly pressing into the bottom of the glass. Set aside.
In the bowl of the stand mixer with whisk attachment whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla, to taste, beating until just combined. Scrape into a separate bowl and set aside.
Using the same bowl you whipped the heavy cream in, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Mix in the powdered sugar, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add nutella, mixing until incorporated, and then the ricotta cheese–add more or less depending on how velvety you want it. Using a spatula fold in the whipped cream mixture until just incorporate. Taste your cheesecake as you go and alter the taste for your preference, if you think its to rich add more whipped cream to lighten it up.
Spoon or pipe nutella cheesecake evenly into serving glasses, making sure to smooth the tops. Let chill for about two hours in the fridge.
Top cheesecakes with fresh whipped cream and a mini peanut butter cookie. Enjoy!

 

No-bake Nutella Cheesecake

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{No-Bake} Eggnog Pudding Pie With A Rum Drizzle

Eggnog Pudding Pie

So,

I don’t know exactly what to say.

I don’t even know how it happened, really.

It just did.

Christmas miracle?

Maybe.

This is the second year that I’m posting an eggnog themed dessert to kick off the holiday season. And, yes, I know I’m about two weeks late for the kick off. It’s been busy for me. Very, very busy.

Eggnog Pudding Pie

Two things I need to point out here.

ONE. This is the second holiday season we are spending together. Awhhhh guys, have I told you lately that I love you? Cause, I totally do. And, I’m really happy you’re all apart of my life. Seriously. Thank you.

TWO. For those of you that didn’t know, I don’t like eggnog. I know, how ridiculous. Or, not really, because I’ve met quite a few anti-eggnoggers over the years. It’s just not my thing. And yet, here I am, making another eggnog related dessert. What can I say? I’m complicated like that.

Eggnog Pudding Pie

What I really wanted to make was something with gingerbread. I had been dreaming of gingerbread filled desserts—cronuts, mini pies, candies, truffles—but for some reason I kept circling back to eggnog pudding pie. It could be that I love pudding or even that I’m a huge fan of pie. But, I really think it comes down to this: there are currently three containers of eggnog sitting on the top shelf of my fridge. It’s the first thing I see any time I open the door. Those cartons, just staring at me, giving me the stink eye.

I was over it.

So, naturally, I made eggnog pudding pie.

Eggnog Pudding Pie

Each glass (aren’t these glasses the cutest things?) has a generous layer of graham cracker crust that is topped with a creamy, nutmegy (have I told you I constantly have the desire to add two g’s to nutmeg every time I write it?) eggnog flavored pudding, which is then topped with an excessive amount of whipped cream and drizzled with a rum sauce. I repeat, rum sauce.

Eggnog Pudding Pie

Basically it’s a party in glass. A really, really, festively tasty party.

You know, I may knock on eggnog by itself, but it seems eggnog desserts aren’t half bad. It may have something to do with the rum.

Okay, fine, you got me, it has a lot to do with the rum.

And, come on, is there really anything wrong with that?

Eggnog Pudding Pie

No-Bake Eggnog Pudding Pie with a Rum Drizzle
Yields: About 3 cups

Ingredients:
Eggnog Pudding Pie
2 cups light (or, regular) eggnog
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs

Rum Drizzle & Topping
6 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 cup dark rum
1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter
whipped cream, optional

Directions:
Eggnog Pudding Pie
In a small bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs and butter until moistened. Spoon crumbs into the bottom of the glasses (or, the container of choice) and set aside.
Combine the eggnog, cornstarch, sugar, and nutmeg in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to a bubble and whisk constantly. When the mixture thickens–it’ll be the consistency of country gravy–remove it from the heat and transfer pudding into a bowl.
Cover the surface of the pudding with plastic wrap and let chill for about 35-40 minutes or until set.
Once set, spoon or pipe the pudding on top of the graham cracker crumbs.

Rum Drizzle & Assembly
While the pudding is setting, make the rum drizzle. In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, rum, and butter. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, and boil for 1-2 minutes, or until the brown sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
Once cooled, pipe whipped cream on the pudding and then drizzle generously with the rum sauce.

*Eggnog pudding slightly adapted from Sprinkle Bakes

 

Eggnog Pudding Pie

No-Bake Mocha Cheesecake

No-Bake Mocha Cheesecake

I’d like to apologize.

I don’t know where my manners went.

How could I have forgotten to wish you a Happy National Coffee Day?

How selfish of me. And rude. And mean.

Okay, I’m just being dramatic here. But, seriously, Happy Belated National Coffee Day.

How belated exactly? Fourteen days. National Coffee Day was on September 29th. Better late than never, right?

IMG_2731-4

If it makes you feel better, I didn’t really celebrate. In fact, I only had one cup of coffee that day, which is much smaller than my usual amount. Saddening, I know.

This is why we (yes, you and I…no one wants to celebrate alone) need to sit down, clink are forks together, and dig into some No-Bake Mocha Cheesecake.

Or, should I say some No-Bake Mocha Cheesecake with a Kona Coffee Shortbread Crust topped generously with homemade whipped cream and mocha syrup.

Try saying that five times fast. It’s a mouthful. A delicious mouthful. A coffee infused mouthful. But, still, a little long. Hence the shorter name for this dessert.

Let’s break this down.

No-Bake Mocha Cheesecake

Starting from the bottom, we have a Kona Coffee Shortbread Crust. Sounds like a lot of work to make, huh? It’s not. Trader Joe’s has these amazingggg Kona Coffee Creamy Half-dipped Shortbread Cookies, which you simply have to crush up and bam snap clap (just go with it) you have a crust for your cheesecake.

Next up, we have the Mocha Cheesecake. The mocha flavoring is very subtle and doesn’t overpower the creamy taste of the cheesecake in any way. In fact, you don’t taste the mocha until you swallow your first bite. The flavor is easily adaptable too—want more mocha? Add more of the mocha coffee. Need it to be sweeter? Add more sugar. Want a hint of vanilla? Add some vanilla extract. Play with the taste of the cheesecake until you love it.

Lastly, we have the optional, but highly recommended toppings of homemade whipped cream and mocha syrup. This isn’t a very sweet dessert, so adding the whipped cream definitely kicks up the sweetness a little bit. The syrup tastes exactly like mocha—a little chocolate, a little coffee, and a little bit bitter—and adds the perfect final touch to this dessert.
No-Bake Mocha CheesecakeAs a whole, you definitely taste the coffee in this sweet treat. Which, if you think about it, is the ideal way to honor National Coffee Day…no matter how belated we may be.

No-Bake Mocha Cheesecake
Yields: 5-6 servings

Ingredients:
Kona Coffee Shortbread Crust
9 Kona Coffee Shortbread Cookies (I bought these at Trader Joe’s)

Mocha Cheesecake
1 (8 oz.) block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3-1/2 cup Starbucks Bottled Mocha Frappuccino Coffee
1/2 teaspoon vanilla, optional

Mocha Syrup & Whipped Cream (optional)
1/2 cup Starbucks Bottled Mocha Frappuccino Coffee
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
whipped cream, for garnish

Directions:
Kona Coffee Shortbread Crust & Mocha Cheesecake
In a food processor, pulse the Kona Coffee Shortbread Cookies until finely crumbled–I added butter to help combine the crust, but it ended up getting a little hard (still delicious, but you had to stab it with your spoon for it to crumble) after the cheesecakes chilled in the fridge, so I suggest not to use butter, or if the crust needs help combining, add just a little bit of melted unsalted butter to help.
Divide the crumbles into each mason jar equally and press into the bottom. Set aside.
In a stand mixer with a whip attachment, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Scrape into a separate bowl (you can reserve half a cup to use as a garnish on the cheesecakes or you can make fresh whipped cream after the cheesecakes have chilled, up to you!) and set aside.
Using the same bowl you whipped the heavy cream in, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Mix in the sugar, mocha, and vanilla (if you decide to use it) until combined–the taste is up to you, if you want it to be more mocha flavored add more of the mocha coffee, if you want it to be sweeter add more sugar, or if you want a hint of vanilla add some vanilla extract. Using a spatula fold the whipped cream into the cheesecake mixture until just incorporated.
Spoon or pipe the cheesecake mixture evenly into the mason jars, make sure to smooth the tops. Let chill for two hours in the fridge.

Mocha Syrup & Whipped Cream
While the cheesecakes are chilling, make the mocha syrup. In a small saucepan, whisk together the mocha coffee, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until syrup begins to thicken.
Once thickened, remove saucepan from heat and stir in the vanilla. Let mixture cool down before pouring over the cheesecakes.
Top cheesecakes with reserved or fresh whipped cream and drizzle generously with mocha syrup.

*Mocha Syrup recipe adapted from Pastry Affair

 

No-Bake Mocha Cheesecake

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake
There is less than a week before summer. Well, more specifically, in five days it’s the first ‘official’ day of summer.

Emphasis on the official part. I’ve always been one to mark the first day of summer by the last day of school or the first day in June, which means I’m about seventeen days into my summer. But, hey, that could just be me. I have a tendency to go off book when it comes to holidays or events labeled on calendars.

Little known fact about myself: I like to celebrate (if I remember that is) the random, obscure, and definitely-not-listed-on-any-calendar national holidays. National Yogurtland Day? Best believe I’m waiting in line to eat my weight in free frozen yogurt. National Donut Day? Why, hello, Krispy Kreme drive thru, where have you been all my life? National Siblings Day? Instagram will be blown up with pictures of my brother and I, mainly because we were adorable kids, but also because the holiday demands it. Who am I to ignore these wonderful national holidays? But, better question, who are you to ignore them?

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

Maybe it’s just me, but I find these kinds of days to be fun. I believe it’s the little things in life that make you happy, and these national holidays are the epitome of the little things. But, before I get more philosophical on you, let’s get back to the first official day of summer. A day that is listed on calendars, but not given very much attention on the celebration scale.

I vote we change that. I think it should be celebrated. And, what better way to do that than a Raspberry Buttermilk Cake? Yeahh, I’ll answer that question, there is no better way to celebrate it. So, if I were you, I’d join me. Like now, before the entire cake is eaten.

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake. Funny story. I don’t ever have buttermilk or raspberries, for that matter, in my fridge. It’s just not something I buy with frequency. Actually, if we are being completely open, this was my first time buying raspberries. I know, how weird, right? Raspberries just aren’t my thing. In fact, the only berry that is my thing is a strawberry. Again, I know, how weird.

But, Costco had a sale. And raspberries scream summer. And, okay, fine, there wasn’t a good-looking box of strawberries left. So, the raspberries found themselves in my fridge, sitting next to a half-opened carton of buttermilk, which I had used to make a healthy potato salad (substitute buttermilk for mayo…surprisingly quite tasty) a few days before.

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

And then I saw a recipe for a Strawberry Summer Cake on Smitten Kitchen. I think it was the world’s way of telling me to grab the raspberries and buttermilk and make a cake in honor of the first day of summer. And, when the world speaks to you like that, you don’t even think about it, you just do.

So I did. And, can I just say, I’m glad I did. The buttermilk cake is super moist, flavorful, and pairs rather nicely with the tartness of the raspberries. As the cake bakes, the raspberries turn into puddles of jam that soak into the cake, making your house smell amazing and your stomach grumble in anticipation. This dessert isn’t overly sweet, but I found a hefty spoonful of homemade whipped cream definitely makes up for that. It’s a light, summery, easy-to-put-together kind of dessert—so, basically, the ideal way to celebrate the first official day of summer if you ask me!

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yields: 1 9-inch cake

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter + extra for springform pan, softened to room temperature
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
16 oz fresh raspberries, washed and dried

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and butter a 9-inch springform pan (or cake pan or deep dish pie pan).
In a small bowl whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl beat butter and 1 cup of sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Mix in egg, buttermilk, and vanilla until well combined.
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until just smooth.
Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Arrange raspberries, bottoms up, on top of the batter in a single layer. Sprinkle, as evenly as possible, remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar over the berries.
Bake cake for ten minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and continue baking for 50-55 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean (gooey raspberries on the toothpick are a given). Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into slices and serve with whipped cream.

 

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

Toffee Hot Chocolate Snowman Shooters

Toffee Hot Chocolate Snowman Shooters I’ve chugged sipped about ten shooters. Give or take a few. Truthfully, I’ve lost count. And, I just reached for another.

What? Don’t look at me like that. Hot chocolate overdose can happen to anyone. Especially when it’s cold outside. And when the hot chocolate has hints of toffee. And is smothered in whipped cream. And sprinkled with toffee bits. And served in mini glasses that are ridiculously festive.

Can we just talk about the Snowman Shooters for a minute? Are these glasses not the cutest things you have ever seen?
Toffee Hot Chocolate Snowman Shooters Okay, maybe not the cutest thing ever, but they definitely rival for first, or at least come in second. Come on, you know I’m right. I, for one, just can’t get over how stinkin adorable they are. In fact, I stared at these little guys for a good ten minutes without taking a sip…I didn’t want to ruin their cuteness by drinking it. Hopefully you understand that feeling, and aren’t thinking that I’m a complete loon right about now. I’ve already started thinking of other things I can turn into glass form…spoiler alert…baby chick glasses for Easter filled with some sort of trifle. I’m already smiling in anticipation.

Did I mention how easy and inexpensive they were to make? All you need is a little fabric, a few beads, and some hot glue. Simple, right? If you want specific directions or some tips or just want to talk about how adorable they are, just leave a comment or message for me, I’d be more than happy to talk about any of the above :)
Toffee Hot Chocolate Snowman Shooters I did eventually get around to taking a sip. And then, another. And another. And then, I poured a few shooters for my family, who happily sipped its contents and then asked for seconds.

I haven’t even told you about the toffee hot chocolate.

TOFFEE HOT CHOCOLATE.

It. Is. Delicious.
Toffee Hot Chocolate Snowman Shooters This toffee hot chocolate has everything you could possible want from a cup of hot chocolate. It is velvety and not overly rich, chocolately and nutty, and has a creamy toffee aftertaste that leaves you wanting another sip immediately. The whipped cream and toffee bits on top, though optional, really do kick these shooters up a notch on the yummy meter—in other words, splurge a little on the toppings, you won’t regret it!

Mr. Snowman himself even liked it. He quickly sipped his shooter.
Toffee Hot Chocolate Snowman Shooters

Toffee Hot Chocolate Snowman Shooters
Yields: about 20 shooter servings

Utensils:
10 shooter glasses decorated as snowman*
10 green & white stripped straws

*If you want specifics on how to make the snowman shooters, just let me know!

Ingredients:
3 cups milk
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/3 cup + 4 tablespoons ground toffee bits
2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla
whipped cream & toffee bits for topping (optional, but highly recommended)

*I used Bits’O Brickle Toffee Bits, and grounded them in a food processor until they were the consistency of tiny crumbs.

Directions:
In a medium-sized bowl, combine ground toffee bits, sugar, and salt. Set aside.
Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat, and add milk and half and half. Bring mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently.
Add three tablespoons of the milk mixture to the toffee-sugar-salt bowl, mixing thoroughly until combined.
Turn the heat down to low and using a spatula gradually add the toffee mixture to the saucepan, whisking until incorporated (don’t let the mixture boil).
Whisk in the vanilla and chocolate chips until melted and smooth.
Remove from heat and pour into glasses. Put straw in the cup and then top with whipped cream and toffee bits before serving.

 

Toffee Hot Chocolate Snowman Shooters