July 27, 2016

Simple No-Bake Summer Cheesecake Treats

We've been having a scorcher of a summer here in East Tennessee. With temperatures in the 90s, my poor air conditioner desperately needs a break. So the thought of turning on the oven to bake up some summer sweets is not appealing. The good thing is, there are plenty of great no-bake summer treats to make for your family this season.

I don't know about you, but I like to have a little something sweet after dinner. I know desserts should be a sometimes food, but I just can't help it. I always seem to want some sort of sweet treat.

These great no-bake summer desserts are perfect because they are individually sized and you can make them in whatever size containers you like. The other thing I love about this treat is that you can completely customize it, depending on what flavors you're in the mood for.

Basically, it's a crust + a filling + a topping (and each one can be your choice!). Totally, DIY, totally delicious.

To start, you'll want to make a basic no-bake cheesecake. I based mine on a great recipe found here. Combine two 8oz packages of softened cream cheese with one and a half cups of powdered sugar. I used my electric hand mixer, but if you don't have one you can probably still do this with a little (or a lot) of elbow grease.

1) Start with Your Crust

First, you want to choose your crust. Graham crackers are the most popular option for traditional cheesecake, but there's really no cookie that won't work here. I made a couple different versions of this, some with graham crackers and some with chocolate sandwich cookies.

If you're using a dry cookie like a graham cracker you will need some melted butter or coconut oil to hold the crumbs together. For sandwich cookies or anything creme filled, there's no real need.

I used my food processor to pulse the cookies into crumbs.

2) Choose Your Filling

Next comes the filling. The base filling is the cream cheese + powdered sugar mixture, but here's where your creativity can go wild. Any and all sorts of delicious combinations are possible with this recipe.

One version I suggest you try is to add in some Cookie Butter cream cheese (a Trader Joe's product). It has a hint of ginger, plus a little cinnamon that almost makes me long for cooler temperatures of fall. This flavor would go great with a gingersnap crust by the way. 

Then, I also experimented with a chocolate no-bake cheesecake by adding in a few scoops of Belgian Chocolate Pudding (another great product from Trader Joe's). I'm sorry I don't have exact measurements, because I don't like to follow actual recipes...for this I went by taste. 

For my third option, I left the filling plain but you could incorporate anything you like....peanut butter, lemon curd, butterscotch syrup, salted caramel topping, chocolate fudge....the list could go on and on. 

3) Finally, Add Your Toppings

This is probably my favorite part of any dessert: the toppings. Again, there's no limit to what you can create here. 

From fresh fruit like strawberries, peaches or blueberries to something simple like cherry pie filling, your no-bake cheesecakes are just waiting for you to dress them up. 

Here are some combinations I recommend...

Chocolate cookie crumb crust + Chocolate pudding cheesecake filling + Marshmallows

Graham cracker crumb crust + Lemon curd cheesecake filling + fresh strawberries 

Mint cookie crumb crust + Pistachio pudding cheesecake filling + chocolate shavings

Peanut butter sandwich cookie crumb crust + Peanut butter cheesecake filling + blueberry compote

I hope this simple no-bake cheesecake treat helps you (and your kitchen!) stay cool this summer.

Happy sweet eating y'all!