When the temps begin to rise, it’s time to move the cooking outside. There is something about a grill that turns people who don’t normally cook inside into grill masters. Steaks, burgers, chicken, fish, and pizza are made more delicious under the watchful eye of the king or queen of the barbecue. What about dessert? Well, you can grill stone fruit like nectarines and peaches with a little sugar, then serve it with ice cream or frozen yogurt. Smores are always a hit with the crowd and the kids love it.
As someone who loves to bake, even I won’t turn on the oven with the mercury rises. Okay, that’s not completely true, I get up super early to bake during the coolest part of the day. If you don’t want to lose any sleep and you don’t feel like heading out for ice cream after a long day at work, no-bake desserts are the way to go. Mix it, pour it, put it in the fridge to chill. That’s it.
This recipe comes to us from Martha Stewart. It takes about 25 minutes to make, and even less time if you decide to buy a ready-made graham cracker, Oreo, or a chocolate cookie crust.
This recipe include adaptations for vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, low-sugar, and no sugar added diets.
No Bake Cheesecake- Martha Stewart adapted by Chamein Canton
2 packages (20 sheets) graham crackers (gluten-free graham crackers or chocolate wafers)
11 tablespoons (1 3/8 sticks) unsalted butter, melted (unsalted vegan butter)
2 tablespoons sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, Monk Fruit granulated sweetener, coconut, raw cane, or turbinado sugar, pulsed fine)
2 8-ounce packages full-fat cream cheese, room temperature (1 package light cream cheese ** plus 1 package regular cream cheese, vegan cream cheese)
1 14-ounce can (1 1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk (Vegan condensed coconut milk)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
** It’s important to use light cream cheese and not Neufchatel. Although Neufchatel is slightly lower in calories, it’s a bit more watery than light cream cheese, which can affect how it sets once the cheesecake is chilled. If this recipe used agar-agar or gelatin, it wouldn’t be a problem.
Put graham crackers in a large resealable plastic bag, and crush them with a rolling pin until very fine crumbs form.
Pour crumbs into a medium bowl; stir in sugar. Add butter, and stir until well combined.
Press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch springform pan, spreading it 1 1/2 to 2 inches up the side; press flat. Chill crust in freezer at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Using an electric mixer set at medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the condensed milk a little at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl, as necessary. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla.
Pour the filling into the crust; smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Unclasp sides of pan, and remove cheesecake.
Skip the crust: use cheesecake filling in a parfait and invent a whole new “layer cake.” Mix the filling, then put some in a glass. Top with broken-up cookies (such as chocolate or vanilla wafers) or graham crackers, and add fresh fruit (such as raspberries or blueberries). Alternate layers. Refrigerate parfait for 30 minutes, and serve.
Don’t have time to make a crust? Use a ready-made graham cracker, Oreo, Nilla Wafer, or chocolate wafer pie crust. They also have gluten-free graham crackers and chocolate wafer crusts.
Chocolate cheesecake: make the crust with chocolate wafer cookies (10 ounces, or about 50 cookies) instead of graham crackers. Once you’ve mixed the filling, gently stir in 1 cup mini chocolate chips, and then fill the crust. Sprinkle more chips on top of the chilled cake.