No-Bake Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheesecakes.

I think we can agree that 2012 was the year I became infatuated with no-bake cheesecakes in cute little jars.

I guess things could be worse.

And… I think I’ve told you before about how my infatuation with chocolate covered strawberries began. My mom and I were walking through the mall and I was probably only 10 years old or so, and there was a candy counter inside this mall (? maybe I dreamt this? is dreamt a word?) where a huge plate of chocolate covered strawberries sat. There was nobody behind the counter and there was no price sign or anything, so I think she just assumed they were… free? Which sounds completely asinine on this day in December in 2012 because can you even imagine FREE chocolate covered strawberries? Um, no.

Seriously though, it is definitely one of my oldest food memories. It is probably one of my first food memories too. The best part was that I was hesitant about eating this strawberry. It freaked me out and took a lot of convincing on my mom’s part, and all the while she looked at me like I had four heads because I wasn’t straight up devouring it. When I did finally bite into it, it might have been the best thing I had ever tasted. Because… I can STILL taste it. The memory is so wildly vivid and ignited a life long fascination with chocolate covered strawberries.

I’m well aware that I’ve practically done a disservice to these berries – trashing them up like I do with most foods that are perfect in their pure form. These specific berries were sent to me from Harry and David and when they arrived on my doorstep, I was absolutely giddy. No, really. I like totally lost it. They were so incredibly perfect as they were, but in true Jessica form I had to go the extra mile.

I obviously did my fair share of damage on the contents of the box, but it also sparked this idea for more no bake cheesecakes which just clearly had to be topped with a strawberry too.

Not gonna lie… I think the box of berries is the best gift ever and am making it happen for multiple people in my life.

And I think the cheesecakes are so totally festive. You could make one big cheesecake and cover it in the strawberries.

And they are almost too cute to eat.

Almost. Duh. I’m not that crazy.


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No-Bake Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheesecakes

Yield: makes 6 (4-ounce jar) cheesecakes

Total Time: 2-4 hours

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 oreos
1 cup frozen strawberries, thawed
6 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
whipped cream for topping
fresh mint for garnish

ganache
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions:

Add oreos to a food processor, blender or simply crush them in a bag with a rolling pin - and blend until you get crumbs. In a small bowl, mix together melted butter and oreo crumbs until wet. Press a few teaspoons of the mixture into the bottom of each jar or glass, pressing down with the bottom of a thicker object (like I used an ice cream scoop) to flatten them out. Refrigerate while you make the cheesecake.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, add beat cream cheese, mascarpone and strawberries (and their juice) until combined and smooth, scraping down the sides when needed. Make sure the strawberries are pretty blender, but if a few lumps remain, it's fine. With the mixer on low speed, slowly drizzle in the condensed milk, continuing to scrape down the sides until the mixture is very smooth. Add in vanilla extract and mix one more time to combine. Pour cheesecake mixture evenly over top of crusts. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours.

Heat the heavy cream until warm, then pour over the milk chocolate, stirring until melted to make a ganache. Remove the cheesecakes from the fridge and spoon an equal amount of the ganache over top of the strawberry cheesecake. Refrigerate for another 30-60 minutes. Serve with whipped cream on top and a garnish of mint, plus a chocolate covered strawberry if desired.

[adapted from these goat cheese cheesecakes]

And now I want this for breakfast.