Can you believe it’s already December? I’m not sure I’m ready to say goodbye to 2016 just yet, but before we close the book on another year, there’s still a whole lot of fun and celebrations to be had.
As a mixed kind-of-Jewish and kind-of-Catholic household, we’ve never decorated much the holidays, especially now that we’ve started spending the week of Christmas in Rhode Island with my sister, spoiling our nephews rotten. No tree, no baubles, no menorah.
Instead, we throw a big open-house party for all of our friends, neighbours and colleagues, and decorate with what really matters to us – a pile of coats and boots in the entryway, an endless array of snacks and cookies and sweets, a crockpot of mulled cider simmering away in the kitchen, and a house full of guests happily mingling and eating and drinking.
(And, most importantly, no Christmas carols whatsoever, because after spending part of my twenties working in retail, I still get a little eyelid twitch when “Jingle Bell Rock” comes on.)
It’s a perfect excuse to pull out all the fancy serving dishes that spend the rest of the year tucked away in the cupboard over the fridge. You know the one I mean – the one that’s so high and inconvenient that you can’t use it for anything but the dishes and gadgets you only need once a year.
These cute little no-bake cheesecakes are perfect for a holiday gathering, whether it’s a casual cocktail party or a fancier sit-down sort of affair. I’ve used plain yogurt pots, but you can easily dress them up using fancier parfait glasses.
The inspiration comes from Gay Lea’s limited edition seasonal whipped cream flavour, Dark Chocolate Caramel.
A small word of warning… this particular flavour can be a little tricky to find (I had to check a half-dozen stores before I finally scored), but it is well worth the trouble of hunting it down. It’s deeply chocolatey and not too sweet, and at 40 calories per 4 tbsp portion, it’s almost guilt-free.
Oh, and did I mention it’s made with honest-to-goodness real cream?
It’s only here until December 31st, so I strongly suggest getting your hands on some while you still can. (I may or may not have bought two containers, because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find it again!)
I was sorely tempted to just skip the middleman and eat the whipped cream straight from the can, but that wouldn’t make for much of a recipe, so instead I layered it with a chocolatey crumb base, an even chocolatey-er no bake cheesecake filling, and a thin layer of gooey salted caramel sauce.
All you need to achieve the ultimate in lazy girl dessert nirvana is a swirl of that delicious whipped cream and a few sparkly gold sprinkles scatted onto the top at the very last minute.
And needless to say, these little cheesecakes taste best when served on a stack of your fanciest plates, preferably accompanied by your favourite friends and some fun conversation.
Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Gay Lea, and received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.
- ¾ cup chocolate wafer crumbs
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 125g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1 package (250g) cream cheese, softened
- 4 cups Gay Lea Real Dark Chocolate Caramel Whipped Cream, divided
- 6 tbsp salted caramel sauce
- In a medium bowl, mix together crumbs and melted butter until combined and crumbs are moistened. Arrange 6 small glass jars on a tray. Spoon 2 tablespoons of crumbs into the bottom of each jar and press down lightly using your fingers to make the crust layer.
- In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate on HIGH at 30 second intervals until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool for about 5 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Using a wooden spoon, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the melted chocolate, and continue mixing until the chocolate is completely incorporated.
- In a second bowl, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Measure out ½ cup of whipped cream and set aside.
- Fold the remaining whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture, and spoon (or pipe using a piping bag) into the prepared jars, using about ½ cup of filling for each dish. Spoon 1 tbsp caramel sauce on top of the filling in each jar.
- Cover and place in the fridge for at least one hour to let the filling set up. When ready to serve, top with the remaining cup of whipped cream, and drizzle with a little more caramel sauce.