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Individual No-Bake Cheesecakes

For the Crust :
1 cup ground graham cracker crumbs,
1 tablespoon sugar,
5 tablespoons melted butter

For the filling :
8oz package cream cheese, softened,
½ cup sugar,
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract,
1 cup heavy whipping cream

For the topping :
Chocolate sauce,
Ferrero Rocher Chocolates

  • In a small bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, 1 tablespoon sugar and melted butter. Mixture should have the consistency of wet sand.
    Line a mini muffin pan with muffin wrappers, or line ring molds with parchment paper.
    Place 1 ½ tablespoons into the bottom of each mold. Press the mixture down firmly to form the crust.
    Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in vanilla extract.
    In a separate bowl, whisk heavy cream until soft peaks form.
    Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture until fully combined.
    Top the crusts with 4-5 tablespoons of the filling. Refrigerate 4 hours or until completely set.
    When ready to serve, top each cheesecake with 1 tablespoon chocolate sauce, and a Ferrero Rocher Chocolate
  • Gatherings and celebrations at our house have really transformed over the years. When The Hubs and I first met over a decade ago, our gatherings mostly consisted of ordering pizza, grabbing a case of beer, and partying late into the night with loud music, foosball and lots of friends. The more the merrier as they say. Those were fun and wild times, but definitely not sustainable. As we've gotten older, and our friendship circles have become smaller, we've begun to eat off non-disposable dishware, and have started cooking for ourselves. I've hosted many large-scale BBQ's, buffet dinner parties, and cook-off contests in our home. These events also often lasted late into the night, but the crowds were smaller, the music was quieter, and the food was definitely better. These days, now that most of our friends have small children, getting together has become even more special, not only because we get to share so many "firsts" with the babies, but because our time together has become that much more valuable with all the added responsibilities. It's not an easy thing to coordinate schedules of multiple families. Parents have work, kids have naps and activities, and any free time that does appear is usually used to catch up on sleep. Cooking and hosting friends and family comes in way down the list. As the token friend without children, I'm happy to take on the roll as hostess. It's still never easy to gather everyone together in one place, so I like to focus on smaller, more intimate gatherings whenever one set of friends is available. Even though these get-togethers are limited to the time between naptime and bedtime, and often involve both grown up food and kid food, I still like to bring a little special flair to them when I can. For the kids this usually means toys, stickers and cookies. For the adults it's generally a nice bottle of champagne or a decadent dessert.
  • Now don't get me wrong, just because I don't have children, doesn't mean that my schedule isn't packed and my days aren't hectic. It only means that I have slightly more control over my time. Whenever I find out that my friends are available for a get together, my strategy is always to do as much of the cooking and prep ahead of time as possible, so when they arrive, we can really make the most of our time together. The last thing I want to be doing is slaving away in the kitchen when my friends pack up their kids, car seats, diaper bags, toys, snacks and other baby gear to come to my house. I know our time is limited, so I want to be sure that I can focus my attention on my company, both young and old. Anything one-pot or no-bake is right up my alley, but that doesn't mean boring. Often times, the simplest things in life are the most satisfying, and act as the best backdrop for memorable moments. A classic vanilla cheesecake topped with simple chocolate sauce, and an elegant Ferrero Rocher candy is the perfect way to end an evening of laughter, chatter, and delicious food shared with those you love. Don't let this intimidate you. This recipe is a simple, no-bake recipe that can be made ahead of time. As the evening's conversation winds down, all you need to do is bring these beauties out of the fridge and serve. Parents of young children especially deserve an elegant treat at the end of the day to remind them that there is more to life than goldfish crackers and sippy cups, and there is no better reminder than Ferrero Rocher.
  • We're at a unique point in our lives right now when it comes to entertaining. Gone are the days of take out food and keg beer, but we haven't yet reached the years of crystal stemware and elegant multi course menus. Someday the kids will be big enough to sit at their own "kids table" and the adults will be able to sit and enjoy uninterrupted conversations, but until then, I'm happy to do a lot of make-ahead food so we can spend our time sitting on the floor, reading books and playing patty cake. It's not the most glamorous of parties, but it's time we'll never get back again, so it's important to cherish these memories while they're here.

     

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