Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Recipe for No-Bake Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake

In my previous post, I told you that I would be making a Nutella cheesecake for our Valentine's day dessert.  I received several requests for the recipe since then, and because the cheesecake turned out so lovely, I thought I'd share the recipe with you today.  

I was compelled to make this recipe while flipping through the pages of Nigella Lawson's latest cookbook,  Nigellissima.  I borrowed the cookbook from our local library a few weeks ago, and have since ordered a copy for myself.  The recipe is very easy to make, requires few ingredients and doesn't need to be baked.  Preparing the raw hazelnuts (boiling, peeling and toasting) was actually the most time-consuming element.  If you can find ready-peeled and toasted hazelnuts, that will really save you some time.

Below is the recipe, exactly as found on page 175 of Nigellissima...

Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake


10 oz graham crackers (about 16 sheets or 2 1/2 cups crumbs)
5 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
1 13 oz jar Nutella or chocolate hazelnut spread, at room temperature 
3/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature 
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted 

* one 9-inch springform cake pan


Break the crackers into the bowl of a food processor, then add the butter and 1 tablespoon of Nutella and blitz until the mixture starts to clump.  Add 3 tablespoons of the toasted hazelnuts, and continue to pulse until you have a damp, sandy mixture.

Tip this into your springform pan and press it into the base, using either your hands or the back of a spoon.  Place in the refrigerator to chill while you get on with the filling.

Beat together the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth and soft, then patiently scrape the rest of the Nutella out of its jar and into the cream cheese mixture and continue beating until combined.  

Take the springform pan out of the refrigerator.  Carefully scrape and smooth the Nutella mixture over the cracker crumb base and scatter the remaining chopped hazelnuts on top to cover.  Place the pan in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.  I recommend refrigerating the cheesecake overnight before serving. 

Serve straight from the refrigerator for best results, unspringing the cake from the pan, still on its base, just before you eat.  To cut it, dip a sharp knife in cold water, wiping it and dipping again between each cut. I didn't find this step necessary.  And don't worry; it may look disappointingly flat when whole, but when sliced, its dark depths are revealed.  I certainly wasn't disappointed! 

The cheesecake turned out absolutely perfect.  The crust was delicious, the filling rich (but not too sweet), and the roasted hazelnut topping complemented it so well!  It even sliced like a dream!  The flavor reminds me of  Ferrero Rocher chocolates.  

I want to share a little tip with you in case you aren't able to find ready-peeled hazelnuts or maybe you would rather peel and roast the hazelnuts yourself.  After doing some online research, I found that boiling the hazelnuts in a water/baking soda solution is the best and easiest method to remove the stubborn peel from raw hazelnuts.  Here is the link to the website I used for step-by-step directions...  How to Peel Hazelnuts

My boiled, peeled, and roasted hazelnuts shaped into a heart

That is all for today, my friends.  I hope that your Valentine's day was special and that you are enjoying the last of winter's days.  It is presently snowing here.  I see snowflakes lightly falling outside my kitchen window.  The too-tall snowbanks keep getting higher and higher. It seems there is no end in sight to this long, cold winter.  I yearn for warmer weather, the return of the robins, tulips and daffodils, as I count down only 30 more days till spring!  xoxo

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentine Greetings!

Especially for You!

"Oh, I know something I won't tell
Someone loves you awfully well,
If you will be my Valentine,
All my secrets shall be thine.
I'll share my pennies all with you,
Give you half my ice cream, too, 
Give all the world if it were mine, 
If you would be my Valentine." 
author unknown

Quickly popping in to wish you all a Happy St.Valentine's day!  Whether you are young, old, single, married, in a relationship or not, this day is for you!  It's a day to celebrate love, all kinds of love; between mothers and daughters, sisters, lovers, friends, etc.  I hope you are able to share this Valentine's day with someone you love!  

I will be celebrating with my three Valentines, my husband and my girls. I'll be cooking up something special for dinner - a creamy lobster pasta and a Nutella cheesecake for dessert.  Do you have any special plans for the weekend?  I would love to hear about it! 

Hugs and Kisses! xoxo