These heavenly, dreamy, mini no-bake cheesecakes come in the classic combination of peanut butter and chocolate. Easy to make and freeze ahead of time, they can be eaten chilled or frozen.
20 cream filled chocolate wafer cookies (Think Oreos or Newman's Own)
4 ounces by weight (1 stick) butter, melted
2 (8 ounce) packages Neufchatel Cream Cheese (Commonly labeled 1/3 less fat.), softened to room temperature
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar (use 3/4 of a cup if using natural peanut butter)
2 cups heavy cream (whipping cream), divided
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
Optional: chopped peanut butter cups and shaved dark chocolate for garnish
In a food processor fitted with a blade, pulse the chocolate cookies until they are pulverized to fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse until evenly combined. (If you do not have a food processor, put the cookies in a zip-top bag and beat the tar out of them with a rubber mallet, heavy pan or rolling pin, then empty into a bowl and toss the butter in with a fork.)
Arrange 12 removable bottom tart pans or mini springform pans on a platter or pan with an edge and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add 2 packed tablespoons of the cookie crumb mixture to each pan and use your fingers to distribute the crumbs and pack them firmly and evenly against the bottom of the pan. (If using one large pie pan, add enough to cover the bottom of the pan and pack down firmly.) Put the crusts in the refrigerator to firm up while you work on the filling.
Use an electric or stand-mixer to blend the cream cheese on HIGH until smooth and creamy. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the peanut butter and mix again, on HIGH, until even and smooth.
Add 1 cup of the heavy cream, blending on HIGH until slightly thickened.
Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides, add the sugar and mix on HIGH until quite thick.
Divide the filling evenly between the pans and smooth the tops. Put the platter or pan into the refrigerator for 20 minutes while you work on the ganache topping.
Put the chopped chocolate into a microwave safe bowl with the remaining cup of cream and microwave on HIGH for one minute and thirty seconds, watching to make sure the cream does not boil over.
After heating, allow the bowl to rest in the microwave, keeping the door closed, for 5 minutes.
When the 5 minutes are up, remove the bowl and whisk slowly in one direction until even, smooth, and glossy. You're going to think at first that I've lied to you. It'll look splotchy and gross and curdled. Stick with it, though, it'll get there.
Let the ganache rest on the counter for 5 minutes then spoon over the chilled cheesecakes. Smooth the tops and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
You can either serve them or freeze them once chilled.
These little lovelies are rich! One mini cheesecake can easily be split in half for those who prefer a lighter dessert.
They can be served chilled or directly from frozen for a more ice-cream like dessert. Either way is delicious. If you'd prefer them thawed, just set out on the counter-top for 10-30 minutes before serving.
Recipe by Foodie With Family at http://www.foodiewithfamily.com/2011/04/06/peanut-butter-cup-no-bake-mini-cheesecakes/