It’s OK to crave something sweet but not want to heat up the oven.

Tess Arias, whose website Handle the Heat, is an Arizona cook with the answers.

Here are four delicious recipes you can chill with.

STRAWBERRY

CHEESECAKE BARS

For the crust:

1 sleeve (9 crackers) graham crackers

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:

3⁄4 cup granulated sugar

2 cups freeze-dried sliced strawberries*

1⁄8 teaspoon fine sea salt

16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 1⁄4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

1⁄2 cup heavy cream, chilled

Directions

For the crust:

Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on all sides.

Place the graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until very finely ground. The more finely ground, the better the crust will stay together and not crumble. Add in the melted butter and pulse until moistened.

Very firmly press the mixture into the bottom of the pan using your hands or the bottom of a measuring cup. Refrigerate.

For the cheesecake:

In the bowl of blender, combine the sugar, freeze dried strawberries, and salt. Blend until the strawberries are powdery with no visible chunks remaining. Add the cream cheese, lemon juice, and fresh strawberries. Blend until completely smooth, scraping down the sides and bottom as needed. A blender tamper can help bring the mixture together quicker.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment to whip the cream until medium peaks form. Add the strawberry mixture to the whipped cream and gently fold until combined. Spread over prepared crust, smoothing the top.

Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight. Let sit in the fridge 30 minutes before serving. Run a large sharp knife under hot water, wipe if off, then slice into 9 bars.

Store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days or freezer for up to 2 weeks. If freezing, remove from freezer and refrigerate 30 minutes before serving.

TIP: Find freeze-dried strawberries near the other dried fruits. If you can’t find, simply omit. The strawberry color and flavor will be less intense.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT

BUTTER CHEESECAKE

For the crust:

16 whole graham crackers

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

24 ounces cream cheese, completed softened to room temperature

1 1⁄2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter*

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1⁄2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature

For the chocolate ganache:

1⁄2 cup heavy cream

4 ounces semisweet chocolate

Make the crust:

Place the graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add in the melted butter and pulse until moistened.

Thoroughly grease the bottoms and sides of 9-inch springform pan.

Pour crust into the prepared pan. Using the bottom of a measuring cup or flat glass, press the crust firmly into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate.

Make the filling:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese for one minute or until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add in the sugar and continue beating until smooth. Add in the peanut butter, vanilla, and heavy cream, beating between each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Beat the mixture on medium high speed for about 2 minutes, or until completely smooth and creamy.

Pour the cheesecake mixture into the springform pan. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Make the ganache:

In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer then remove from heat and add chopped chocolate. You can also heat the cream in the microwave. Let stand 1 minute then stir until the chocolate has melted. Stir until smooth.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes before pouring over the cheesecake.

Return the cheesecake to the fridge to chill for another hour before serving. If the cheesecake is too loose to slice and serve, freeze for 30 minutes to 1 hour to firm up. Keep refrigerated or frozen.

FROZEN BLUEBERRY PIE

For the crust:

14 whole graham crackers

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

3 cups blueberries, fresh or thawed frozen

2⁄3 cup granulated sugar

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1⁄2 cups plain yogurt, divided

1⁄2 cup powdered sugar

1⁄2 cup heavy cream, chilled

For the topping:

3 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen), plus more for garnish

1 cup water

1⁄2 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons water

1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the crust:

Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In the bowl of a food processor pulse the graham crackers and sugar until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until moistened. Use the bottom of a measuring cup, glass, or ramekin to press the crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Place in the freezer.

Make the filling:

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the blueberries, sugar, and 1 tablespoon of the yogurt pulsing until smooth.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on high speed until light and creamy. Add the remaining yogurt and powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add in the blueberry mixture, beating to combine.

In another bowl with an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into the blueberry cream cheese mixture. Spoon into the prepared crust.

Freeze until solid, about 4 hours or up to 1 week covered with plastic wrap.

Make the topping:

Place the blueberries in a small saucepan. Cover with the water and stir in the sugar. Heat over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a low boil and the blueberries begin to burst.

Add the dissolved cornstarch to saucepan and bring mixture to a rolling boil. Turn heat down and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes, or until sauce thickens.

Remove from heat. Add in the vanilla. Allow the mixture to cool enough to pour into the bowl of a blender. Blend until the mixture is pureed. Push through a strainer to make completely smooth. Refrigerate while the pie freezes.

To serve, let the pie sit a room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes to soften slightly. Use a large sharp knife to slice, rinsing the blade under hot water and wiping off between slices. Pour the blueberry sauce over each slice and garnish with a handful of fresh blueberries. Serve.

S’MORES MINI

CHEESECAKES

For the crust:

1 sleeve (9 cookies) graham crackers

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1⁄2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup heavy cream

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Marshmallow frosting:

2 egg whites

1⁄2 cup granulated sugar

1⁄8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Hershey’s bar, broken into pieces

For the crust:

Thoroughly grease a mini cheesecake pan. Place the graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add in the melted butter and pulse until moistened. Divide the mixture among the cavities of the cheesecake pan, about 1 heaping tablespoon in each. Firmly press into the bottom of each cavity (a shot glass or other small object makes easy work of this). Set aside.

For the cheesecake:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until creamy and well combined. Add in the vanilla and cream and continue beating until well combined and thickened. Pour in the melted chocolate. Divide the mixture among each cavity and cover with plastic wrap.

Chill until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.

For the frosting:

Place the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer the bowl to an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start beating on low speed then gradually increase to high, beating until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add in the vanilla and beat until combined. Remove to a piping bag fitted with a plain open tip, such as the Ateco #808. Pipe a dollop onto each cheesecake.

If desired, use a kitchen torch to lightly toast the marshmallow. Garnish with a piece of Hershey’s bar. Return to the fridge until ready to serve. Cheesecakes are best served the day they are made, but may be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

(606) 326-2661 |

lward@dailyindependent.com

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