As promised, I am back with another mint recipe today. My love of all things mint is well-documented and to me, mint and March just go together. Think Shamrock shakes (and try my healthier homemade version here).
One of our local ice-cream shops has also jumped on the mint bandwagon and declared “March is Mint Month.” Hence it is my favorite month of the year – at least in terms of ice-cream. During this wonderful month they offer multiple varieties of mint ice-cream, including my favorite, Grasshopper, which includes fudge swirls and crunchy chocolate bites. Mmmmm…. Just thinking about it makes me hungry.
So, it’s a good thing I have leftovers of this delicious easy, refrigerated Chocolate Mint “Cheesecake” Dessert in my fridge. I’ll definitely be indulging a nice big slice after lunch.
But can I be honest for a minute? I almost pulled this recipe, because my friends, these pictures . . . . they are awful! I’ve made several versions of this dessert to get the ingredients just right, and I can assure you it tastes delicious. But I didn’t start photographing takes until I made this final version.
Big mistake. Because as good as this dessert tastes, it just doesn’t photograph well. It’s kind of messy and soft and the layers just didn’t stay together the way I wanted. In retrospect, I’m thinking I should have frozen it before I photographed, but it is a little late for that. Also, the lighting was bad and my colored sugar choice did nothing to add contrast to the photos. By the time I realized how unhappy I was with the pictures I had no time to make yet another dessert. Easy or not, I was out of ingredients and out of time.
So, I decided to go ahead and post the recipe anyway, hoping you won’t judge my crummy pictures and that you’ll give this dessert the attention it deserves. If you like mint, and chocolate, and cheesecake, do yourself a favor and give this Easy Chocolate Mint “Cheesece” Dessert a chance.
You may be wondering why the long name? Well, I wanted to stress that this recipe is easy – there are a number of ingredients, but they come together relatively quickly and the only baking you need to do is about ten minutes for the crust (and even that isn’t absolutely necessary, I just like my crust to have a little crunch).
But,because there is no baking (of the filling), this is not a traditional cheesecake. Good news – no waterbath necessary to make this delicious dessert. Being a cheesecake connoisseur I am a little bit reluctant to call a refrigerator dessert a cheesecake, even if it does contain cream cheese as the primary ingredient. Hence the quotes around the cheesecake and the addition of the word dessert. I know it’s a mouthful, but I am all about transparency here.
To start, I preheated my oven to 350 degrees and pulsed 12 ounces of mint Oreos in my food processor (you could also use Thin Mints, but I didn’t want to “waste” our limited stash of Girl Scout cookies on this dessert – lol). I combined the Oreo crumbs with 4 tablespoons of melted butter and pressed the crumb mixture into the bottom of an 8 X 11 pan. You could use a deep dish pie plate too – but amazingly I don’t own one. Then I baked it at 350 degrees for about ten minutes, just until the crumbs smelled fragrant and held together.
Once the crumbs were baked, I set them aside to cool and got to work on my filling. I melted 8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave and set them aside to cool. Then I placed two cups of heavy cream in the bowl of my stand mixer. I added 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 1/4 cup of cocoa powder and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, and I whipped them together at high speed until stiff peaks formed.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, I used a hand mixer to beat together cream cheese, Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon of vanilla, 2-3 teaspoons of peppermint extract (start small and add as necessary to get your desired taste), and the melted chocolate. Once those were well combined I carefully folded in the chocolate whipped cream.
Then, after cleaning my bowl and beater, I whipped up another 2 cups of heavy whipping cream. This time I just wanted plain whipped cream, so I added 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar, and beat on high speed until stiff peaks formed.
To assemble this dessert, I simply spread the chocolate mint cream cheese mixture over the cooled Oreo crumb crust and then topped with the whipped cream. You can add some sprinkles or green sugar for a festive touch. It would also look lovely if you piped the whipped cream over the middle layer, rather than just plopping it on there like I did. I think we can call this entire presentation a food blog fail.
Luckily, the recipe tastes delicious. And, to be fair, I never claimed to be a food blogger.
While this is an easy recipe, I also wanted to share some helpful hints to make this recipe a success. I always use peppermint extract to make mint desserts because I find that mint extract tastes like toothpaste. Also, be aware, peppermint extract is strong, so start with 2 teaspoons of extract and taste your filling before adding more. I also always recommend whipping cream in a metal bowl, and chilling both the bowl and the beater before whipping, this helps keep your whipped cream stiff and it will whip up a little faster. Finally, while I baked my cookie crust, that step isn’t necessary. The butter and Oreo cookies are both safe to eat as is. If you don’t want to use your oven you could just prop the crust into the refrigerator to cool down while you make the next two layer.
I hope you like this one as much as we do!