Monday, March 14, 2011

Changing just one ingredient.....

Sometimes a great recipe is as easy as playing around with a recipe that you already love. Or changing up a new recipe that you saw on a cooking show but didn't like one of the ingredients on the list. Cooking is a fun way to try something that takes your favorite ingredients and makes it great.

Yesterday, my mom was coming over for dinner. I make way too many desserts as it is, but I always make a dessert when I'm having company for Sunday dinner. It completes the meal. I had asked the kids if they had a preference for dessert for Gramma. All 3 wanted cheesecake, which I found funny since it had been a really long time since we'd had cheesecake of any kind.

Well, it was a bit late in the day to make a real cheesecake, and I really wasn't in the mood for a frozen one. So I started thinking about various no-bake cheesecakes that I had made before. And the more I thought about it, the more I started to crave peanut butter pie.

For those of you who don't know what peanut butter pie is --- it's basically peanut butter, cream cheese & cool whip whipped up together and thrown in a graham cracker crust. Of course, there are numerous recipes out there, and you can make it a lot more complicated than that (I usually make my own whipped cream or use Dream Whip instead of cool whip). I rarely eat make peanut butter pie, so I have no idea where the craving came from. But I figured since it is mostly cream cheese, I could call it a "cheesecake" to make the kids happy.

But then I saw the Nutella in the pantry. And I decided that sounded even better. I'm notorious for making up a batch of brownies and icing them with Nutella when I want my chocolate-hazelnut fix. But Nutella is the same consistency as peanut butter. And it is basically the same thing -- only better.

Now, had I had more time I could have made this better, I'm sure. I could have taken the time to make a homemade toasted hazelnut crust (or chocolate graham cracker crust). I could have made my own whipped cream. I could have made it two layered or who knows what else. But by keeping it simple -- taking a very easy recipe that is probably in everybody's family cookbook (or at the very least can be googled to yield 8000 various recipes) - and changing up just one ingredient, I made something great that I could call my own. Maybe another day I will fancy this up and repost. But for now, my intention was to show you how easy it is to make something super simple, super fabulous!

Nutella No-Bake Cheesecake

1 8oz package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup Nutella, microwaved for about 10 seconds
6oz Cool Whip
1 store bought chocolate pie crust

Whip cream cheese, powdered sugar & vanilla together until smooth. With a spatula, combine cream cheese with the Nutella until well blended. Carefully fold in the cool whip. Pour into pie crust. Freeze for about 2 hours. Slice & enjoy!

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