Saturday, June 23, 2012

Light and Fluffy No-Bake Cheesecake

My husband recently celebrated a birthday. Birthdays are kind of a big deal to me. I love to go all out for birthdays, have fun traditions and celebrate like crazy. For my husband's birthday, which fell on a weekday this year, I actually got up early and prepared a huge breakfast - and I am talking huge. Pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, fruit. Now you all know I love me some breakfast food, but I don't love getting up super early just to prepare it before the day even gets started, so I rarely make breakfast foods for breakfast. But the fact that I prepared a huge breakfast for my hubby for his birthday is pure testament to the fact that I love birthdays -- and that I love my husband, of course. :)

You may have noticed that the title of this post indicated a recipe for cheesecake would be included. And you may be thinking that I also included cheesecake in the lineup of delicious breakfast treats. I didn't, don't worry. But we did have cheesecake for hubby's birthday cake that evening {after we had completely gorged ourselves on Famous Dave's brisket and barbequed chicken - they have an awesome e-mail club and sent us a fantastic "gift" for hubby's birthday. We really enjoyed it! [just a note: Famous Dave's is not promoting this post or blog in any way. They don't really even know I exist. We just like their food and we especially love good deals.] man, I love birthdays!}. I'm not sure how this tradition got started or why, but I always fix a cheesecake of some kind for my hubby's birthday. A few years ago I made White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bars for his birthday. Last year I made a Double Chocolate Cheesecake {recipe to be posted soon!}. See what I mean? Lots of cheesecake! This year I made what could possibly be his favorite cheesecake ever - a recipe his mom made for them growing up. I'll admit it, I'm a huge baked cheesecake fan, so I don't make this recipe often {in fact, I've only ever made it once before}. But, the hubby loves it and it is a lot easier than a baked cheesecake. Sometimes, even though I love birthdays and love going "all out", I need something a little easy.

This cheesecake is positively light and fluffy. It's perfect for the summer when you want a little something sweet while still keeping cool. It is also perhaps the easiest cheesecake you'll ever make in your life. So do yourself a favor and make it up. :)

Light and Fluffy No-Bake Cheesecake
Recipe from Olive Harwood
Time: approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours, including refrigeration time
Makes: 12-16 servings, depending on how big you cut your pieces

1 can evaporated milk, chilled in the refrigerator for at least a couple hours {though I just let mine chill overnight}
1 small package lemon Jell-O
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup water
1 pkg cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
16 graham crackers
Topping of choice - options include pie fillings, Danish dessert, or fresh fruit

Take your graham crackers and chop them up really fine in a food processor. If you don't have a food processor, put them in a plastic baggie and crush them really good with a rolling pin or something else hard. You want them to be super fine crumbs. This is the crust and large chunks of graham cracker just won't be as good. Once they are chopped up nice and fine, pour them into a 9x13 pan and spread them evenly. Set aside.
Get your cup of water to boiling. Add the lemon jell-o and the lemon juice. Stir until dissolved. Set aside and allow it to begin setting up. You want it to get about to the consistency of egg whites. This takes around 30 minutes, depending on how quickly it cools, but still keep an eye on it. Once it starts to set up, it does so quickly. You won't want it to fully set up because then you'd have to start over. No one wants to have to start over.
Beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until creamy and light.
Whip the cooled evaporated milk until nice and frothy. Add the jell-o and cream cheese mixtures. Beat until fully incorporated and fluffy.
Pour over the graham crackers you placed in your 9x13 pan. Allow to set for 30-60 minutes before topping.

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