White Chocolate–Cranberry Cheesecakes! No-Bake Thanksgiving Dessert

/ Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Do you serve a signature family dessert at Thanksgiving? We have a few. One of my favorites: New York cheesecake with berry sauce! Only my Barefoot Contessa–loving godmother makes. It's funny how that happens, right? It's just an Ina Garten recipe (this one I believe). Technically any one of us could bake it but we've designated my godmother the cheesecake-maker of the family.

I'm relieved, actually, that no one asks me to bring cheesecake to family gatherings. I love eating cheesecake but I really hate making it (mostly because mine always cracks—always!—and water baths make me nervous). 

That's why I developed this no-bake White Chocolate–Cranberry Cheesecake parfait recipe for the Good Housekeeping blog. It's my nod to Aunt Eileen's holiday cheesecake...minus any baking or hard work. Just layer crumbled gingersnap cookies, cream cheese filling and microwaved cranberry topping in glasses or mason jars. Bonus: You can make these up to 3 days ahead! I mean, how cute would the cheesecakes be layered in these vintage dessert cups—love! Anyway, here's how you make 'em...


1 pound cranberries (fresh or frozen)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
25 gingersnap cookies
3 tablespoons salted butter, melted
2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, softened
3 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
2 tablespoons heavy cream

1. Put the cranberries and 1/2 cup sugar in a microwave-safe bowl; cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave on High 4 minutes or until syrupy, stirring halfway through. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until cool. 

2. Meanwhile, pulse the gingersnap cookies and butter in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment until finely ground. 

3. Beat the cream cheese, white chocolate, heavy cream and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until smooth.

4. For each cheesecake parfait: Layer crumbs, cheesecake filling and cooled cranberries in a jar or dessert cup. Keep cool until ready to serve.

For even more no-bake dessert ideas, check out my Chocolate Lover's Tiramisu, 5-Ingredient Frozen Pumpkin Pie, or Coconut Macaroon Cakelettes

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