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Two things which I think intimidate most people about making a cheesecake are knowing when the cheesecake is done, and the wait. A baked cheesecake normally takes about an hour to bake, and then another 6 hours to chill and set. And how can you tell if it has baked enough? Technically a baked custard, cheesecakes should still jiggle when taken out of the oven. But because of the usually high ratio of eggs in the batter, pulling it out when it's too jiggly could leave you with an undercooked center (I speak from experience).
No-bake cheesecakes have neither of these problems. Compared to their baked counterparts, these take a modest amount of time to make: the eggless cream cheese and confectioners' sugar batter is whipped till light, spooned into an unbaked cookie crumb crust, and then chilled for an hour or two (or less) to allow the softened cheese to firm up. And because it's no-bake there's no stressing about when it's done.
Texture-wise, baked and unbaked cheesecakes differ slightly—the lack of eggs make a no-bake cheesecake slightly denser, but it's still every bit as creamy. Here, the addition of chocolate pushes an already rich dessert completely over the top. To start, chocolate cookie crumbs form the crust. And melted bittersweet chocolate not only makes this cheesecake super chocolatey, but helps to firm it up as it chills. So no more excuses. No bake cheesecakes make making (not baking) cheesecake a piece of cake.
About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of the new cookbook One Bowl Baking: Simple From Scratch Recipes for Delicious Desserts (Running Press, October 2013), and available at Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Powell's, The Book Depository. Watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. Follow her Chocoholic, Chicken Dinners, Singapore Stories and One Bowl Baking columns on Serious Eats. Follow Yvonne on Twitter as she explores Singapore.