I’ve always associated the taste of peppermint with the holidays. There’s nothing that contrasts the warmth of winter flavors quite like the taste of cool peppermint. If you’re in need of a treat that’s easily made, easily shared and easily eaten, look no further. These no-bake peppermint cheesecake bars are sure to be a new holiday favorite.
No-bake peppermint cheesecake bars
Makes 16 bars
- 20 chocolate sandwich cookies (like Oreos)
- 3 tablespoons melted, cooled butter
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 36 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1¼ teaspoon vanilla
- Red food coloring (optional)
For the topping:
- 3-4 finely crushed peppermint candy canes
- 2-4 ounces dark chocolate bar finely chopped
Line a square 8″ or 9″ square pan with parchment. This will make lifting out the cheesecake easier.
Place the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large metal or glass bowl) and the whisk attachment(s) in the freezer. We’ll use this in Step 3.
Use a food processor to crush the chocolate cookies into fine crumbs. Then add the melted butter and pulse until the mixture looks like wet sand. Press the crumb mixture into the pan, leveling the crumbs along the bottom, using the bottom of measuring cup. Place in the refrigerator to set.
Pour heavy cream into the chilled bowl you placed in the freezer earlier. Use the whisk attachment to beat until stiff peaks form, taking care not to overbeat. Place whipped cream in a small bowl, cover the with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Scraping clean the sides of the stand mixer bowl so we can use it in another step (no need to wash and dry it).
Note: Using 4 ounces of whipped topping can be substituted for freshly whipped cream.
Place softened cream cheese and sugar in the stand mixer bowl. Beat until combined and fluffy, scraping the sides often. Add Greek yogurt, vanilla and peppermint extracts and beat until combined.
Fold in the whipped cream. Use your biggest and widest spatula to make this task quick and easy.
Step 6 (optional):
I think a little bit of color gives the cheesecake bars a fun, festive look. Divide batter in half, placing half into the bowl you used for the whipped cream. Mix a bit of red food coloring (I use icing gel) into the batter of one of the bowls. We’re going to give our bars some flare.
I like to pipe a stripe pattern diagonally alternating batters, then swirl the leftover batter on top and even it out with a spatula. You can also place spoonfuls randomly over the crust and run a spatula through the batter in back and forth motions to create a whimsical effect.
Pipe the batters easily by using two large zip-top bags, filling each with either white or red batter. Snip the tip and pipe alternating colors. Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 5 hours or overnight.
Place candy canes in a zip-top bag and use a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan to crush them into your desired size. Chop the chocolate.
Remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator. Gently lift it out of the pan using the parchment paper. Using a large sharp knife, cut into 16 pieces. We want to cut the cheesecake before we add the toppings so the sides are cut clean and our knife doesn’t fight peppermint pieces.
Sprinkle crushed peppermint and bits of chocolate over the top. I like to decorate just one side or the center of each piece.
Refrigerate leftover no-bake peppermint cheesecake bars in an airtight container.