Two mini cheesecakes made with a mixture of quark and ricotta cheeses, plus swirls of delicious Nutella.
Valentine’s Day is often seen as being hard for single people. And if you were recently rejected, or ‘ghosted’, or are going through a divorce, then February 14 is probably not your favorite day of the year. I’m sure it can also feel like a smack in the face for people who thought they’d be happily married by now, but still find themselves single.
But if there’s something us single folks can feel good about, it’s this: Valentine’s Day is probably more of a nightmare for couples.
First, there are the presents. If one person buys an extravagant gift while the other opts for a small box of chocolates, it’s going to be darn awkward (‘That’s all I’m worth to you!?’). Or worse, your present could reveal that you haven’t been paying as much attention as you should have (‘You bought me a coffee machine!? I’m a Mormon!’). Or even worse than that, your gift could cause serious harm (‘Wait, these chocolate are filled with peanut butter! I told you I was allergic…’).
Next, there’s trying to make a reservation at a good-enough restaurant on one of the busiest days of the year. What if everywhere is booked out? What if you make a reservation at a steakhouse, only to discover that your new love interest is a vegetarian? What if you both make reservations at two different places in an attempt to surprise the other person?
And that’s just what could happen before you’ve even ordered an appetizer.
On top of all of that, remember that Valentine’s Day isn’t a public holiday. It may fall on a Sunday this year, but plenty of people still have to work on the weekend. Like all those waiters and chefs at that fancy restaurant you don’t have a reservation for. I imagine this has caused more than a handful of arguments over the years.
(Even yours truly has to go to work this Sunday).
So, if you’re single this Valentine’s Day, then I hope you can enjoy some chocolate (which you don’t have to share!) and, at the very least, feel slightly relieved that you don’t have to deal with Saint Valentine’s various traps and tangles.
Notwithstanding all of that, if you are planning to spend February 14 with a special someone, I hope you have a great day and can laugh off any awkward situations that may or may not occur.
(Also, keep in mind that I’m someone who always imagines doomsday scenarios for absolutely everything).
And regardless of what your relationship status is at the moment, I really hope you get to enjoy some chocolate-swirled cheesecake in the near future.
With that not-so-smooth segue, let me quickly tell you a little about these mini cheesecakes. For something a little bit different, I used a mixture of a quark cheese and low-fat ricotta cheese instead of the usual cream cheese.
Haven’t heard of quark? Don’t worry, it’s nothing weird. It’s a creamy, European-style cottage cheese that’s similar to ricotta cheese (but smoother and creamier).
For the crust, we’re using a mixture of hazelnut meal (aka ground hazelnuts) and little teddy bear cookies.
Aren’t they cute?
Well, don’t get to attached to them – we’re pulverizing the poor things in a food processor. RIP teddies.
Instead of the traditional melted butter, the crust is held together by a mixture of Nutella and almond butter. So we have Nutella in the crust and Nutella swirled into the cheesecakes. If you were to serve these cheesecakes with some kind of Nutella ice cream, you’d have a triple Nutella explosion dessert.
Of course, it doesn’t need to be Valentine’s Day to make these cheesecakes (especially as I realize that sharing a V-Day recipe on February 13 may be a little useless. Uh, whoops!). So here’s a completely different reason to eat Nutella: the 5th of February was World Nutella Day.
Sure, that was over a week ago, but it’s still a good enough reason for me to enjoy some Nutella swirled cheesecake this weekend.
- ⅓ cup (35g) mini chocolate teddy bear cookies
- ¼ cup (20g) hazelnut meal
- 1 ½ tablespoons (30g) Nutella hazelnut spread
- 1 tablespoon (15g) almond butter
- ½ cup (125g) quark cheese
- ¼ cup (65g) ricotta cheese
- 3 tablespoons (40g) brown sugar, packed
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ - 2 tablespoons (30 - 40g) Nutella
- For the crust: Grease two 4-½ inch (11-½ cm) mini springform pans and line the bottoms with non-stick paper.
- In a mini or regular-sized food processor, process the teddy bear cookies into fine crumbs. Add the hazelnut meal, and briefly process to combine.
- Add the Nutella and almond butter, and pulse (process in short bursts) until the mixture is combined and clumps together.
- Firmly press the mixture into the bottoms of the prepared springform pans. Refrigerate the pans for at least 30 minutes.
- For the filling: Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). In a large bowl, use electric beaters to beat the quark cheese, ricotta cheese, brown sugar and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy. Add the egg, and beat until just combined.
- Divide the filling mixture between the prepared crusts. Use a butter knife to gently swirl in the Nutella.
- Bake the cheesecakes for 28 – 32 minutes, or until the center is almost set (but still a little wobbly). Turn the oven off and open the door slightly. Let the cheesecakes sit in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, place the pans on a wire rack, and allow them to cool to room temperature.
- Refrigerate the cheesecakes for a few hours, or preferably overnight. Carefully remove from the pans and serve chilled.
1/3 cup processed teddy bear cookies yields just under ⅓ cup cookie crumbs.