Cooking with the Library–Cooking with Kids: No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake
Oreo lovers rejoice! Here is an easy recipe for those who simply cannot get enough Oreos. I had an excellent kitchen assistant, and as you’ll see in the video he deemed this recipe “DELICIOUS!” Scroll below the recipe for some tips and tricks for cooking with little helpers.
Let me start by saying I am NOT a baker. My attempts at baking are usually laughably unsuccessful. I’ve managed to screw up boxed brownies, so please just use that as a gauge for the complexity of this recipe. If I can do it, LITERALLY ANYONE CAN DO IT! And that includes toddlers. Well, toddlers with some adult assistance to keep them from eating the entire bowl of batter with a spoon. (Bonus: As a no-bake dessert, this recipe does not include eggs which makes the batter totally taste safe!)
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk about Oreo Cheesecake! Oreo desserts are always a favorite in my house, and this one is no exception. Your friends and family will not be disappointed. With that in mind, let me suggest making this recipe for an event with more than just a few people. The recipe calls for an entire pack of Oreos and two bricks of cream cheese, so it may not be something you want to make on a whim with no one to share with. I don’t want to say how much Oreo cheesecake I ate, but just trust that you’ll want to get it out of the house to be shared with others ASAP.
What really makes this recipe stand out is using a springform pan. There is just something so elegant about the clean edges created with a springform pan. I recommend using parchment paper at the bottom of the pan to make transferring your cheesecake much easier. This recipe can be prepared in a 9 x 13 pan as cheesecake bars or even using regular round pie pan, but I promise the result of the springform pan is worth the effort of borrowing from a friend or neighbor.
No Bake Oreo Cheesecake
- 24 Oreos
- 4 Tbsp butter (1/2 stick), melted
- 16 oz cream cheese (two brick packages), softened to room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
(You can substitute this with cool whip, but decrease powdered sugar to ¾ cup)
- 15 Oreos (smashed or chopped)
- 6-8 Oreos
- Add 24 Oreos to a food processor and chop into fine crumbs. Scoop the crumbs into a mixing bowl, and add 4 Tbsp melted butter. Mix until all of the crumbs are moistened. (If you don’t have a food processor you can also put the Oreos in a large Ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin. The crumbs won’t get as fine or smoothly chopped, but it will work fine.)
- Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Scoop the mixture into the pan, and firmly press it down into one even layer. Use a spoon or the bottom of a glass to help flatten the crust. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill while you make the filling.
- In a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, beat 16 oz of softened cream cheese until smooth. Add in 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract and mix until well combined. (Don’t forget that you’ll want to decrease powdered sugar to ¾ cup if you’ll be using cool whip instead of whipping cream for the next step.)
- Pour the heavy whipping cream in a separate bowl. Start mixing on low speed, then increase the speed to medium-high until the mixture thickens and stiff peaks form. This will take approximately 7-8 minutes and will only work if cream is cold. (You could substitute cool whip here for no extra mixing)
- Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and gently fold it in until just combined. Then fold in the chopped Oreos. (Does anyone else get strong Moira Rose vibes when recipes require folding ingredients?)
- Scoop the cheesecake filling onto the crust and carefully spread it into an even layer. Add the additional Oreos or any toppings you’d like. (I belatedly thought colorful sprinkles would be a fun topping for kids to add and offer a change in texture.)
- Cover tightly and transfer back to the refrigerator to chill for at least 4-5 hours or overnight. After chilling, unclamp the round edge and transfer the cheesecake to a plate or platter.
Slice & Enjoy!
Tips & Tricks for Cooking with Kids:
The most important bit of advice that I can share for any new activity with young children is to spend time preparing them for what is to come. Talk about what you’ll be doing, what they are permitted to do, and what they are not permitted to do. It is important to set and stick to boundaries, and these should be shared with children BEFORE any activity begins. (ex. Today I’ll be chopping the vegetables and you will work on mixing in this bowl. It is not safe for you to use a knife yet.)
Start with simple kitchen activities. The littlest ones will love banging on pots and pans or stacking Tupperware towers while you cook. You can later upgrade to an empty mixing bowl and spoon to practice mixing. After they’ve practiced this for a while you can begin putting small amounts of water in the bowl, and later adding “scrap” bits of vegetables or small amounts of taste-safe ingredients in their bowl while you cook. (Trust me, they are going to taste it!) We practiced like this with my little one on the floor and in the highchair.
As interest grows in cooking activities, toddlers will want to work at the counter beside you. We simply pulled a two-step stool the counter for this, and talked a lot about safety expectations. Many companies make specific furniture for this purpose called kitchen helpers or learning towers. These can be pricey, so decide what will work best for your family.
We upgraded slowly to actual recipes after a disaster (read: power struggle) with a “just-add-water” recipe right around 12 months old. Here are a few tips we’ve learned the hard way:
If your toddler is grabby, measure out all ingredients into separate bowls before inviting them to help. As they get older and have more self-control, measuring ingredients will provide a great opportunity to learn math concepts.
Avoid using breakable dishware unless you’re prepared to deal with the consequences of broken bits everywhere and a total meltdown. (No one is actually prepared for this.)
Don’t include your toddler in a cooking activity if you are pressed for time or cooking something for an important occasion. This adds undue stress, and simple recipes can easily take twice the time to complete. Also, expect that your toddler will probably lick their hands at some point in the process, despite your best efforts to keep things sanitary.
Again, set clear boundaries and expectations for your little one. I’m saying this twice because it is worth repeating! This actually makes for a more pleasant experience for everyone.
If all else fails, put some soapy water in the sink and let them “do the dishes” or practice pouring with different size pitchers and measuring cups. This has proved to hold my toddler’s attention longer than any other activity. Make sure to have them help wipe up after the water gets everywhere, because it will. Bonus: you’ve basically just mopped your floors!
Just like we prepare toddlers for new activities, you will need to prepare yourself too. You should expect a bit of a mess. Do not get angry or yell at them when something spills. This is an important opportunity for them to learn that it is okay to make mistakes. Don’t offer an activity you aren’t willing to clean up afterwards. Above all else, remember that this should be a fun, bonding experience with your little one. Keep it light and fun! 😊