Time to treat yourself with cheesecake

For the five summers following my high school graduation, I worked at Camp Mennoscah, a great spot just outside of Murdock. (If you’re wondering on pronunciation, just know it’s a camp founded by Menno­nites on the Nin­nescah River.)

Mennoscah is my happy place, and now that I’m too old to be a cool summer staffer, I have been lucky enough to be a camp director for one camp each summer. I’ve recently been working on nailing down the rest of my awesome counseling volunteers, and I’ve been craving being out at camp.

I thought about it this week when I tried a new no-bake recipe. Some weeks when I was on staff, we’d make no-bake cookies with the campers, and they always loved getting their hands dirty in the kitchen. I think a lot of kids secretly love cooking—and not so secretly love eating.

No-bake recipes are perfect for this time of year in Kansas, when heating up the kitchen is the last thing you want to do.

The recipe I tried is a bit more complicated than the simple no-bake cookies we made at camp, but I do think it’s one that a younger kitchen helper could totally get behind, if you know one.

It comes from Hayley Parker’s website, “The Domestic Rebel.” You can find the original at http://thedomesticrebel.com/2016/06/06/rice-krispy-treat-no-bake-cheesecake/. I doubled the vanilla in my version.

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Rice Krispies Treat

No-Bake Cheesecake

Crust ingredients

6 cups crisp rice cereal

1/4 cup butter

1/8 teaspoon salt

about 4 cups miniature marshmallows

Filling Ingredients

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

7 ounces marshmallow crème

8 ounces whipped topping, thawed (I used fat-free)

Directions

Spray a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray.

Dump the cereal in a very large bowl (so you can do some serious mixing).

In a saucepan, combine the butter, salt and marshmallows, letting it melt over low heat, stirring constantly. (This might take awhile.) Once the mixture is smooth, pour it over the cereal and mix until it’s well combined.

Put the sticky cereal mix into the springform pan and press it with the bottom of a greased drinking glass to form a base and sides to hold your cheesecake mixture. Don’t worry about crunching the cereal a bit. The goal is to create a bottom and sides with no holes.

Set the crust aside to set up (I put mine in the refrigerator).

While it sets, in a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until it’s well combined. Dump in the marshmallow crème and repeat, and then fold in the whipped topping.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Chill for about two hours or until the cheesecake is firm.

If you want to, make some extra Rice Krispies treats and use them to decorate the top.

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I love Rice Krispies treats, and I especially liked that the cheesecake component had a lot of the same flavor profile as the crunchy crust.

This will last in the fridge for a few days, but it’s a good idea to get it eaten sooner rather than later, because the cereal will get a bit soggy otherwise.

Also, if you don’t have a springform pan, just line a regular dish that size with aluminum foil and let it hang over the edges so you can just pull it out when it’s set up. It works great.

I’m glad I have some cheesecake to distract me while I wait patiently for my time at camp in July. Actually, I may have to make it a few more times between now and then.

I suppose that’s the price you pay.

Lindsey Young is managing editor of The Clarion, the Kansas Publishing Ventures newspaper in Andale. She can be reached at lindseyclarion@gmail.com.