Showing posts with label no-bake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label no-bake. Show all posts

Friday, July 15, 2016

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

You’d think that by now I’d know everything there was to know about food, or at least about desserts. After all, I’ve been seeking them out and tasting them for decades now.

But I found a new dessert in Ireland, in the very popular café that’s attached to the Field’s SuperValu market in the heart of Skibbereen. The café faces the main street, and it’s a great place to sit and watch people go by, over a nice cup of tea and a pastry. The food is good and it’s also inexpensive. Did I mention I now have a frequent shopper card for Field’s? I’m there a lot.

This recipe takes a little explaining. I first saw it in the display case at the café when I stopped in for that cup of tea and something sweet. It called out my name, so of course I tried it. It’s a cake only because it’s cake-shaped (or more accurately, loaf-shaped). In fact, it’s made up of nice gooey chocolate and biscuits, er, cookies. Yes, commercial packaged cookies. Put them all together and chill them (no baking!), and you have a very sweet, multi-textured dessert that quickly becomes addictive (you didn’t think I’d stop at one, did you?).

I went looking for recipes, but I quickly found there are two schools of thought about this: the golden syrup faction and the condensed milk faction. I can’t swear to it, but I’m guessing what I sampled came from the golden syrup side of the fence, given the slightly gooey texture (which contrasts nicely to the crunchy cookies).

The basic recipe is simple, but some people add things along the way, like candied cherries (never one of my favorites) or other dried fruits, mini-marshmallows, or nuts. One thing all the recipes agree upon is that you must use a good quality chocolate (the recipes actually say that in caps: “Good Quality Chocolate.” No, it’s not a brand name.) And real butter.

And Maltesers. Which I had to go hunting for. I guess they’re basically malted milk balls dipped in chocolate. It’s an English thing. You would not believe the variety of candies available there—and the absurdity of some of their names. (My quick survey indicates that the Irish have a serious sweet tooth, and that Irish dentists much be very happy.)

And this is only some of them!

The recommended biscuits (cookies) are: Digestive Biscuits and Rich Tea Biscuits. These are different, one from the other. Don’t ask me how. The first one is supposed to be good for you, or that’s what the maker thought when they named it. Google them if you’re really curious. But you need to include both kinds.

Yes, I brought all the ingredients home with me. Oh, except for the Golden Syrup, which I have used in the past. But even the small tin is heavy, and my suitcase was pushing the limits already. However, there are substitutes, so I used one here.

I will apologize in advance: many foreign recipes call for ingredients by weight. Usually I translate those to terms most American cooks will recognize, but it’s a little hard to measure the volume of a bunch of crumbled cookies. If you look at the picture of the cookie packages, I used about 2/3 of a package of each kind. The chocolate bar weighed seven ounces. But don’t worry too much—it’s a forgiving recipe and exact measurements don’t matter.

Chocolate Biscuit Cake


275 g good quality chocolate, broken into chunks
200 g Digestive Biscuits, roughly broken (do not make the pieces too small)
200 g Rich Tea Biscuits (ditto)
1 packet Maltesers
150 ml Golden Syrup (if you don’t have any, you can combine 2 parts light corn syrup with one part molasses—I used treacle, which is more authentic. The mixture should be thick.)
110 g butter (about one stick)

One package Maltesers


Generously line a loaf tin with cling film (for us, that’s plastic wrap). Two layers are good, and leave plenty hanging over the edges (to cover the top of the cake later).

Place the butter, chocolate and golden syrup (or substitute) in the top of a double boiler whose bottom is filled with simmering water and stir until melted.

Biscuits, whole (no, I can't tell them apart)

Same biscuits, crumbled
Crumble your biscuits. When the chocolate mixture has melted, place it in a large bowl and add the biscuits and Maltesers and mix well (without mashing the biscuits any more than necessary).

Pour the mixture into the lined tin and press it gently into place. Cover the top with the excess cling film. Place the tin in the refrigerator and let it set (at least three hours, but you can keep it for a couple of weeks if you want)—it should be firm enough so that you can cut it.

To serve: lift it out of the tin (that’s when all that cling film comes in handy!) and peel off the cling film. With a long sharp knife, make slices about one-half to three-quarters of an inch thick. 

And enjoy it, with a nice cup of tea!

By the way, I'm editing the next County Cork mystery now. It may be called Winters Past, and it doesn't have a cover yet. But it takes place in a blizzard, and Rose is cooking comfort food on an antique stove and toasting bread over the fire in the pub, for a bunch of hungry people who are stranded at Sullivan's.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Summer Disasters and a Key Lime Cheesecake Pie from Cleo Coyle

Yes, the apples, pumpkins, and pears are rolling into our local produce aisle already, and I'm looking forward to seasonal fall baking, but (all things being equal) autumn isn't due for another week.

Today, therefore, I'm saying goodbye to summer. Frankly, after an East Coast earthquake and its aftershock (surreal), a nerve-wracking hurricane (thanks so much for the mopping workout), and a Staycation of mostly work, I'm not exactly sad to see summer's back. But I will miss the summer produce. 

This week, I gave an embarrassing yip of joy (right there in our little green market) when I came upon a display piled with bags and bags of Key limes.

Back in June, I ran a taste test, sharing the differences between Key limes (named for the Florida Keys where they once were grown), and the larger, seedless Persian limes, which are more commonly found in the US. For the heck of it, I threw in a bottle of Key lime juice and summarized the differences among the three, which may make a difference to you when selecting a flavoring ingredient for a lime recipe. 

To read my Key lime taste-test post, click here. My Key Lime Cooler cookies are in this post, too, which can be made with Key limes or the more common Persian lime. (Scroll down the post or click the photo for a downloadable PDF of the recipe.)

And while I'm at it...

A few more lime posts made an appearance on this blog over the summer. 

My Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Lime can be found here (or click the photo for a PDF) and... 

Mary Jane Maffini's Shrimp in Coconut-Lime Glaze can be found here

BTW - Happy CONGRATS to Mary Jane this week as she travels to Bouchercon. Her award-winning tale for Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine is up for the prestigious Anthony Award for Best Short Story. To see the list of nominees, click here

We are all so proud of you, MJ! 
Good luck!

As for my recipe today, it's not that I don't thoroughly enjoy a traditional Key lime pie, which is very easy to make (Key lime juice, egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk). But when one is distracted and under-counts the number of eggs in her pie, one gets this mess...

My Key lime disaster.
Not as devastating as Irene, but close.

I'm sure our resident pie maven, Ellery, would not make that mistake. (Click here to see Ellery's latest--a Banana Puddin' Pie.) 

As I said, it's not that I don't enjoy traditional Key lime pie, but I do loves me my cheesecake, especially the no-bake, no-fuss kind. And this cheesecake pie is a refreshing treat on these sticky, humid, end-of-summer days.

It's also my husband's favorite dessert. The original recipe came from Marc's mom, but I've tweaked it since, using different ratios to get this simple pie to come out exactly the way I want it (i.e., unlike the mess above, firm enough to slice).  ------->>

It's almost as easy as Elizabeth/Riley's Pink Lemonade Pie, which kicked-off our summer recipes back in late May (click here). Her pie is so easy, her young daughter made it for us.

So here it is, my culinary bookend for the season, my last Key Lime Cheesecake Pie of the year. Well, almost last. I do have two
more bags of limes.

Cleo Coyle, who can't decide
whether this is a cheesecake
OR a pie is the author of
Coffeehouse Mysteries

Cleo Coyle's 

Key Lime 
Cheesecake Pie 

Sweet and dreamy, 

tart and creamy...
To download a free PDF of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here.


1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup Key lime juice 
2 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 graham cracker pie crust
(optional) Sweetened whipped cream


(1) Place the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and softened cream cheese in a blender. Blend on high (my blender calls that setting "max/ ice crush" speed) for 3 full minutes. Reduce to medium speed for another 3 minutes.

If you have a low-power blender, you may need to stop the blender and give the mixture a stir at the bottom. You want the cheese to be whipped with the other ingredients until it’s a smooth liquid, the consistency of a thick milk shake.

(2) Pour the mixture into a 9-inch graham cracker crust. A pre-made crust is fine to use. I often use it to save time, dropping the foil pan into a glass pie pan for stability (as you can see in my photos).

(3) Chill for at least 6 hours, overnight is even better. Slice, garnish with whipped cream, and…

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Murder by

Now a national
bestseller in hardcover

"...a tasty tale of crime
and punishment,
lightened by the
Blend's frothy cast of
lovable eccentrics."
~ Publishers Weekly

Before I depart,
I have a
 fun contest
to tell you about...

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Your favorite CM

The prize package includes a gourmet chocolate tasting in a box, a Gimme Coffee Latte Cup (made in Italy), and a signed copy of my new Coffeehouse Mystery Murder by Mocha

To learn how to enter click here.

Good luck, everyone!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Super Fabulous Summer No-Bake Cheesecake!

Today I'm sharing a truly fabulous recipe here on the blog, but first, let me congratulate my blog-sister Cleo Coyle on the release of ROAST MORTEM.

Today is release day, which is always cause for celebration!
And we here at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen do love to celebrate!
Roast Mortem is out right now. You can find it in bookstores everywhere!

Now... Cheesecake...

You won't believe how great this cheesecake is. Seriously.

I hear you: You're protesting, insisting that, no-bake cheesecakes aren't bad, but never as satisfying as the kind you get at a restaurant. I won't lie and tell you that I don't crave a classic cheesecake (Junior's, Cheesecake Factory, Eli's, etc.) from time to time, but I will tell you that baking one in the middle of
summer is not on my agenda. I'll bet it's not on yours either.

I was invited to dinner at a friend's house this past Saturday, with the only request that I bring dessert.

I put this cheesecake together that afternoon and pulled it out of the freezer just as we left the house. Nicely defrosted by dessert time, and best of all? It was delicious!

Six adults all sampled this and everyone raved. I brought home the meager leftovers and my kids went nuts for it. Creamy, rich, easy, and no-bake!

You ready? You're gonna love it!

No Bake Cheesecake a la Julie

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 cups pecan cookie crumbs (I pulverized the store-brand equivalent of Pecan Sandies in my food processor until finely ground)
10 Tbsp butter (1 stick plus 2 T), melted
3 Tbsp sugar for the crust
3 - 8 oz pkgs cream cheese - room temperature
1/2 cup sugar for the filling
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup whipping cream
Fruit topping

Combine graham cracker and cookie crumbs with sugar. Add melted butter and stir until the mixture sticks together. Press into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator.

Combine the 3 packages of room-temperature cream cheese with the lemon juice and 1/2 cup of sugar. Using a hand mixer, beat until creamy.

In a separate bowl (I used a chilled metal bowl) whip the cream until soft peaks hold. Fold this cream into the cream cheese mixture. Mix well by hand. Don't use the mixer.

Spread into the prepared springform pan. Cover with fruit topping (I used raspberry preserves slightly warmed in the microwave for easier spreading). Once the topping is in place, cover with aluminum foil and freeze for at least an hour or two.

About an hour before serving, remove the springform side and move the cheesecake to the refrigerator. Should be just right by dessert time. Truly, truly, a fabulous dessert. Easy enough to make at home, pretty enough for company.

And... speaking of Cleo... can't you picture her strawberry or blueberry toppings here? Ooh.. I can!!

Have fun with this! Enjoy!


Author of GRACE UNDER PRESSURE, first in the Manor House Mystery series. At your favorite bookstore today!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

No-Bake Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

Today I'm sharing a recipe I received years ago from a good friend of the family -- so close she's practically a relative. She's elderly now, but at the time she was probably upper middle-age, and always came up with the best desserts for holidays, birthdays, or just let's-get-together days.

I was pretty young when I fell in love with one of her cheesecakes (that recipe will come another time) and when I asked her for it, she misunderstood, and gave me this one instead. My good luck because this one is fabulous too! My family loves cheesecake of all kinds -- what's not to love, though? Cheesecake is creamy and sweet, but not overly so. It has substance and a great "mouth feel." Add in chocolate, and seriously? How much better can you get?

This one is very easy. No bake. Really. I made it for Mother's Day and took it over to my m-i-l's house. It had been years since I made this one (my youngest daughter didn't remember ever having it) and so it qualified as a "Julie's Surprise." I'm lucky that they're used to me... and keep sampling my "surprises" even though some of them don't exactly work out as planned. This one, however, worked out just fine!

I have to also add that it was this cheesecake that got me to love the combination of orange and chocolate. Up to that point, I really preferred to keep those flavors separate. But this worked for me. The orange flavor is subtle, but there's a decided citrusy tang. If you prefer, you can probably leave the orange juice out of the recipe, but if you do, you may want to increase the amount of chocolate you add.

Interesting tidbit: You can tell this recipe has been around for a while. It calls for a 6 oz can of frozen orange juice. I could not find orange juice in 6 oz containers anywhere. I could only find 12 oz. Now, maybe that's just a local thing... but I remember those smaller cans. Now that I think of it, I haven't seen them in a long time. For this recipe, I melted all 12 oz, then made juice with the leftover concentrate.

Here goes:

No-bake Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz) condensed milk
4 oz melted chocolate (I used semi-sweet)
1 cup evaporated milk
6 oz frozen orange juice concentrate - allowed to melt to a liquid consistency
9-inch ready prepared graham cracker crust

Beat the cream cheese with the condensed milk until combined. Add the melted chocolate, then the evaporated milk, and mix well. Add the melted orange juice concentrate, and mix until blended. Pour into the prepared pie crust, cover, and freeze for at least 2 hours.

That's it. Honest.

Because it had been a long time since I'd made this, I pulled it out of the freezer when we were halfway through dinner thinking it would need the time to thaw. Mistake. It was still good, but it really did not need to be pulled out early. I should have kept it in the freezer until we were ready to serve. The consistency was just a little bit too gooey. So, word to the wise - keep it frozen until just before you're ready to serve.


Author of Grace Under Pressure - first in the new Manor of Murder Mystery series.


And now a bit of Contest News...

Congratulations to Stacy from Louisville!
You've won Riley's Williams-Sonoma’s Ultimate
Grilling Rub Collection!!! Way to go!!!!!!


Here's your chance to enter
Julie Hyzy's May Contest!

Julie’s first book in the Manor of Murder Mystery series, Grace Under Pressure, debuts June 1st! To help launch the book and to celebrate its release, she's running a very special contest: Pre-order Grace Under Pressure any time before May 31, 2010, and you're eligible to win a $25 gift certificate from Mystery Lovers Bookshop! (and if you've already pre-ordered, you just need to let Julie know!) No receipts required. Just email Julie at with the date that you pre-ordered and the name of the bookstore you ordered it from, and your name goes in! (Please put "CONTEST" in the subject header. Thanks!)

Here are a few helpful links to get you started:
Independent Bookstore List: here
- Mystery Lovers Bookshop (free shipping on book orders over $10!) - Centuries & Sleuths (Julie's local mystery bookstore) - Barnes & Noble -

And while we're here...

Avery is offering FREE BOOKMARKS on her website. Click this FREE BOOKMARK link to send her your information.

She also has a "fan club" contest (separate from Julie's) that is running until this FRIDAY. Click this CONTEST link to see how to enter. Hint: the instructions are in the last paragraph of the newsletter.