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The month of January is quickly melting away. Time to turn-up the heat on your Valentine’s Day plans and get your Cupid on. Being a chef and a hopeless romantic, I am inclined to conjure up a dream-boat dessert that will make her mouth water and her eyes bug out – it is that crazy-good. My No-Bake New York Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake is so glamourously over-the-top, as it should be, for sharing with your special guy or gal.

This cheesecake practically makes itself; since the cream cheese mixture is thickened with gelatin over the stove there is no need to turn on the oven. The toasted oat and hazelnut crust is a delightfuly crunchy counterpoint to the creamy filling made even more luscious with the addition of mascarpone. You can personalize the cake a bit more by using your sweetheart’s favorite candy bar. Great for all special occasions, like birthdays, anniversaries, wedding showers, etc.

Indulge and Enjoy!

Serves 10

NO-BAKE NEW YORK CHOCOLATE SWIRL CHEESECAKE

Foundation:

1/2 c. hazelnuts, chopped

5 tsp. unsalted butter, room temperature

1 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 oz. oats, toasted

Filling:

1 1/2 c. mascarpone or cream cheese

1/2 c. white sugar, sifted

1/2 c. plain yogurt

1 1/2 c. heavy cream

3 Tbsp. cold water

1 pkg. powdered gelatin

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

1 cup Snickers candy bar, chopped

Special equipment: 8-in. spring-form pan with removable bottom

1. Make the foundation. Place hazelnuts in sealable plastic bag. Crush nuts with a mallet or use the back of a saute pan and rock back and forth to crush evenly. Add the nuts to the toasted oats. Melt butter and chocolate together in bowl of a double boiler; stir in the nut-oat mixture until well-coated. Cut a circle of parchment to fit the size of the pan. Spray lightly with nonstick spray to make a smooth bottom for the cake. Use the bottom of a metal measuring cup to press the nut-chocolate mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the spring-form pan. Set aside.

2. Prepare the filling. Beat mascarpone and sugar together with a hand-held mixer until smooth. Beat in the yogurt. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form; fold into the cheese mixture.

3. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a heat-proof bowl. Wait several minutes until it becomes spongy. Place the bowl over a pan of hot water and stir to dissolve completely. Blend into the cheese mixture.

4. Divide the mixture in half. Beat the semi-sweet chocolate into one half. Stir the Snicker’s candy bar pieces into the other half.

5. Alternate pouring the chocolate mixture and the Snicker’s mixture into the pan. Use a fork to swirl the two fillings together to create a marbled effect. Chill 2 hours until set.

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