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Cheesecake is great with cherries, chocolate

Continuing along our Valentine’s Day theme which we embarked upon last week, we have another treat that’s perfect for the next holiday.

It has the color red, which seems to be one of the biggest deciding factors for a Valentine’s Day dessert, but it also has chocolate, a second deciding factor.

I’d also like to draw attention to the source of the red food color. It’s not artificial, which can be a problem for certain people, but also just does not taste good. While it’s possible that I stand alone in that opinion, I’ve found that things that contain fake red coloring just do not taste right.

Enter something that has a natural red color like cherries? Winner, winner, let’s have cheesecake for dinner!

If you can’t get on board to what I just did to that saying, you won’t like where any of this is going.

I present to you another recipe that is most definitely not good for you, but it is easy. Although cherry pie filling is arguably not the best for you, it does at least contain trace amounts of fruit, so we’ve got that going for us.

If you need a simple dessert that can easily feed a large family with some leftovers, whether for a holiday, or even a special weeknight, this is your dessert.

Maybe you need a dish to pass, or something to bring to a friend’s house to cheer them up, or maybe you despise Valentine’s Day, and you just really like cheesecake.

All satire aside, for every one of these scenarios, you just can’t go wrong.

As always, thanks for reading, and Happy Valentine’s Day from hbk!

Chocolate Cherry No-Bake Dessert

INGREDIENTS

1 pack Oreos, crushed

4 tbsp. butter, melted (half a stick)

16 oz. Cream cheese, softened (2 blocks)

2 pkg. Whipped topping, thawed (or homemade whipped cream, 4 C.)

1 tbsp. Vanilla extract

2 cans cherry pie filling (about 21 ounces each)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Allow cream cheese, butter, and whipped topping to sit out for a few hours to soften and thaw. If not using whipped topping, prepare whipped cream and set aside in fridge.

2. Prepare a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.

3. Melt butter in microwave-safe bowl, in 15 second increments, stirring until thoroughly melted.

4. Crush Oreos (creme and all) using either a Ziploc storage bag and a rolling pin or a food processor. I threw mine in our Ninja, and they turned out perfect.

5. Mix crushed cookies and butter together, then press firmly into the bottom of your pan.

6. Using a mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. This will take about 3-5 minutes on medium-high speed. Possibly longer depending on how long your cream cheese softened.

Add in vanilla, and mix well, scraping the sides of the bowl.

Add in whipped topping, one container at a time, or if using homemade whipped cream, about 2 cups at a time. Again, scrape the sides of the mixing bowl occasionally, so it makes for one smooth mixture with no lumps.

7. Layer the cream cheese mixture onto the cookie crust, spreading as evenly as possible across the crushed Oreo base layer.

8. Top with cherries, spreading to the edges.

Cover with plastic wrap and serve cold. Should be chilled enough for perfect serving after 3 hours, but will still taste great before that time!

Serves 12-16 people. Enjoy!

Katy Wise is a Fredonia resident.

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