The perfect no bake s'mores dessert! Graham cracker crust, decadent triple chocolate no bake cheesecake, all topped off with a dollop of marshmallow fluff, lightly toasted. This no bake update on the campfire classic is sure to go down a treat!
What are S'mores
S'mores are an American classic - synonymous with camping and bonfires. They are comprised of three key ingredients:
- Graham crackers
As a campfire staple, s'mores are mainly characterised by a toasted marshmallow, which helps to melt the chocolate as it is made into a cookie sandwich.
So, to translate the essence of s'mores into a cheesecake, you need a biscuity base, chocolate and a toasted marshmallow top!
Easy Graham Cracker Cheesecake Base
To get a start on this cheesecake, you'll need a base or crust.
Graham Cracker crust is probably my favourite for cheesecakes (and also a lot of pies). The crust is a mixture of three simple ingredients:
- Crushed graham crackers
- Melted butter
Depending on the type of biscuit (or cookie) you are using for the base, you may find you want more or less sugar and butter. For example, when substituting in Lotus biscuits, I find the sugar is generally unnecessary as the cookies are sweeter than the classic graham cracker. Similarly, it takes less butter to bring the Lotus biscuits to a suitable packable texture. In fact, adding too much butter can make the crust a bit soggy.
But, when we're dealing with s'mores, let us put the substitutes aside and be true to the original. For my no bake s'mores cheesecake, I've stuck with the traditional graham cracker!
- Graham Cracker Crumbs
You can buy the ready made crumbs pre-processed or use a food processor to make your own. For this recipe, you'll need 2 cups of the crumbs overall, which will require about 14 to 16 of the crackers if you are making your own.
- Brown Sugar versus Caster Sugar
You can use plain caster (or granulated) sugar in a graham cracker crust, but for this recipe I have chosen to use brown sugar. This is because the brown sugar helps to enhance the flavour of the crust and works well for creating a packable crumb that sets really nicely in a no-bake cheesecake.
- Melted Butter
Simply melt 10 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan. If you are in the UK and don't have the handy tablespoon markers on your sticks of butter, this is the same as 137g (1 tablespoon = 13.75 grams).
- Crumb Consistency
Mix the sugar and cracker crumbs together first, then add the butter. I like to use my hands to make sure this is thoroughly incorporated and that you reach a good consistency. You are looking for a consistency a bit like coarse sand. Not wet, but packable so that when you press it, it holds together.
This can then be pressed firmly into the cheesecake base.
Freeze until ready to fill to help the base set.
Making No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake
No bake cheesecakes are a great option for a quick and easy cheesecake. There are no eggs in the filling, no need to contemplate water baths in the oven and no risk of a cracked top. The filling recipe for my no bake s'mores cheesecake takes some inspiration from Kitchen Mason's No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake and BBC Good Food's Malteser's Cheesecake.
For this decadent triple chocolate no bake cheesecake filling, there are four main steps:
1. Melting Chocolate
Melting chocolate is a bit of an art. Don't even get me started on the process for tempering chocolate to get a good shine! Luckily, for this cheesecake, all that is required is fairly straightforward melting.
You will want to ensure that your chocolate is either in chip form or finely chopped.
To melt chocolate without causing it to burn or seize, you will need to either use a double boiler or create an easy DIY version with a heat proof bowl and a small saucepan of simmering water.
Quick Note on DIY Double Boiler
It is important that the bowl fit well on top of the saucepan.
It should be able to sit on top, creating a seal between the base of the bowl and the top edge of the pan. The bowl should not fit inside the pan or sit low into the pan.
The water should not be at a rolling boil and should not touch the bottom of the bowl.
Add the chocolate to the bowl. Essentially the steam from the simmering water will heat the base of the bowl, allowing the chocolate to melt slowly and evenly.
As it melts, stir occasionally until it is smooth and then remove the bowl from the saucepan and set aside.
2. Whipping Cream
For a no-bake cheesecake, the whipped cream is probably the single most important component for a set finish.
You need to ensure that you whip your cream to stiff peaks. I cannot overstate this - if your cream does not reach stiff peaks, your cheesecake is unlikely to set firm. It is better to overbeat than underbeat in this recipe. Even if you overbeat the cream (as I've done in my image below), this will work fine for setting the mix.
In my recipe, I use both cocoa powder and powdered icing sugar in whipping the cream. This makes for a stabilised chocolate whipped cream once you've beaten it to stiff peaks.
3. Cream Cheese Mixture
So, the dilemma of many a cream cheese related recipe in the UK is the fact that you cannot buy blocks of cream cheese in Britain. The only readily available cream cheese is soft spreadable versions. Many recipes will insist that you need block cream cheese in order to make a recipe work. This is usually not strictly true, though I do discuss the issues of cream cheese frosting in a separate post.
For most cheesecake recipes, spreadable cream cheese is absolutely fine to use as a replacement for the block version, with a couple of suggested tweaks:
- Always strain off obvious excess liquid from the spreadable cream cheese.
- Use a ratio of cream cheese and another stable soft cheese or cream (such as mascarpone or crème fraîche).
In my recipe I opt for crème fraîche. This offers a bit of a bite to the cheesecake, reminiscent of soured cream, while also helping to provide a bit more stability to the mixture in the way mascarpone is often used.
4. Putting it All Together
The order of putting these components together is important. You need to first incorporate the melted chocolate into the cream cheese mixture in order to create a silky chocolate cream.
The whipped cream must be added last and folded gently. This is because you do not want to remove all of the air from the stabilised cream.
Once you've put it all together, this can be added to your chilled base, spread evenly and refrigerated until set, ideally overnight.
Toasted Marshmallow Topping
The ultimate no bake s'mores dessert cannot be complete without the marshmallow! For this to be a true ode to the classic campfire treat, it is best to add this at the point of serving so that you can freshly toast this.
You'll need is a jar of marshmallow fluff and a kitchen torch. Just like traditional s'mores, everyone will have a preference for how they want their marshmallow. Simply spoon a bit of the fluff on top of a slice of the cheesecake - as much or as little as you like! And toast this to your heart's content with the torch.
Do note usual safety practices with using a kitchen torch and avoid holding it too close to the cheesecake. Your goal here is a toasted marshmallow, not a melted chocolate cheesecake!
No bake cheesecake is a great make ahead dessert and should be made the day before you intend to eat it. It can be made up to two days before without issue and leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for about 4 days fairly well.
If making in advance, only top with marshmallow when ready to serve.
Yes, you can freeze no bake cheesecake. You should first wait for this to set in the refrigerator. Then remove from the springform pan, wrap and freeze. This can last for about 3 months in the freezer. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator before trying to slice and consume.
Again, the marshmallow topping should only be added at time of serving for best results.
So, I'm not going to lie, the kitchen torch makes this process significantly easier and more straightforward. But, that's not to say you don't have options.
You can either serve this with the marshmallow fluff untoasted or use the grill/broiler function in your oven. You need to be cautious with this as the dessert is otherwise chilled.
Cover the top of the cheesecake slice with marshmallow fluff and place under the preheated broiler, watching carefully for the marshmallow to toast. Once toasted adequately, remove for serving.
Looking for more cheesecake inspiration? Try one of these:
- Mini Chocolate Ganache Cheesecakes
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Strawberry Crunch Cheesecake
- Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes
- Biscoff Cookie Butter Cheesecake
No Bake S'mores Cheesecake
- 9" springform cake tin
- Kitchen blow torch
Ingredients for Graham Cracker Crust
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 7 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- ¼ cup light brown sugar muscovado
Ingredients for No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake
- 11.5 oz cream cheese spreadable at room temperature
- ¼ cup crème fraîche or mascarpone cheese
- ¼ cup superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream or double cream
- ¼ cup powdered sugar or icing sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 6.5 oz dark chocolate finely chopped (or chips)
- 4.5 oz semi sweet chocolate finely chopped (or chips)
- marshmallow fluff
Instructions for Graham Cracker Crust
- Grease and line a springform pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl mix together the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Then add the butter until you have a coarse packable crumb.
- Pour this into the lined pan and press to form the crust. The mixture should go about 1.5"-2" up the side of the tin. Pack this in firmly with your hand.
- Place the crust in the freezer to chill while you make the filling.
Instructions for Cheesecake Filling
- Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate and set aside.
- In a small bowl mix together the powdered icing sugar and cocoa.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream and slowly add the icing sugar/cocoa mixture in a few additions. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, crème fraîche, caster sugar and vanilla until well combined and glossy.
- Add the melted chocolate to the cream cheese mixture and whisk through.
- Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and fold to incorporate, avoiding overmixing.
- Pour this mixture into the prepared crust and smooth.
- Place into the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight.
Instructions for Serving
- To serve, once thoroughly chilled, remove from the springform pan and slice the cheesecake.
- Top with a dollop of marshmallow fluff (a heaping tablespoon or two) and char this lightly with the kitchen torch.
This one’s flaming good 🙂