Something magical happens to white chocolate when you apply heat. First it melts – obviously, but then it caramelises. The sugars turn into a rich tan colour, bringing out all sorts of toasty, buttery notes. If you know any white chocolate refuseniks who say it’s too sweet for them, this technique might be the thing to change their mind. Clare Heal created this recipe magical Caramelised White Chocolate Cheesecake using Food Thoughts Luxury White Chocolate Chips, winner of the 2022 Great Taste award. These white chips contain 35% cacao, making them less sweet than the average white chocolate in the market and therefore, a much more enjoyable experience.
This no bake Caramelised White Chocolate Cheesecake with Peanuts recipe is one of our favourite energy saving recipes. It requires no baking and a minimal use of electrical appliances. Do not be afraid of the many steps – trust us, they are all really simple and they result is an irresistible smooth and sensational cheesecake.
You can caramelise the white chocolate chips in the oven, but it’s quicker and easier – not to mention more energy efficient – to do it in the microwave. Once made, you can use the caramel for all sorts of treats: truffles, ganaches, buttercream and anywhere else you’d use white chocolate but fancy an extra boost of flavour.
This is a lush cheesecake whose sweetness is balanced by the salty peanuts. And don’t forget to tag us on social media is you make it – we’d love to see your creations.
You will need
- For the caramelised white chocolate:
- 350g Food Thoughts Luxury White Chocolate Chips
- For the base:
- 60g butter
- 30g golden syrup
- 100g cornflakes
- 70g roasted salted peanuts
- For the filling:
- 350g cream cheese
- 100g sour cream
- 50g icing sugar
- 225g caramelised white chocolate
- 350ml double cream
- For the topping:
- 100g caramelised white chocolate
- 100ml double cream
- 50g roasted salted peanuts
Put the Food Thoughts Luxury White Chocolate Chips in a medium-sized heatproof glass or plastic bowl. Microwave on high in one-minute intervals, stirring well between each blast.
First the chocolate will melt, then it will begin to go slightly stiff and grainy. Don’t panic and keep on going. At around the five or six minute mark, you’ll notice the chocolate beginning to turn brown and caramel-coloured. This will happen under the surface so it’s super important that you stir well to even everything out before putting it back in the microwave each time. As this process begins to happen, you might want to switch to 30-second intervals just in case things burn. After a while, the chocolate will begin to smooth out and become liquid again, losing its graininess. Stop when it is roughly the colour of strong tea – this will depend on your microwave but for us it took about 8 minutes.
If you don’t plan to use the chocolate immediately, pour it out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and leave to cool before breaking up into pieces (much easier to store than a big bowl of solidified chocolate).
If you are going to make the cheesecake then remove 100g of the caramelised white chocolate to a smaller bowl and add 100ml double cream. Stir well to combine and set aside. This will be your ganache topping. Let the rest of the caramelised white chocolate cool slightly. (The eagle-eyed and good-at-maths among you will have noticed that total amount of chocolate you have caramelised is slightly more than the amount needed for the recipe. This is because some is inevitably and tragically lost to bowls, spoons and spatulas along the way, not to mention enthusiastic taste testing…)
Put the butter and golden syrup in another heatproof bowl. Give them one minute in the microwave then stir to combine. Crush the cornflakes and roughly chop the peanuts. Mix both into the butter-syrup mixture and taste for saltiness. You want a decent tang of salt to contrast with the sweet, creamy cheesecake filling. If the peanuts aren’t bringing it on their own, add a pinch extra and mix again.
Line the base and sides of a (roughly) 22cm springform cake tin and tip in the cornflake mixture. Spread it out and press it down firmly. You want it nice and compact so it slices cleanly when you come to serve. Using the base of a glass or mug can help here. Put it in the fridge to chill whilst you make the filling.
Wash and dry the cornflake bowl then add the cream cheese to it. (A note on cream cheese: we like to use the well-known brand named after the American city of brotherly love and cheesesteaks. Others can be a little watery, leading to a sloppy cheesecake. If you’re using them, it’s worth just putting the cream cheese in a clean j-cloth or tea towel and squeezing gently over the sink to remove a little moisture. And don’t even think about using low fat stuff…)
Use a hand whisk to beat the cream cheese very gently, just to remove any lumps. Then add the sour cream and icing sugar and mix again to combine. Add 100ml of the double cream to the remaining caramelised white chocolate then add this mixture to the cream cheese and sour cream. Whisk everything gently until smooth.
In another bowl use an electric whisk (or a hand one if you enjoy the upper arm workout) to beat the remaining 250ml double cream to stiff peaks. Fold this through the cheese mixture until smooth and even, then pour it into the cake tin and return to the fridge to set, preferably overnight but for at least four hours.
About an hour before serving give the little bowl of ganache mixture a tiny blast in the microwave, just 30 seconds or a minute to loosen it up, and pour it over the cheesecake. If you want enticing rivulets of topping to run down the side of your cheesecake, remove it from the cake tin and put it on your serving pate before you do this. If you want a neat layer of ganache on top, leave the cheesecake in its tin so the edge is neat. Either way, return to the fridge to let it set. Then sprinkle with chopped peanuts just before serving.