Well, Thanksgiving celebrations came a little late to our house. The older your kids get, the harder it can be to get everyone together. We scheduled ours for a full 10 days after Thanksgiving, so everyone could be here. It made it a little crazier because it wasn’t a long weekend, so preparations were done in a much shorter timeframe. With me working out of town, that cut down on my free time to do any advance prep, so I made sure to tell the kids I was going to need all available help. My daughter says, “sure, Mom, I’ll be there Friday night or Saturday morning, whatever you need. Just let me know.” Then she asked when her brothers were rolling into town, and said, “Hey, lets start getting things ready on Friday night. We can make it a slumber party,….” Okay, that sounded fun.
Oh, my gosh…… They all rolled in Friday night. I picked up some take and bake pizzas, which we dressed up and baked for dinner. Lots of wine chilling…We had SO much fun. We got SOME prep work done Friday night, but we worked more on catching up, chilling out, laughing, just being together. I only had two (my oldest son, the Nutella freak, and my other sons longtime girlfriend), really show any interest in this cheesecake. I started out making it, asking myself why I was making this monstrous thing, when no one sounded that interested in it. Oh well, I know this crew well enough to know it will get eaten anyway.
Well, WOW. Even the ones who say they don’t care for Nutella (really?) were in love with this thing. It is SO easy to make, and so creamy, rich, and delicious….. It was huge and there was very little left over. You could make the crust out of your own choice of crumb crusts; Oreo, graham cracker, shortbread, whatever suits your fancy. I used chocolate graham crackers because I wanted the chocolate, but not the over-the-top chocolate of an Oreo. I didn’t want to overpower the flavor of the Nutella. Make it bigger or smaller, the ingredients are pretty basic, as you can see. I doubled this, using 4 packages of cream cheese and a full 35 ounce jar of Nutella. Use the nuts or leave them out, but the nuts are SO good here – they add a wonderful crunch, as well as the flavor. If you’re like me, where I live, to buy JUST hazelnuts is almost impossible. And if you do find them, they are typically in the shells. And those….- you take your chances. There are usually as many old ones from last year mixed in as there are fresh ones, so you throw half of them away. Well, thank you again, Trader Joe’s! There, you can buy bags of shelled, roasted hazelnuts on the cheap. How easy is that? Now, AFTER I made my chocolate graham crust, I realized I should have thrown some nuts in there and buzzed them in the food processor for a minute, but sure, think of that after the fact. Typical me. No matter. This was delish. Just the way I did it. My way. YOU MUST TRY THIS! Maybe at Christmas? Then again, when it comes to Nutella and cream cheese, why wait for a holiday?
- 1 individual package chocolate graham crackers, crushed to fine crumbs
- ½ stick (1/4 cup) butter, melted
- ½ - ¾ cup roasted hazelnuts/filberts, chopped
- 2 - 8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼-1/3 cup powdered/confectioners sugar
- 1½ cups Nutella
- ½ cup whipping cream or heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks
- ⅓ - ½ cup chopped hazelnuts/filberts, chopped, for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Throw the graham crackers into a large plastic zipper bag and seal. Using the rolling pin, crush the crackers into fine crumbs. Dump into a 10 inch pie pan or 8-inch springform pan. Mix in the sugar and melted butter unti it resembles wet sand. Press into the bottom of the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes. Sprinkle the top of the crust with ½ - ¾ cup chopped hazelnuts.
- Beat the softened cream cheese until smooth.
- Blend in the sugar and Nutella until smooth.
- Fold in the whipped cream.
- Pour over the crust/nuts and smooth it out to even the top. Sprinkle the top with ½ - ¾ cup chopped hazelnuts.
- Refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours.
- A dollop or squirt of whipped cream on the top just makes it better!
Inspiration from Nigella Lawson.