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Easter is an exciting time of year. Old Man Winter is in retreat as spring marches forward. At this point the Christmas holiday is a distant memory and Easter serves as the ideal opportunity to gather the family together again before the summer cookouts get in full swing. As long-lost relatives gather around the dining table to share laughs and great food, this year you are going to stun everyone with a creamy M&M’s® Layered Cheesecake, sliced up and ready for dessert!
This M&M’s® Layered Cheesecake has a crisp graham cracker crust with a rich chocolaty layer of M&M’s® hidden beneath a creamy blanket of cheesecake filling, and, of course, chopped bits of M&M’s® sprinkled on top for a little crunch!
Since it is Easter, we are not just going to use any ol’ M&M’s®, head to Sam’s Club and pick up a bag of M&M's® Pastel Plain 56 oz, the softer colors of these seasonal M&M’s® are the perfect accent to your Easter cheesecake!
The M&M's® Pastel Peanut, found in the same bin, will also make a nice addition to your Easter baskets! Or, better yet, make some of these cute chicken eggs for your Easter baskets! (Yes, I just used the word cute... but it was done in a very manly tone...) These fun hatchlings will lend a creative twist to your festivities, plus they are dead simple to make!
Gather your supplies, as shown in the photo below. The first thing you must do is to boil up some hard boiled eggs. Don’t worry, I have a foolproof recipe for you here.
Once your eggs have cooled, you are ready to dye them yellow, using a traditional egg dying kit. Make sure the egg is dry if you want a smooth solid color, but if you want to add some texture for 'feathers' go ahead and place the wet egg directly in the yellow dye. It will give you a spottier look.
Let the dyed egg dry completely. Then take a pin and prick a hole in the top of the egg. Cut an inch off the top of a yellow feather and place it in the hole. Next, use some glue to affix two eyes to the egg, or use a black marker instead of purchasing eyes. Finally, get some orange construction paper and cut out small triangles for beaks. Use glue to adhere these to the eggs as well.
If you want your eggs to stand up on their own, give them a gentle, but firm, tap on the table to flatten the bottom of the shell.
M&M’s® Layered Cheesecake
- 2 packages graham crackers
- 1 ½ sticks salted butter melted
- 5 tbsp sugar
- 4, 8 oz packages of cream cheese
- 1 ¼ cup of sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup M&M’s®
- ½ cup M&M’s® chopped
- Crush the 2 packages of graham crackers in the bag and add them into a food processor to grind them further, in pulses, along with the sugar.
- Pour melted butter into a large bowl and add the crumb mixture. Manually mix butter and crumbs together with a fork. It is not recommended to do this in the food processsor as the crust can become overly processed.
- Flip the bottom of an 8-9" springform pan upside down so the lip is facing downwards. This allows the cheesecake to side off more easily when it is finished. Add the crumb mixture to the pan and use your hand to press the mixture evenly around the bottom and sides of the pan (roughly 1" up the sides).
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool on the stove top while making the filling.
- Lay ¾ cup M&M’s® in one even layer along the bottom of the crust as it is cooling.
- While baking the crust, place packages of cream cheese in a bowl of hot water and let stand for 10 minutes. This softens the cream cheese and helps prevent lumps.
- Cut open each package of cream cheese and squeeze into the stand mixer bowl. Add 1 ¼ cups of sugar and mix until smooth.
- Slowly incorporate two eggs into the mixture, then add cornstarch. Add heavy cream with mixer on the lowest setting.
- Pour the mixture into the crust until it reaches the top of the crust's side. It is OK if you don't use all of the mixture. However, if your sides are abnormally shallow, feel free to add additional filling.
- Bake for ~50 minutes at 350 degrees, checking it periodically for doneness. The cheesecake is done while the middle is still wobbly and internal temperature reaches 150 degrees. Be careful not to over bake or it will crack and be dry.
- Place cheesecake in the refrigerator for 1 hour, up to overnight, to cool.
- Top with ½ cup chopped M&M’s® prior to serving and gently press into top.
- Slice and serve.
Need more ideas for Easter? How about picking up a big bag of MARS Spring Minis Mix 52 oz from Sam's Club to stock each basket with a wide variety of your family's favorite treats! Also be sure to let me know about your creative Easter ideas in the comments below!
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