These quick and easy Mini No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecakes were inspired by my love of the new and improved Reese’s Puffs cereal and all things cheesecake.
Last week I took a quick trip to Minneapolis to visit the General Mills Headquarters. I was there with a handful of bloggers to learn all about how General Mills is paving the roadway for removing artificial colors and flavors from artificial sources out of their cereals.
I’ve actually known about this for quite some time now. It’s been in the works for years and I’m thrilled to be able to share the news with you all now!
Remember when I created several Trix-inspired recipes a couple years ago?
The team at General Mills has been hard at work to remove any artificial colors and flavors from their cereals, and Trix (in my opinion) would have to be the most difficult. I mean, it’s known for it’s bright colors and pop of fruity flavor. But they did it!! In the process they retired the blue and green colored Trix, but the red, purple, yellow and orange still remain.
The flavor? Impossibly perfect! It’s still way fruity and when put to the test on my kids… they could not tell any difference.
Along with learning all about the cereal, we were introduced to Justin Warner. He was the crazy guy who won Season 8 of The Next Food Network Star.
He’s been working with General Mills to help create some delicious recipes with their new and improved cereals, and he provided some pretty neat demonstrations for us too. We sampled a Chilled Sunrise Trix Pie, Cocoa Puff Coated Beet Bites and a Fruity Cheerio Pina Colada. Very innovative and totally inspiring.
We then got to get our hands dirty in the Betty Crocker test kitchens and create our own unique recipe featuring one of the newly released cereals and one of natural ingredients used to flavor them. It was like a mini version of “Chopped” only not so scary and a lot of fun!
I went right for the Reese’s Puffs and the first thing that popped into my mind was CHEESECAKE!
I used the Reese’s Puffs to create a delicious crust for my cheesecakes.
Then I grabbed the vanilla beans (which are used to naturally flavor the cereals) and I used them to infuse flavor into my cheesecake.
The results were outstanding! Amazing!
So so good!
The best part was that once we created the recipe, we jotted it down and left it for the busy helpers in the Betty Crocker test kitchens. The next day they had recreated the recipe and we were able to utilize the photography studio to capture our creations on camera.
We were given the option to either shoot our recipes in natural light or with artificial light. I always ALWAYS shoot with natural light, so I thought I would try my hand at the artificial lighting. So what do you think?
I know, it’s hard to do more than just stare at that delicious cheesecake. I’m thinking the photos turned out pretty good!
Before we left we were able to walk through the General Mills store, which houses just about EVERY product that is made under General Mills. From Pillsbury to Progresso and even some new brands like Food Should Taste Good and Annie’s. I grabbed so much stuff. You would have thought I had never seen food before.
Then just for fun, they let us create our own perfect cereal mix.
Mine included: Golden Grahams, Reese’s Puffs, Chocolate Chex and Chocolate Cheerios… yeah, I did that. And it was glorious.
But seriously.. these cheesecakes. You’ll be shocked at how easy they are to make and just how quickly they disappear!
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Mini No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecakes
- 2 cups Reese's Puffs Cereal
- pinch salt
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 vanilla bean pod, seeds of (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 1 vanilla instant pudding mix, 3.4 oz package
- 1 1/4 cup milk, cold
- 2 tbsp peanut butter, melted for 20 seconds in microwave
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners and set aside.
- Pulse the Reese's Puffs cereal in a food processor until crumbs and add the salt and melted butter, pulse a few more times to combine. Divide the crumb mixture between the muffin liners and press down evenly. Bake for 5 minutes, then let cool.
- Meanwhile beat the cream cheese and vanilla bean seeds until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla pudding mix and then slowly add the milk, beating constantly until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Divide the mixture into the prepared muffin tin cups.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until soft set. Drizzle the peanut butter over each cheesecake and top with mini chocolate chips. Enjoy!
disclaimer: General Mills provided me with the trip to their headquarters but did not require a blog post. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
Do you think this recipe could work with cheesecake flavored instant pudding instead? I have one that’s been sitting in my pantry and haven’t found a use for it yet
Hello Shawn, I’m so excited to have found your blog! I have checked out a dozen, at least, today, already…and I’m drooling..and hungry!!! The Japanese meals are awe inspiring and the desserts, well, I did say drooling…so,…I so much admire your ethics with providing us with great, but not too difficult meals. I had 3 sons…and the 2 youngest were 17 months apart, so I could empathize with you grocery shopping with 2 babies! Your children eat their veggies because you made them colorful and fun and began at a young age; smart mom! I also admire your patience with some less than courteous people on your site. You are a gracious, kind young woman…Godly, and I am thankful for the young woman like you in todays world. Keep up the good work! How many books have you published? I’ll check those out at BAM:)
It certainly sounds like it was a fun, yet educational, trip. The photos with the artificial lighting look great. I can’t wait to try these little cheesecakes. I know my sons and their family will just love them.
I enjoy your blog so much. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into giving us a great read.
Thank you so much Judy! I truly appreciate you taking the time to comment. 🙂 It means the world to me!
Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom
Shawn, WOW! your photos look amazing! that was the artificial lighting??? WOW, seriously gorgeous! I loved getting to know you better on this trip!!! You are so sweet! Hope to you see again somewhere this year!
Thank you Alice! It was so fun getting to finally spend some time to get to know you! You’re the sweetest, and I definitely hope we get to spend more time together soon! 🙂