This recipe for White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cheesecake puts week old cookies to good use!
I attribute my survival in college to my roommate. I do not mean survival in the stay-up- all-night-and-cram sense, but rather the literal sense. You see, my entire sustenance in college consisted of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the occasional handful of M&Ms. I never learned to cook, and even if I had, I didn’t quite have the cash flow to support well-rounded meals. My roommate, on the other hand, greatly enjoyed whipping up a quality meal, and she often took pity on my emaciated frame. I remember the utter joy of coming home from a long day of class or work and hearing the words “I made dinner”. Once it was stuffed bell peppers. I hadn’t eaten a bell pepper in over two years. Another time it was a spread of Spanish tapas. That was her truest show of love.
While my cooking skills have dramatically improved since my peanut butter and jelly days, I can’t say that I have mastered the art of meal planning. I tend to live my life one dinner at a time. I see the checker at the grocery store more often than I see my best friend. And because my life is a never-ending flow of meal creating, ingredient purchasing and Tupperware storing, I often overlook the abundance of food waiting for use right within my kitchen. This is a problem. The amount of food waste I produce is significant. Turns out, I’m not alone.
According to a recent report compiled by the World Research Institute and UNEP, about 1/3 of food produced worldwide goes to waste. In the United States, organic waste is the second largest component of landfills, a component that is the largest contributor to methane gas emissions. That wilted spinach I just tossed out is now another climate change statistic.
My desire to reduce my food waste had me thinking: “Why not repurposed food?” Enter this little nugget of brilliance:
The Waste Free Kitchen Handbook is a go-to guide for reducing food waste in your home. Author Dana Gunders highlights everything from thoughtful shopping, max performing your freezer and deciphering those pesky expiration dates (sell by or use by?). She even includes a section of recipes to encourage our “use-it-up” mindset.
In honor of my new commitment to reducing food waste, I decided that week old, stale white chocolate macadamia nut cookies would be the focus of my first repurposed food project. And what better way to repurpose dessert than creating an even more decadent dessert?
White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cheesecake
1 dozen leftover white chocolate macadamia nut cookies (enough for 2 ½ cups of cookie crumbs)
¼ cup butter, melted
Crumble your leftover cookies into a food processor. Pulse until the cookies are reduced to crumbs (alternatively, you can place the cookies in a zip-top bag and smash them with a meat tenderizer until reduced to crumbs). Stir melted butter into the crumbs. Pat crumb mixture into 10″ spring form pan. If the mixture is too dry, add an additional tablespoon of butter until desired consistency is reached.
4-8oz blocks of cream cheese, unwrapped and softened to room temperature
16 oz container of sour cream, left out of the refrigerator for 15 minutes
6 eggs, at room temperature
3 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fill a small pie pan with water. Place the pan in the oven on the bottom rack (this will create a moist cooking environment for the cheesecake, which prevents the cheesecake from cracking across the top).
Combine cream cheese and sour cream. Beat with a mixer until smooth. Add the eggs two at a time until combined. In a small bowl, stir the cornstarch into the sugar. Gradually add the sugar and cornstarch mixture to the cream cheese mixture, beating continuously. Add vanilla. Beat for 10 minutes on medium speed. The batter will be very thick and smooth. Pour batter into crust lined pan.
Bake for 1 hour. The very center of the cheesecake may still be soft, but should not be runny. Turn off the oven, but leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door propped open until the cheesecake is cool. Allow the pan of water to cool completely before removing from the oven. Refrigerate the cheesecake overnight.
Serve with a drizzle of melted white chocolate and top with chopped macadamia nuts.