A few weeks ago, Joanna over at Cup of Jo asked me for some lessons on parenting teenagers. It just so happened I was in the middle of a rough patch and the best I could do without compromising anyone’s privacy was report that I was constantly being reminded of a quote from my friend whose kids have long since left the house and graduated from college. That friend told me, I even miss the hard times.
What I’ve also learned, though, is that like every phase of parenting, most of the time a phase is just that: a phase. And right when you are convinced that those hard times are the way things are always going to be ad infinitum, almost overnight things can start looking up. And suddenly, the air is clear enough to recognize and appreciate all that’s great about living with kids of a certain age. Thanks to living with teenagers, I have an informed opinion on Drake vs. Kendrick Lamar; I can go skiing and only have to worry about buckling my own boots; ); I have seen almost every Oscar-nominated movie because they actually want to see the same movies as me; I was making a full-on case for Yanny before the story even hit the next day’s New York Times; I have a real excuse to re-read To Kill a Mockingbird and Picture of Dorian Gray and books I haven’t read since high school; I not only own a beauty blender, I know how to use it; I know how to use various iterations of GOAT such as “he is goated“; I am, in fact, fluent in an entirely new language (“that’s an L,” “glow up,” “rip,” “low-key,” etc.); and, thanks to Abby’s dessert obsession, I not only know every major instagrammable confectionery in New York City, but I get to enjoy her home-baked creations when the spirit moves her, which seems to be often these days.
That is the actual point of this post. I’ve written before about the fact that she’s learned how to bake, not stoveside next to a beloved flour-dusted nonna, but on her instagram feed via the insanely addictive hands-and-pans videos generated by feeds like So Yummy and Buzzfeed. I’ve long since abandoned my resentment about this (can’t you tell?), and just appreciate the fact that she’s excited about making something with her hands.
Plus, her taste is getting more refined. Occasionally, she’ll stumble upon a recipe that includes no fruity pebbles or marshmallows. In fact — and I take this as a sign of maturity — occasionally she’ll stumble upon a recipe that she thinks can be improved upon by simplifying. Remember Coco Chanel’s rule of fashion? Before you leave the house take one thing off. This is the rule she applied to So Yummy’s Oreo Chocolate Cheesecake with Strawberries and Nutella Drizzle. She decided to take off the Nutella Drizzle. Second time around, she decided to replace the Oreos with Graham Crackers and dial back the chocolate ganache…
…Third time around, she nailed it. I guess she’d call it low-key GOAT. I’d call it as good as any cheesecake I’ve ever made and just right as we head into no-bake dessert season.
Abby’s No-Bake Strawberry-Chocolate Cheesecake
1 1/2 cups graham crackers, chopped and crushed
½ cup butter, melted
For cheesecake filling
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For chocolate ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
5 or 6 fresh strawberries, sliced
Mix graham crackers and melted butter until combined, then pat the mixture firmly into the bottom of a 9-inch springform cake pan. (Abby used a regular round 9-inch pan and it was fine.) Freeze for 10 minutes.
Whip the cream cheese with the powdered sugar until smooth, then fold in whipped cream. Spoon this evenly into the frozen crust and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours or preferably overnight.
Heat the remaining cream to a simmer and pour over chocolate to melt. Stir until completely smooth.
Pour the ganache filling over the set cream cheese filling and top with sliced strawberries. Chill for an hour (remove from springform pan if you used one) and serve.