We have a drawer at work filled with snacks that help get us through the day. There are usually choices like pretzels, granola bars, nuts, chocolate, etc, but you’ll always find Trader Joe-Joe’s Vanilla Sandwich Crème Cookies (with real vanilla bean speckles!) because we’re completely addicted! I usually munch on one type of snack for a couple of weeks until I get sick of it and then move onto something else, but we just can’t get enough of these cookies. You have to go get a box if you haven’t tried them yet, and don’t go thinking you can substitute Golden Oreos or the brand from Whole Foods – we’ve tried them all and they’re not nearly as good!
So, when it was time to bring in a treat for Sima’s birthday, I knew I wanted to use Vanilla Joe-Joes! Sima requested cheesecake, so that made things pretty easy. I made a crust with the Joe-Joe’s and also stirred some cookies into the cheesecake itself. Then I topped the cheesecake with strawberries, spread on a layer of whipped cream, and garnished my creation with a few more Joe-Joe’s. Yes, there’s an entire box of cookies in this cheesecake and I wouldn’t have it any other way – this is the perfect celebratory dessert!
Vanilla Joe-Joe Strawberry Cheesecake
24 Trader Joe-Joe Vanilla Sandwich Crème Cookies, pulsed in the food processor into crumbs (2 1/4 cups crumbs)
3 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 coarsely chopped Trader Joe-Joe Vanilla Sandwich Crème Cookies (I cut mine in fourths, 2 cups)
Strawberries and Whipped Cream Topping:
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced (3 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
6 coarsely chopped Trader Joe-Joe Vanilla Sandwich Crème Cookies (I cut mine in fourths)
To make the crust, heat oven to 350˚F. Mix cookie crumbs and melted butter in a medium bowl. Transfer the mixture to a greased 9-inch springform pan, and press into a uniform layer over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Cook crust for 10 minutes at 350˚F.
To make the cheesecake, combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl and beat on medium-high speed with a mixer for 3 minutes or until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the vanilla. Gently stir in chopped cookies. Pour into prepared crust and bake at 350˚F for 60 minutes or until edges are set and middle is slightly wobbly. Cool to room temperature, about one hour. Place in the refrigerator for several hours or until chilled.
To make the topping, mix strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar in a large bowl. Let the berries macerate for an hour at room temperature. Meanwhile, place cream and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a bowl and use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment and beat until stiff peaks form. Immediately before serving, evenly spread strawberries over chilled cheesecake with a slotted spoon (note – if assembling the night before I suggest not macerating the strawberries so no juice runs out). Spread whipped cream on top of the strawberries and evenly sprinkle with chopped cookies. Makes 20 servings.
Nutrition: 400 calories, 30.0g fat, 1.3g fiber, 6.2g protein per serving
Cost: $0.62 per serving