No-Bake Cheesecake Bites

No-Bake Cheesecake Bites Three-Way

This is a simple, no-bake dessert idea that’s perfect for summer entertaining (because who wants to turn on the oven when it gets hot outside?) For the graham cracker crust if you don’t have a food processor, you can put them in a ziplock bag and crush them by hands. Uneven crumbles will create different textures that will be even better.

You can cut these into bite-sizes as I did, but you can even serve it in like a typical cheesecake style by adding the mixture to the cake pan.

These creamy dessert bites stay well in the freezer, so make these ahead and whip them out for any surprise parties!

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Makes: 8 people

INGREDIENTS:

Crust:

  • 12 graham crackers sheets

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

  • 2 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 stick melted butter

Cheesecake Base:

  • 1 lb cream cheese, room temp

  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 tbsp rosewater

Topping:

  • dehydrated rose petals

  • 1 cup chocolate chips, melted

  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until finely crushed.

  2. In a large bowl, combine graham crackers, 1/4 cup powder sugar, salt, and melted butter. Stir until the mixture is well combined.

  3. Press the graham cracker mixture down into the baking dish, using a cup or spatula - press the mixture until it creates an even layer! Freeze for 15 minutes.

  4. In a stand mixer bowl, whip cream cheese with powdered sugar, and rosewater until everything is fully incorporated and smooth.

  5. Spread the cream cheese evenly on top of the chilled graham cracker crust. Freeze for at least 2 hours (overnight if you can).

  6. Transfer the cheesecake to a cutting board and slice into 1-inch squares - creating mini cheesecake bites.

Topping:

  1. Sprinkle cheesecake bites with rose petals.

  2. Dip some cheesecake bites into melted chocolate and cool in freezer, Finish with sea salt.

  3. Swirl raspberry jam onto the cheesecake bites and freeze.

Pistachio Halva Rice Krispies

Pistachio Halva Rice Krispies

I think Rice Krispie treats are one of the quintessential American desserts that everyone seems to love. It tastes like your childhood! I remember seeing my friends getting so excited when they saw a little blue wrapper during lunchtime while I was eating my halva tartine across from them.

Halva is a sweetened, condensed tahini that is quintessential to everyone in the Middle East. It’s chalky, sweet, and perfect to spread on a piece of toasted bread. I combined my Middle Eastern, American life into one dish: Pistachio Halva Rice Krispies.

Adding crumbled halva to the Rice Krispie mixture adds not only extra nutty, sweet flavors but also flaky texture. To make this extra delectable, I drizzled melted dark chocolate and finished it with even more pistachios. It’s the best of two worlds!

Now, whenever I serve this special treat to my clients, I can see their faces lighting up with joy and memories. But this time, they are tasting both their and my childhood.

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Makes: 8 people

INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter

  • 12 cups mini marshmallows

  • 16 cups crisp rice cereal

  • 10 oz pistachio halva

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 12 oz dark chocolate chips

  • 1/4 cup pistachios

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter is fully melted, add marshmallow until it’s fully incorporated to the butter.

  2. In a large bowl, add crisp rice cereal. Pour marshmallow fluff to crisp rice cereal in a bowl. Mix everything with 1 tbsp of salt until everything is well combined.

  3. Add crumbled pistachio halva to the crisp rice cereal mixture. Mix everything well again.

  4. Transfer the mixture to the sheet pan to form the shape. Spread it thinly to make sure that it covers every inch of the sheet pan, and press it thoroughly, making sure there are no holes. Keep it in the fridge for an hour until it hardens.

  5. While the crisp rice cereal is in the fridge, make the chocolate drizzle by pouring heated heavy cream to dark chocolate chips in a bowl. Whisk it thoroughly until it becomes glossy and saucy.

  6. Drizzle the chocolate ganache on crisp rice cereal. Grate pistachios on top and generously sprinkle more pistachios to your liking.

Chocolate Beet Cake

Chocolate Beet Cake

Inspired by this gorgeous cake from Martha Stewart Kitchen, I decided to bake this extra moist, satisfying, chocolate cake. It’s perfect for a dessert after a holiday meal — it has just right amount of decadence without being heavy and beet flavors in a fudge-y chocolate batter make all the difference.

Of course, I had to add my twist to the cake, so I added Greek yogurt, which made the cake even more moist.

Instead of a dark chocolate glaze, I made a white chocolate ganache because spring has sprung! Vibrant fruits, such as blood orange, kiwi, or pomegranate seeds, make fantastic garnishes.

Total Time: 3 hours
Makes: 1 9-inch cake

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 medium beets, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 2-inch chunks

  • 1/4 cup and 2 tbsp of Greek yogurt

  • 2 cups AP flour

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • 2 large eggs

  • 3/4 cup warm water

  • 1/4 cup canola oil

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 12 oz white chocolate

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

  • 1 cup heavy cream

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Puree cooked beets and 2 tbsp of Greek yogurt in a food processor until smooth.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in eggs, water, oil, vanilla, and 1 1/4 cups beet and Greek yogurt puree.

  3. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment, and coat with softened butter or cooking spray. Pour batter into the pan

  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with no crumbs for about an hour. Check in and rotate the pan after 45 minutes.

  5. Once it’s done, take the cake out of the pan and let it cool completely.

  6. While the cake is cooling, make the ganache by pouring hot, heavy cream to a bowl of white chocolate and butter. Whisk it well until it’s fully incorporated.

  7. Pour chocolate glaze over the top, and let it set about for 30 minutes. Garnish with slices of blood orange.

Turkish Coffee Tiramisu

Turkish Coffee Tiramisu

A perfect springtime pick me up - my take on a timeless classic, I bring you a Turkish Coffee Tiramisu. Simple, easy and decadent this sexy no bake dessert can be whipped up in no time! Topped with hazelnut chocolate biscotti or powdered cocoa you can’t go wrong with the layering. Check out the how-to video below!

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CREAM

  • 8 eggs, separated

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 lb mascarpone

  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 6oz hazelnut biscotti, crushed and divided into 3oz

FOR THE ASSEMBLY

  • 44-48 lady fingers

  • 1 1/2 cup Turkish coffee, cooled in a medium bowl

  • 1 tbsp of cocoa powder for dusting

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a standard mixer, whip the egg yolks with sugar until it triples the volume for 4-5 minutes.

  2. Add mascarpone and whip it for an additional minute until it’s fully combined. Put the mascarpone mixture into a big bowl.

  3. Wipe down the standard mixer bowl. Add your egg whites and whip until it reaches soft peaks for around 3-4 minutes.

  4. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into your mascarpone mixture.

  5. Pour the heavy cream into the standard mixer bowl and whip it until it reaches soft peak to resemble whipped cream for around 3-4 minutes.

  6. Gently fold the whipped cream with a half of crushed biscotti into the mascarpone mixture again until everything is fully incorporated.

  7. In a casserole dish, dust the bottom of the dish with cocoa powder.

  8. Working one at a time, quickly dip each ladyfinger into the Turkish coffee. Repeat until you have one full layer of coffee-soaked lady fingers.

  9. Spread half the mascarpone mixture onto the ladyfingers in one even layer. Repeat one more for another layer of coffee-soaked lady fingers and another layer of mascarpone mixture.

  10. Sprinkle the remaining crushed biscotti on finish and cover the cream layer.

  11. Cover with plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (if you can wait 24 hours, all the better) before serving.

Orange Blossom Osmalieh

Orange Blossom Osmalieh

A client recently asked me to make this traditional Lebanese dessert, osamlieh. I was scared at first, but I was also excited to make something new. So, I went to my go-to modern Lebanese cookbook The Jewelled Table, which had an authentic recipe for osamlieh. I added my own twist by mixing orange blossom water from my grandfather, which I brought back from Lebanon. This recipe seems daunting at first (I was too!), but it’s really simple once you get to the assembly.

It’s essential to use kataifi, a shredded phyllo pastry, for this dessert. It not only gives the foundation to hold the floral rosewater cream filling, but also adds crispy, crunchy textures to balance everything else. This dessert is definitely a showstopper with little efforts.

Total Time: 40-45 minutes
Serves: 6-8 people

INGREDIENTS

Osmalieh

  • 2 cups kataifi, shredded phyllo pastry

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, cubed

  • 1 cup canola oil, divided into 1/2 cup

Mascarpone cream

  • 2 cups mascarpone, room temperature

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar

  • 2 tbsp rosewater

Orange Blossom Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 2 tbsp orange blossom water

INSTRUCTIONS

Osmalieh

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.

  2. Defrost your shredded filo pastry for about an hour.

  3. Divide the filo pastry into two equal amounts.

  4. In two 9-inch round cake pans, fill half cup of neutral oil in each. Spread the bottom of the oiled cake pan with shredded filo. Press down evenly so that the filo pastry is compact and flat.

  5. Dot the cubed butter on top of the pastry throughout.

  6. Bake them in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the pastry gets crispy and golden brown. After 15 minutes, make sure you rotate the pans for even browning.

  7. After baking, let them cool in the cake pan for 15- 20 minutes until the pastry is set. Once it’s set with the circle shape, take the dough out from the pan and place them on a wire rack or a paper towel to drain all the excess oil.

Mascarpone cream

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk heavy cream, confectioner’s sugar, and rosewater until it reaches a medium peak.

  2. In a separate mixing bowl, spread & fold the mascarpone with a spatula until it’s silky, and spreadable.

  3. Start folding the whipped cream into the mascarpone, 1/3 at a time, until it’s fully incorporated.

  4. Put the cream mixture into a piping bag (or a ziplock bag). Place it in the fridge until you are ready to assemble.

Orange blossom simple syrup

  1. In a small pot, add water, sugar, lemon juice, and orange blossom water over medium heat. Let it cook for 15 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and reduced a little bit. Let it cool.

Assembly

  1. Place the bottom half of cooked filo dough on a serving base.

  2. Using a star-tipped piping bag, pipe the mascarpone cream on the filo base until it’s fully covered by making a circular motion. You need to do this twice to have two layers. The cream layer should be thick.

  3. Place the other layer of filo dough on top of the cream. Press down very gently to make a large cream sandwich.

  4. Decorate the top with more mascarpone cream and zested and crusted pistachio.

  5. Serve the orange blossom simple syrup on the side. Enjoy a slice with your afternoon coffee.

Salted Tahini Brownie

Salted Tahini Brownie

A super easy, but super delicious twist on your every day brownie. Even though I am using the boxed brownie mix, the addition of Greek yogurt, tahini, and salt add extra flavors and moisture.

If you are short on time and skills, but want to make an impressive dessert, this is the way to go!

Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 10 - 12

INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

  2. Follow the package directions of your brownie mixes. It will typically ask you to mix water and vegetable oil with the dry ingredients that come in a package.

  3. Add the greek yogurt and salt to the brownie mixture, and mix until fully incorporated.

  4. Pour the batter into the prepared, parchment-lined baking pan. Swirl tahini throughout the batter as you smooth it out.

  5. Bake the brownie for between 45 minutes and 55 minutes.

  6. Serve with sprinkles of flaky sea salt. Enjoy!

Apple Cider Donut Holes with Tahini Glaze

Apple Cider Doughnut Holes with Tahini Glaze

I recently sat next to Ben Mims, who introduced me to my new favorite kitchen gadget. It cuts cooking time in half and makes everything crispy with no hassle or oil — IT’S AN AIR FRYER!

After I purchased his book, Air Fry Every Day: 75 Recipes to Fry, Roast, and Bake Using Your Air Fryer, right away, Ben helped me decide which air fryer to purchase; I went ahead with the multi-functional one that combines a convection oven and air fryer because that suits my catering business. I have not stopped using and experimenting with it since I purchased it. I’ve made everything from fried chickpeas to baked muffins!

Inspired by his Apple Cider Doughnut Hole recipe from the cookbook, I came up with this tahini glaze. The glaze adds that nutty, sweet flavors to the crisp, doughnut holes and those toasted sesame seeds on top add a satisfying crunch.

If you are still debating whether you should get an air fryer or not, I highly recommend it. It changed my life! And, check out Ben’s incredible cookbook!

Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 10 mini doughnuts

INGREDIENTS

For the doughnut holes:

  • 1 1/2 cup AP flour

  • 2 tbsp sugar

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 cup buttermilk, chilled

  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1 egg

  • Oil spray

Tahini Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

  • 2 tbsp tahini

  • 2 tbsp water

  • A pinch of salt

  • Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

To make the doughnut holes:

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until well combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, apple cider vinegar, and egg until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and stir with a spatula or hands until the dough just comes together.

  2. Scoop out 10 to 12 balls onto the air fryer basket, spaced evenly apart, and spray with oil spray. Air-fry at 350F until the doughnut holes are golden brown and fluffy, about 6 - 8 minutes. Transfer the doughnut holes to a wire rack to cool.

To make tahini glaze:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, tahini, water, and a pinch of salt until smooth and coats the back of a spoon.

Assembly:

  1. Dip the doughnut holes in the tahini glaze, then sprinkle sesame seeds.

  2. Let them stand until the glaze sets before serving.

Lemon-Semolina Almond Cake

Lemon-Semolina Almond Cake

I recently came across Ottolenghi’s Semolina-Lemon Syrup Cakes, and it reminded me of my grandmother’s semolina cake; she used to make it for me all the time when I was growing up!

Inspired by Ottolenghi's recipe, I added rosewater to simple syrup for a Middle Eastern touch to this cake. The cake, paired with candied lemon slices and drizzled with rosewater simple syrup, has a coarse texture, making it a wonderfully versatile dessert. Whether you want to eat this with a scoop of ice cream or with a cup of coffee for breakfast, this lemony cake will be your new favorite!

Total Time: 1 hr 30 minutes
Serves: 8 - 12 slices

INGREDIENTS

Lemon-Semolina Almond Cake:

  • 1 cup almond flour or almond meal

  • 1 cup semolina flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 lemons

  • 3 large eggs, beaten to blend

Rosewater Simple Syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 2 tbsp rosewater

Candied Lemon:

  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

Lemon-Semolina Almond Cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.

  2. Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Sift together the almond flour, semolina flour and baking powder on a medium bowl. Add salt to the mixture and whisk everything to combine.

  3. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk oil, sugar, and lemon zest from 2 lemons together, about 3 minutes. With motor running, gradually add eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate, about 1 minute. Add dry ingredients and juice of 1 lemon and whisk everything to combine, about 1 minute.

  4. Transfer batter to prepared loaf pan. Place the cake on the middle rack, and bake until golden brown, approximately for 60 minutes. Lightly press the top of the cake to test — it should feel lightly springy when done. Let cool for 20 minutes or so in pan before removing and transferring to a cooling rack.

Rosewater Simple Syrup & Candied Lemon:

  1. In one easy step, combine water, sugar, juice of 1 lemon, and rosewater in a pot. Cook it over medium-heat until the sugar is fully dissolved, for 4-5 minutes.

  2. Add thinly-sliced lemon to the simple syrup, and cook it on medium-low heat for 10-12 minutes until the lemon is tender.

  3. Transfer candied lemon to a wire rack.

Assembly:

  1. Drizzle rosewater over a cake. Garnish the cake with candied lemon slices on top.