It's a Snap Cheesecake or It's-a-Snap-Cheesecake is an old no-bake cheesecake recipe from Knox brand gelatin or "Knox Gelatine" as they call it. I've had it since 1985, but it's been printed on the back of the Knox package forever. Going by the name, you'd think it involves Gingersnaps, but it's a plain cheesecake designed for store bought graham cracker crusts. Or in this case, the little miniature ones from Keebler. I made the no-bake cheesecake as miniatures using mini graham crusts, then used the extra filling to make it in ramekins with ginger cookies.Jump to Recipe
Gingersnap Mini Cheesecakes
I'm not sure which version of the cheesecake we liked more, but I was sure glad to have a way to use these thin ginger cookies that had been part of a holiday gift basket. They're Nyakers, the same brand World Market sells in big red tins and sometimes puts out as samples. The thin snaps soften quickly, but I have a feeling thicker gingersnaps would work too. To make the cookie version of It's a Snap Cheesecake, just lay one cookie on the bottom of a ramekin, add gelatin based cream cheese filling, and put another on the top. And why stick with ginger? Try Oreo Thins! But the ginger works really well with the flavor of the cream cheese.
How to Make It's a Snap Cheesecake
I made the cheesecake as miniatures, but of course you can make it as a full cheesecake. To make It's a Snap Cheesecake, you mix together ½ cup of sugar and a packet of Knox (2 ½ teaspoons). You then pour boiling water over and stir to dissolve. Let stand while you beat 16 oz of softened cream cheese until smooth. This part is important because if the cream cheese is cold or still in a block, you'll have lumpy cheesecake. Gradually beat the sweetened gelatin mixture into the whipped cream cheese. Add a little vanilla and keep beating until smooth. Pour it all into 1 graham crust or divide among minis. Setting time for a whole cheesecake is 2 hours, and the little ones set even quicker.
Advantage to Miniature Cheesecakes
Aside from portion control, an advantage to making no-bake mini cheesecake is that you can split the recipe in half and easily make just 5 or even use half a block of cream cheese and make 2 or 3 very small cheesecakes.
Using Gelatin Powder With Sugar or Alternative
Using gelatin powder is simple. You just have to soften it in cool liquid before warming to dissolve. This is called blooming, and you can bloom with different liquids, but they must be cool and not hot, lest the sides of the granules swell too quickly and block water from penetrating the center causing lumps. The exception is when you mix the gelatin with sugar, as in this recipe. The sugar granules separate the gelatin granules and block them from swelling too quickly. So be sure to mix granulated sugar with the gelatin before adding the hot water. If you want to use an artificial or alternative sweetener, you'll probably need to soak the gelatin in cool water then warm to dissolve. You'd then add the artificial sweetener with the cream cheese.
It's a Snap No-Bake Cheesecake Flavor Variations
Consider this the starting point and have fun mixing flavors. Here are some of the suggested cheesecake recipe variations from early versions of the recipe. I want to try them all, and will probably keep making them as mini cheesecakes.
- Marbled Cheesecake -- Before chilling, marble in ⅓ cup of fudge or any other flavor ice cream topping.
- Lemon or Almond -- Use ¾ teaspoon of lemon extract or almond extract in place of the vanilla.
- Fruit Flavor -- After the first 10 minutes of chillign, swirl in ¼ to ⅓ cup of fruit preserves.
- Sunshine Flavor! -- Replace all or most of the vanilla with ½ teaspoon of orange extract and 1 teaspoon orange zest.
It's a Snap Cheesecake
- 2 ½ teaspoons Knox gelatin powder (1 packet)
- ½ cup sugar (100 grams)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 16 oz softened cream cheese at warm room temp.
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- ¼ teaspoon fresh lemon zest or a dash of lemon oil (optional)
- 1 9-inch graham cracker crust or 10 mini crusts (Keebler)
- Put the gelatin powder and sugar in a bowl with a spout or in a 2 cup or larger glass measure.
- Pour boiling water over gelatin mixture and stir until gelatin is dissolved.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Gradually pour the gelatin mixture into the cream cheese and keep beating until smooth. Beat in the vanilla (and a little lemon zest if you'd like)
- Pour into the crust and chill for 2 hours or until firm. If using miniature Keebler type crusts, you'll need about 10. For small ramekins, you'll need need 8.