Sweets or not to sweets, that was the question. As we sat there finishing those brownie-like chocolate sugar cookies, we thought we’d try switching things up and post something on the healthier side. Well… clearly from the photo above, that’s not happening today. Maaaybe next time—although we can’t promise anything because this is a special time of year when eating apple-cider cookies for breakfast with your gingerbread hot chocolate is totally acceptable. So have a salad for lunch and save room for these cups of heaven for dessert: triple chocolate peppermint parfaits—here to make your holidays merry and oh so bright.
Seriously, we’ll be decking our halls with boughs of these holiday-perfect parfaits, and every layer is guaranteed to guide your sleigh. Here, a candy cane cookie crust made of crushed oreos and candy canes sets a festive foundation for a creamy peppermint white chocolate no-bake cheesecake filling that’s topped with another thin layer of the crisp cookie crust which supports a rich and velvety whipped double chocolate ganache with both melted dark and semi-sweet chocolate for a deep and extra chocolatey flavor, then finished with whipped cream sprinkled with chopped candy canes for a pretty garnish and additional pepperminty crunch. You can impress the guests at your next holiday soirée with these show stoppers or just make twelve for yourself, one for every day of Christmas.
These parfaits are perfect for parties because everything can be made ahead of time. They’re fun and colorful, and a pleasure to make since you don’t even have to turn on the oven! And to make things even easier, you can prepare all the layers in the blender, making cleanup quick and simple. The weather outside may be frightful, but these parfaits sure are delightful, and since we love chocolate so, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
Triple Chocolate Peppermint Parfaits
For the whipped double chocolate ganache:
2 ounces (57g) dark chocolate (65% cacao or higher)
2 ounces (57g) semi-sweet chocolate (about 55% cacao)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (9oz/266ml) heavy whipping cream, divided
For the peppermint white chocolate no-bake cheesecake:
8 ounces (226g) cream cheese, cubed
2 ounces (57g) white chocolate, chopped
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups (170g) powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup (237ml) heavy whipping cream
For the candy cane cookie crust:
12 chocolate sandwich cookies
4 candy canes (about 50g), broken into large pieces
crushed candy canes
Make the whipped double chocolate ganache:
Chop the dark and semi-sweet chocolate, and place it in a heatproof bowl. Sprinkle over the vanilla and salt; no need to stir. Now we need to get 6 tablespoons (89ml) of cream simmering: you can either do this in a heatproof measuring cup in the microwave, heating gradually and stirring often, or in a small saucepan over medium heat. Either way, once the cream is simmering, pour it over the chopped chocolate in the bowl. Let it sit for about 45 seconds, then whisk vigorously to form a silky chocolate ganache. Once the ganache is completely smooth, cover the bowl with plastic and place it in the refrigerator to cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Place the remaining 3/4 cup (177ml) of cream in a blender or bowl of a mixer, and beat until soft peaks form. Remove the cooled ganache from the fridge and whisk to loosen. Add it to the whipped cream slowly, beating between each addition, then beating just until completely smooth and combined. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
Make the peppermint white chocolate no-bake cheesecake:
Place the cream cheese in a blender or bowl of a mixer, and beat until smooth. Now we need to melt the white chocolate: you can either do this in a heatproof measuring cup in the microwave by heating in 15 bursts and stirring between each one, or by placing the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water and stirring until it melts. Either way, once the white chocolate has melted, add it to the cream cheese and add the pinch of salt as well. Beat until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and continue beating until smooth. Then add the peppermint extract followed by the whipping cream, pouring it in gradually as you continue beating the mixture. Beat until smooth, then transfer to a container and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
Make the candy cane cookie crust and assemble the parfaits:
Place the cookies and candy cane pieces in a blender or food processor, and blend until the cookies and canes are ground to your liking. Some larger pieces are okay. If desired, you can crush a few cookies by hand and add the pieces to the blended mixture to add texture.
Spread a generous layer of cookie crumb crust in the bottom of a sturdy wine glass or tall dessert bowl, and use the back of a spoon to level it out, gently patting it into place. Then spoon a layer of the white chocolate cheesecake over the crust, filling in all the way to the sides of the cup. Top it with another layer of cookie crumbs, tapping the glass on the counter gently to flatten the surface of the parfait. Spread a layer of the whipped ganache over the crumbs, filling in to the sides. Garnish as desired with whipped cream, chopped candy canes, or more chopped chocolate. Enjoy!
— For a more intense chocolate experience, use 4 ounces of dark chocolate in the ganache and omit the semi-sweet entirely. Alternatively, use a different ratio as you like: all semi-sweet, milk and semi, it’s up to you.
— The cheesecake and ganache can be made separately ahead of time and will stay fresh for several days. The cookie crumbs will stay fresh at room temp in an airtight container for up to a day before losing their crunch. The parfaits, once assembled, will stay fresh up to one day in the fridge, before losing their crunch.