This recipe is based on my Icebox Cheesecake Recipe, direct from Woolworths. The Woolworth department store started out as a five-and-dime store, selling things that only cost 5 or 10 cents. Eventually, the lunch counter was an added attraction. The difference in this Strawberry flavored Icebox Cheesecake is using strawberry jello mix (instead of lemon) and a layer of freshly sliced strawberries.
Jello Strawberry Cheesecake Recipe
There are two parts to this no-bake dessert–the graham cracker crust and the light and fluffy strawberry-flavored filling.
Graham Crackers: You can buy graham cracker crumbs to use for the crust (about 2 cups). Or, you could crush sheets of graham crackers. You will need about 11 full sheets of graham crackers for 2 cups of crumbs.
Cream Cheese: Be sure the cream cheese is at room temperature when creaming with the sugar.
Jello Mix: The strawberry-flavored box of jello mix gives the dessert a strawberry flavor and a beautiful pink color.
Water: You will use both boiling water (212°F) and cold water (55°F) for the filling.
Evaporated Milk: Evaporated milk is super-concentrated milk that helps give the dessert filling its creamy texture. It should not be confused with sweetened condensed milk, which has added sugar. They should not be used interchangeably in recipes. Be sure to place the can of evaporated milk in the freezer, along with the bowl and whisk attachment of a stand mixer.
Strawberries: Thinly slice the strawberries before adding them on top of the crust.
Chilling the Bowl and Whisk Attachment of Stand Mixer
If you looked at the Woolworth Icebox Cheesecake recipe below, you may notice the first instruction is to chill the bowl of a stand mixer, as well as the whisk attachment. If possible, do not skip this step. Place the bowl and whisk in the freezer for at least half an hour before whisking the evaporated milk. Place the can of evaporated milk in the freezer as well.
The reason behind this is to make it easier to form peaks in the evaporated milk when whipped. The milk has a lower fat content compared to whipping cream, so it’s harder to whip.
Graham Cracker Crust
To make the crust, first, add the graham crackers and sugar to a bowl. Mix the ingredients together, and then add the melted butter. Make sure that every single graham cracker crumb is coated in butter. The butter binds everything together; there should be no dry spots.
Press the mixture to the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Then, add the sliced strawberries in a single layer on top of the crust. Set this aside as you prepare the filling.
How to Make Strawberry Woolworth Icebox Cheesecake
With the crust in the pan, it’s time to get the rest of this no-bake dessert made. To make the filling, first, cream together the room temperature cream cheese and sugar with a hand mixer. The reason for creaming is to get a lot of air in the mixture, so mix until you have a light and fluffy consistency. Next, mix in the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, add the jello mix and boiling water. Whisk together until the jello mix has dissolved. Then, pour in the cold water and place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill for a few minutes. The jello will not set; it will just be in the fridge while you whip the evaporated milk.
To whip the evaporated milk, take the bowl of the stand mixer and whisk attachment out of the freezer, along with the can of evaporated milk. Add the chilled milk to the bowl and whisk on high for about 5 minutes, or until soft peaks form. Soft peaks will just briefly ‘stand’ on their own before falling back into the milk.
Once you have soft peaks, add the jello mixture from the refrigerator and whisk for an additional 30 seconds or so. Then, add the cream cheese mixture and whisk for another 30 seconds. Finally, pour the mixture into the pan, over the graham cracker crust.
Chill the dessert in the refrigerator overnight before serving. The end result is a light and fluffy strawberry dessert, lighter than a cheesecake. Once chilled, serve the icebox cheesecake topped with homemade whipped topping.
Do I Have to Freeze Icebox Cheesecake?
Nope! You don’t have to freeze this dessert, even with Icebox in the name. In fact, an icebox used to refer to a non-mechanical ‘refrigerator’ before we had electric refrigerators. So, you do have to store the cheesecake in the refrigerator (covered, for up to a week), but no need to make room in your freezer. The only freezing needed with this recipe is to chill the bowl and whisk attachment of a stand mixer, along with the evaporated milk.
How Does it Taste?
Heaven. Seriously! It is light as air and melts into a velvety cloud of creamy deliciousness in your mouth. It’s almost like a “strawberry cloud cheesecake”. This dessert is worth making and there is a reason the original Woolworth Icebox Cheesecake is so famous.
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick or 113g) butter, melted
- 1 pound strawberries, thinly sliced
- 1 block (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 box (3 ounces) strawberry jello mix
- ½ cup boiling water, 212°F
- ½ cup cold water, 55°F
- 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk, chilled
Chill the bowl of a stand mixer and the whisk attachment in the freezer, along with the can of evaporated milk.
Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, add graham crackers and sugar and mix together.
Add melted butter and mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated (no dry spots).
Press the crumbs firmly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
Top the crust with a single layer of sliced strawberries. Set aside.
In a medium bowl cream together cream cheese and sugar with a hand mixer. Add vanilla and mix until well blended (2-3 minutes). Set aside.
In a separate small bowl, add jello and boiling water. Mix until sugar dissolves. Add cold water and chill it in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest, but do not let the gelatin set.
To a stand mixer, add the chilled bowl and whisk attachment. Add the evaporated milk and mix until peaks form. Add jello mixture and continue to whisk for 30 more seconds.
Add cream cheese mixture and whisk for 30 more seconds.
Pour mixture into the pan. Place in the refrigerator to chill overnight.
When ready to serve, top with whipped cream.