Stories & Features

Sweet! Five dazzling small appliance desserts

No-bake cheesecake bites and blueberries on countertop
Easy no-bake cheesecake bites can be a party favourite, and only require an electric blender. (Photo and recipe courtesy funmoneymom.com)

Use the Instant Pot, toaster oven, mixer, or blender to save energy

Rob Klovance
For bchydro.com

It's the holiday rush and you're trying to fit it all in, like a half day of skiing before dinner prep with friends or a quick stop at the mall on the way to a holiday lunch. A jam-packed schedule likely has you looking to find efficiencies where you can.

Lucky for you, we have five dessert ideas that are easy to make and easy on household energy use, because they're all made without the use of the stovetop or oven. We love small appliances, which can use up to 75% less energy than making the same recipe in your oven or on your stovetop.

You can also save time with options like pressure cookers that cook things much more quickly. Use a slow cooker for six hours and it will use 60% less electricity than an electric oven on for one hour. If you use one weekly instead of an electric oven, you could save up to $21 a year.

Here we go.

Easy no-bake cheesecake bites

There was a time when I would follow up a night out in downtown Vancouver with a visit to the all-hours Fresgo Inn on Davie Street, home of enormous mushroom burgers and cheesecake slices that I somehow managed to finish back-to-back. That sort of appetite is gone, even if the Fresgo Inn lives on in Surrey. But cheesecake is still a fave, in small portions.

That's what makes these easy no-bake cheesecake bites such a hit. You mix the cream cheese, vanilla and sugar, plus whipping cream, and use a decorating bag to squeeze out the filling into bite-size filo shells. Top each with a blueberry or raspberry or two, plus some icing sugar, and admire them... until they disappear.

Did you know? Even if you used a 500-watt mixer for an hour three times per week, it would cost about 70 cents in electricity per month.

Ginger cookies
Triple ginger cookies from a small-batch recipe that uses a toaster oven. (Photo courtesy toasterovenlove.com)

Ginger cookies in a toaster oven

You know you're into toaster ovens when you launch a website called Toaster Oven Love. And you know you've got a thing about ginger cookies when you fall for a recipe that uses three kinds of ginger: ground, fresh, and crystallized.

The result is a small-batch recipe that's ideal for smaller households and that can, of course, be done in an energy-saving toaster oven. You can check out this triple ginger cookies recipe at toasterovenlove.com.

Did you know? A typical electric oven runs on 2,500 to 5,000 watts and, set to 350°F, uses an average 2 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy for 60 minutes of cooking time. A 1,200-watt toaster oven set to 450°F for 50 minutes uses only 0.9 kWh.

A slice of peanut butter cheesecake on a plate
Decadence out of the Instant Pot, complete with chopped peanut butter cups. (Photo courtesy ohsweetbasil.com)

Peanut butter cheesecake, anyone?

We're back to the Instant Pot for this one, which features an Oreo cookie crumb crust, plus an over-the-top ganache with chopped peanut butter cups.

Check out the recipe for Instant Pot peanut butter cheesecake, and get some good advice on how to shop for an Instant Pot if you haven't already picked one up.

Did you know? If you regularly cook for a smaller household that requires four to six servings, the 6-quart Instant Pot is your best bet for both time and energy efficiency. If you're only cooking for one or two people, you may get away with the 3-quart size... unless you love leftovers.

Chocolate lave cake on a plate
Chocolate decadence from the Instant Pot, in the form of a lava cake. (Photo courtesy favfamilyrecipes.com)

Instant Pot chocolate lava cake

I'll generally take savoury over sweet, and I rarely bake. But chocolate is more than acceptable.

Enter Instant Pot chocolate lava cake, a popular recipe from favfamilyrecipes.com that's done in half an hour. Get it right and you'll get the molten centre that's so vital to making this recipe deliver on expectations. You may need to play with the "bake" time a bit to suit the size of your Instant Pot and the ramekins you use.

Did you know? You always need to add 10 to 15 minutes of time as you plan your Instant Pop cooking, as it takes that much time for the appliance to reach high pressure. Even with that factored in, you'll have this lava cake done in under 30 minutes.

Cup of eggnog with ground cinnamon sprinkles.
Out of the blender and into the hearts of your guests, this 5-minute blender eggnog can be made with a kick – using bourbon – or as a non-alcoholic version. (Photo courtesy thechunkychef.com)

Homemade eggnog, with or without the buzz

The blender in our home is all about smoothies, including our go-to Chunky Monkey Protein Smoothie that goes interstellar with a shot or two of espresso in the mix. But this is December, and it's eggnog time.

We found this 5-Minute Blender Eggnog that has gained a growing legion of fans who offer suggestions on how to knock it out of the park, with our without the cognac and bourbon the recipe calls for. One commenter also warns not to try Stevia instead of sugar, but I'm tempted to give it a shot so that my Keto-obsessed partner can enjoy a glass as well.

Did you know? Use a blender for a half hour a day and it will cost you about $1.30 per month in electricity costs.

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