An easy and delicious recipe for lightened up cheesecake bars using light cream cheese, yogurt, egg whites, and a touch of raspberry jam.
A new skinny recipe for you all on this lovely Monday morning.
Kevin and I just got back from vacation and making a skinny treat to start off a new week just sounded right. We spent the week enjoying s’mores, peanut butter pies, and delicious fruity sangria. A LOT of sangria. I am welcoming a lighter dessert option with open arms today.
I am excited about this post for a couple reasons.
(1) These lightened up cheesecake bars are GOOD. Better than a full-fat version. Seriously.
(2) This is my first photo shoot with my new camera lens. I updated my photography page with the current equipment I am using. I am in love with this new zoom lens! It costed quite the pretty penny, but it is worth every cent. Paired with my Canon 5D Mark III camera, I find my images are tack sharp.
Ok, back to business. Raspberry cheesecake business.
If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you must know how much I love cheesecakey things. If i had it my way, dessert would be all cheesecake – all the time. However, we all know cheesecake isn’t the best thing for our bathing suits or skinny jeans. Sigh.
That’s why I created a lightened up cheesecake bar yesterday. I used light cream cheese, Greek yogurt, egg whites, and a touch of flour. The flour is used for thickening the cheesecake mixture since you are not using full fat ingredients. You cannot leave out the flour; the cheesecake will not set up properly. The protein-packed Greek yogurt makes these cheesecake bars SO creamy. I used nonfat plain Greek yogurt, but you may use low fat and/or a flavored kind like vanilla or raspberry. Today’s dreamy cheesecake bars aren’t as thick as my full fat cheesecake bars, but they sure are creamier.
1/4 cup of sugar sweetens the bars. That’s only 1/4 cup of sugar sweetening 12 servings. There’s no way around it, you have to sweeten the bars up unless you want them tasting like… cheese. I tried my hand at using honey or maple syrup, but the bars did not set up properly. I got away with the least amount of sugar I could and 1 teaspoon of added sugar per serving is heaven sent for dessert! (1 tsp does not include the sugar in the cream cheese, jam, yogurt or crust).
The crust is made from graham crackers and a touch of melted butter. There is no way around a killer graham cracker crust. I just made the crust a bit thinner and used less butter than I normally do. The crust is SO good and you won’t even miss the extra fat.
Those gorgeous swirls between the creamy cheesecake are brought to you by raspberry jam. I used a natural raspberry jam I picked up at the farmer’s market, but feel free to use any kind of jam and any flavor. I have a feeling peach or apricot jam would be fabulously tasty. You’ll need a scant 1/4 cup of jam total.
To swirl, drizzle 4 parallel and horizontal lines of jam on top of the cheesecake batter. Then, drag a toothpick down vertically – making 4 lines perpendicular to the jam lines. The next time I make a swirl dessert, I’ll be sure to upload a photo so you can all see. I didn’t have a chance to shoot one for this recipe.
The bars only take 25 minutes in the oven. Not too bad, right? But then you have to wait for them to fully chill before digging in. That is the worst part about cheesecake! There always has to be patience involved. Waiting to cut these skinny cheesecake bars is pure torture. But let me tell ya, that first bite makes every minute of waiting SO worth it!
These bars taste like true cheesecake. They do NOT taste like a “light” dessert at all. I was shocked by how creamy they were considering how little fat is used in the recipe. Greek yogurt surely does work miracles! Do not leave out the lemon juice – it gives the bars a slight tang, like true New York Cheesecake. These bars taste like the real thing. And I’m not just saying that!
I see many different versions of this skinny dessert happening a lot in the near future.
Makes 12 bars. Store bars in a covered container for up to 7 days in the refrigerator. Recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 9x13-inch pan, baking time will vary - about 45-55 minutes.
- 5-6 full-sheet graham crackers (or 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs)
- 2 Tablespoons (30 grams) unsalted or salted butter, melted
- 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened (do not use fat free)
- 3/4 cup (185 grams) Chobani Greek yogurt (or regular yogurt, plain or flavored, low fat or fat free)
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (16 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (80 grams) raspberry jam
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 8x8 baking pan with aluminum foil with enough overhang on the sides. Set aside.
- Make the crust: Using a food processor or blender, pulverize the graham crackers into a fine crumb. Pour into a medium bowl and mix with melted butter. Press into the lined pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Allow to cool as you prepare the filling.
- For the filling: Beat the softened cream cheese for 1 minute using a hand or stand mixer. Beat in the yogurt, egg whites, sugar, and flour until mixture is smooth and creamy, about 3 full minutes. Add the lemon juice and vanilla, beat for 1 additional minute until combined.
- Remove the crust from the oven and spread filling on top. Swirl the raspberry jam on top of the batter (see the text in the post for how I swirl).
- Bake for 25 minutes, covering the cheesecake bars at the 20 minute mark with aluminum foil to prevent browning. Allow to cool for 20 minutes at room temperature, then chill completely in the refrigerator for at least three hours. Lift the foil out of the pan and cut into squares.
Recipe Source: sallysbakingaddiction.com
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See more of my favorite skinny dessert recipes!