Skinny Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars
An easy recipe for lightened up cheesecake bars using light cream cheese, yogurt, egg whites, and a swirl of raspberry jam.
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 maybe too much sangria. I’m welcoming a lighter dessert option with open arms today.
I’m excited about this recipe for a couple reasons.
(1) These lightened up cheesecake bars are really, really 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.
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 fabulous. 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 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!
The magic of these cheesecake bars is that they do not taste lightened-up at all! Rather, they taste like real cheesecake. I am shocked by how creamy they are 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.
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Skinny Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars
An easy and delicious recipe for lightened up cheesecake bars using light cream cheese, yogurt, egg whites, and a touch of raspberry jam.
- 3/4 cup (85g) graham cracker crumbs (about 5-6 full sheets graham crackers)
- 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted or salted butter, melted (or melted coconut oil)
- 8 ounces brick-style light cream cheese, softened to room temperature (do not use fat free)
- 3/4 cup (185g) Chobani Greek yogurt (or regular yogurt, plain or flavored, low fat or fat free)
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (16g) all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (80g) raspberry jam
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides to easily lift the bars out of the pan before cutting. Set aside.
- Make the crust: Mix the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter together in a medium bowl until combined. Evenly press crust into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Make the filling: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese on high speed until completely smooth, about 1 minute. On medium-high speed, beat in yogurt until completely combined. Then beat in the egg whites until combined. Finally, beat in the sugar, flour, and lemon juice until everything is combined and no lumps remain.
- Pour filling onto the crust. 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 over-browning. Allow the bars to cool at room temperature set on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 3-4 hours or even overnight.
- Once chilled, lift the foil out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into squares. For neat squares, I use a very sharp knife and wipe it clean with a paper towel after each cut. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make ahead tip: Prepare the bars 1-3 days in advance and store covered tightly in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Bars can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
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