An easy recipe for 128 calorie lightened-up chocolate chip cheesecake bars, sacrificing none of the creamy texture and flavor!
I’m currently suffering from a sugar hangover.
Alright, let me rewind. Last night we went out for a friend’s surprise birthday party. Seth, the lucky man marrying this beauty, is turning 30 and we celebrated by renting part of a bar in Baltimore.
(Rowhouse in Federal Hill – go there for Sunday morning Chicken ‘n Waffles & Spicy Bloody Marys if you’re ever in the area and want some brunch.)
Kristen brought a buttercream-frosted cake to surprise Seth and I brought a peanut-butter-packed cookbook recipe that knocked some socks off. I ate a salad for dinner so I could enjoy a lot of dessert. It’s all about balance, folks.
I also brought these skinny chocolate chip cheesecake bars to the party. They look pretty diet-busting, right!? They certainly taste that way too.
These bars defy all sorts of baking science rules. They’re so rich-tasting, yet made with lightened-up, protein-packed ingredients. The cheesecake layer is so thick and undeniably creamy. I don’t even how it’s possible. None of the party goers even knew they were lighter than regular cheesecake!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I am not one to sacrifice taste for lighter desserts, thus this creamy cheesecake bar was born.
So how can you make these ultra rad skinny cheesecake bars? (Yeah, rad.)
The recipe is quite similar to my Skinny Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars. You’ll need a few easy ingredients: light cream cheese, protein-packed 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 unbelievably creamy. I used nonfat plain Chobani Greek yogurt, but you may use low fat and/or a flavored kind like vanilla or even raspberry, honey, strawberry, etc. Using 2% Greek yogurt will give you an even creamier bar.
Add some sweetness. 1/4 cup of sugar sweetens the bars. That’s only 1/4 cup of sugar sweetening 16 servings. Not too shabby right? I tried my hand at using honey or maple syrup, but the bars did not set up properly. 1 teaspoon of added sugar per serving is heaven sent for cheesecake! (1 tsp does not include the sugar in the cream cheese, chocolate chips, yogurt or crust).
For the chocolate? I like to use mini chocolate chips because you get more chocolate in every bite. Always a good thing.
The crust is made from graham crackers and a touch of melted butter. I’ve tested the crust with melted coconut oil and it works wonderfully! So you have the option of either.
The bars only take 25 minutes in the oven. But then you have to wait for them to fully chill before digging in. Ugh, that’s probably the only thing I don’t like about cheesecake. It tests your patience! Especially when all you want is some dessert.
What to do while you’re waiting: make these adorable DIY sparkle/jewel hair pins.
So how do these cheesecake bars measure up? Only 128 calories each! Yep, that’s right:
All of that divided by 16 = 128 calories. How’s that for some cheesecake?!
Do yourself a favor and stop reading. Set out your cream cheese to soften right now. Because you have got to try these simple lightened-up cheesecake bars!
It’s been exactly 20 hours since I had one and life just isn’t the same…
Yield: 16 bars
An easy and delicious recipe for 128 calorie lightened-up chocolate chip cheesecake bars, sacrificing none of the creamy texture and flavor!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours, including chilling
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. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Remove the crust from the oven and spread filling on top. 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.
Makes 16 bars. Store bars in a covered container for up to 7 days in the refrigerator; bars may be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving. Recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 9x13-inch pan, baking time will vary - about 45-55 minutes.
*For the Greek yogurt: I used Chobani 0% fat, plain. You may use low fat Greek yogurt instead. You may also use regular yogurt, plain or flavored, low fat or fat free.
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