Any cheesecake fans out there? I love the stuff and it always reminds me of two things…
Thing #1 is my mom’s no-bake cheesecake – light and fluffy and so easy to make. It was a go-to dessert in my house growing up. My family would top their slices with cherry pie filling, but I always thought – and still do think – that that is SO not the way to go. No putting fruit on my desserts, no sir. I’ll take the cheesy goodness all by itself.
Thing #2 is The Cheesecake Factory. Obvious, yes. Impersonal, hardly! I used to LOVE going to Cheesecake. Hello Adam’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough! My adoration for all things cocoa and PB indeed started at an early age. Every time we went to TCF, I made sure to save room in my belly to fit a whole slice. Then I’d roll myself out of the restaurant in a sugary, cheesy, sweet bliss. Ahh…those were the days.
Anyway, Kristina from Stonyfield Farm recently contacted me to see if I’d like some coupons for free Oikos. She had spotted me using Greek yogurt back when I made Yogurt Glazed Carrot Cake and thought I might be interested. Umm…yes please! I promised to come up with a fun recipe to spotlight my Oikos and – BAM! - cheesecake bars popped right into my mind. Actually, cheesecake popped in there first, but I don’t have the right pan for that. So bars it was!
Since Greek yogurt was to play a key role in these cheesecake bars, I let it be my inspiration as well. I asked myself, what kind of cheesecake bars should I make? Well, I replied – does anyone else have conversations with themselves? - what do I like to put in Greek yogurt? Ooh ooh! I like honey and cinnamon and vanilla… And that’s pretty much how it happened. Before I knew it, I had created Honey Yogurt Cheesecake Bars with Cinnamon Graham Cracker Crusts.
Here’s the recipe:
1 cup whole wheat graham cracker crumbs*
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
16 ounces Neufchatel cheese
1/2 cup honey
1 egg white
1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* I used MI-DEL Honey Grahams to make my crumbs – 100% whole wheat and sweetened with only honey and molasses.
Preheat the oven to 350*F. Spray an 8 x 8-inch pan with cooking spray. To make the crust, combine graham cracker crumbs, canola oil, honey and cinnamon until well-moistened. Press mixture into prepared pan and bake for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. To make the cheesecake, beat together Neufchatel cheese and honey until well blended. Add egg and beat well. Add egg white and beat well. Add Greek yogurt and vanilla extract and beat well. Pour mixture on top of graham cracker crust. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Let cool and refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving. Makes 16 bars.
These cheesecake bars were uber cheesy and creamy and subtly sweet. I enjoyed my bites with a bit of honey drizzled on top – just like in the pics! Next time I might even add extra honey to the batter. Yum!
Have you ever baked with Greek yogurt? How do you like to use it?