Not all holiday desserts have to be loaded with calories. These lightened up Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Bars with Chocolate Ganache let you indulge in a sweet treat without all the regret!
I have a love hate relationship with the holiday baking season. I love to bake and I especially love to bake for other people. It relaxes me and makes me happy to be able to make something sweet and beautiful for family and friends. Baking and I get along as long as I don’t have a dozen cookies, a pie or a cake sitting in my kitchen staring at me for too long. You see the problem is I LOVE dessert and if it’s in my kitchen it starts calling my name. The next thing I know I have a cookie in one hand and a piece of cake in the other and a pile of guilt an hour later. My self-control lacks strength when pretty desserts are within my reach, I’m sure some of you can relate.
Luckily, this holiday season I’ve created these lighter Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Bars with Chocolate Ganache and felt virtually no guilt after devouring one! You see the thing is, I have a secret weapon in these bars and its name is Born Sweet® Zing™ Baking Blend!
Zing™ Baking Blend is made with stevia leaf extract and pure cane sugar and has only 5 calories per serving. It’s made without artificial ingredients and bakes just like sugar only fewer calories. A dessert with less calories that tastes as good as these vanilla bean cheesecake bars is something I can get behind!
Along with the Zing™ Baking Blend cutting out some of the calories, I’ve also replaced a portion of the cream cheese with plain non-fat Greek yogurt. The yogurt adds an amazing creaminess to the bars! The bars are loaded with vanilla flavor, which comes from either a vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste, whichever is more convenient for you. Using a vanilla bean instead of just the extract give you a more intense vanilla flavor, plus those gorgeous black specks! The final flourish on these bars is the dark chocolate ganache drizzled over the top. It adds just enough chocolate flavor without overpowering the vanilla bean cheesecake. If you’re in need of a slimmer dessert to sink your teeth into this holiday, then you have to treat yourself to one of these vanilla bean cheesecake bars with chocolate ganache!
- 6 graham crackers
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Filling:
- 8 ounces (one package) low fat cream cheese, softened
- 6 ounces plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup Zing™ Baking Blend
- 1 egg + 1 egg white
- 2 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream, add an extra tablespoon if the ganache is too thick
Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Bars:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Line an 8x8 baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
- In the bowl of a food processor (or in a freezer bag roll over the crackers with a rolling pin) pulse the graham crackers and cinnamon until they are finely ground.
- Add in the melted butter and pulse until combined.
- Press the graham cracker crumb mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared 8x8 baking pan.
- Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and set.
- Remove the crust from the oven and lower the temperature to 300 degrees.
- While the crust cools, prepare the filling.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand-held mixer, beat the cream cheese, Greek yogurt and Zing™ Baking Blend until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
- Add in the egg, egg white, salt, flour, vanilla bean seeds or vanilla bean paste and beat until combined and smooth.
- Pour the filling into the cooled crust and place it in the oven to bake for 30-35 minutes or until it is set, but still jiggles a little in the center, don’t overbake.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely.
- Once the cheesecake bars have cooled cover them with plastic and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Drizzle with the chocolate ganache before serving.
- Add the chocolate chips and heavy cream to the top of a double boiler over simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t come in contact with the water).
- Melt the chocolate stirring occasionally until the mixture becomes warm and smooth.
- Drizzle the ganache over the cheesecake bars with a spoon or use a pastry bag with a small round tip.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 162Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 264mgFiber: 1gProtein: 5g
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.