There are certain expectations of a really great cheesecake. A perfect cheesecake should be rich and creamy, with a tasty crust and perhaps a tempting topping that enhances the flavour of the dessert. That’s exactly what you’ll find here, and lucky for us, these revamped cranberry cheesecake bars are also lighter and have less fat and sugar, so this is one treat we can happily indulge in.
This lightened-up cranberry cheesecake has it all, and while it can’t quite be considered low cal, it is a healthier version that’s a great addition to a holiday treat tray or as a dessert on its own.
Cranberry swirl cheesecake bars
Serving size 12 bars
- 1-1/2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 cup graham wafer crumbs
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 2 (250-gram) bars of reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup plain Greek yogourt
- 1 egg
- 2 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- To make the cranberry swirl topping, add the first three ingredients to a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until all the cranberries have popped and the sauce has thickened. Stir often, and if necessary, mash the berries with a spatula or spoon.
- Remove from heat, and let cool before using.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, mix the graham wafer crumbs, cinnamon and melted butter.
- Press the graham wafer mixture onto the bottom of an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.
- Bake for approximately 8 minutes or until the crust is set. Cool before using.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, or use a stand mixer. Mix in the yogourt. When combined, beat in the egg, egg whites, vanilla, lemon juice and flour, and continue mixing until smooth.
- Pour the batter over the baked graham wafer crust.
- Use a spoon to dot the batter with the cranberry sauce. Use a butter knife to slice through the cranberries and create a decorative design.
- Place in the oven, and bake at 375 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes or until the batter has set but is still soft in the centre of the pan.
- Allow to cool at room temperature for half an hour, and then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
- Cut into bars, and serve with leftover cranberry sauce.
- Garnish with light or fat-free whipped cream, if desired.
Learn how to make your desserts healthier >>
While the acidity of the cranberry sauce balances perfectly with the sweet creaminess of the cheesecake filling, other berries, such as blueberries or raspberries, will work as well. Simply follow the instructions for creating the cranberry sauce, except substitute in your choice of berry, adjust the sugar to taste, and leave out the lemon zest.