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Strawberry Cheesecake Bars
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Strawberry-Cheesecake-Bars1 There’s no dessert I love more than cheesecake. The creamy sweetness of the custard paired with the crunchy graham cracker crust is pure perfection. Then to top it off with one of nature’s gems: Tart ripe strawberries! Cheesecake is the perfect summer treat for an after-dinner delight or to please a group of hungry kids. I am confident that almost everyone loves cheesecake, but we don’t always like the guilt of eating such a high fat treat. Today I put together these Strawberry Cheesecake Bars that have the same creaminess and delicious flavor as regular cheesecake, but are lighter in fat and calories! Enjoy with caution… you may not be able to stop after just one! Strawberry Cheesecake Bars have many of the same ingredients as traditional cheesecake, but with a high protein twist! If you’re not familiar with Greek yogurt, it is a must-have for desserts, dips and snacks. It helps keeps our bellies full, and is much lower in fat than cream cheese and sour cream and can often be substituted in recipes.  In this recipe, I featured Chobani Strawberry Greek Yogurt, which gives the rich texture and flavor of traditional cheesecake, without your guests noticing a difference! Strawberry-Cheesecake-Bars2 To get started, put the graham crackers in a sealed sandwich baggie. Use a rolling pin to crush the graham crackers in to crumbs. Once you have crumbs, place in a bowl. Add melted butter and use the back of a fork to mix the crumbs and butter. Your crumb/butter mixture should form pea sized morsels of buttery goodness. Strawberry-Cheesecake-Bars3 Transfer crumb/butter mixture to a greased 8-in baking dish. Press mixture in to baking dish with the back of the fork {and your fingers} until it forms an even crust. Bake crust in 325 degree oven until golden, 10-12 minutes. Strawberry-Cheesecake-Bars4 Now for the creamy sweet filling… Place Greek yogurt, cream cheese, sugar, eggs and flour in a bowl; whisk on high with a hand mixer {or food process} until smooth. I still had some lumps of cream cheese in my mixture, so I used my food processor to get the super smooth and creamy texture I wanted - worked like a charm! The filling should be light, but creamy like pancake batter. Pour mixture over baked graham cracker crust. Strawberry-Cheesecake-Bars5 Place back in the oven 30-35 minutes, or until filling is firm around edges, while the center slightly jiggles. Don’t fret; the filling will stabilize as it sits and cools! Let cool on wire rack for 30 minutes, then place in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Look at those golden brown edges and a velvety smooth filling… I am ready to dig in! Strawberry-Cheesecake-Bars6 But first, the cheesecake must be cut in to bars. Best practice for cutting cake: Place a smooth knife under hot water. Cut from one side of the cheesecake to the other. Wipe your knife blade clean, warm the knife, and repeat until you have 12 even squares {make sure the squares are even, or your kids will fight over who gets the bigger piece}! I topped the bars with a fanned strawberry. If you want to “wow” your guests with your culinary skills, learn how to fan a strawberry. You can really use any fruit to top these cheesecake bars {whatever your heart desires}! Dessert doesn’t get much easier (or more delicious) than this!  Pair with a light grilled fish or summer salad. Bon appétit! What’s your favorite way to use Greek yogurt in your cooking? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below, and you will be entered to win a $5 Festival Foods Gift Card! (BONUS: Get a double entry if you comment on our Facebook page as well!). A winner will be chosen on Friday, June 13th, 2014 at 12pm CT. Strawberry-Cheesecake-Bars7

Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Recipe adapted from Chobani

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (approximately ½ sleeve graham crackers)
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 cup Chobani Strawberry Greek Yogurt
  • 8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese (a.k.a. Neufchatel cheese)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 9 strawberries, thinly sliced or fanned

  Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.. Place about ½ sleeve graham crackers in to a sandwich baggie; seal. Crush graham cracker pieces using a rolling pin, until they are crumbs. In a small bowl, stir graham cracker crumbs and melted butter, using a fork to combine.
  2. Transfer to an 8-in square baking dish, pressing firmly into dish. Bake crust until golden, 10-12 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  3. To make filling, place sugar, cream cheese, Chobani, eggs and flour in a bowl; whisk on high using hand mixer and/or use food processor and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into crust and bake until firm around edges while center still jiggles, 30-35 minutes.
  4. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before slicing. Top each square with strawberries and serve.

Yield: 12 servings

Per Serving*: Calories 190, Total Fat 9g(Saturated 5g, Trans 0g), Cholesterol 70mg, Sodium 150mg, Total Carbohydrate 20g (Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 14g), Protein 6g, Vitamin A 8%, Vitamin C 20%, Calcium 8%, Iron 6%

*Nutritional values are an approximation. Actual nutritional values may vary due to preparation techniques, variations related to suppliers, regional and seasonal differences, or rounding.

Have a question about nutrition? Our Mealtime Mentors would love to help! Reach out at AskFestivalDietitians.com or find them on Facebook,Instagram and Twitter

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is intended for general information only. It is not intended as medical advice. Health information changes frequently as research constantly evolves. You should not rely on any information gathered here as a substitute for consultation with medical professionals. Information may not be reproduced without permission from Festival Foods. We strongly encourage guests to review the ingredient lists of suggested products before purchasing to ensure they meet individual dietary needs. All products not available at all Festival locations.

 

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