Recipe updated on March 2, 2016 from the original posted March 29, 2015.
Are you looking at the calendar and thinking to yourself….Oh, crap….in another week or two I’m going to have to shed my winter coat and put on shorts, capris or other clothing that is going to reveal the fact I’ve been enjoying comfort food a wee bit too much this winter?
I’m with ya sister.
I’ve been going out for walks every single nice day and I have good intentions….really I do! But then another holiday that is all about the sweet treats just HAS to roll around. Thank you very much Easter!
Here’s a dessert to help you get through Easter with minimal waistline damage: Lighter Mini Cheesecakes
I’m not much of a baker so when I post a dessert recipe, it will be fool-proof and super-simple! Besides being easy, these are portion controlled and reduced fat but have all the flavor of a rich cheesecake with a twist of lemon.
This recipe is inspired by one on AllRecipes and I’ve been making it regularly for a client of mine who is a heart patient. Instead of regular cream cheese, I’ve been using Neufchatel cheese or light cream cheese and it works just as well as anything full-fat. The recipe calls for using a “Nilla” wafer to serve as the crust. Nabisco now makes a reduced-fat “Nilla” wafer. Yay!
Because of the lower fat content, the cakes have a tendency to “shrink in” a little bit as they cool. This effect can be reduced by placing them in the refrigerator before they have a chance to cool entirely–about 10 minutes after removing from the oven.
For Easter, garnish with sweetened coconut and mini bird eggs to look like a bird’s nest, however, it’s best to do that right before serving. The rest of the year, a fruit topping is perfect. My client is not a fan of cherry pie filling as is called for in the AllRecipes recipe, so instead, I sweeten frozen strawberries, add a dash of vanilla and spoon it over each individual cheesecake.
12 reduced-fat vanilla wafers
2 packages (8-ounce) Neufchatel or reduced-fat cream cheese
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
2/3 cup sugar
Sweetened shredded coconut
36 mini bird eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line muffin tins with 12 paper baking cups. Place a vanilla water in each one (centered).
In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, eggs, lemon juice and sugar. Beat until smooth.
Divide filling equally among the 12 baking cups. (The filing will come to about 3/4 of the way to the top.)
Bake for 17-18 minutes or until set and top just lightly cracks. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then refrigerate 1 hour.
Top with sweetened coconut and 3 bird eggs per cheesecake.